6.03.2007

Name That Straggling Polymer



I may have to back up off of this "worst line-up in the league" thing. For one, it only really makes sense when you factor in how much the Cavs are paying their others. And tonight, they were actually pretty good. It looked like the Pistons repeatedly had bad luck on the boards, and missed all the shots they generally make. But after about three quarters of this, I was forced to give in: indeed, the Cavs were apparently thwarting the Detroit offense, and repeatedly coming up with the rebounds (more so on defense).

The Gibson thing? Well, there's that open jump shot-maker Bron has desperately needed. The rest of the team shoots like they're seeing a different basket, and their free throw woes border on exotic. But they did make the Finals, and beat a contender along the way. At some point, all my analysis has to defer to basic truths.

James didn't replicate Thursday, but that's what makes him LeBron James. He played a part in nearly every bit of offensive production, looking every bit the triple-double machine one game after unleashing the scoring beast within. In a way, this performance makes him even scarier. On his off nights, all he does is animate his teammates and push them to the victory. Or can we even call it an off night, seeing as his unselfishness and all-around sound play more than made up for a lack of buckets? This is that other side of the prism, and who knows how many more faces he has yet to reveal?



Closing with a thought on LeBron's style: he really is the most football NBA star in existence, and that's coming from someone who has sworn off the NFL. We talk a lot about Baron Davis barreling into the lane like a running back, but that's mostly just a dandy hyperbole. Davis is still playing basketball. LeBron, on the other hand, really could insert himself into a football game and not change his movements one bit.

Watching him push the ball the length of the court, taking out two defenders on the finish, isn't intricate or cagey. I'm sure someone's said this before, but it's the most apt way of putting it: force of nature in the Jim Brown tradition. You'd never call James a power player, exactly because his mix of speed, size and strength is impossible to prioritize. So it was with Brown.

I bet you all I own that he would out-Calvin Johnson Calvin Johnson if they let him do the combine for fun.

41 Comments:

At 6/03/2007 2:24 AM, Blogger Signal to Noise said...

I suspect LBJ would have made a fantastic TE in the Antonio Gates mold, had he gone that way instead of the court, but I like the comparison.

 
At 6/03/2007 2:52 AM, Anonymous aug said...

I'm going to stop watching the nba for the entire next season except if i get free tickets to a magic game if the cavs win the nba finals. Sometimes i really hate basketball. They're probably the 6-7th best team in the nba at best. I really want to cry if mike brown can win an nba championship.

About gibson, i was laughed at a year ago on this site when i said that gibson was the perfect fit for the cavs and that he could basically be ben gordon. The guy is crazy talented and he's not an out of nowhere guy. If the longhorns didn't switch him from 2guard to point sophomore season he would've been a top 15 or at least 20 pick. He was killer his freshman year as a combo 2guard and has always been great at finding his shot and making it. He's not a 35point scorer but he can give you 10-20 on any given night.

Everyone knew that unless avery johnson or d'antoni took a huge leap this playoffs that it was gonna be the spurs or heat winning it all. THIS IS A LEAGUE OF COACHES!


We should start some sort of pool for who gets more charges or who flops more in this series: varejao or ginobli. I'm still undecided.

 
At 6/03/2007 3:06 AM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Oh God. Flop Wars begins. Thanks for pointing that out, aug.

 
At 6/03/2007 3:24 AM, Anonymous aug said...

I've been trying to figure this out for a few days now. What do the pistons do now? I mean, if they can't beat the fucking cavs, and lost to the heat bad last year, they're never gonna get another title with this team. The cavs players are a lot better than people give them credit for. It's not that they're bad players, it's just that some are bad compliments for lebron and what the cavs should be doing.

I can spend forever looking at salaries on http://www.hoopshype.com/salaries/salaries.htm
You learn little gems like evan eschmeyer still getting 3.5 mil from the mavs and mr. soft hands himself, todd maculloch getting like 6 mil from the sixers still.


Oh. How free darko is roger clemens not pitching monday because of a "fatigued right groin"? I'm guessing very.

 
At 6/03/2007 3:53 AM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

I'd have to go with Ginobli in the Flop Wars just because I don't see Duncan responding to Varejao's baiting at the same level as Sheed -- plus he's likely to get a lot more leeway with the refs than Sheed does.

Whereas I can see Ginobli drawing a ridiculous amount of charges from Hughes, Gibson and especially Pavlovic, who had a throughly rotten game tonight, aside from possibly starting Sheed off on the crazy train.

 
At 6/03/2007 4:01 AM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Pavlovic excels at barreling into the lane without an actual strategy, which means that Ginobili is going to really cash-in in this series.

I hate flopping.

 
At 6/03/2007 5:47 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Excellent points by Ben and Zarko on Ginobili exploiting Pavlovic's barreling. He really needs a pull-up jumper, something I think Collins (could have been Kerr) pointed out in the broadcast.

Aug, I think the Pistons are going to resign Billups because it's the "right thing to do," but if they want to be a title contender sooner rather than later (a serious one, like they were two years ago) I think they need to change things up a lot. The current lineup has run its course; they're a bunch of very good players but no one's really great, which means that one stud player bringing his A-game will beat them most every time. It's really a long term shame that they didn't draft Carmelo, although I suspect 2003 Dumars would still take Darko if you'd told him it would guarantee a championship.

 
At 6/03/2007 9:25 AM, Blogger ~CW~ said...

I'm glad the Pistons lost because it showed that Dumars really didn't have any idea what the hell he was doing. Danny Ainge basically handed him Sheed for nothing and he screwed up the Darko pick and the Darko trade, although he did let Big Ben go. Kidd and Malone got hurt in 2004, Wade and Manu both got hurt in 2005. This is a team that dominated a crappy conference with two straight conference titles, nothing more and nothing less.

I hadn't considered the flopping. Ugh. After LeBron's 48-point game, I thought you all might enjoy this, if only for Marv and the NBC music.

 
At 6/03/2007 9:59 AM, Blogger Josh said...

I think the most shocking thing about this post is finding out that Chris Gaines album went gold.

 
At 6/03/2007 10:08 AM, Anonymous the rightwade said...

i had a sad thought...

is it possible that the cavs win is more about flip saunders being the worst playoff coach of all time than anything lbj did? mike brown is a terrible coach generally (nothing lbj or gibson do in the finals will convince me otherwise), but he is not a terrible playoff coach (i.e., his team, for all its faults, plays adequate defense). sure, he lacks tons of things that will be needed in the finals -- clock management, creativity, ability to design a single offensive play -- but you don't need those against flip saunders.

and, what's more, was lbj's 25 in a row a victory over the pistons or over brown? it's not simply that every player who had a similar outburst (e.g. dirk in game 5 against the suns last year) was surrounded by a supporting cast that could, in theory, also score a basket. all those players also had coaches that designed plays that made it easier for them to score. brown did nothing like that. for lbj to have dropped 25 in a row with no help from not only his teammates, but also his coach, is the most insane part of thursday.

 
At 6/03/2007 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will admit lebron was absolutely unconcious in 4th-2ot, and he was hitting outside shots whereas normally he misses those shots. However, a friend of mine made a good point, and told me that for all the great scorers that exist and have existed in the nba, there is a reason this stuff doesn't happen more often. It's the kinda thing that everyone jokes about but you know it can't really happen(scoring 28 or 29) because you're always like "there's no way the other coach/players would let that happen." It's funny, watching dale davis' 6 minutes of run last night shows me that if dale davis(or mcdyses i guess) was in that game, that wouldn't have happened. Gotta have someone to knock lebron on his ass and foul him hard when he travels into the lane for a wide open dunk. Webber may let that happen but i don't think dale davis has ever allowed that to happen. Gotta love dale davis. You know there's gonna be a lot of elbows, jersey grabbing and unnecessarily hard fouls when he enters the game.

Lebron was sick in the last minutes as he made shots he normally never does, but i still think it was allowed to happen more so it being forced upon us from above.


I don't know about him out calvin johnsoning him though. He is probably a more physical beast but NFL speed and nba speed are completely different. Everyone looks faster indoors on a small crowded court. I am really curious what he'd run in the 40 though. Someone should find a replay of lebron sprinting down court, figure out some measurements, time it and calculate the 40

 
At 6/03/2007 12:37 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

NFL speed is on a totally different level. I specifically remember an article about Nash, all about his unorthodox training. Apparently the guy is really into biomechanics and such. Anyway, he bet his whole team that not a single one of them could even run a 4.6, and he won the bet. Pure top-end speed is barely used in basketball. The guys who look the fastest are the ones who change directions and maneuver through traffic well. (The other part of it is NBA players never learn how to run a fast 40, but sprint training will shave hundredths, not tenths.) When I read that, it was kind of a revelation.

I would guess the only guy in the NBA who could run in the 4.4-4.5 range is Iverson (although that time might be past for him).

 
At 6/03/2007 1:08 PM, Blogger Marcus said...

The whole "the Pistons *let* Lebron go off in Game 5" thing is purely based on spite and bitterness against great talent. A very un-darko attitude.

 
At 6/03/2007 1:50 PM, Blogger Martin said...

On a talent level alone I think Kobe is far and away the best player in the league, with Nash probably coming in second. But when take an amalgam of talent and physical ability. Lebron comes out ahead, with Wade trailing him. I have alot of respect for Kobe, but I think that in order to pull off what Lebron did in Game 5 you need to have exceptional physical abilities like Lebron's brawn or Wade's quickness with the ball.

 
At 6/03/2007 2:09 PM, Anonymous Alan in SF said...

LeBron is like this superstar 6 foot, 190 lb point guard, in the body of an NFL defensive end.

even though he's not the biggest guy in the league, watching him is like watching one regular size guy among a bunch of 3/4 scale models.

 
At 6/03/2007 2:10 PM, Anonymous Will I Am said...

We cannot take away anything from what LBJ has accomplished, not only as a singular performer (especially in game 5) but as a master motivator. HE is the reason that the Cavs are in the finals, body, mind and soul. King James is indeed, king of the team. Mike Brown, while not a strategic whiz, or time management guru, or really, even a middling manager of plays did pull off a brilliant move for games 5 & 6 - he got out of the way. As a manager, knowing when to step aside and allow the PLAYERS to impose their will is a difficult chore indeed. It could be argued that Flip has never attempted mastery, and indeed, is in fact mastered only by his desire to tinker and switch all aspects of game management up time and again. It is the worst case scenario where, while knowing that one has the talent for the position, allowing talent and skill to think one can do all, and all one can do, is great. Unfortunately for all Pistons fans, not only is Flip cursed with his superior belief in himself, Joe D is perhaps blessed in the same self-serving manner.

While only the specter of time may truly let us know the outcome of such recent events, this resolution is something that the team, in fact, organization, has brought upon themselves. Much as the Cavs are now marching to the glorious tunes of LBJ on set and lead vocals, so are the Pistons awash in the haze and torturous execution of a band well past their zenith. The lyrics are out of whack, the bass player exists in drug induced stupor, and even the session guys want no part of the last albums/disasters.
We knew them when their melodies blazed the airwaves, and we know their potential as surly as the ink on our bodies. But to see them as current is to shed tears for what they were. Indeed, anguish is the only response to the squandered future that has drifted into the past. Truly a FD state of mind, no?

 
At 6/03/2007 2:20 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

"Detroit Can't Touch Our Boobie!"

(t-shirt worn by several girls in the crowd last night)

 
At 6/03/2007 3:23 PM, Anonymous tom said...

even though he's not the biggest guy in the league, watching him is like watching one regular size guy among a bunch of 3/4 scale models.

This is why I always found the comparisons to Magic and MJ inadequate. These guys were never able to dominate based on size and athleticism alone. Not saying this is Lebron's everything but the fact that he can dominate just by barrelling his freight train of a body into the lane makes him more like this generation's Shaq than anyone else.

 
At 6/03/2007 4:10 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

This is when I regret not being able to watch the Big O play because he might be the only other player in the history of the game (that I know about) who had the same physicality that Lebron has, in the sense that even as Lebron does something completely amazing, it doesn't astound you as much as something less impressive because he makes it look so easy. All these moves and actions are so fluid, so effortless that it looks like an alien has come down and is playing around with us.

As for Flip, it was utterly painful every time TNT went in for a close-up. He just stood there, pursing and un-pursing his lips over and over again. It looked he like he was freaking out and was trying not to cry, or maybe he was worried about the Pistons bench smacking him on the back of his head. And this would be the difference between somebody like Flip and somebody like P-Jax -- when things aren't going well, Flip looks like he's going to break down and Phil looks like somebody whose puppy just crapped on the rug.

And may I say that I find the "too bad they're about to get swept" talk from the Spurs fan a little too much of the old doth protest too much. Suckers are scared. Not that the Spurs shouldn't win, the feeling of immanence is such that insecurity must be masked with bravado.

 
At 6/03/2007 4:48 PM, Anonymous rusty said...

salt bagel: good point about the difference between straight line speed and the ability to change directions fluidly while maintaining that speed. I don't know if you've seen the "rolling with leandrinho" series over on truehoop, but there was a very interesting point in one of the entries. Barbosa, perhaps the "quickest" guy with the ball in the entire league, doesn't have blazing foot speed. What separates him is that, unlike nearly everyone else, he can move at his top foot speed while dribbling the ball.

I still think LeBron would excel as a tight end because his speed/size and strength ratio is still amazing. TEs are usually, I think, in the 4.5-4.7 range anyway and added to LBJ's excellent hands, height and leaping ability I can envision him being very successful. Or, as someone else mentioned, as a DE; Julius Peppers played basketball at UNC and was a regular off the bench if I remember correctly.

Also, apropos of the a couple of threads the other day I made an effort to focus on watching LeBron's defense last night and I have to admit that it's definitely improved quite a bit. I still believe he has the ability to develop into a when-needed shutdown defender but that's not a criticism, just a thought, especially if the Cavs pick up a reliable secondary scorer (or if Gibson develops into that role) and he doesn't have to be so involved with every single offensive possession.

I really just cannot see the Cavs stringing this series out for more than 6 games unless, of course, LeBron is positively other-worldly for the entire series. And although that's possible I think that his shot just isn't consistent enough (yet) and Pop and the Spurs are too poised/experienced and crafty to make it easy for him or to melt down a la the Pistons.

 
At 6/03/2007 5:37 PM, Blogger Sergio said...

Odd. I always figured Marion could break a 4.5 forty time; all that twitch muscle has to count for something.

rusty: good point about speed w/ ball vs. pure speed. The fact is that physical specs do not seem to matter in basketball the way they do in football. If you look over the NBA Draft speed/vert/strength scores, top prospects rarely grade that impressively.

 
At 6/03/2007 5:44 PM, Anonymous DannyNoonan said...

Saying the Cavs are the 6th or 7th best team in the league is moronic. Clearly they are the best in the East; the Pistons were closer to getting swept than winning the series.
In the west, only Phoenix is clearly better - we're looking at matchups here.
SA, probably. We’ll find out. Dallas would have a slight edge. Houston? Please, win ANY series, TMac. Utah? They’d get beat up just like the do in the regular season.
The Cavs have three great strengths: Their D is excellent. They are the best rebounding team in the league (statistically). And they have LBJ.
Defense. Rebounding. Transcendent excellence.
Replace rebounding with being fundamentally sound and it’s clearly a long valued recipe in many sports.
And yet to many they remain a fraud. Stop fooling yourself.

 
At 6/03/2007 6:24 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

On his off nights, all he does is animate his teammates and push them to the victory.

Nah, don't agree. Last night Gibson (like in Game 4) proved to be a worthy 2nd banana. But all season long LeBron's teammates have looked like crap: Gooden - should we expect more from him? Ilgaukas - is this really the best Z can do? Hughes was better in DC. LeBron's teammates have look like crap all season long, and aside from Gibson, they haven't wowed anyone in the playoffs.

That might be Mike Brown's fault more than LeBron, FYI.

As for "LeBron has the master motivator" - please. Did ya not read about LeBron telling Gooden not to jump on Sheed's 3 point attempt, and Gooden getting annoyed with the harping, and ended up leaving his feet anyway on the play?!?

Points to Brown for recognizing that the play would likely go to Sheed in that situation - Brown as a defensive coach is still underrated.

LeBron is not a master motivator, nor someone who brings out the best in his teammates (like Nash). He did not make Gibson better, Gibson was this good (in 3PT shooting), and has been wasted on the Cavs bench for too long this season. He should have been the one at the end of Game 1, not Marshall. Most of Gibson's threes came off Damon Jones' passes, which means that you can't even credit LeBron too much. If anything, I'm going to agree that Flip really sucks at making adjustments. LeBron is a great player, and will probably pull off the upset (though people forget that Ginobili, like Duncan, is a winner, and has carried this team in previous players just as much as TD - he should have been the Finals MVP in '05, for example). But to do it he's going to have to win at least two of the games, and hope the Cavs defense can win a game. At best he'll get help from his teammates in maybe one win, tops.

 
At 6/03/2007 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you underestimate the extent to which having LeBron on the floor enabled Gibson to shoot those threes...

 
At 6/03/2007 7:19 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Agree with anon, the trap on LeBron allowed them to skip pass the Pistons all day. Detroit was scrambling all over the court, which allowed things like Jones's drives and Gibson being wide open on every shot.

In regards to the bit about Gooden, I think that says more about him than LeBron. LBJ and Brown saw the problem and pointed it out; Gooden couldn't stand being told what to do and made the wrong play.

 
At 6/03/2007 7:43 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Yeah, I don't think Gibson gets those open looks if 'Bron is on the bench.

Scary thought for other Eastern teams: Gibson develops into a reliable 15-plus per game scorer and three-point shooter.

Unrelated: is Cleveland's PF depth chart FD? Gooden and Pollard are... characters... so to speak, but their games may not be.

On the upcoming Finals: Is there an over/under on number of Varejao flops it takes before Horry hacks the Pert Plus out of him?

 
At 6/03/2007 8:50 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

RE: the TNT post-game commentary after game 5, it appeared that Flip wound up agreeing with what Chuck and Kenny were saying about cutting off Lebron earlier, which was the Pistons strategy throughout the game and it pretty much worked until the fourth quarter.

In fact, it would have worked had anybody on the Pistons been able to put together a credible offensive game other than Rip. Prince was 1-10, Sheed was 5-14, Billups only took 7 shots, Dice was 2-8, etc. And yes, the Cavs are an excellent defensive team so credit should go to them as much as blame goes to the Pistons for looking horrible offensively. That said, Flip is supposed to be an offensive coach and to get a combined 38 points from the starting lineup aside from Hamilton is ridiculous.

And the reason why I think this happened had a lot to do with the mental status of the Pistons. You could tell that this was an angry and nervous team. When Sheed went out, you could tell the game was over, regardless of what Gibson did. Not to take away from how well he played; he also happened to be playing against a team that had already decided that they were going to lose this game.

 
At 6/03/2007 8:54 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Yeah, Gibson doesn't get the open looks without LeBron, but that's really my point. That's true of any star capable of drawing a double-team; if Curry gets doubled, leading to a Crawford three, does that mean Curry is making his teammates better. If so, then yeah, LBJ is doing it.

But if making your teammates better means lifting their game, not just drawing double-teams... I'm not sure you can say LeBron is doing that. None of his teammates, including Hughes, have looked good playing with him. It probably is becaue they suck overall, but I believe Gooden, Hughes, and Ilgaukas (and Damon Jones) are all capable of more. They are role players failing at their roles. Damon and Marshall should be doing what Gibson did yesterday, Gooden should be a finisher, and Ilgaukas should be hitting 10-18 footers. Only Z has really succeeded in his role regularly.

 
At 6/03/2007 8:54 PM, Blogger Sergio said...

Gooden is interesting in that, if he had a brain, he could be one of the top five power forwards in this league.

Before you question this statement, note that he averages a double double in spite of the fact that Brown never calls his number. He's definitely a huge factor in the Cavs' ownership of the offensive glass, and he can score one-on-one in the post whenever he wants.

Unfortunately, he's dumb as a rock. Fouling three-point shooters in spite of his teammate's warning is par for the course with this guy; he just has no idea what's going on. Apparently, Jerry West traded him from Memphis because he could not memorize any of the plays.

I'd call him an idiot savant, but that might be giving him too much credit. Let's tag him an ogre and leave it at that.

 
At 6/03/2007 8:56 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Sorry, that first sentence should have read "but that's not really my point". Carry on...

 
At 6/03/2007 9:33 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

Points to anybody who can point out what Drew Gooden and Creedence Clearwater Revival have in common.

 
At 6/03/2007 9:38 PM, Anonymous rusty said...

sergio: I've always thought Gooden was one of the more disappointing big men in the league despite the fine numbers he puts up b/c he just carries that air of vast, largely untapped potential. I hesitate to question the actual intelligence of anyone I haven't met but I'd certainly agree that his "basketball IQ" is hella low. He is from Oakland (well, El Cerrito, but pretty close) though so I gotta give him props. Another in the fine tradition of idiosyncratic Oakland athletes a la Rickey, Reggie Jackson, Eckersly and Bill Russell (who went to the same high school as my girlfriend, not that that's relevant to anything).

DannyNoonan: Look, the Cavs were underrated but they also had to luck into the 2nd seed when the Bulls lost their last game of the season. Do you think they would've beat Miami, Detroit and Chicago back to back to back instead of being able to hit cruise control against two awful teams in the first two rounds? I think it's feasible but by no means a lock. I also think the Bulls would've given them a better Eastern Conference Finals than Detroit, one that could've gone either way.

And I'd still take any of the top five playoff seeds from the West over the Cavs and the Pistons both. But that's just me.

 
At 6/03/2007 10:17 PM, Anonymous rusty said...

Electric Zarko: That's easy. I already pretty much answered your question in the above post, but they're both from El Cerrito. CCR played their last show at El Cerrito High, which both they and Gooden attended. I love CCR but ever since I found they were from the East Bay I've always found that whole "Born on the Bayou" mystique to be hilarious

 
At 6/03/2007 10:54 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

I almost wish Gooden would get traded to some team with a no-nonsense coach (Bulls/Skiles?) so I wouldn't have to see him wear #90, grow a ducktail, or foul three-point shooters. Ugh.

 
At 6/04/2007 12:21 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Lupica: What would LeBron lifting his teammates' games in the way you describe look like? I'm not really sure if any current superstars do that kind of stuff. Even a point guard like Nash is giving the ball to his teammates in a position to score, which isn't really much different than drawing a double team that allows an open shot for someone else. LeBron can't make Hughes a better spot-up shooter than he is or Gooden less stupid than he is. Why does LBJ have to be the primary motivator in addition to doing everything on the court? Isn't that what they pay the coach for? Even Jordan didn't get credit for putting Rodman's head on something resembling straight.

The fact remains that Ferry et al. did a poor job putting players on this team that complement LeBron's strengths, something that you seem to agree with. I'm not sure how LeBron can lift their games when they're not well-suited for playing with him.

 
At 6/04/2007 1:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still not sure how lebron makes all his teammates better while kobe does not. Last i checked, until this last game where gibson went on fire, every cavs player has pretty much been the same or worse since playing with lebron(Z, hughes, damon jones, gooden, varejao is waisting potential and only getting offensive board points, donyell marshall).

While kobe made
bynum better a lot sooner than everyone thought,
kwame brown as respectable as he'll ever be(from being garbage),
luke walton from really mediocre to good role player and capable starter,
smush parker from a jobless street player with a funny name to a point guard with one of the longest consecutive start streaks in the nba until the last week of the season and he was relatively solid,
farmar also looked solid as a rookie in getting his first starts in the playoffs against the suns

Odom is as good as he has ever been but odom has never lived up to potential and never will. He just seems a bit lazy and takes so many nights off. I mean, he's shooting worse from outside last season than he ever has, but he chucked up more 3s than ever too. He was like that in LA, miami, LA again and he'll do it in indiana if he gets traded.


This isn't saying that lebron isn't a good team player because he's pretty good. I mean, he could make people better by posting up more, running more off the ball screens(like that high screen play he did with Z where he ran off him which could give him a layup off the pass or open up Z for a jump shot). He's still a good team player but i just think that a lot of people overrate assists as it meaning someone is a good team player. Assists have more to do with the offense and that player's role in the offense. Lebron has the ball in his hands at all times and makes all the passes. Kinda like nash. I mean, nash is a good passer, but there is a reason he didn't have those assist numbers in dallas. The offense/defense strategy and your role in it dictates stats a lot. Especially assists more than any other. I think assists are probably the most overrated stat for determining how good a passer/playmaker/teammate a person is up with blocks/steals for showing how good a defender a person is(hughes led the league in steals 2 years ago but wasn't in the top 10 in best defensive 2guards).

 
At 6/04/2007 10:13 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Hey Ty: this is the statement that I disagreed with:
On his off nights, all he does is animate his teammates and push them to the victory.

Now, if drawing a double team is "animating his teammates and push(ing) them to victory", then I am wrong, and LeBron does that. And so does Curry, and any star player in the NBA. Every team has someone that is the focus of the offense, and therefore draws double teams - even the worst teams: Memphis (Gasol) and Boston (Jefferson/Pierce) have such players.

Pushing your teammates to victory isn't about drawing double-teams. As Anon above kinda points out, Kobe is considered a selfish player, and LeBron is considered a team player, but... switch the league their teams play in, and the results would be switched, too. I think the Lakers could have won 50 in the Eastern Conference, slipped into that 2nd seed (Cavs fans, and NBA fans in general, please remember to thank the Bulls for choking against the Nets), and made it to the conference finals against the Pistons. And the Pistons choked as much as the Cavs raised up - Flip Saunders is just not a good playoff coach, and it showed in that he let one player beat his team in back to back games - LeBron in Game 5, Gibson in Game 6.

Not saying the Cavs can't beat the Spurs - they certainly can. But to this point they haven't played very good ball. They've made it this far on the basis of LeBron, Gibson, and great defense. And LeBron isn't solely responsible for the defense, which has really been the catalyst for this team all season long. Not the offense.

 
At 6/04/2007 11:22 AM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Calvin Johnson from Beat Happening was at the combine?

 
At 6/04/2007 2:52 PM, Anonymous Ronnie Friday said...

I seem to remember ABC showing LeBron HS football footage last season (he played TE), I wonder if there is a YouTube clip.

 
At 6/04/2007 4:12 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Ah, now I get it. Definitely agree with you about the Lakers.

 
At 6/04/2007 6:43 PM, Blogger Steve said...

I think it's hard to say whether a player really 'lifts' his teammates without either watching a lot of games, or actually seeing how they interact off the court. There were a lot of articles gushing about Lebron's leadership after Game 6. Maybe they were jumping to conclusions, or maybe some of them actually have some more intimate knowledge of the Cavs' team chemistry. I have no idea.

About the only thing I would speculate is that James is a lot more aware of his teammates than Kobe is. Kobe often seems to go off on a shooting binge, leaving his teammates feeling uninvolved, so when defenses key in and collapse on him in the 4th the Lakers are in no-man's land. Or he rebels against the ball hog tag and skates for entire games, and they also lose.

I haven't watched enough Cav games to really say about Lebron, but he seems more genuinely aware that basketball is a team sport, or at least that your teammates can't be taken for granted.

(I'm being wishy washy yet going out on a limb at the same time....)

Also, in general (because there are a lot of variables involved that determine what the best scoring oppotunity is in each situation), I don't think there's anything wrong with passing to a wide open teammate who has setup for a great look at the end of a game. You have to feel these things out. The ultimate litmus test is simply whether over the course of your career your teams wins more of these big games than it loses, regardless of how.

 

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