Thursday, 21 June 2012
FINALS FEATURES: LEBRON JAMES-THE OTHER DECISION
(Originally Published in 2011)
The more important choice for LeBron.
BY TIM DAVID HARVEY
Have we run out of rocks yet? Are our arms getting more tired than Derek Jeter’s after last innings? It’s time to stop the LeBron bashing now. It’s been old. It's been over a year. Besides it had all been done like the Barenaked Ladies, one week after that infamous ‘decision’ was made, cut, printed and televised. Sure it was a hell of a way to end a partnership and start a new relationship and yeah all those NBA players whether in the locker rooms or in the hall maybe had a point. As did all the journalists, panellists and water cooler experts. Still however just like pining after an ex a year after getting dumped, it’s time to move on. Let's stop the hate, LeBron and his 'superfriends' where only a few games from being something to congratulate. They defied all their critics. Point proven?
Then maybe its time for another. Even though the lockout is halting the next season-meaning all the NBA talk where left with is surrounded by gossip-lets not get caught up with what doesn’t happen on the court. Let’s take it to the floor where another decision LeBron has considered and should make is (generally speaking) of equal importance.
LeBron James also decided that when aligning with Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh for the Miami Heat he was also going to lead this South Beach three. The versatile guard/forward should now look to spend more time next season playing point guard for Miami. Now ‘Bron would make a real good floor general for the Heat despite what people think, or despite even if people are thinking about that at all. To those people, remember its been a year. GET OVER IT!
You see rocks are still being thrown at the throne. ‘We are all witnesses’ to that, billboard or barbecue. Last season LeBron took more Heat than Miami and even the greatest distanced himself somewhat from the King. Speaking of Michael Jordan, with this move to the guard position the point is that LeBron distances himself from MJ too. Sure LeBron still is the closest thing next to a Michael Jordan these days-next to Kobe that is-but as a PG ‘Bron is more suitable for other legendary comparisons. Although Mike handled things well as an off guard.
Sure nobody will ever be ‘Like Mike’ and sure LeBron is very much his own player but what would real talk and enjoyable debate be about legends of this game without head to head comparisons? LeBron is looking to go against all critics and lead instead of follow, actually being unselfish. This is something of Magic, right? Well there have been Earvin comparisons during James’ entire career but we are talking about someone different to Magic Johnson. Besides, they may say LeBron could play all five positions and maybe in the East he could, but against a Western powerhouse like the Lakers in the NBA finals? Nah! You couldn’t see LeBron winning MVP as centre like Magic did spelling Kareem against Philly in the 1980 Finals. As strong as LeBron is, that idea is just for illusions.
LeBron’s latest career move links him more with the ‘other’ Hall of Famer he’s been compared to. This recently made outcast is now more like ‘The Mighty O’, Oscar Robertson. One of basketballs greatest pioneers, in more ways than one. Even from LeBron’s inception, with his rookie debut for Cleveland at the Arco Arena he painted like Leonardo. The canvas being a picture of Oscar greatness. Recording 25 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds and showing Sacramento that there was only one king in the arena that night as the cheers and cowbells rang out for him.
Oscar was a 12 time NBA All-Star and was named to the All-NBA First team 9 times whilst batting at an average tune of 25.7 points, 9.5 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game. LeBron is on his way to formulating these numbers already averaging 27.8 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds for a career that has already seen six all-star selections and four all first teams. LeBron has even been named league MVP one more time than Oscar but Robertson has one thing in his trophy cabinet that LeBron is yet to polish off, a championship. Now ‘Bron, ‘Bron has joined Bosh and Wade however, the weather forecast looks to change. It’s real sunny in South Beach right now with a chance of ring or even reign. Really the only thing that separates Oscar and LeBron right now is the uncertainty that two teams will be willing to retire two of James’ jerseys.
The 6 foot 5, 220 pound Robertson was big and mighty enough to play both guard positions, which enabled him to put up strong numbers across the board. LeBron is much taller and stronger than Oscar was, which helps him down low rebounding. Now we all know LeBron can score and pass too, but if he takes his NFL esque physique to quarterbacking (and I’m not talking about that State Farm, Cleveland Browns spoof ad either) expect those numbers to be even mightier.
In LeBron’s last season for the Cavs tasting wine and searching for gold he averaged a career high. This career high for the Cleveland Cavaliers was in assists. An average of 8.6 assists a game can not be over turned in the history books and even if his 29.7 points per game diminish due to sharing the ball with superstars it’ll all be for the better. This is because just like Oscar Robertson LeBron James will change the game one more time.
Sure with all this hoopla the LeBron and Kobe comparisons have stopped for the moment and so should the Jordan ones too. Not because James is for better or worse but because his game is more all round. Sure he can kill you but he uses his accomplices more too. LeBron has evolved in the NBA’s big picture with Oscar magic, en route to looking for the NBA academy's greatest reward. Sure ‘Bron’s no look away, behind the back, every time kind of Johnson and even the Kings not regal enough to be the heir to the Cincinnati Royal’s throne, but make no mistake LeBron James is still this good. He is his own man and more importantly to all the doubters out there he’s his own legend. Word to Will Smith.
On a basketball level when LeBron James plays point guard his physical gifts will present his teammates with the opportunity to receive everything they want this year. With LeBron waiting on Bosh and Wade he will serve opponents with a table full of offensive dishes. On a basic level Youtube fans needn’t fear. Now with the D closing on D. Wade and the inside doubling on Bosh, James can still drive to the hoop and find his range. That is if he doesn’t look for Miller, James Jones, Chalmers or any other of the Heat’s many outside threats, because remember LeBron’s versatility isn’t false. He’s a true point guard with a Basketball IQ as smart as Steven Hawking leaving opponents Forrest Gump dumb.
LeBron led his band of Miami brothers last season so it makes sense to put him in the driving seat. After a great inaugral season his superstar team look to drive for another championship, so it's only right LeBron shifts gears. Sure there are clutch, crucial times in a game where a franchise player must take over but that's why James has two more of those guys on his side. Plus if Miami need to switch the kings position they can rotate the squad and what would be more confusing and difficult for other teams to keep up with Wade and James switching and swapping their positions of power? These two kings and their major chess moves would end up making their opponents look like pawns as they try to guard two of the best basketball players on the planet. Now how earth can anybody do that?
So while Miami, run and run who better to lead this new team than the man who spearheaded the development of this refuelled squad in the first place? Now Miami was and is Wade’s team but he is more than willing to step aside in some way. He’s done it before when Miami rubbed the Kazaam lamp for a championship wish from Shaq. Plus Dwyane will be happy to firmly step his sneakers into the shooting guard role, which the point sized guard is more naturally meant for. All LeBron really needs to work on is his grasp of the ball and the offence. A big ask sure but LeBron’s already handled a lot so he can probably manage to not give this task up as well.
Overall whether it’s just for minutes of a quarter or games in a season LeBron is more than capable of steadying the temperature of the Heat offense. Doing this may not produce magic for this ‘other’ Florida team (we see you Orlando) but it sure will give us Oscar moments as LeBron becomes more like the player he was always meant to be and the MVP the league needs to see again. His own man, for his own team. Get the point?