If you were an NBA fan (excluding Miami Heat or LeBron James fans) you were probably furious when LeBron James announced he was going to the Miami Heat and joining former Raptor Chris Bosh and at-the-moment Heat Dwyane Wade instead of staying with his home-team the Cleveland Cavaliers. While making this decision, is it absurd to believe that LeBron maybe figured out what it took other people years to figure out? With the access these young kids have and the statistics behind workouts, kids are getting better at basketball and doing so quicker. The NBA today hoists a plethora of young talent and although some have shown not to be mentally ready to take the next step, such as DeMarcus Cousins who was fined for an altercation with a reporter; they have enough talent and are more than capable of holding their own physically with the more seasoned veterans in the league.
James was often criticized for apparently not being able to lead his own team to the promise land (or not completing the task once getting there.) There is a group chat in which a little over 30 other Real Ball Insiders’ reporters/contributors often discuss the hottest topics in multiple sports leagues, so I asked them what was going through their minds when LeBron chose to go to the Heat and these are some of the responses I received.
Personally, I hated the decision. I thought it was a soft move and he turned his back on his city.
As a fan of the game, I was probably more excited than I should have been. The idea of watching he, D Wade and Chris Bosh play together absolutely enthralled me. The very idea of the city of Cleveland was an afterthought to me at first.
While I hated him leaving for Miami to take an easy way out, I could see why he would. Over his entire career with the cavs. To start they were always content with their roster that outside of LeBron was really not that good. However, I had a real problem with the way he went about doing it with the whole hour-long decision special.
I thought he made the right choice – I obviously didn’t know at the time he’d head back to Cleveland, but fans always get too bent out of shape about loyalty and honor when it’s just a business. There is no rule that you must stay in one place forever or one stating you can never go back to where you left. That being said, the televised “decision” took it too far by making it a spectacle.
I felt that LeBron made a move that would negatively affect his legacy. Yes, Cleveland didn’t build around him as they should have. But if you’re a main franchise piece, other players should come running to play with you. I also felt the “decision” TV show was disrespectful to both the cars and the game of basketball at large.
Even Kevin Durant who was playing for the Seattle Sonics at the moment chimed in.
Now everybody wanna play for the heat and the Lakers? Let’s go back to being competitive and going at these peoples!
Now my question is, did LeBron know that in the future of the NBA it would take a team to be able to
acquire 2 or more franchise players in order to make any serious post season run? If LeBron stayed on the Cavaliers they wouldn’t have had the chance to draft Kyrie Irving. They also wouldn’t have had Andrew Wiggins in order to trade for Kevin Love. In the past it was thought that if you were the best player on your team, you wanted to take the next team and their best player out in order to pump your chest out and flex. Nowadays though, there is no way for one player to knock a team out on his own. Players like Damian Lillard who are obvious franchise players are getting snubbed for an all-star roster spot in 2017. Is any player safe with so much talent in the league? Carmelo Anthony wouldn’t have been an all-star this season if Kevin Love didn’t get injured. Just how much better are today’s players (young player) than in the past?
Kevin Durant felt as if he didn’t have enough with the league leading scorer Russell Westbrook and decided to join Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in Golden State. Is this what players are going to have to do to achieve their championship dreams? Will Carmelo Anthony EVER win a ring (I know its irrelevant but I just wanted to ask)?
As of February 21st (as per Basketball-Reference) there are 35 players averaging 20 or more points per game for the 2016-17 NBA season. In the 2008-09 season there were only 27 players who averaged 20 or more points per game. Although the difference doesn’t seem that big, it is nearly a 30% increase which is a huge amount in 8 years. Some of the increase could be due to the difference of 3 point shots taken and made (545-1486 average in 2008-9, 547-1522 average in 2015-16 with an average of 25 games left) by teams both seasons. Players are constantly improving and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Big men like Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic (all 23 or under) are stretching their range out to the 3 point line and passing like they are the reincarnations of Magic Johnson. Giannis Antetokounmpo (who is a first time all-star) is 6″11 and is listed as a point guard/small forward. That is ridiculous to the point where a couple of years ago, LeBron James himself was one of the most unique players in the game due to the fact that he can control the ball at his height.
Each team seems to have at least 2 players who their fan base believe should be or will be all-stars. Jabari Parker who just recently tore his ACL for the second time in his young career was averaging 20.1 points per game this season alongside Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Bucks aren’t even slotted as a playoff team. DeMarcus Cousins‘ new teammate and front court partner Anthony Davis is regarded as the best young big man in the NBA and the Pelicans felt as if they needed to pair him with another superstar in Cousins for them to make the playoffs.
Did Lebron James see this coming and basically decide to get the early jump?