LeBron, LeBron, Lebron. I’m so sick of hearing about LeBron.
OK, just one more Lebron thing.
I’ve listened to many of the sports and NBA analysts today concerning their thoughts on LeBron and his disappearing act during the NBA Finals. And the more I listen, the more confused I become.LeBron James, left, and Dwyane Wade arrive at a news conference after Game 6 of the NBA Finals against Dallas on Sunday night.So, I’m going to address three LeBron questions today. I’d love to get your thoughts, as always.
1) Is LeBron just not as good as we thought he was?
Believe it or not, this one has some legitimacy. LeBron was a monster in Cleveland, where he had to do a lot of everything. He scored, rebounded, passed, preached, begged and carried. In Miami, not so much. His role with the Heat has never been that clearly defined. Is he a scorer? A scorer and a rebounder? A scorer, rebounder and passer like he was in Cleveland?
Is he the Heat’s leader or does that role belong to Dwyane Wade? Or even, heaven forbid, Coach Erik Spoelstra?
What is it that LeBron is supposed to be doing on the floor when he’s not scoring all the points and getting all the points or getting all the rebounds. It sometimes look like LeBron thinks his role is to stand around. And when he has the ball, to pass it as quickly as possible.
The guy passed it to 400-year-old Juwan Howard a couple of times in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s Game 6. Juwan Howard’s mother wouldn’t pass him the ball in an important game at this stage of his career. I half expected Howard, given his age, to look at the ball and try to eat it.
I watched all six games of the Finals and I have no idea what LeBron’s job was. If his job is to be a superstar, then he failed miserably.
2) Why doesn’t LeBron’s game match his ego?
The guy has one, you know. He’s The King or King James. He loves being called those things. Yet he barely played like a prince against the Dallas Mavericks. Sometimes, more like a pauper. The only throne LeBron saw Sunday night was the one he threw up into after the game.
Again, this is the NBA’s greatest mystery. What happened to LeBron? Can he play with another superstar and a third player who is a perennial All-Star. Or had he grown so used to being The King in Cleveland that to be in any kind of subservient role drives him crazy?
3) Where does the Heat go from here?
One of the commentators on ABC mentioned something after the game that sounded ludicrous at the time, but is starting to make some sense to me now. Some sense, still not a lot.
Will Heat general manager Pat Riley want to keep Wade and LeBron together? They are, essentially, the same player in many ways. Both need the basketball in their hands to function at a high level. And when James doesn’t have the ball, as I’ve written here, he appears lost and unmotivated
Was it ever a good idea to pair the two? Would it have made more sense to bring Bosh to Miami, then look for another standout player who didn’t bring with him the baggage LeBron carries?
I still think LeBron and Wade can win multiple titles. Right? I’m right about that, aren’t I?
Or is there a chance the two superstars will never mesh?
I mean, Miami did get to Game 6 of the NBA Finals before losing. It’s not as if the Heat were a complete disaster this season.
But the moves of bringing LeBron and Bosh to Miami were designed to pay off immediately. A championship was the only thing that was going to make this season a success. That will hold true in future seasons, but there are 31 teams out there who would like nothing more than to do what the Mavericks did this season.
It seems like LeBron just doesn’t get it. Everything he says nowadays feels chippy and ill-advised. He wants the glory that goes with being the NBA’s biggest star, but not the scrutiny. He should probably shut off Twitter and use this offseason to develop a thicker skin and a deeper game.
It’s incumbent on the Heat – and I’m not sure Spoelstra is up to the task – to define itself during the offseason. How can LeBron and Wade co-exist? Where does Bosh fit in? What other players can help finish the puzzle?
Miami needs a ballhandler and a big guy. But would a ballhandler take the ball out of the hands of LeBron and Wade too much?
For a second-place team, the Heat is sure fascinating. LeBron said he went to Miami to win multiple championships – five, six or seven. Winning that first one is going to be a big enough challenge.