Category Archives: NBA
Lebron’s Greatness and Skip Bayless
For Skip Bayless of Fox Sports 1, Lebron’s 35-15-9 (points-rebounds-assists) performance when the Cavs defeated the Celtics to capture the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference finals was not great because of his 8 turnovers in the game. That’s typical of the said sports columnist – to always try to find a way to discredit the 4-time MVP. Bayless has seemingly made a living from bashing the Cavs’ superstar.
Plain and simple – Bayless hates Lebron so much that there is nothing the latter could do to appease him. Don’t tell that sports commentator that Lebron is the “greatest basketball player of all time” because he could give perhaps a million of reasons to prove otherwise. I am not even sure if he would concede that Lebron could be ranked at least as one of the greatest.
For me, Lebron is a great basketball player. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest. Only the blind can’t see that. I don’t like to compare him to any of the other “greats.” Identifying the basketball’s GOAT (greatest of all time) is a very subjective issue and it is not the intention of this article to weigh in on the discussion.
All I wish to do is to appreciate Lebron’s greatness. I am not an “honorable expert” in basketball like Skip Bayless, but unlike him I have lots of common sense. I am but an ordinary basketball fan who appreciates the fact that the Eastern conference Game 7 between Cleveland and Boston was the 100th game that Lebron played for the ongoing season. He played in all of the Cavs’ 82 games during the regular season. He played 7 playoff games each against the Pacers and the Celtics and 4 against the Raptors. Would you not marvel at that given the fact that Lebron is already 33 years old and playing in his 15th NBA season?
If that is not great then what could it be? That for me is an achievement in itself which can not be negated by anything – not even by the Cavs not possibly winning the NBA championship this year.
Would you question the greatness of a player who led a team that had to go through a lot of changes and drama during the regular season all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals and win it? You would if you have a mindset like Skip Bayless’.
It’s so funny to hear an expert like Skip Bayless say that the Pacers and the Celtics were destined to fail against the Cavs because both were young teams then argue that the Raptors, a team with veteran players with playoff experiences, lost to Cavs simply because they were afraid of Lebron.
Now, don’t dare tell Skip Bayless that this is Lebron’s 8th straight NBA Finals because I am almost certain he would point out that the Cavs superstar lost 4 times in his last 7 attempts to win the NBA crown. I am afraid he would even add that Lebron is about to experience the 5th time he would fail when the Cavs face the Warriors yet again.
My standards for greatness are not as high as Skip Bayless’… or shall I say I know a little of appreciative inquiry and I have decided to apply the said principle in a personal level. I want to search for what is best in people. Instead of being negative and critical, I chose to be appreciative of what other people accomplish.
Why will I count the number of times my fellowmen fail when it is better to take into account the number of times they succeeded. It’s their success I celebrate.
What makes Lebron endearing as a competitor is no matter how many times he failed he kept trying. That for me is “greatness.” The kind of example Lebron has been showing – the way he competes, the way he takes care of his body, the way he lives his life – is worth emulating. Lebron transcends basketball. He inspires a lot of people… except Skip Bayless.
Whether Skip Bayless likes it or not, the 4 times Lebron James failed to win the NBA trophy can never erase all that he has accomplished as a basketball player and as a person.
For the fourth straight season that Lebron and the Cavs will slug it out with the heavily-favored Warriors for the NBA crown. Oddsmakers and experts are unanimous in saying that Golden State will repeat as champions. Should that happen, I will choose to remember Lebron James as the leader of the Cavs team who overcame a seemingly insurmountable 1-3 deficit to become the 2016 NBA Champions at the expense of the Warriors themselves. That I consider as Lebron James’ greatest achievement… of course Skip Bayless would disagree.
Perhaps Skip Bayless is hating Lebron on purpose – to draw attention to himself. It could be his only way to be significant as a sports analyst.
On The Cavs’ Latest Win and Deals
There’s no doubt that the Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling. What seems to be consistent with the NBA finalists for the past 3 years are their inconsistencies. The Cavs started the season winning only 5 out of 12 games then racked up 13 straight in the win column. They would win 6 more of their next 8 games but lose 6 out of their next 12 outings.
The Cavs are trailing Boston and Toronto in the Eastern Conference and the teams beneath them in the win column are not far behind. Many a basketball pundits have been writing them off doubting their chances of getting deep into the playoffs. They don’t think that the LeBron-led team would make it to the NBA Finals four straight.
So, what’s wrong with the Cleveland Cavaliers?
Injuries to key and rotation players have been one of the issues. Thomas started the season recovering from hip injury he suffered when he was still a Celtic. The on-going season saw Thompson, Rose and Shumpert get injured and miss time. So, Lue had to experiment on his line-ups every game to see what would click. And when finally those players returned to play, Love suffered an injury to his hand.
Another issue plaguing the team is chemistry. NBA writers reported how toxic has the Cavs’ locker room been. Meaning it’s not only the string of injuries that could explain the inconsistencies in the on-court performance of the team but also players seemingly disliking and not trusting each other.
The Cavs imploding could be seen from the way they suffered their previous two losses. They were blown up by Houston to whom they lost by 32 points at home and they ran out of gas in Orlando where during the first quarter they scored 42 points but produced a mind-boggling 9 points only in the final canto and eventually lost the game by 21 points.
NBA fans and experts are one in saying that the The Land sink into a hole they may not be capable of climbing out of.
The basketball world is bewildered how deep is LeBron James allowing his team to sink. The King is far from losing his hoops prowess. He seems to have just lost the inspiration.
Then came the Cavs’ game against Minnesota who, just less than a month ago, inflicted them a 28-point shellacking.
Suddenly, the real LeBron came out to play and lit the stat lines with a triple double – 37 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists. Him delivering the winning basket for the 140-138 overtime win reminded everyone not to count him and the Cavs out.
Of course that one win is not enough to say that the defending Eastern conference champions are back on track. But the moves their front office did before the trade deadline might.
Realizing that team chemistry is the biggest stumbling block standing on the Cavs’ way to the a 4th straight NBA finals appearance, the team’s front office consummated significant deals that effectively restructured the roster of the team.
In three separate deals, the Cavs got Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Lakers for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and the Cavs’ own 2018 first round pick. Dwayne Wade was shipped to the Miami Heat for a 2020 second round pick. The Land also got Utah’s Rodney Hood in exchange for Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose and had to give up Iman Shumpert to get Sacramento Kings’ George Hill.
It is yet to be seen if the remix would work wonders in both offense and defense for the beleaguered Cavs. At least such changes would give the team’s locker room a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Surprisingly, Isaiah Thomas was dealt after playing only 15 games and the Cavs winning only 7 of those. Observers say that the reason could not be his average of 14.7 points per game but him becoming too vocal about his team mates and coach Tyron Lue. It could be a combination of both.
The trade deals were intended to not only improve their line-up but to nip the animosity among players in the bud.
LeBron may have known about the deals their front office made before they played the game they won against the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves. He seemed to have liked the changes made. Was it the reason he played inspired basketball that night? If yes, that could be bad news for the opposition.