When I first started watching basketball, Michael Jordan was no longer that guy. Gary Payton was washed up. Karl Malone was ring chasing. John Stockton was taking up space. Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon were gone. Scottie Pippen and Reggie Miller were shells of themselves. Patrick Ewing was no where to be found, and Clyde Drexler was out. The league itself was vastly different.
When my interest in the NBA peaked, Allen Iverson was dominant. Tracy McGrady and his cousin Vince Carter were stellar. Shaq and Kobe were a hell of a tandem. Kevin Garnett was elite. Dirk and Steve Nash were coming into their own. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were making noise in the East. And Tim Duncan was just extremely boring. (I know I left off guys like David Robinson and Jason Kidd off but y’all get the point.)
Out of all of those guys though, there was no one I liked more than Kobe Bean Bryant.
When it came to Kobe there wasn’t anything you could tell me.
You couldn’t diss his game, talk about his personality, or belittle him in any way without me being ready to argue.
In my family and amongst my small group of friends, everyone has had atleast that one specific guy they watched faithfully and would go to war for.
My father’s guy was Magic; my uncle’s guy was Jordan; my mom’s guy was Isiah Thomas; my great grandfather’s guy was a tie between Larry Bird and Julius Irving.
They followed their guys faithfully, like I’m doing now and tried to tell me it’s not going to be a happy ending. I didn’t really believe them until that foresight became a reality.
Personally I thought they were full of s#!% and didn’t know what the hell they were talking about; until I sat down and thought about each player.
MJ’s downfall was him coming back and playing at age 40 for the Washington Wizards. Larry Bird’s career couldn’t continue because his back was out of sorts. Isiah’s career ended after he tore his Achilles. Magic on the other hand retired due to the HIV/AIDS situation. He later came back and wasn’t the same guy.
My guy is in the same boat at this point in time.
A few years back I was in denial. I’ll own up to it. I had just witnessed the Lakers lose in five games to a hungry OKC team (2012) that featured the likes of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. In response, I looked for excuses to help Kobe out.
The thing is, there weren’t any.
In that specific series, Westbrook was tearing him apart, Harden was giving him buckets, and Durant was giving him fits with his length making it hard for him to score. As a matter of fact, James Harden was playing him tough defensively as well. The whole series in general wasn’t pretty. Kobe couldn’t get to his spots, he couldn’t contain anyone and he was a step slow.
That series against OKC ended a four series stretch of Kobe struggling. Against Dallas in 2011, he struggled against Shawn Marion and others from that championship team; losing 4-0. The series prior to that, he struggled against Chris Paul and his no help Hornets; winning 4-2, and in the series against Denver prior to the OKC matchup, Kobe struggled against the fast paced Nuggets. That series went the distance 4-3 and was more about Andrew Bynum.
That series against OKC ended his Postseason career.
At that point in time, the writing on the wall was very clear to everyone else outside of me, Kobe was in his decline.
That offseason he participated in the Olympics where he was out of place and out of sorts. It was as clear as day that he didn’t belong on the court with a few of those guys. It was so obvious to the point where Coach K was reluctant to play him in certain stretches.
Even with the putrid performances in the Olympics, I still believed. Especially when the Lakers landed Dwight Howard and Steve Nash that same offseason.
When the those trades first surfaced, I was as hype as anyone. I thought Kobe would be rejuvenated and eager to play (as he always is) and I started stating a lot of other things that you generally say when a player has lost it.
But again, I was over hyped and I continued to look past the new Kobe’s obvious deficiencies in skill.
REALITY SETS IN
During that season I wrote an article (Are You Talking About Kobe Bryant) talking about how Kobe was better than ever and stating that he was beating Father Time. From a numbers perspective I was right, but from a physical standpoint he wasn’t getting the same looks or shots that I was accustomed to seeing.
After working hard, all season long, to get the Lakers into the playoffs; Kobe’s Achilles popped days before the postseason.
I couldn’t help but shed a tear when ESPN aired his injury statement. I knew his best chance at getting ring number 6 was gone. And I also knew he was never going to be the same again.
When Kobe said he was going to comeback better and defy the odds I regained a slimmer of hope. I thought that because he was determined and hungry along with the fact that he loves to prove people wrong, then he would come back elite.
I was wrong…..
In the 2013-2014 season, after playing in 6 games Kobe broke a bone in his knee. All I could do was throw my hands up and accept it for what it was….Father Times never loses and Kobe is no longer Kobe.
He was just K.Bryant from that point on. The guy who played in six games and averaged a measly 14pts, 6ast and 4reb… No longer special.
I, as I’m sure many Lakers fans did, sulked over that demoralizing season. The Lakers were bad. Kobe was gone. What do you do now..
The NBA as a whole became unfun for me. I truly wasn’t ready to face the truth and I also didn’t have anyone else to cheer or root for. I was just uninterested.
After the season concluded and free agency along with the draft went by, I finally got over my depression. I had heard that Kobe was looking better, more fit, slimmer, and healthier.
I sat and pondered about Kobe and his recent years some more and decided I’d give it one more go. He had just turned 36 and basically had a year off.
With 36 being a fairly decent age and him having a year off for rest and to get healthy; I felt he would regain his old form…. Dumb I know.
A month or so before the season started, ESPN produced their yearly NBA Players Rankings. At first glance I was furious at how wrong they did Kobe by placing him at #40 on the list.
Guys who hadn’t accomplished anything thus far in their careers (Love, Wall, Kyrie etc) were ahead of him and I didn’t understand the reasoning until the season actually started…
This year Kobe was officially washed up. He would chuck up shot after shot. Committ turnover after turnover. And he would also get beat off the dribble damn near every defensive stance….
I mean he still had the same “I’m gonna come at you” mindset as he always did, but his ability just wasn’t anywhere close to prime Kobe.
After a series of minor injuries and players, as well as pundits, speaking out about his current style of play; Kobe became more of a facilitator.
That role suited him more since he wasn’t capable of dominating the game from a physical stand point. By using his IQ and unique passing ability he was able to prolong his season and delay the inevitable injury that was soon to come…
On Thursday, January 22nd, Kobe’s season was over. He had torn his rotators cuff in a game against the Pelicans the day before…
Three straight seasons…. Three straight season ending injuries…
As much as I hate to say it…. Kobe is done…
He can no longer stay healthy. He can no longer dominate games for long stretches. He can’t keep up with anyone defensively..He’s no longer that guy.. And the old guy won’t ever be returning.
Kobe’s mileage finally caught up with him: All of the long seasons that resulted in Finals apperances.. All of the playoff runs that resulted in 3rd and 2nd round exits…The hardwork he put in trying to comeback from injury… Playing in the Olympics. Everything.
ESPN was accurate when they declared that 39 players were better than Kobe. I was just too blind to see it.
Now opening my eyes I see how Rose, Bledsoe, Wall, CP3, Westbrook, Lawson, Rondo, Curry, Kyrie, Lillard, Dragic, Lowry, Parker, Beal, Ellis, Butler, Klay, Harden, DeRozan, Wade, LeBron, Durant, George, Leonard, Melo, Dirk, Love, Randolph, Griffin, Bosh, Aldridge, Davis, P.Gasol, M.Gasol, Dwight, Cousins, Noah and a few more are all better players at this point…
Now that the word is in and we know Kobe is out for nine months, we have to ask ourselves: Was that his final game?
He’s under contract for one last year after this season.. The Lakers are tanking and no one seems interested in joining a rebuilding project. I mean why should he return? He’s the 3rd leading scorer in NBA history. A 5x-NBA Champ, an MVP and is universally (peers wise) regarded as the ”Best Player” of his generation and has been deemed as the second best shooting guard to ever play the game… There is nothing left for him to prove at this point that will have any significance on where he places in NBA history.
Kobe’s demeanor and personality wasn’t liked by many.
People didn’t like the arrogance and cockiness that was coming from a sidekick (to Shaq) who wanted to be like Jordan. They would often ridicule his ambitions and aspirations as he was nothing more than a lesser version of the original. And they would also belittle his game by saying he was a ball hog and that he couldn’t pass.
It was just too soon for someone to come in and be the heir to ”His Airness”.
People often cite Kobe for piggy backing onto the likes of Shaq. They’d state that Kobe wasn’t doing anything and Shaq would do all of the work; when in reality Kobe would be the one to close games and facilitating making sure everyone was contributing. Those minor details will forever be overlooked because of how Shaq dominated the Finals’ boxscores.
By tying in the attitude factors, Kobe’s quote on quote ”Piggy Backing” on Shaq, the fallout between him and Shaq, and Phil Jackson’s quote on stating how he was ”uncoachable”, you can see why people hated Kobe so much. Throw in the rape charges and loss of endorsements and you’ll begin to see why Kobe’s fan base is a bit lackluster.
Unlike Bird, Magic, LeBron, Durant, Jordan and Doc.J, Kobe’s fan base is much smaller. Allen Iverson’s fan base may be greater because of his impact on to the whole NBA landscape.
Kobe is the NBA’s version of Tom Brady, both great players, but disliked because of their personality and accomplishments.
Even though his career may not fully be over, (it needs to be) he accomplished everything he should have. (Outside of two more MVPs and a few more scoring titles)
2x Olypic Gold medals
25x 50pt games
5x 60pt games
Slam Dunk Champion
2x Finals MVP
2x Scoring Champ
5x NBA Champion
9x First Team All Defense
3x Second Team All Defense
11x All-NBA First Team
2x All-NBA 2nd Team
2x All-NBA Third Team
17x Allstar Selections
4x NBA All-star Game MVP
All Rook 2nd Team
2nd Most Points in a game (81pts)
3rd All-Time Points Leader
2x Best NBA Player ESPY Award
Numerous Lakers Records
Coming back shouldn’t be an option. He’s done enough to make a claim as a Top 10 player of all-time. The only thing he should do is accept the reality for what it is…..His time is done. Y’all have accepted it, I’ve accepted it and now he needs to accept it.
No one beats Father Time
Twitter: RyanDFort, Fortonsports Inc
In my last post I left off comparing Dirk to KG and said Dirk would KG’s Boston teams better.(link to my last post http://wp.me/p33YLP-2a) With Dirk’s shooting touch and post play, ( which is a bit underrated,) Boston would be alot better than they are now and better than they were yesterday.
But anyway, on to the next player on the list, Charles Barkley.
Chuck was an undersized four that played big and could handle the rock decent enough to be a guard; or in his case a Small Forward. At 6’6, 252lbs Chuck averaged 22.1ppg, 12rebs and 4ast for his career. During the duration of his career he won an MVP award, was named an All-Star 11 times, got selected to the All-NBA First and Second Team 5x each and was on the All-Rookie First Team (1985). He also went to the Finals, where he lost to MJ, and played for the Original Dream Team. That’s all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day he’s not better than Dirk. As a 7ft pure shooter, Dirk boasts an advantage. Throw in the fact that he didn’t play with Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Johnson, Julius Irving, Moses Malone, etc and you have an uneven argument. By pairing Dirk and Hakeem together you’ll have a dynamic duo that’ll be unguardable. ( Dirk had Tyson Chandler, TYSON CHANDLER as center and won the chip, c’mon now.) Pair Dirk with Doc J, Mo Cheeks and M.Malone and you’ll have a dynasty, their ages wouldn’t matter as long as Dirk was there. Last but not least, Dirk’s game isn’t based on athleticism like Charles’ was, therefore that’ll enable him play longer and still be effective like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was. Longevity is one of the major reasons why Dirk will surpass Charles Barkley.
In front of Chuck lies Karl Malone, who is the 2nd leading scorer in NBA history. Malone has two MVP Awards, 14 All-star selections, 11 All-NBA First Team selections, two 2nd Team selections and 3 All-Defensive First Team selections and was apart of the original Dream Team. Like Chuck, Malone accomplished some things as well as lose to MJ in the Finals, but twice. For his career he averages 25ppg on 18 shots, 10rebs and 4ast.
Dirk on the other hand averages 23ppg on 17 shots, 8rebs and 3asts, while shooting a better Freethrow and 3pt % than Malone. Realistically the numbers are close, but the impact on the game isn’t.
Downlow Malone would score at will and ran the Pick and Roll to perfection with John Stockton. By doing those two things well he helped open the floor a bit for Jeff Hornacek and Bryon Russell. Having J.Sloan as the coach helped alot as well, especially when it comes to running the pick and roll. Substitute Malone for Dirk and the Jazz become better. Defensively they add a bigger and longer body, which pays dividends when defending. Offensively it’ll help help open up more things. With him stretching the floor he’ll open up lanes for Stockton to drive in as well as Hornacek. At 6’9 Malone wasn’t a joke but he also wasn’t a 7ft pure shooter that couldn’t be stopped.
Coincidentally Dirk won his first Playoff series against Karl Malone. During that series Malone averaged: 28ppg 4to 1blk 1stl 3ast 9reb and 24shots, while shooting 80% FT, 50% 3pt ( 0.2 -0.4 that doesn’t count!) and 40% from the field.
Dirk averaged: 24pts 2to 1blk 0stl 2ast 8reb and 16 shots, while shooting 90% FT 34% 3pt and 40% from the field.
Is there a clear winner? I mean give Dirk the same amount of shots and he would’ve averaged more points. But honestly this debate can go either way. Would you prefer a nice, average sized post man who is devastating on the low block, or a 7ft big who can shoot from anywhere and is just as good downlow as anyone else? The choice is yours.
Now it’s time to see how Dirk measures up the greatest PF, Tim Duncan. Duncan is a 4x Champion, 3x Finals MVP, 2x MVP, 14x All-Star, , 9x All-NBA First Team and 3x Second Team Player, 8x All-Defensive First Team and 5x All-Defensive Second Team player and a former Rookie of the Year. With him boasting all of these credentials it’s hard to put anyone over him! But when you look at the numbers you see a different story.
Career Averages: Duncan- 20ppg 11reb 3ast and 2blks
Dirk- 23ppg 8reb 3ast 1blk
As was the case in other battles no one really gains the edge.
In 26 Playoff games against each other the averages look like this:
Duncan- 26pts 3to 2blks 1stl 4ast 12reb 18 shots 53% FGP 0% 3pt 65% FT
Dirk- 25pts 2to 1blk 1stl 2ast 10reb 16 shots 50% FGP 23% 3pt 92% FT
And once again we don’t have anyone gaining an edge. But when you look at the teams you have to give it to Dirk. Dirk didn’t get coached by Gregg Pop. or play with Tony Parker, David Robinson and Manu Ginobli. Give Dirk the supporting cast Duncan has/had and Dirk’s resume would look different.
He’s Great Admit It
Throughout all of the comparisons one thing remained constant, he didn’t have as much help as them. Despite not having as much help as the others he managed to get a ring with good role players. When he had Nash and Finley on his side Nash wasn’t Phoenix Nash and Finley aged quickly therefore making them good, but not great 2nd and 3rd options. Some say he’s not a defender because he doesn’t have any awards. What they fail to realize is that he plays solid but not great defense. When you’re 7ft with long arms you’re already a decent defender.
Other things people should take note of is how Dirk changed the postions. He completely revolutionized the Forward positions. After watching him terrorize the league as a 7ft pure shooter, GMs and others started drafting players of his caliber. Dirk paved the way for guys like Kevin Durant, Chris Bosh, Pau Gasol, Ersan llyasova, Hedo Turkoglu, Peja Stojakovic, Ryan Anderson, Andrea Bargnani, Kevin Love and others who are all essentially shooting bigmen. Barkley, Duncan and Malone didn’t do that.
Dirk also led his Maverick teams to 50+ wins in 11 straight seasons. Only Duncan surpassed that. Dirk also led his team to a 67 win season, which happens to be tied for the 6th most wins ever in the Regular Season. And if that isn’t enough Dirk is only one of five players, Elgin Baylor, Hakeem Olajuwon, Bob Petit and Shaq, to average 25pts and 10rebs in the Playoffs and last but not least the only 7ft player to be in the 50’s, 40’s, 90’s club.
At the end of the day he’s the greatest European player and the 2nd best, if not the best, Power Forward to ever play the game.
When people, fans, analysts, commentators etc, discuss the Power Forward position the conversation begins and ends with Tim Duncan, a player universally known as the Greatest PF to ever play the game. After Tim Duncan the likes of Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett, Charles Barkley and Kevin McHale get mentioned; when people try to compare Dirk Nowitzki to them most people say he’s soft and isn’t top 10. If you asked them to name 10 PFs better than him they wouldn’t be able to do it without repeating some of the names listed. Before I compare Dirk to the Elite 5, I’m going to start off from the bottom.
Most of the young people in the world that pay attention to basketball, I’m talking kids, would say Blake Griffin, L. Aldridge and Kevin Love are better than Dirk. If we’re speaking about today then that claim may be valid, but since we’re talking about career wise they have to take a backseat to Dirk since their careers just started. But to kill this arguement even more, Dirk has led two teams to the Finals while K.Love hasn’t made it to the playoffs and L.Aldridge hasn’t been past the first round.
Before Dirk got his ring, people speculated that Chris Bosh, David West, Pau Gasol, Rasheed Wallace, Amare’ Stoudamire, Carlos Boozer and Zach Randolph were better players. Dirk was taking a hit at the time for choking in crunch time and not being able to lead his team past the first round in most cases. What those people people failed to realize was how Dirk’s best teammate was Terry while Boozer had Deron Williams, Amare’ had Steve Nash, Gasol had Kobe, David West had CP3, Rasheed had Billups/Iverson, and Bosh, like Randolph failed to make the Playoffs in most cases.
During that time span, 06-11, Dirk had seasons where he averaged 25pts 9reb, 24pts 9reb, 26pts 8reb, 25pts 8reb, and 23pts 7reb while none of the other players had years that were better than Dirk’s.
David West best season : 21pts 9reb
Carlos Boozer best season: 21pts 12reb
Rasheed Wallace best season: 12pts 7reb
Zach Randolph best season 21pts 13reb or 24pts 10reb
Chris Bosh best season: 24pts 11reb
Amare’ Stoudamire best season: 25pts 9reb
Pau Gasol best season: 21pts 10reb
How many of those seasons are better than Dirk’s number wise without including FG %?
Moving on now, if Dirk was on Rasheed Wallace’s Pistons teams they would’ve been a lot more dangerous. If Dirk would’ve been to that Hornets team instead of David West they would’ve been a lot better. If you put Dirk on that Lakers team that featured Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum ( sad case), Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson they would’ve 4peated. Put Dirk on Chris Bosh’s Raptors team that featured Jose Calderon they would’ve made the playoffs. Dirk and D-Will running the pick and roll would’ve equated into one of the most deadliest duos ever.( Same thing can be said for Dirk and Stockton but thats for later.) Put Dirk in Phoenix with Nash, Shawn Marion (Prime) and D’Antoni and they would’ve wrecked shop on league. Now lets flip the deal. How many of those guys could you sub in for Dirk that would led his Maverick teams that featured Jason Terry, Josh Howard and some jags ( Just A Guy,) to consecutive 50+ win seasons?
I’ll answer that for you, none!!! Amare’ thrived doing the pick and roll with Nash; David West thrived doing the pick and roll with Chris Paul; Chris Bosh ran the pick and roll with Calderon, heck even Pau Gasol used the pick and roll to get going. In Dallas the Pick and Roll game wouldn’t have worked. In late game situations how many of those guys would’ve been able to shake loose for their shots like Dirk could? The answer is not many, if any. Throw in the fact that Dirk is the only one who’s 7ft with a stroke and an MVP award the debate gets ugly.
Before he we can argue the Tim Duncans and KGs of the game we have to pay homage to some decent PFs that made names for themselves. Derrick Coleman, Dennis Rodman, Shawn Kemp and Chris Webber deserve some recognition. Defensively Rodman is 2nd to none, offensively he’s last to all. His offensive game was non existent and he was 6’8 which makes him a little PF. If he guarded Dirk he would get lit up for 40+.
Now Derrick Coleman was nice, former #1 overall pick, but he only had 4 years of averaging 20+ and one allstar appearance so he’s pretty much cooked in this argument. Chris Webber doesn’t really make it an arguement either. He only had 2 years where he averaged 25pts or more. Furthermore his career was derailed by injury so we didn’t see the full extent of C-Webb. But his awards don’t really compare to Dirks either so he’s done.
Shawn Kemp was yesterday’s Blake Griffin. His dunks were monstrous and breath taking, but every thing was OK at best. For his career he averages 14.6pts 8.4reb 1st. He tallied a total of two season in which he averaged 20 or more; his best season was when he averaged 19pts and 11reb, which really isn’t all that when compared to Dirk.
THE TIME HAS COME
When compared to the guys from earlier it wasn’t that fair, in the sense that he was head and shoulders above everyone else. At this stage things aren’t going be as easy, but you already knew that.
Earlier when naming the top 5 PFs I put them in order. For those who don’t recall the sequence goes Tim Duncan-Karl Malone-Charles Barkley-Kevin Garnett-Kevin McHale. Instead of jumping the gun and going at Karl Malone or Barkley first i’ll start from the bottom.
Dirk vs McHale
During his time McHale was one of the best low post scorers in the game. He could defend and was an efficient player. Not to take away from his but he played with Larry Bird, arguably the best SF ever, and one the best centers ever in Robert Parish; not mention guys like Bill Walton and D.Johnson. Playing alongside them helped and hurt his career in a way. It helped because he won and accomplished some things, but it hurt because we never saw him as the main guy like we’ve seen KG, Dirk, Duncan, Barkley and Malone be. When looking at awards he has 3 rings, two 6th-man awards, 7 allstar appearances and 6 all defensive team honors. Dirk on the other hand has an MVP award, 9 allstar selections and a Finals MVP award. Throw in the fact that Dirk never played with an Allstar,( I’m not talking about an allstar that made the team as an injury replacement JOSH HOWARD,) and beat the two best players in the league, which had a top 15 player alongside them at the time, by his self shows how good Dirk really is. Give Dirk Larry Legend and the Chief and I’m sure he would have multiple championships. Dirk was also apart of the 50’s 40’s 90’s club at one point of time. Having Dirk with Parish would make that Celtics team bigger and a lot better offensively because of his floor spacing. Sorry McHale but Dirk brought another element to the table.
Dirk vs KG
This debate can go either way. Defensively Garnett has it but offensively Dirk has it. They both aren’t bangers and play in a finesse style. KG does post fades and so does Dirk. Enough of that though, it’s time for the stats.
For his career Garnett averages 19.1pts 1.5blks 1.3stl 2.3to 4ast 10.5reb 49.8% FGP 77.6 FTP
Dirk on the other hand averages 22.7ppg 0.9blk 0.9stl 1.9to. 2.6ast 8.2reb 47.4% FGP 87%FTP
When looking at both they’re identical so that doesn’t help as much. If you look at their best season, no one gains the advantage.
KG Best Season: 24.2ppg 1.5stl 2.2blks 5.0ast 14reb 50% FGP
Dirk Best Season: 25ppg 0.7stl 0.8blk 3.4ast 9reb 50% FGP 41% 3pt 90% FT
Maybe Post Season play will help out.
Dirk’s postseason average: 26ppg 10reb 3ast 1blk 1stl
KG’s postseason average: 20ppg 11reb 4ast 1blk 1stl.
After viewing that Dirk gains the edge and KG doesn’t recover. Before KG went to Boston he got out of the first round once. During one of his many first exits, KG got dogged by Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk’s team sweep KG’s with some lopsided stats.
In the the three games they played against each other the stats looked like this:
Points Per Game:
Field Goal %, ( FG, 3pt, FT,) :
KG- 43% 50% 71%
Dirk- 52% 72%
Dirk pretty much wins this one because of that and because he didn’t play with Pierce, Rondo and Allen, or be coached by Doc Rivers. If KG and Rondo are a great pick and roll, pick and pop tandem picture what Dirk would do. At the end of the day Dirk has done more with less. Put Dirk on the Celtics and they’ll be a lot better because of his offensive skill set.
After losing a game to the Indiana Pacers at the beginning of February the Miami Heat went on a mission to prove that they were the best team in league, hands down. After the loss critics and naysayers said the Heat were in trouble because of their lack of size and inability to rebound and defend low post players; people also said they would lose to teams who played tough defense. Instead of talking about what they can and can’t do the Heat went out and showed what they were capable of, a win streak that has the whole sports world paying homage. As of now the win streak is at 22 games, which is the 2nd longest win streak in NBA history. During this win streak they’ve beaten the Rockets, Lakers, Clippers, Thunder, Hawks (twice) , Bulls, Bucks ( twice) , Grizzles and Knicks. All of those teams, as of now, are playoff bound. Some like to say “They haven’t played anybody,” while others say ” it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just the regular season.” Both quotes are understatements, especially the first. Winning 11 of their 22 games against playoff teams means they’ve played some good competition and are coming together even more as a team. The regular season is the time teams use to jell, build chemistry, develop an identity and in some cases set goals for themselves to help maximize their potential. And that’s exactly what the Heat are doing. Realistically we’re witnessing one of the greatest teams ever; a duo that’s arguably top 3 all-time; a coach climbing the ranks into the elite category; and an organization climbing the ranks as well. By adding this to his resume, LeBron will be able to say he accomplished something Kobe and Jordan never did, which could help in any future debates between the three. With 17 games left in their season I believe they can and will break the Lakers record of 33 straight wins. With 2/3s down and one more to go the Heat are in a good position. So lets sit back and watch some the best basketball to ever be played. GO HEAT
The Chosen One, LBJ, BronBron, LeBron, James, King James, The Greatest, The Frozen One, LaQueen, LeBrick, what ever the case may be everyone must take note of LeBron James and his superb play as of late. Matter of fact scratch that, people should take note of his whole career. Ever since he first came out of highschool people around the world had their eyes on him. People knew from the jump whether or not they would be a fan of his or a hater. His haters always criticized the things he did wrong or the things he didn’t do. Not once did they take a look at all of the things he did well.
People said he’s not a scorer, but can’t name a year, besides his rookie season, when he didn’t average at least 27ppg. (http://www.nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/bio.html#$/playerfile/lebron_james/bio.html, and yes 26.7 is rounded to 27 and does count.) So by looking at the link provided, not only does he score, he does it efficently; compared to “great scorers,” like Kobe and Melo. His naysayers are quick to point out the fact that he doesn’t attempt as many jumpshots as his peers, which as a result, is the reason why he shoots a better percentage. That claim doesn’t make any sense at all. In the game of basketball the best shot is a layup. After layup, it goes freethrow, 3pt shot and then midrange shot. The 3pt shot ranks higher because it provides more points and it changes your shooting percentage at the same rate a midrange shot would. With that being said he is a superb scorer.
On the defensive side you can’t find anyone better at defending the wings. On top of that he can guard all five positions really well, unless he’s guarding a great offensive center. When it comes down to playmaking, he is second to Chris Paul. (Even though that could be debated.) And for his size LeBron rebounds extremely well. Out of all the players in the NBA LeBron James and Rajon Rondo are the only players that can get a triple-double on any giving night. LeBron’s game as a whole is closer to flawless than anyone else’s game. No one on the planet, and I repeat, the planet, is as good a basketball player as LeBron James. The only person who scores better than LeBron in today’s league is Kevin Durant since he’s in the beloved 50’s, 40’s, 90’s club.
Substitute LeBron for Larry Bird, Kobe, Magic or even Jordan and he would make all of their teams better. LeBron would be devastating with Kobe and Magic’s Laker squads; if you put rookie LeBron in rookie Kobe’s shoes that specific Lakers team would have went to the Finals.( That team had Nick Van Exel at the one, Eddie Jones at the two and had Shaq patrolling the paint.) LeBron wouldn’t have lost a Finals series if he was in Magic’s place. The playmaking Magic did LeBron would excel in and on top of that LeBron is a better scorer and defender when compared to Magic.
Want to talk athleticism, LeBron is quicker, faster and stronger than the likes of Magic. Running ShowTime would be nothing to LeBron. Put LeBron in Bird’s shoes and Boston becomes better. The only thing Bird is better than LeBron at is shooting the basketball, nothing more. LeBron would thrive with McHale and Parish just like Bird did. Swap Jordan for LeBron and we’ll have a team that averages more points and features more scoring from players like Pippen and Rodman. LeBron is a better rebounder, passer, playmaker, facilitator, shot-blocker, heck he may just be a better defender point blank period. Jordan didn’t have to guard the type of athletes LeBron faces. Jordan didn’t have to guard an Arenas, a Kobe, a Wade, a Durant or a Melo; matter of fact Jordan couldn’t guard PF and C’s like LeBron can. Athletically LeBron is second to none. LeBron is more fundamentally sound than MJ is. I mean MJ is great, don’t get me wrong, but is he really better than LeBron? Jordan averaged 30ppg on 23 shot attempts a game, while LeBron averages 27ppg on 20 shots for his career. Time to do some math, since LeBron takes more shots in the paint than anywhere else and he was given three extra shot attempts, and made two of three, how many points would that equal? 31ppg is the answer. So in other words LeBron would have a higher career average if shot as many times as Jordan did, which equates to a better scorer, right? Some of yall are thinking i’m wrong because Jordan shoots 50% for his career and LeBron wouldn’t, but this is the funny thing about it all; by adding an additional three shots to LeBron’s shot attempts, with him making two of those, would make his shotchart look like this, 12/23, which equals 51.2%. That there would make LeBron James a superior scorer than the great Michael Jordan himself.
Some people like to bring up rings when rings equate to having team success. LeBron never played with a Scottie, Shaq, Gasol, Bynum, Artest, Rodman, Malone, Payton, Parker, McHale, Parish, Wallace, R.Wallace, Pierce, Allen, KG, Nash, Dwight, Manu, Worthy or Kareem until he signed with Miami and had Bosh and Wade alongside him. Back in Cleveland who did he have? Mo Williams? Delonte West? Washed up Shaq and Jamison? Big Z? Andy V? Larry H.? How many of those players questioned belong in the same class of the players named? Heck, if Jordan or anyone else went to bat with those, for lack of a better term, scrubs, they wouldn’t have won either. LeBron is so great you can put him on any team in this league and i repeat LEAGUE, and they would be a playoff team if not a contender. Lets sub LeBron for Durant; he’d have Westbrook playing better because LeBron would relieve the pg duties. LeBron would make Ibaka and Perkins better offensive weapons. Trade LeBron for Melo and the Knicks would be unstoppable. LeBron and Amare would wreck shop on the league. You can’t name one single player that isn’t compatible to LeBron. There is no way you could possibly do it. LeBron doesn’t hog the ball, crave the need to score, none of that; if anything he can be a little too passive at times and nothing more. LeBron playing on the Bobcats would be a lethal threat. Kicking it out to Ben Gordon for a triple, paving the way for Kemba and Henderson to score, defensive presence downlow in Biyombo, offensive postman in Mullens and a legit bench led by Sessions and Gordon whats not to love. I made all of that sound good without mentioning M.Kidd-Gilchrist.
With that being the worst team in the league think about what LeBron could do with a Cleveland team headlined by Kyrie Irving or a Mavericks team headlined by Dirk. LeBron James is just that dude plain and simple. There is no denying it. Even if you aren’t a fan of him, (I’m not…. Kobe fan 24/7.) you have to acknowledge how great he is and stop clinging on to hope that no one will ever surpass Jordan. Sure there may not be another Jordan, but in he same breath there won’t be another player like LeBron. He’s the greatest already, despite his career not being finished. He deserves his self entitled name, King James!