This post began with a serious and plentiful NBA Finals plot, well researched statistical analysis and most importantly the athletic prose that only Hunter S. Thompson would appreciate while all professional talking heads would lament.
In true Nascar-race fashion, everything turned left viciously when I realized that there is no way Cleveland can win an NBA championship this season, next season or any other season in the coherent future. And thus spawned this David Letterman-esque list that surely will cause you to wonder why you spent 5-10 minutes reading my obnoxious know-it-all witty basketball banter. You’ll never get this time back.
Top Reasons Cleveland Won’t Win An NBA Championship
- Lebron is in year-two of his 5 year down-slope that will eventually end his career. In addition to the obvious eye-test that no one wants to pay attention to apparently, it’s very obvious the best of Lebron is behind us. He doesn’t have the jump-off-two-feet explosion that he had when he was in Miami, proof is in the amount of times in the playoffs that you’ve seen him drive the lane, get to the rim with two defenders on his hip and pass the ball out to an open (insert bad shooter here) three point attempt that clanks harder than Zoolander 2.0. It used to be that he would only do that at the end of games when he wasn’t confident to take the last shot. Now it seems to happen over and over again. ANYONE who has played ball knows that when you’re tired or worn out or just plain getting old, driving the basketball and finishing at the rim, similar to going to the strip club after taking your marriage vows, is always the first thing to go away.
Want stats? Ok, since returning to Cleveland Lebron’s points per game average has gone down slightly from 27.1 ppg to 25.3ppg. Small declines lead to bigger falls from grace, in addition, Lebron’s fouls per game and turnovers per game have both gone up, fouls up almost 1/2 per game and turnovers almost 1 per game. Lebron’s PER (Player Efficiency Rating) has steadily decreased since leaving Miami two years ago, from 29.4 to 26.01 and slightly back up to 27.64 this season. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t huge declines yet, but when you watch him play and think on these stats, the writing is on the wall. Lebron is 31 years old, been in the league 12 years and has reached the playoffs for 11 straight seasons. LOTS of tread on those tires.
- Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving DO NOT WORK with Lebron. Kevin Love is the most overrated $100 million player in recent history of all sports. His Nick Nolte/Tom Sizemore-over-bloated numbers while in Minnesota were obviously fools gold wrapped in bacon and dipped in poison. I don’t even blame Kevin Love. He’s ALWAYS been this player, he was the best option on a terrible rec-league team in Minnesota, now playing with the big boys in the big bright lights, he’s a poor man’s Jack Sikma (burn). Juxtapositionally (a word?) Kyrie Irving IS in fact the real deal, he’s an all-star caliber guard with more shake than a cheese-whiz can. BUT, he doesn’t work with Lebron and he definitely doesn’t work with K-Love. Kyrie looks unsure of how to play with others the same way that A.I. looked in Philly for his whole career. An incredible talent and an unbelievable ability to score the ball which causes him to go into eff-it mode and puts defenders on ice skates ignoring the rest of the team. The problem is, in the playoffs you can’t win a series that way, but I bet Kyrie will have a great Drew League game this summer to make up for it.
- Seriously, Cleveland? I mean the reality is that you were handed a once-in-a-lifetime athlete (Lebron) and unfortunately it’s just not gonna happen in this particular lifetime. His best years were spent in Miami, his declining years are right around the corner and for whatever reason, it is impossible to surround him with the right players in the “Land” as we’re now calling it. You missed your window, especially considering the amount of talent in the Western Conference for the foreseeable future.
- The OKC Thunder would beat Cleveland in the NBA Finals this season 4 games to 2…….and they can’t even get out of the Western Conference!! When the second-best team in the West looks better than any team in the Eastern Conference, there’s not much hope for Lebron and company.
- BLASPHEMY ALERT coming……..I pose the question, Does Lebron truly make his teammates better? Or do players and coaches just have to adjust to the way he dominates the ball, the coaching staff/philosophy and the entire atmosphere surrounding him? Lebron is an amazing talent, and is a Hall Of Famer no doubt…..but did he make Dwayne Wade Better? Did he make Chris Bosh better? Did he make Kevin Love better? Has he made Kyrie better? When Lebron was in Miami, it feels more like the opposite, Wade and Pat Riley made Lebron better. His only two championships were due to Wade’s behind the scene leadership, defense and scoring option while Bosh provided a tough matchup for any other team’s big men. Pat Riley MADE Lebron a champion…….while Miami somehow managed to surround themselves with tough, veteran, specific-role players (Ray Allen, Shane Battier, James Jones, Udonis Haslem, the best versions of Mario Chalmers and Chris Anderson). Did Lebron make ALL of them better or did he just add to a great situation? I really don’t know the answer, but it’s an interesting question.
- Specific to this season: In NBA Finals history, a team has taken a 2-0 lead 31 times. Twenty-eight of those times, that team has gone on to win the Finals.
- Also, cause it’s Cleveland: