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Traditionally, the GOAT has three attributes: he or she can replace the superstar of a previous generation that includes 90s athletes; Jordan replace Bird and Magic; he or she can performs best under unfavorable circumstances, Serena Williams while pregnant and Muhammad Ali after refusing to fight in Vietnam; and he or she may need a mulligan when it doesn’t count for shit.
That’s what Lebron James essentially did in Wenesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. Yes, Lebron missed two free throws and a defensive rebound with one minute left in regulation.
Yes, Lebron was not clutch against a team that had two guards, Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell nursing their legs; an overpaid center from Russia (Probably hacked Jae Crowder out of the ball game, thus influencing Coach Tyron Lue’s bizarre lineup in the second half); and they score more points than any NBA team, with names like: Spencer Dinwiddle (that three from five feet behind the line… I see you), Caris LeVert, and Allen Crabbe.
Those names sound less like the best scoring roster in the NBA and more like a quazi law firm/tech startup.
The same Brooklyn Nets team that needs to, but probably won’t, tank in the draft lottery. In the unlikely event that the Nets lose steam when Russell comes back and rank up there with losers like the Knicks , Magic, Bulls, or Pistons (Pssst Cleveland lost to the Magic last week and trailed the fucking Bulls last Tuesday) the Cavs have another poker chip to play with in free agency.
This top five pick could give Cavs Interim GM Koby Altman leverage in keeping LeBron.
Besides “surrounding” LeBron James with talent, Koby Altman can do one thing to help Lebron reach his fourth ring – trade Kevin Love and get a coach to bitch Lebron 24-7 (Coach Carter style).
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Kevin Love a defensive liability, streaky shooter, with a diminishing post-game. Tyron Lue had, for the past two games, a 6’8 point guard well over 200 pounds outside the block on offense, not posting up on the smaller defenders and getting blocked by Demarre Carroll (before getting fouled).
Even though Lebron’s floor general status is temporary, it has to rank up there as “The All-Time Waste of Talent at Any Position in Sports”, that includes Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton of the Bengals. James had turnovers and its obvious, considering his play in the final two minutes, that back-to-backs are taking their toll on the three time NBA Champion.
Coach Lue doesn’t have the same command over his superstar player like Phil Jackson had over Kobe and Jordan. He has a stronger vice over former Cavs Head Coach David Blatt (See him here tell his players to shut the fuck up, then he comes to the NBA and is soft).
Lue also had a lineup consisting up defensive liabilities supplemented with okay-defensive players Kevin Love six turnovers ,couldn’t hit a shot or play defense; Jeff Green, can’t hit a three consistently but plays decent defense; Kyle Korver, because he can shoot better than most players still commits too many fouls on defense and got some surprising open looks when cutting; JR Smith, their second best defensive player in the second half and still can’t find his shot; and Lebron James gets tired when playing against New York’s 3rd best pro basketball team (At some point Syracuse will be NYC’s team), on a back-to-back in his fifteenth year.
When you are the best player in basketball, they give you a free pass when your shot gets blocked with 10 seconds left, you turn ball over six times, missed the first of two game tying free throws, and your most notable wins come against a Celtics team that’s been depleted through free agency and injuries and the Chicago Bulls ( come on there’s 29 NBA teams then the Chicago Bulls).
Now if you want to be the GOAT, like Serena Williams by winning 22 Grand Slams (and was two-months pregnant when she won the Australian Open) or like Michael Jordan beating the best offensive team of the 80s-90s (Showtime) after beating the best defensive team of the 80s (Bad Boy Pistons), you have to win an MVP in your 15th year, average close to a triple double (30ish points and 10ish assist). Although this route is much harder for James and less attractive than Jordan’s six NBA Finals MVP it’s winning two series against the greatest offensive juggernaut in history that matters most.
Lebron is getting older and needs to develop a post-game similar to Kobe and Dirk, start hitting those mid-range jumpers and that ankle is still not so good.
Lebron’s uphill battle in the Eastern Conference is younger, stronger, faster, and teams are no longer afraid of The King.