Listen to MoNeYBaLL NBA Podcast Ep 28 – RIP Kobe, NBA Deadline Deals, NBA All Stars and more! by Opinionated Media/Opinionated MJ on #SoundCloud
Featuring NilClassic & Opinionated MJ
By: Opinionated Reezy
Let me begin with a disclaimer saying this is not, let me repeat, NOT an Anti-Jordan, Anti-Kobe, Anti-Anyone blog, rant, etc. It is a pro Lebron post and once you read till the end, I hope you will at least agree that Lebron James should be in the conversation as one of the greatest Basketball Player of our lifetime.
Let’s first get the stats out of the way. In this case, we will compare the stats for Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James.
1072 Games 30ppg 6.2rpg 5.3apg 49.7%fg 32.7%fg3 83.5%ft 50.9%efg 27.9 PER 214 Win Shares
6x NBA Champ, 11x All-NBA, 3x AS MVP, 5x MVP, 6x Finals MVP, 9x All-Defensive
1346 Games 25ppg 5.2rpg 4.7apg 44.7%fg 32.9%fg3 83.7%ft 48.2efg 22.9 PER 172.7 Win Shares
5x NBA Champ, 15x All-NBA, 4x AS MVP, 1x MVP, 2x Finals MVP, 12x All-Defensive
998 Games 27.1ppg 7.2rpg 6.9apg 49.8%fg 34.0%fg3 74.4%ft 53.2%efg 27.6 PER 194.4 Win Shares
3x NBA Champ, 12x All-NBA, 2x AS MVP, 4x MVP, 3x Finals MVP, 6x All-Defensive
LeBron James has a PER on par with Michael Jordan while exceeding in rebounding and assist averages. His scoring is down, but in favor of his assist averages. One thing to keep in mind is that he is still going so I imagine his scoring numbers may drop slightly, but only because his rebounding and assist numbers are increasing. Yes, I am predicting that in the game, LeBron will be changing his style of play once again to increase his longevity, but to also make him even more of a threat on the court. This is not the only reason I am saying he is one of greats, so let’s dig in.
For starters, LeBron James is in great company with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, as it is common place to hate greatness in the moment. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James have each had their fair share of criticism during their rise to greatness. I for one participated in some of it as we all did. Some of the comments were:
Can’t be touched without the refs fouling
Can’t win without…..
Every time this happened the players shouldered through and proved the doubters wrong. They showed how great they were. LeBron is doing that very thing now and the haters are waiting for him to fail. He will need to embrace becoming the villain in order to completely shoulder through.
Second, LeBron James came into the league in 2004, 7 years after Kobe and 20 after Michael Jordan. LeBron had the blueprint of what to do and what not to do by watching the trailblazers before him light the world on fire, on the court. LeBron is great because he is a student of the game and would have patterned himself after greatness. He also had the ability to watch Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and others whom he would adapt his style of play to. We all know his Basketball IQ is off the charts and because of that he would already have his body prepared to counteract the “Jordan Rules”, he would know at a certain point he would have to adjust his weight like Kobe to make his body respond better, and that he would need to have a consistent team around him like Magic and Bird had. Remember, when LeBron James entered the league from High School the highlight of his game was not his scoring, it was his court vision and passing. His first commercial for Nike had nothing to do with him scoring, but him assisting. The NBA (more so the Cavaliers) forced him to play more like Kobe and MJ. He is not playing as he intended to, more like Magic Johnson.
Third, despite all that was mentioned above you still have to play the game and having all the raw potential won’t prepare you for the actual rigors of an NBA Season and seasoned talent that is there. It took Michael Jordan seven seasons to get to the NBA Finals. Those prior years he was losing and learning, getting better, but more importantly, so was his team. His major benefit, even to his admission, was that he was playing in an ultra-aggressive conference at the time. Once he got there he couldn’t be stopped and it was a sight to see. Kobe Bryant took three seasons to get there and he benefitted two ways. The first was having Shaq who went through hard knock life lessons of playoff basketball in the East and the second was learning in a now ultra-talented western conference that was tired of losing to Michael Jordan and adapted to beat him even though he was gone.
Lebron James had to take his lumps as well. Prior to his time in the NBA he hadn’t really lost or experienced what that felt like. Yes it took him four seasons to get to the NBA Finals and he did that with a team comprised of Boobie Gibson, Mo Williams, Drew Gooden, and Donyell Marshall. Additionally, LeBron was playing in a decimated eastern conference after the void of Jordan’s absence and the NBA’s obsession with finding the heir apparent. LeBron James finally has a team that would be considered on par with what Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had (yes, I am including the Miami years) in terms of consistency and overall synergy. This is not to make excuses for LeBron, but I don’t want to frown on success either. We love posting memes about Jordan failing X number of times and coming back without realizing that LeBron needs to fail to get better. What is unfortunate for him is that failure only seems to occur when the title is on the line.
Fourth, is the future! LeBron just broke the top ten in career scoring and can easily get to sixth place based on his current trajectory. What is equally fascinating is that he is eighteenth in career assists and is a little over 1000 away from cracking the top ten. With his current trajectory, he is on par to hit that in two seasons. Once that occurs he will be the first player in NBA History to be in the top 10 of both offensive categories (scoring and assists).
There is no denying that Michael Jordan is the best and I believe that his overall contributions to the game would make him a great candidate to replace Jerry West as the logo; however, we should never be afraid to see someone else rise to greatness. If we did that we would still be heralding Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics as the greatest ever and there are a multitude of reasons why that is simply not true. There will come a time when a player will perform on the court and will rightfully be considered the greatest ever. When that happens, we should look at more than just the number of championships they have. We should look at the moments, battles, the moments within a season, all of it. It is for all of that I would say LeBron James deserves to remain in the conversation as one of the greatest players of our lifetime.
By: Opinionated MJ
I’ve taken a look at Chicago’s roster since they made the Michael Carter-Williams acquisition and I see a team that’s built to drive to the paint without a team being able to stop them from doing so. They’ve got cut & slash options galore. They are the opposite of the Warriors, in my opinion. If Steph, Klay, and KD are the Splash Brothers, then Wade, Butler, and Rondo are the “Slash Brothers”.
The Bulls also have a few players who can stretch the floor. Mirotic, McDermott, and Taj Gibson can hit long jumper and the former two can hit 3’s. Only problem is, they seem really streaky. Sometimes they just seem like rhythm players.
Enter Chris Bosh.
The Bulls would have a good team that could actually see Bosh as its 2nd option behind Butler, and maybe he would give Bosh the chance to be the focal point of the offense and they play off of him. He can stretch the floor, shoot threes, and play pretty good defense. He would be a godsend for these Bulls who seem to lack a fully versatile big man. Maybe Rondo and Wade will help develop Bobby Portis into some kind of Garnett-Bosh style player. They would know what spots he would need to be in to be successful individually and within the offense. Bringing in Bosh could only help that progression.
Lastly, this move would make them an instant title contender in my eyes. They’d go from being a total wildcard to being a team that could contest the Cavs, as long as they stay fully healthy. They have two champions on their team that are required to help lead teams deep into the playoffs. Bosh would make a third champion. This could really be a move that could shake things up out east. It could be a waste though if Wade, Rondo, and Bosh couldn’t remain healthy.
Come on Pat Riley! Let Chris Bosh go so that he could team with Wade. I doubt he go play with LeBron which is what believed by fans league. He still believes he could be a major player on a team. He’s capable of that when healthy for sure.
By: Opinionated MJ
All the King’s men? LeBron wants J.R. Smith. Looks like Cleveland is playing hardball with making this deal happen. I personally believe that the organization thinks they can win without him. How do you not bring in a player who is in demand by arguably the best player in the game right now? How do you not answer his call to keep the team intact and let them fully defend their title? How do you not give LeBron James that opportunity? Let’s talk a bit.
I see the Cavs organization looking through a totally different lens now that they’ve won a championship on LeBron’s back. I could be wrong, let me throw that out there. They could be playing hardball with J.R. Smith in order to get him to agree to less and to have the chance to defend and chase another title with LeBron James. So we have two battles. LeBron is usually able to get his players the deals they want, and Cleveland as an organization, is pitching without words by having LeBron James as the reason why J.R. Smith could accept less. Would you accept less? We’ve heard a lot of people talk about making your money. Would YOU, REALLY, accept less if you were J.R. Smith?
You’ve Just come off an important season where you actually did serve a great purpose to this team. Without his 3 ball and his ability driving to the hole, then he would actually be replaceable. Is he still replaceable anyway? He is streaky. He does show up sometimes and disappear every now and then. Do you give J.R. Smith 15 million per year? I understand how the luxury tax will work with Cleveland should they give him what they want. Then I ask myself this question… Does Cleveland think they can still succeed without having J.R. Smith on a LeBron led team? I truly believe this is their stance, or they would’ve caved in by now and made some sense of it by signing him and not making this an issue with LeBron.
LeBron had the chance to hold out but that wouldn’t be exhibiting proper leadership coming off of an NBA Championship going into the next season. It already sounds like he’s pissed with what’s going on upstairs. Let’s not forget the letter wrote about him when he left. Let’s not forget that they made it their business to tell everyone that LeBron isn’t running the organization. Let’s not forget that word is that LeBron also came back to Cleveland cause he would have more pull with this organization as opposed to Pat Riley and Miami. Although, Pat Riley drafted Shabazz Napier cause that’s who LeBron wanted. LeBron bolted shortly after. Now they have him locked into a multi-year deal. There’s no more of that 1 and done pressure for Cleveland right now. He has no out for 2 years. So they now have the aces in their hands for now. They can actually call the shots and LeBron will have to deal with it unless he does some sort of hold out. He won’t do it though. Cleveland knows this.
With that being said though, this IS LeBron James. He’s the one who knows who he needs next to him in order to succeed. He knows the formula to win a championship. He knows what it takes from himself and from his teammates, and more importantly, HIS ORGANIZATION, in order to win a championship. Most championships are paid for. You have to pay for quality talent. J.R. Smith is good with LeBron James leading the ship and that should be enough for the Cavs to re-sign him to a deal that works for both sides. Give him his money and he has to accept the amount of years you want to give him. I don’t think J.R. would actually sign with someone else would he? I’ve only heard of the Celtics being interested. I think he would do well for the Chicago Bulls who are starving for shooters, no matter how streaky. I think he would also be good for the Pacers, Mavs, and Raptors.
This is probably actually not a big deal. I think this deal would get done. How could you not appease the desires of the man who promised and brought a championship to Cleveland. How could you? Last year, Tristan Thompson was in this situation as well and he got paid handsomely on playoff performance alone. Will LeBron get what he wants this time? The stakes are different, the pressures have switched sides. Would Cleveland actually make LeBron and the Cavs work harder in order to reach the finish line this season? I really can’t see that happening. We’ve got about 2 weeks left before the season begins. I expect a deal with the next week or their may be trouble in paradise, fresh off of a championship. That would only be the sign of a selfish franchise. That would do nothing but make me fully remember what they think of LeBron James. The letter would be relevant all over again.
Sign J.R. Smith! Although I will say if he walks, I expect Ray Allen to be in a Cavs uniform in his place.
By: Opinionated Reezy
Let’s take a walk back in time for a moment. Forget how the team is assembled and think about what comes to mind when you hear names Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Michael Cooper, and Karem Abdul-Jabar. I will ask you again to forget how the team is assembled and think about what comes to mind when you hear the names Larry Bird, Danny Ainge, Robert Parrish, and Kevin McHale. These were the Showtime Lakers and Dominate Celtics teams from the 80’s that dominated the decade and ultimately suffered from old age. These two teams were dynasty’s both in their depth and starting rosters and would be considered super teams in today’s NBA.
I can’t remember much about that era, but I imagine that people were shocked when either the Lakers and/or the Celtics were not in the finals. History would show the following (The champion is bold):
· 1979 – 80 Season: Lakers v 76ers
· 1980 – 81 Season: Celtics v Rockets
· 1981 – 82 Season: Lakers v 76ers
· 1982 – 83 Season: 76ers v Lakers
· 1983 – 84 Season: Celtics v Lakers
· 1984 – 85 Season: Lakers v Celtics
· 1985 – 86 Season: Celtics v Rockets
· 1986 – 87 Season: Lakers v Celtics
· 1987 – 88 Season: Lakers v Pistons
· 1988 – 89 Season: Pistons v Lakers
· 1989 – 90 Season: Pistons v Trailblazers
We literally had to go a full decade before we had an NBA Finals that did not feature the Celtics or the Lakers and that forced teams to get better. It made players think strategically about how they were going to win. No one was tired of the NBA, in fact being from Detroit, it became a unified front to watch your team develop into a legitimate threat and watch that team rise to greatness.
ALL THAT BEING SAID. I see it happening again! Let’s wind back the clock a few years:
· 2010 – 11 Season: Mavericks v Heat
· 2011 – 12 Season: Heat v Thunder
· 2012 – 13 Season: Heat v Spurs
· 2013 – 14 Season: Spurs v Heat
· 2014 – 15 Season: Warriors v Cavaliers
· 2015 – 16 Season: Cavaliers v Warriors
LeBron is the common element in this scenario in that for the past six seasons, LeBron led teams have been in the Finals. Now a consistent team in the West has a legitimate chance to be consistent. The last two seasons alone have been exciting for all the plotlines interwoven in the season. I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT THE NBA IS SCRIPTED; however, the story is one of note. The rise of Golden State in the West, the Apology tour of LeBron James coming home and taking a team destined for the lottery to the FInals twice and Championship once. Many were already anticipating the Trilogy reminiscent of Lakers and Celtics of old and then KD throws his name in the hat and now all we can say is.. IT’S ON!!
This season may be dull for a moment, that will pass once Golden State faces their first real loss. You see it now and LeBron sees it with the fevered insistence on bringing the band back together. The pleas to sign JR is a message that we are going back to the days where teams determined success and not just one or two players. Owners can no longer gamble on the notion of a star player and a bunch of role players. Left unchecked, Golden State has the chance to win multiple championships and other teams will be forced to used their resources wisely to counter that.
KD didn’t hurt the league, he probably singlehandedly saved it…
Tim Duncan: Year of Appreciation
By: Opinionated MJ
Tis the season for old Kobe. How quickly we forget the possibility that this is also Tim Duncan’s last season. We won’t be giving him a farewell, we won’t get a chance to say a proper goodbye, we won’t get a chance to marvel at his bank in jumpers, his surprising defense, and his footwork that could only be matched by Kobe himself IF he would actually work the post. Enough of Kobe now. Let’s actually talk about the man who could walk away from the game with 6 NBA Championships if his team could win this year.
Tim Duncan is arguably the best Power Forward to ever play the game. Some would debate that Larry Bird is, but he didn’t have the same longevity that Tim Duncan has. We could say that it’s because of the organization, we could say that it’s from having selfless players around him who are all focused on the prize, willing to take pay cuts, willing to sacrifice individuality for a greater cause, not being a part of a big market, seemingly walking around without egos, and always being slept on every year until they ultimately reach the Conference Finals or the NBA Finals en route to an NBA Championship. It’s always the same story, honestly. Season begins and someone else is chosen as the #1 cream of the crop. Cleveland was last year’s favorite although the Spurs hoisted the title the year before over the Miami Heat, Golden State was the champion during the more recent season and they are now considered the favorite, and we could honestly say that Miami was the favorite two seasons ago after repeating as NBA Champions. When are the Spurs ever the favorites anyway? Seriously? Before the last 3 titles were handed out we had the Cavs, Heat, Lakers and Celtics, considered as favorites over the previous 5-10 years.
You look at this team now and it has the makings of a continued dynasty. They have a Kawhi Leonard who has emerged as a two-way star, they have a LaMarcus Aldridge who is basically the next to take over the reins inside once Tim Duncan is gone. They still have Tony Parker who should be able to keep going at a good rate over the next 2-3 years (potentially 5 solid years). Ginobli will be gone after this season, right? I think this will be his last go round. Tony Parker could honestly retire in 3 years if he wanted to and he’ll ultimately need to pass the torch to someone who’ll fill in as his replacement, like Kawhi is to Ginobli, like Aldridge is to Duncan. They need a replacement for Tony and they’ll be fine. They have depth and they also have the personnel behind the players to continue this dynasty. I think it’s legal to call it that right? They do have the most wins as a trio (Duncan, Parker, Ginobli) in NBA history, they do share 5 titles together, and they all are cut from the same selfless cloth. Now Kawhi, LaMarcus and an anonymous PG of the future will carry this team into the future. For now, though, they are a legitimate threat to the NBA landscape and they are a legit championship contender. We still haven’t seen the best of the Spurs yet. They haven’t fully meshed with Aldridge and West coming in, not yet. They fight hard and get it done when they need to like they did the other night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, closing out that game while Cleveland was pushing like a bull to steal a win.
We need to appreciate Tim Duncan and we need to start watching him the same way we watch Kobe… Like this is his last year. Don’t wait till it’s too late. I’m enjoying what I’m seeing from him. We’ll probably never see someone so fundamentally sound ever again. Champion on all levels.
Rambling Thought: Camelo Anthony for Kevin Love Makes Sense
By: Opinionated MJ
January 3, 2016
Sure, another Melo for Love article. These teams are in need of something that each other has, so why not? This is basically getting almost what you already have back in return. The difference is the Carmelo shoots big buckets that LeBron has shied away from or would need as a weapon should he simply not be able to get an easy bucket. Let’s not mention LeBron’s horrendous 3pt percentage. Love’s rebounding would be something that could benefit the Knicks, he can also score but he needs to be a part of the overall plan as the #1 option with Porzingis creeping up fast as his stock continues to grow in NY. So LeBron gets a sure scoring big 3, Knicks get a player that can be #1 option and do more for that team in particular. Carmelo would be a welcome in Cleveland, unless Shumpert and JR honestly don’t like him. What could it really mean with LeBron being the Cavs franchise anyway. We’re near the anniversary for his last dealings, so why not this one?
I think Cleveland succeeds as a defensive team. It allows them to contend with the West. Deli and Tristan made them formidable defensively as they fought against the Golden State Warriors. Add Carmelo, proven scorer, and a healthy Kyrie Irving with this mix. Mozgov, Smith, and Shumpert are still there, so they have a good big and guards off the bench. We’ve seen what Mozgov can do when he showed flashes in the finals. Carmelo and Mozgov are a 2 for 1 Chris Bosh combination. Melo could provide the stretch and post presence, Mozgov could provide decent shooting, rim protection, and a post presence. Anthony is who LeBron is missing. He may be well in a similar role to Wade’s, after he decided to let LeBron be #1 option, willingly. Having a 1A, 1B, and 1C is what would make this scarier. It also helps Irving, James, And Anthony with minutes to help them preserve for the playoffs and for their careers overall. LeBron needs more veterans with experience, championship experience. Of course Carmelo isn’t the one with championship pedigree, yet, this could actually be a better team with him.
We know the types of scoring Carmelo could do, imagine it with the “team” mentality James plays with. He’s there when Irving is doing his thing. He could finally sit back and watch his vision come to fruition. The way LeBron wants Kevin to play is where Carmelo thrives. James could pick his spots having Melo on the floor and really serve as another attack off the ball. I think LeBron would be a great off the ball player. Irving isn’t 100%-point guard, he’s more like a shooting guard. If these three could share amongst themselves better than the Heat did early on, they’ll be a sure bet to make it back to the Eastern Conference Finals and potentially the Finals. What you think? I say this deal works for both.