Friday, May 25, 2012

This is my first Bullets Blog post in a while. I like to keep my posts at a minimum, be right approximately 99% of the time, and then throw it in people's faces when I make accurate predictions (see: Don't Sleep on the Pacers, where I predicted that the Pacers would surprise a lot of people this year). So there you have it.

Anyway, this blog is centered on perhaps the biggest (current) enigma in professional sports: LeBron James. By this point in time, we have all heard the pro-Lebron arguments (most athletic player ever, best stat-sheet stuffer of our generation, and perhaps of all time) and the anti-LeBron arguments (The Decision fiasco, no titles/lack of clutch gene). And there is some truth in each argument.

I look at LeBron differently than most. The majority of anti-LeBron people will say "he can't come up clutch." Wrong. Aside from the abysmal (yes, abysmal) Mavericks series in last year's finals, LeBron has been a clutch performer throughout his career. Some highlights include an obscene 29 consecutive point barrage in the fourth quarter and overtime against the Pistons in 2007, when the Pistons had arguably the best defense of that decade. Another highlight was his first Finals, when he was consistently double and triple teamed by the Spurs and managed to average over 25 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists per game. And, of course, the forgotten conference finals in 2009, when LeBron torched the Celtics to a tune of 38.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists, albeit in a losing effort.

Then, my favorite. In 2010-2011, the season when everyone started to hate LeBron for joining the Heat, he outperformed Kobe in the clutch (statistically) by a wide margin.

So, I don't buy that LeBron isn't a clutch player.

But I also don't go ga-ga over him, because unlike the pro-LeBron crowd, I dislike many things about his game. His jump shot is poor and his free throw shooting is poor. I think he flops too much, and despite all those statistical facts praising how "clutch" he is, I would like to see him be more aggressive offensively towards the end of a game, by demanding the ball, and not watching Dwayne Wade dribble around helplessly before hoisting a contested 26-footer.

So, needless to say, I try to view him objectively.

As all of my friends will tell you, I am definitely pro-LeBron on the whole. I believe he gets unfairly blamed for things that are out of his control, as basketball is indeed a team sport, but I also believe he can get overpraised for the same reasons.

Here is the harsh reality, as Chris has explained to me time and time again. By giving himself nicknames such as "The King," getting "The Chosen One" tattooed on his back, guaranteeing "not one, not two, not three..." championships with Wade and Bosh, he has raised the bar for himself so high that nothing, and I mean NOTHING he can do will ever reach it. If he does go out and win 8 championships like he promised the city of Miami, his legacy will be tarnished because of The Decision.

He has given himself these expectations, so why can't we judge him based on them?

And there it is: the pradox of LeBron James. If he wins, it's only because he had Dwayne Wade to help him. If he loses, its inexcusable because he had Dwayne Wade to help him.

The fact of the matter is, I don't believe the Heat will win the title this year. And it will have nothing to do with LeBron, because I believe he will bring it this year, unlike last year. The team just has too many holes, and quite frankly, I believe the Spurs are just too good. So we'll enter another year of LeBron being trashed in the media, which will ultimately lead the Heat to do something rash, such as trade Wade or sign some equally big name free agent (Steve Nash?) to try to win next year.

Bold predictions are what I'm all about! Am I crazy, or brilliant? Let me know!

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