What the Finals Loss Means to the Legacy and Future of LeBron James

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Golden State Warriors in 5 games in the NBA Finals, proving me wrong about the buildup of the Golden State Warriors team. However, one thing that has not and will not change for me is my opinion towards the legacy of LeBron James. LeBron played his heart out, averaging a triple-double in the NBA Finals (33.6 points per game, 12 rebounds, 10 assists), becoming the first player to average a triple-double in the NBA Finals. LeBron has 3 wins and 5 losses in NBA Finals, but his legacy is still as steady as Michael Jordan’s. Jordan went 6-0 in the NBA Finals, but was 6-7 getting there. LeBron is 8-4. What’s better, getting to the Finals, or just getting to the playoffs? Yeah, getting to the Finals, even if you lose. LeBron is the one who has made himself and others so good that he is guaranteed to make it to the Finals, just ask any team in the Eastern Conference. This year, his Cavs were outplayed by a much more superior Warriors team in the Finals. Sure, LeBron had All-Stars in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, but Golden State has 2 MVPs (Steph Curry and Kevin Durant), 3 of the greatest 3-point shooters ever (Steph, KD, and Klay Thompson), a Defensive Player of the Year candidate (Draymond Green), and a Finals MVP (Andre Iguodala), just to beat LeBron and Cleveland. To me, that just proves how much talent is needed to beat a perfectly assembled LeBron James team. Now, let us take a look at the legacy of James, and his future.

LeBron’s Legacy

LeBron James, as we mentioned, is 3-5 in Finals, but let us look at the wins and losses more closely. In 2007, LeBron James single-handedly took his Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. LeBron, who was 22 at the time, was on the rise of being the ‘best player on the planet’, was playing stellar, but the San Antonio Spurs were too much in the NBA Finals, as he got swept. Then again, when you are only 22, your 2nd best player is named Jamario Moon (who was pretty bad, actually), and you are playing 3 Future Hall-of-Famers, expect to be swept. In 2011, when he became a member of the Miami Heat, he disappeared, not playing like himself, not wanting the ball, losing in 6 games. In 2012 and 2013, he became the ‘best player on the planet’, winning back-to-back championships over the OKC Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. 2014, in the rematch against the Spurs, the Spurs got their revenge. 2015, in LeBron’s return to the Cavs, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love both got injured, and LeBron fought his way on his own to take the Warriors to 6 games, but needed help to win. 2016 and 2017 were split with Golden State, with a 7-game thriller (Warriors blew a 3-1 lead), and losing in 5 games this year. Overall, you cannot blame him for the losses to Golden State. This year, he played his heart out and got beat by a superior team, and in 2015, he did the same, but didn’t have his star counterparts. LeBron really is 3-3 (in terms of wins and losses responsible for in NBA Finals), but the fact that he has gotten there with more success than Jordan (not to mention that LeBron has always gotten past the first round, whereas Jordan has been swept in the first round), speaks volumes to his ability to lead a team to success.

LeBron’s Future

LeBron James won’t be getting much more talent for this Cavs team anytime soon without trading Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, or Tristan Thompson. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are options, but just Kevin Love for them isn’t enough. I think he should play it out next year, get to the Finals, maybe acquire better role players, and then test free agency in 2018.

LeBron fulfilled his lifelong promise of bringing a championship to Cleveland in 2016, so he has every right to leave the Cavs (again). Reports from Bleacher Report and CBS Sports say that James has considered going to Los Angeles, as he has a house there, and is looking to pursue ventures outside of basketball, and Hollywood is the best place to do it. He has been linked to LA for quite a few years now, dating back to 2007. Kobe Bryant decided to ask for a trade from LA, letting his ego get in the way as he wanted to win desperately. The trade never happened, but it put into perspective for the rest of James’ career that LA would be a possible place to go. If he is to leave, he is to go to either the Lakers or the Clippers. Both teams have great opportunity to beat the Warriors with James. The Lakers can get Paul George or Jimmy Butler (they should be able to get one of the two this year), they can draft Lonzo Ball who has huge superstar potential, and they can trade D’Angelo Russell or Jordan Clarkson for another superstar (of George and Butler, whichever one they do not get). LeBron could even build his dream superteam of his best friends Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, and get them to play with him in LA. This would allow him to have a young team with veteran leadership around him, and allow him beat Golden State. Since LeBron can beat the Eastern Conference with his eyes closed, he can win many more championships.

With the Clippers, if they keep Chris Paul and Blake Griffin this year, they will have their Big 3 with them and DeAndre Jordan. Then they can lure James in, who has a great relationship with Paul, acquire another guy like Carmelo or Wade, and then get more role players, and LeBron can have a team that can beat Golden State, and win championships. Either way, he will have more success down the road going to LA than in Cleveland, so it makes sense that he leaves (sources say he wants to and will leave in 2018). Who knows, maybe LeBron will have more rings than Jordan after all, and become the GOAT.

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2016 NBA Finals Game 6: All or Nothing? Or Everything?

The NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors looks like they have become interesting again, as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 41 points each in their win to force a Game 6 back in Cleveland. However, the scuffle between Warriors PF Draymond Green and Cleveland superstar LeBron James in Game 4 might’ve just ruined the series for Golden State, as the Cavs are clawing back.

Tonight: Game 6

Tonight, very simple. Draymond Green will lose the game single-handedly for the Warriors. He is the reason Cleveland has all the momentum on their side to force a Game 7 back in Oakland, and he will be afraid. Every time he has the ball, the fans will be booing him, and anytime he is the primary defender, people are probably going to be chanting ‘Kick LeBron,” just so he can get ejected and lose his mind. I think the tactic from Cavs fans could work, because LeBron and Kyrie are IN THE ZONE! If someone like Kevin Love, JR Smith, or even Tristan Thompson can get it going, it’ll be a relaxing flight back to Oakland for the Cavs.

Who Wins Game 7?

I think Cleveland wins Game 7, making a historic comeback down 3-1 in the series. I just do not see a way that Draymond can calm himself down and not put more pressure on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Also, their Center Andrew Bogut is done for the series, so Green has to rebound the ball and be aggressive on the glass. I do not like the Warriors’ chances of winning this series.

The Offseason

LeBron fulfils his promise of crowning Cleveland ONCE, and goes back to Miami and fulfils his promise of winning even more, as he said on July 10th, 2010.

NBA Power Rankings: 2014-15 Season

The 2014-15 season could shape up a whole lot differently due to LeBron in Cleveland, Lance Stephenson in Charlotte, and the NBA Champion Spurs being dominant again. Here are the Power Rankings for the 2014-15 season.

1.  Chicago Bulls

A healthy Derrick Rose, newly signed Pau Gasol, and rookie Doug McDermott might have this team return to its glory days. Rose, after having played just 4 games in the last 2 seasons, should be better than ever. A championship is no guarantee, but they will probably end up at the top of the East.

2.   Oklahoma City Thunder

Reigning MVP Kevin Durant will be accompanied by a healthy Russell Westbrook, which means that they will have an easy road across the West. This might just be the season where OKC conquers the NBA

3.   Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James shocked not just Miami and Cleveland, but the whole world by coming home to Cleveland. His supporting cast is young, which guarantees that players around him will lay long-term, but a championship is a long ways to go.

4.   Miami Heat

Seriously? Miami? Number 4? Yes! They may have lost LeBron James, but D-Wade, Chris Bosh, and most of the team has re-signed. New additions Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger are huge additions who certainly fits well in an offense known for scoring big. Miami could make a surprise run through the playoffs, but representing the East in The Finals might be a year or 2 away.

5.   Dallas Mavericks

If only Rick Carlisle had a plan to beat the Spurs, then the Spurs wouldn’t have been the champions. Dirk has re-signed, Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler are big pickups, which makes them the biggest threat to all Western Conference teams. They will make a big splash come playoffs time.

6.   San Antonio Spurs

The defending champs are looking to defend their title, but all I wanna say is this: “OKC ARE THE KINGS OF THE WEST!” Sorry Spurs fans…

7.   Los Angeles Clippers

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is the new owner of the Clippers, but the roster is still the same. Doc Rivers will carry his team to the 4th seed in the West, and possibly to the Western Conference Finals.

8.   Golden State Warriors

Golden State has a nearly identical roster as last year, but Steve Kerr is the new addition. Kerr will take them to the playoffs, but getting past Round 1 is a 0% chance.

9.   New York Knicks

Phil Jackson has done great. He has got ‘Melo back, hired Derek Fisher, and Jackson will help out Fisher in implementing the Triangle Offense to the New York system. Amar’e Stoudemire will become an elite scorer again, and Panda Friend (formerly Metta World Peace/Ron Artest) will help out with the Triangle Offense. The Atlantic Division will belong to them once again.

10.   Washington Wizards

Paul Pierce came to Washington for some weird reason no one knows. If that reason is winning, DC isn’t exactly for you. Sure, they didn’t take it easy on teams like Chicago and Indiana, but they aren’t the same team.

11.   Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard and Terry Stotts have this team covered. They are ready to put on a show in the NBA.

12.   Indiana Pacers

Frank Vogel had a rough year last year, and with the loss of Lance Stephenson, the road only gets rougher.

13.   Toronto Raptors

Kyle Lowry re-signed immediately on Day 1 of Free Agency, and ever since last year, Toronto has become one of the more dangerous teams out there.

14.   Houston Rockets

James Harden. Dwight Howard. No ‘Melo. No LeBron. It has been a big blow for Houston this year. This coming season might not be so different.

15.   Brooklyn Nets

Brook Lopez is now healthy. Deron Williams is now healthy. Joe Johnson is now healthy. KG is now healthy. Jarrett Jack and new coach Lionel Hollins have come. Paul Pierce and new Bucks coach Jason Kidd have gone. This will be an odd season for Brooklyn.

16.   Charlotte Hornets

Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker are the stars, but the main headline despite a new team name and new look will be the fact that Lance Stephenson has come to Charlotte. This will improve their defense, but I doubt it’ll help them become contenders.

17.   Phoenix Suns

Phoenix was the most exciting team to watch last season, and that will not change. They will get to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

18.   Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis has had ups and downs lately, and now, it’ll go downward.

19.   Atlanta Hawks

Last year, the Hawks soared to the playoffs. This year, the Hawks won’t be allowed to soar.

20.   Boston Celtics

The Celtics will have Rondo healthy, and rookies Marcus Smart and James Young, who are players with tons of potential. Though the Celtics will probably be in the lotto again, the good news for Celtics fans is that they will be contending and winning titles in a few seasons (3+ seasons).

21.   New Orleans Pelicans

Anthony Davis put on a show last year, as he was a contender for the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Jrue Holiday should also help with making this team fun to watch, if not a winning team.

22.   Orlando Magic

Elfrid Payton from Louisiana-Lafayette and Aaron Gordon from Arizona were the 2 biggest surprise picks of the draft, and during this Summer League, they have shown potential. Orlando should end with a better record than last year.

23.   Denver Nuggets

Denver missed the playoffs last year, and this year will continue this playoff drought.

24.   Sacramento Kings

Sacramento will have Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins healthy, and the biggest NBA player (Sim Bhullar from India, 360 lbs), but they aren’t good enough to get this team to the playoffs.

25.   Philadelphia 76ers

Nerlens Noel, the Number 6 pick in last year’s draft, will make his debut this coming season.

26.   Los Angeles Lakers

Julius Randle was a good pick, Kobe will not retire yet, but they will be near the bottom of the West again.

27.   Milwaukee Bucks

Jabari Parker, the Number 2 pick in this year’s draft, will be a definite Rookie of the Year candidate.

28.   Detroit Pistons

Josh Smith is on the verge of being traded, meaning Brandon Jennings, Rodney Stuckey, and Greg Monroe have to lead this team. This coming year will not be much different than last year.

29.   Utah Jazz

Derrick Favors was decent last year, Gordon Hayward’s future is iffy, and Dante Exum isn’t a good enough rookie to be able to lead a team.

30.   Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin Love is a Cav, and the rest of the team is pretty discombobulated. They will have the highest chance of winning the lottery this year.