So by no means am I a NBA head coach but I’d like to think I watch a lot of NBA basketball and I follow the game as much as possible whether it’s keeping up with the latest news,trade rumors,game results, you name it. The last thing I want to do is sound bias on this article but it’s my take on the situation which is the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers are falling off a cliff and All-Star Kevin Love just got injured and will be out 6-8 weeks with a broken hand. Isaiah Thomas has returned to action and has not looked the same but can you blame the guy? He had been out for about 25% of the season and is still trying to find his way playing alongside Lebron James.
So the question is what is the problem with the Cleveland Cavaliers and why do they keep losing? How did they lose to a Piston team without their newly acquired All-Star Blake Griffin and with 3 players who are not on anyone’ scouting report(Stanley Johnson,Anthony Tolliver, and Ish Smith) light them up? It starts with head coach Tyronn Lue and Lebron James is right behind him. My question is when has Lebron James ever obeyed a head coach? He ran David Blatt out of town after the man lead the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals the prior year and took the 67 win Warriors to 6 games without their other all-stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Ultimately they lost in 6 games in the Finals but David Blatt had the Cavaliers sitting in 1st place before he got fired, so why did he get fired? Lebron James.
So Tyronn Lue comes aboard and clearly Tyronn Lue is not as head-strong a coach as David Blatt was who was much older and more experienced then Tyronn Lue. Lebron James does not want to be coached by someone who will have him play in a system, on this Cavaliers team Lebron James dominates the ball and holds the ball for extended periods of time not allowing his teammates to get into a rhythm? Not taking anything away from Lebron James who will go down a top 10 player all-time but the man refuses to play in a system and everything has to be ran through him. Do you think Stephen Curry would have the amount of success he has had in Golden State if he chose to play his way and not buy into Steve Kerr’s system? How about superstar Kevin Durant, do you think Kevin Durant would have became a champion if he just came into the Warriors and refuse to sacrifice his game? No, what makes the Golden State Warriors special is their are no egos and everyone shares the ball plus they are all coach-able and buy into Kerr’s system which emphasizes ball movement,elite team defense, and sacrificing for one another.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have all the firepower they need, they have big names from the starting unit all the way to the bench. The problem is Lebron James wants to be the poing guard,shooting guard,small forward, and power forward. Could you imagine how stagnant the Warriors offense would be if Kevin Durant came to Golden State with the same motive? For all of Lebron James’s career I always wondered why can’t he just focus on being a small-forward and leave the point guard duties to the point guard? I get it the guy has really good court-vision but basketball is a team game and the Cavaliers do not need Lebron James to be everything for them to win, they have point guards who can run the offense in Isaiah Thomas,Derrick Rose,Jose Calderon, and even Dwyane Wade if needed. If Lebron James would let himself be coached and focus on the defensive end the Cavaliers would be a lot more fluid and Isaiah Thomas,Derrick Rose, and Dwyane Wade would flourish.
I saw Isaiah Thomas lead the Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals last season so no one should be questioning his leadership skills, he said it himself in a post game interview that he feels guys are not sacrificing for each other. Wherever Lebron James plays everyone around him has to adjust their style of play, Chris Bosh had to do it,Kevin Love has had to do it,Kyrie Irving had to do it, and now Isaiah Thomas has to do it. Kyrie Irving left Lebron James’s side because he wanted to lead his own team, he wanted to be more then just a scorer, he wanted to be the floor general he was never allowed to be alongside Lebron James. Quite frankly if Lebron James chose to be a small-forward instead of a point forward and playing his style of ball he would not have 5 Finals losses, Lebron James has the potential to be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate every single season. With that size and athleticism I do not understand how the man has not won at least 2 in his career, the amount of energy he expends on the offensive end could be spent on the defensive side of the ball.
Lebron James could anchor a defense he just chooses not to, he wants to get all the points,rebounds, and assists possible and that requires controlling the ball. If Lebron James chose right now to sacrifice control of the ball and play off the ball on both ends the Cavaliers would be unstoppable and their defense would not be at the bottom of the league right now. If Isaiah Thomas could lead a crew of Jae Crowder,Avery Bradley, and Al Horford to 53 wins and a number 1 seed there is no way he can’t do it with Dwyane Wade,Jae Crowder,Jeff Green,Kyle Korver,JR Smith,Kevin Love,Tristan Thompson, and Lebron James. The Cavaliers should be on pace for 60-65 wins easily but again their struggles attribute to Tyronn Lue and Lebron James. Tyronn Lue is not head-strong enough to coach Lebron James, it’s a tough job but if Tyronn Lue continues to let Lebron James control the offense and not utilize him differently the Cavaliers will continue to struggle and won’t be winning a championship this season.
To conclude I am by no means a Lebron James hater I just see so many ways in which he could dominate the game without having to dominate the ball so much. I’ve never seen anyone built like Lebron James physically with that type of size,speed,athleticism, and brute strength. He gets in his own way if you ask me, could you imagine if Lebron James chose to buy in on playing off the ball on both ends how Kawhi Leonard does for the Spurs? He would be unstoppable but he wants to be the point-forward and he has become quite predictable. Teams already expect him to hold the ball for 5-15 seconds run off the shot clock and drive to the basket for a lay-up or dunk or a kick-out to a shooter which works but in the playoffs against teams like the Boston Celtics,Golden State Warriors, and San Antonio Spurs which switch on defense and communicate well he will fail. Simple as that, defenses will be sure to cover the shooters and be ready for a Lebron pass to get a deflection, that is why he turns the ball over so much. But anyways I am no NBA head coach but that is my take on it, blessings.