Monday, November 29, 2010
Advice For LeBron--And The Heat
I have turned on LeBron. One year ago, I worshiped the guy. Now, following his dissing of his hometown, his one hour TV special to announce the dissing of his hometown, his giving himself the nickname "King James", and his stupid new Nike commercial, I've grown to dislike him very, very much. I used to think of him as perhaps the greatest physical talent I had ever seen on the court--a down-to-earth guy who would win many titles. Now, I think of him as an egomanical coach killer.
So, it is with great hesitation that I offer this advice to LBJ. Nothing would please me more than to have the Cavs finish with a better record this season than the Heat--but that's not going to happen. What also isn't going to happen is Miami winning the title. Unless they follow my plan.
There are a few guys in the league who I've always thought were out of position. Two guys in particular who play the 2 & 3 spots that I've always thought should be point guards. One is Brandon Roy--he was a point guard for half of his four years in college at Washington, and when you watch Portland games he does more ball handling and playmaking (especially in the 4th quarter) than anyone on the team, including the always overrated Andre Miller. Roy's rookie year I thought he was Portland's point guard, because that's what it looked like on the court and because Jarrett Jack sucked. For his career Roy averages 5 assists per game, an has a great feel for the art of passing. The Blazers have nothing to lose, having not won a playoff series since '00--although I understand that Roy's knees are bad, and playing point might be too much. However, playing the off guard position requires you to chase guys like Kobe and Wade and Manu night after night, which isn't exactly a vacation for your knees.
But I digress, because it's the other guy in the NBA that should be playing point for his team that I really want to discuss: LeBron. He currently leads the Heat in assists at 8 per game. Imagine what kind of assist totals he would rack up if he went Magic Johnson on us? It's soon-to-be Miami head coach Pat Riley's job to talk LeBron into being his team's Magic. In fact, that's what Riley and LeBron both mentioned as a big factor in his choosing Miami--he didn't want to worry about how many points he scored, he just wanted to set up Wade and Bosh. So why not do it? Right now James and Wade are each averaging 22 ppg. Who exactly is setting up whom?
The Heat have no point guard. They are a mess right now, with everyone worried about deferring to everyone else. Nobody on the team wants to be seen as a ball hog, so they all go overboard to please their teammates. Giving LeBron the point guard duties would establish desperately needed order. LeBron is, along with Jason Kidd, the most gifted passer in the game today. His ball handling is good, not great--but Magic wasn't exactly Curly Neal. As long as you know how to take care of the rock, you don't need to be an otherworldly dribbler to play an effective point. And, Magic was 6'9 (soft), LeBron is 6'8 (chiseled)--both a matchup nightmare with the size to see the whole court.
Plus, Wade is the Jordan-esque closer on that team, not LeBron. Things would work a lot better if it was James setting up Wade for the kill. LeBron looked like he might become a Jordan-esque closer, but that was just for one night in Auburn Hills in '07. He never got there again.
I really believe that LeBron would put up Magic-like numbers if he played the point--he would average 18 points and 12-15 assists per game. I think he would love it. And, taking over the most unselfish position on the court would do wonders for his image.
We would also find out if LeBron is a winner or not. Magic was great because, above all else, he had a burning desire to win. We don't know if LeBron has that. We don't know anymore if LeBron is a classic leader, or just a spoiled talent. Moving him to point would answer a lot.
But, since it's my great desire to see the Heat fail, I hope that they don't read this blog.