Monday, January 10, 2005

LeBron is better than T-Mac and Kobe already.

Lebron James is only in the second year of his NBA career and at the age of 20 he is already one of the elite players in the game. I predict that next year he will average 30 points and probably about 8 assist as well. If you compared him to Tracy McGrady or Kobe Bryant at the same points in their careers he'd win hands down. But forget that!!! How about comparing him to them right now. He still wins hands down. Why?? How about because he understands the fact that basketball is a team sport and that no matter how good you are 1 on 1 you can't consistently win unless you have someone like Shaq on your team to carry you.

Now see, in L.A. when Kobe had Shaq by his side he was winning because Shaq is the most dominant player in the world. No question about it. Kobe is a great scorer but everyone with even the slightest knowledge of basketball knows that the Lakers were always Shaqs team and they wouldn't have won a championship without him. If Kobe had been more of a team player than he was they probably would have broken the Bulls 72 wins in a season record and they probably would have won the championship last year too.

My friends and I always talked about how any team that had Shaq would be a Championship contender for the simple fact that nobody can stop him. Lets face it, all you really need is a few guys that can hit open shots, a half decent point guard and probably another half decent rebounder. Pretty much any team in the league right? So Kobe had been living of Shaq for a long time. Without Shaq, Kobe would be no more highly regarded than Vince Carter. We all know that Kobe bases his play on MJ. He probably already thinks he's at the same level that MJ was in his prime. The guy is a tosser. The recent hostility between he and Ray Allen proves that. Ray Allen is one of the best players going around and has has been for a while now. He's definetly a player's player. Awesome jumper, great inside game, great athlete, great team player and has skills that easily match Kobe. Sure Kobe does some more acrobatic dunks but who cares.

Now onto T-Mac. I haven't liked this guy for years. Ever since he got into that scuffle with Bobby Jackson a few seasons ago. The guy is the biggest ego maniac in the game today. The biggest joke was when he was facing up against the Charlotte Hornets (before the city change to New Orleans) and Baron Davis in the playoffs. T-Mac came out and bagged his teammates by saying something along the lines of we all know who the best player on the court is. I'd say that considering that Baron Davis almost averaged a triple double in that series and his team wiped the floor with Orlando every game pretty much sums up who the best player was.

We all saw T-Mac's recent heroics of scoring about 12 points in a minute or whatever it was. Sure it was impressive but if the ball is in your hands everytime down the floor whenever the game is on the line then you're gonna have these things happen every once in a while. Don't get me wrong, the guy has talent but much like Kobe, he doesn't understand the word "TEAM". It's not like Steve Francis was any slouch in Houston but when Yao Ming arrived, Steve knew to give it to the 7 foot 5 inch guy with skills because he would take you places. Unfortunately for Yao, he got shafted and they brought in a 1 on 1 player who doesn't understand the concept of team play. Also funny is the rise of Orlando since T-Mac left. I mean nobody is game enough to say it's all because Grant Hill is healthy or because Dwight Howard is exceeding his rookie expectations. The only thing that comes to mind is that they're playing as a team. Notice that word "TEAM", it comes up a lot when you talk about winning. Everyone bailed T-Mac out when he was in Orlando by saying he doesn't have the support players. What a load of crap, teams have done much better with much less talent simply by playing as a team. Look at the Bobcats this year. The NBA should stop glorifying these high flying offensive freakshows and start giving some credit to the real "basketball players" in the league.

LeBron has arrived on the scene now, this is a guy that could average 30 this season if he played as selfishly as T-Mac and Kobe. But he is playing to win, not by doing it single handedly, but by getting his team mates involved and hussling for everything. The guy has huge offensive weapons as well as crazy hops, amazing speed and power. He matches Kobe and T-Mac in those areas and probably exceeds them in the speed and power areas but the area that he totally destroys them in is passing. He also has fantastic court awareness and seems to see plays far before they develop much in the same way that Jason Kidd does or Magic Johnson and Tim Hardaway did in their days.

I believe LeBron will be the most outstanding player in the league by 2007 (possibly even earlier). I hope the kids of today are watching and learning from him. I hope they're not looking at his high flying dunks and thinking that's how to win games. T-Mac's been doing that for years and look at him.

It was totally embarrassing watching USA play in the Olympics this year. There are tons of players in the NBA that should've got a start ahead of a guy like Richard Jefferson. He showed what he can do without Kidd drawing and dishing on the fast break... Not Much!!!
Meanwhile the phenom who is gonna take Basketball to new heights around the world was sitting on the bench waiting for a chance to show his teammates how to play. That chance never came.

I kept hearing the commentators say that the rest of the world had caught up to the USA. Fair enough... they have, because they watched the players like Magic, Jordan, Bird and Pippen. They learned how to win by playing as a team. Not only have the other international teams improved but the NBA and USA Basketball has gone backwards. I hope that teams like the Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies, Charlotte Bobcats and Detroit Pistons have shown some of these ego-maniacs what it takes to win.

MJ wasn't a winner because of his big dunks, he was a winner because he knew that as good as he was, he couldn't do it on his own. He needed his teammates.

LeBron James is 20. He already knows what it takes to win. All he needs now is time to get consistent and he'll get there.