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2019-20 NBA Thread of Threads

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1 hour ago, _DietDrPepper_ said:

I mean this in the best way possible but with all the hoopla and storylines that have come out of this season, with COVID and the bubble, the Lakers winning it all seems pretty forgettable. Sure it was a nice honor to Kobe, but that feels so long ago already. I think a Nuggets vs Heat final or a Clippers vs Bucks final or something would've been so much more exciting and memorable. Instead we get a stacked Lakers team winning yet another championship. 
That said, congrats to AD and Rondo, my two UK guys on the rings. Hopefully this isn't the last for either of them. 

 

UK basketball fan complaining about legacy teams.

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8 hours ago, _DietDrPepper_ said:

I mean this in the best way possible but with all the hoopla and storylines that have come out of this season, with COVID and the bubble, the Lakers winning it all seems pretty forgettable. Sure it was a nice honor to Kobe, but that feels so long ago already. I think a Nuggets vs Heat final or a Clippers vs Bucks final or something would've been so much more exciting and memorable. Instead we get a stacked Lakers team winning yet another championship. 
That said, congrats to AD and Rondo, my two UK guys on the rings. Hopefully this isn't the last for either of them. 

 

doc rivers what GIF by Bleacher Report

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I would not even say this Lakers team were "stacked". Other than LeBron and AD, who else on that roster would you say was indispensable to the point where you would say you wished your team had that player?

The Lakers had  a mix of veterans who have won (or at least have been to the finals) before and good, albeit, not great, young, talent who contributed. 

Compare that to say, the Clippers, who had Kawhi, *snickers* Paul George, and, probably a bunch of players who have not quite reach the team success of a Rajon Rondo. 

The Lakers were also the more consistent, focused,  and perhaps, more importantly, durable team in the end. To me, the Lakers were a deserving champion. 

P.S. the Dwight Howard 3 at end was quite the exclamation point. LOL.

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I would've loved for the Heat to pull off the Cinderella run to a 'chip, but there's no way in Hell the Lakers were somehow "undeserving" of the 'chip this year. They were a great team before the pause, they were a great team after the pause. If it had been, like, the 33-40 Magic or something, maybe there'd be a little more of a qualm. But it was the 52-19 Lakers who won the 'chip in the end.

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50 minutes ago, DEAD! said:

I would not even say this Lakers team were "stacked". Other than LeBron and AD, who else on that roster would you say was indispensable to the point where you would say you wished your team had that player?

The Lakers had  a mix of veterans who have won (or at least have been to the finals) before and good, albeit, not great, young, talent who contributed. 

Compare that to say, the Clippers, who had Kawhi, *snickers* Paul George, and, probably a bunch of players who have not quite reach the team success of a Rajon Rondo. 

The Lakers were also the more consistent, focused,  and perhaps, more importantly, durable team in the end. To me, the Lakers were a deserving champion. 

P.S. the Dwight Howard 3 at end was quite the exclamation point. LOL.

 

You can't call the 2019/20 Lakers "stacked" now if you called them absurd in the offseason. Not saying you personally did, but maybe other people paid to analyze the NBA were definitely laughing at this roster in July 2019 (and again in July 2020 when they added JR and Dion) and pointing to the PG-less Clippers as the way to do it.

 

In a league without the KD glitch Warriors, the team with the best players wins. In 2020, 17 years into his career, that was LeBron James.

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Lebron James is a special talent that I couldn't imagine disliking (unless you're one of THOSE people). I wish he won this title for a team like Portland or Phoenix because the Lakers are the Lakers, but I like that he's adding to his collection for the dummies who think ring count is the only thing that matters. 

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In general it seems like the LeBron-on-the-Lakers narrative has been... underplayed, somehow. I don't know if it's that that's maybe the only team (besides Chicago) where the team outshines his own stature, or the general LeBron fatigue, or so many storytellers trying to make the other LA team a thing, or Currymania or Giannismania or Lukamania. Just seems like, in a sports world obsessed with narrative, that one has been weirdly overlooked. I think it's compelling! Particularly this year against his old team, which also became weirdly overlooked.

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21 minutes ago, Sport said:

Lebron James is a special talent that I couldn't imagine disliking (unless you're one of THOSE people). I wish he won this title for a team like Portland or Phoenix because the Lakers are the Lakers, but I like that he's adding to his collection for the dummies who think ring count is the only thing that matters. 

 

I often get tired about comparing him to Jordan for a GOAT debate because they are different players and had different supporting casts around them.

Sure, if the game was on the line, I would take Jordan because he is a more notable scorer, but I recently became fascinated by LeBron's assists stat. It suggests that he has great court vision and the trust he has in his teammates. When you consider an assist is worth at least two points, LeBron's contribution to the overall team success has at least been consistent for all these years. 

 

https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jamesle01.html

https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html

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26 minutes ago, Digby said:

In general it seems like the LeBron-on-the-Lakers narrative has been... underplayed, somehow. I don't know if it's that that's maybe the only team (besides Chicago) where the team outshines his own stature, or the general LeBron fatigue, or so many storytellers trying to make the other LA team a thing, or Currymania or Giannismania or Lukamania. Just seems like, in a sports world obsessed with narrative, that one has been weirdly overlooked. I think it's compelling! Particularly this year against his old team, which also became weirdly overlooked.

 

I also thought it was weird that this wasn't discussed more. Maybe it's because the games were in a neutral location so he wasn't going into his old arena in Miami to play in front of his old fans?

 

Or is it because an NBA player's relationship with the team they play for is the most openly mercenarial in sports? In football they have to lie and pretend like they're one of the troops and that they wouldn't play for any other organization. In baseball and hockey they're drafted and developed in farm systems as young men so they have more attachment to their first team. But in the NBA there's more honesty about what the guys are there to do and how they're treated. They're hired guns, they know they're hired guns and aren't afraid to be vocal about switching teams and cities. The teams know this too. When's the last time an NBA guy signed a team friendly deal just because he loves being, like, a Charlotte Hornet?

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12 minutes ago, Sport said:

 

I also thought it was weird that this wasn't discussed more. Maybe it's because the games were in a neutral location so he wasn't going into his old arena in Miami to play in front of his old fans?

 

Or is it because an NBA player's relationship with the team they play for is the most openly mercenarial in sports? In football they have to lie and pretend like they're one of the troops and that they wouldn't play for any other organization. In baseball and hockey they're drafted and developed in farm systems as young men so they have more attachment to their first team. But in the NBA there's more honesty about what the guys are there to do and how they're treated. They're hired guns, they know they're hired guns and aren't afraid to be vocal about switching teams and cities. The teams know this too. When's the last time an NBA guy signed a team friendly deal just because he loves being, like, a Charlotte Hornet?

 

Interestingly, LeBron James signed for less than he could have elsewhere to play in Miami.

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1 hour ago, Ridleylash said:

I would've loved for the Heat to pull off the Cinderella run to a 'chip, but there's no way in Hell the Lakers were somehow "undeserving" of the 'chip this year. They were a great team before the pause, they were a great team after the pause. If it had been, like, the 33-40 Magic or something, maybe there'd be a little more of a qualm. But it was the 52-19 Lakers who won the 'chip in the end.

... well, there is still the ...uh....  29-31 Astros

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I'm just happy the season is over given how miserable I was after Game 7 Raptors-Celtics.
Raps lost.
Celts lost.
Heat lost. 

Good for you, Lebron. On to next season soon.

#wethenorth

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2 hours ago, Digby said:

In general it seems like the LeBron-on-the-Lakers narrative has been... underplayed, somehow. I don't know if it's that that's maybe the only team (besides Chicago) where the team outshines his own stature, or the general LeBron fatigue, or so many storytellers trying to make the other LA team a thing, or Currymania or Giannismania or Lukamania. Just seems like, in a sports world obsessed with narrative, that one has been weirdly overlooked. I think it's compelling! Particularly this year against his old team, which also became weirdly overlooked.

LeBron and Lakers really does seem like a lethal "Sports Media Dead-Horse-Beating" combo.  I'm glad it did not feel that way, though. I get burned out on the constant talk about teams with national followings. Historically I don't like the Lakers but I was happy to see this because I think the finals losses part of LeBron's legacy is somewhat unfair. (Like, would he be better off never having taken the 2007 team to the finals?).  And in a strange way, even though this was the Lakers, it's kind of the most impressive one. The first two were with a super-team, the Cleveland one happened because lotto luck and other cirucumstances made it a good situation (and a BS suspension tarnishes it). But the Lakers team he went to did not seem ready to compete; it felt like by the time it was, he was too old.  Yeah, AD was a key addition but wasn't part of the criticism that nobody went to join LeBron (in Cleveland, mind you) and he had to join others?  This time they joined him and I would not call this a "super team." 

 

It's funny, with LeBron I hear everything from "he's the GOAT" to "He's Karl Malone with better ring-chasing; a Hall-of-Famer but nothing more."

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Probably also worth mentioning is that LeBron now has won a ring with three different teams. Right off the top of my head I can't think of another pro athlete who's managed to pull that off.

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14 minutes ago, Buc said:

Probably also worth mentioning is that LeBron now has won a ring with three different teams. Right off the top of my head I can't think of another pro athlete who's managed to pull that off.

Lonnie Smith was a baserunning mistake away from doing it with four

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14 hours ago, DEAD! said:

 

I'm no Lakers fan, but I respect them enough to be satisfied that they caught up to the Celtics. 

 

by the way, Has anyone tried to Google "NBA Champions" and noticed fireworks on the screen? 

spacer.png

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40 minutes ago, Buc said:

Probably also worth mentioning is that LeBron now has won a ring with three different teams. Right off the top of my head I can't think of another pro athlete who's managed to pull that off.

 

John Salley and Robert Horry come to mind. I think there's one other. Clear difference, of course, is that LeBron isn't a role player but instead was the featured guy for three very different rosters in three almost very different eras.

 

MJ was amazing, but his career course was easier to chart -- drafted out of college, struggled against the 80s Celtics and Pistons, then broke through and won 6 titles in 7 years he played. Then his two 40-year-old seasons where the Wizards couldn't make the playoffs in a weak conference, but like the 1995 playoffs, those tend to be forgotten.

 

LeBron's is trickier. Everyone wanted him to suffer in Cleveland until he broke through like MJ did, except Cleveland never supported him with a guy like Scottie Pippen. Instead he got Larry Hughes, fat Shaq, and old Antawn Jamison. So LeBron got the eff out, went to Miami, won a couple of titles, saw they were at the end of that run (and he was right!) and he got the eff out again and repeated the process in Cleveland.

 

Along the way, LeBron encouraged a total change in NBA player empowerment narratives. @Sport says the NBA is more of a mercenary league, but that wasn't really true in the same way it is now until LeBron broke that expectation. He spent 7 years suffering under bad ownership, saw his legacy was suffering as a result, and he decided it was more important for players to maximize their winning and earning potential in limited careers than be at the whims of ownership and management that take them for granted.

 

Do you think MJ would have stuck around in Chicago for forever if he didn't have a good supporting cast? Given that he left Chicago the way he did, of course not. And the CBA is way more beneficial to players now than it was in the 90s, so it's totally possible a different salary structure would have led to some very different results. (There's also the possibility that with a better agent and shorter years, Scottie doesn't spend his prime drastically underpaid.)

 

I'm losing my thread here. MJ's narrative is pretty simple to follow: get drafted, suck, get good, win. LeBron's is different: got drafted with expectations of being the next MJ, go to the Finals way before anyone imagined was possible, leave Cleveland to orchestrate a superteam (not the first! but people pretend it is), leave Miami to do another, make the Finals so frequently people got bored rather than amazed, finally get injured in year 16, watch a stream of people (Steph, KD, Kawhi, Giannis) get anointed his replacement while he's still playing, and then win a title in dominant fashion anyway. All that, and be among the greatest ambassadors for social change American sports have ever seen (and I won't entertain bad-faith China arguments here).

 

When I think about LeBron, I think about a player who has surpassed impossible expectations and been told he was failing along the entire way. No other GOAT-status player got that treatment in my lifetime.

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Not to interrupt the Lebron love-fest, but can we give some credit to Adam Silver and the rest of the league for their management of the bubble situation? 

For all the crap they got at the beginning, they manage to pull it off with really no major issues.  

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Both the NHL and NBA did pretty well with their bubbles.  MLB stumbled but managed to make their system work OK.  The NFL has seemed to be on the edge of disaster for a while now, but they're skating by.


Unfortunately, bubbles are not a long-term solution.  The NBA and NHL are not doing this for a full season. But yeah, kudos to both for what they did. It was kinda fun having games played almost all day for a while.

 

1 hour ago, DG_ThenNowForever said:

 

John Salley and Robert Horry come to mind. I think there's one other. Clear difference, of course, is that LeBron isn't a role player but instead was the featured guy for three very different rosters in three almost very different eras.

 

MJ was amazing, but his career course was easier to chart -- drafted out of college, struggled against the 80s Celtics and Pistons, then broke through and won 6 titles in 7 years he played. Then his two 40-year-old seasons where the Wizards couldn't make the playoffs in a weak conference, but like the 1995 playoffs, those tend to be forgotten.

 

LeBron's is trickier. Everyone wanted him to suffer in Cleveland until he broke through like MJ did, except Cleveland never supported him with a guy like Scottie Pippen. Instead he got Larry Hughes, fat Shaq, and old Antawn Jamison. So LeBron got the eff out, went to Miami, won a couple of titles, saw they were at the end of that run (and he was right!) and he got the eff out again and repeated the process in Cleveland.

 

Along the way, LeBron encouraged a total change in NBA player empowerment narratives. @Sport says the NBA is more of a mercenary league, but that wasn't really true in the same way it is now until LeBron broke that expectation. He spent 7 years suffering under bad ownership, saw his legacy was suffering as a result, and he decided it was more important for players to maximize their winning and earning potential in limited careers than be at the whims of ownership and management that take them for granted.

 

Do you think MJ would have stuck around in Chicago for forever if he didn't have a good supporting cast? Given that he left Chicago the way he did, of course not. And the CBA is way more beneficial to players now than it was in the 90s, so it's totally possible a different salary structure would have led to some very different results. (There's also the possibility that with a better agent and shorter years, Scottie doesn't spend his prime drastically underpaid.)

 

I'm losing my thread here. MJ's narrative is pretty simple to follow: get drafted, suck, get good, win. LeBron's is different: got drafted with expectations of being the next MJ, go to the Finals way before anyone imagined was possible, leave Cleveland to orchestrate a superteam (not the first! but people pretend it is), leave Miami to do another, make the Finals so frequently people got bored rather than amazed, finally get injured in year 16, watch a stream of people (Steph, KD, Kawhi, Giannis) get anointed his replacement while he's still playing, and then win a title in dominant fashion anyway. All that, and be among the greatest ambassadors for social change American sports have ever seen (and I won't entertain bad-faith China arguments here).

 

When I think about LeBron, I think about a player who has surpassed impossible expectations and been told he was failing along the entire way. No other GOAT-status player got that treatment in my lifetime.

Good points, particularly the bold.  Jordan joined a putrid team but their management was just about to start putting together a great cast. And then his team (and eventually Kobe's) became teams people wanted to join. For some reason that did not happen in Cleveland the way it did in Chicago and LA.  I'm pretty unapolgetically pro-LeBron because I think he ran into different circumstances than other stars and I've always had the opinion that circumstances matter.  From his crummy small market cast in Cleveland, to better teams (Spurs semi-dyansty, Golden State) being around than were during the 1990s, to playing for an array of mediocre coaches (as opposed to the one coach on the bench for Jordan and Kobe's 11 titles), to looking like having THE team to win a few in Cleveland right as Golden State was about to change everything.  Does he catch Jordan? of course not. Kobe?  Maybe.  But, as you say, everything that happened during LeBron's career is a complicating factor.  Counting rings and holding finals losses against him is just a little too simple.

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5 minutes ago, OnWis97 said:

  Counting rings and holding finals losses against him is just a little too simple.

I recall this whole "rings" debate when comparing Brady to Montana, which is now a moot point as Brady has passed Montana in rings. Jordan went to six finals and won them all, but it also meant failing to get to the finals in all the other years. Magic Johnson played about 12+ seasons and went to 9 finals. In some respects, I wished I had Magic's career over Jordan's. 

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