When LeBron left Cleveland 6 season ago, all hell broke lose. The once loved, hometown hero of Ohio, turned into public enemy number 1, after making the decision live, on ESPN. The moment was dubbed, “The Decision”, which will forever live in infamy. What followed, were death threats, the burning of LeBron jerseys, a “letter” from owner Dan Gilbert, and a collective hatred for LeBron James in Cleveland, and elsewhere. Despite all of this, LeBron appeared to have made the right decision, immediately shifting the powers in the east, as the Heat went to 4 straight NBA Finals, and the Cavaliers flopped miserably. Fast forward to today. LeBron has returned to Cleveland, bringing them to their second straight NBA Finals, but once again, is facing harsh criticism, and embarrassment. I think i speak for most NBA fans when i say, “LeBron should have stayed in Miami.”
LeBron’s return to Cleveland has been anything but glamorous. Last year he faced problems with David Blatt, troubles with chemistry throughout the season, rumors swirling of Kyrie and LeBron’s dislike for each other, and a failure to live up to eager Cleveland fan’s expectations.
A season later, not much has changed. The Cav’s “Big Three” still lacks chemistry, David Blatt was fired for essentially no reason other than LeBron not liking him, and once again, it appears that a disappointing finish to the season is around the corner.
The biggest problem(s), in my mind, is Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Just like Wade and Bosh, these two were the “go to guys” before joining forces with LeBron; but Wade and Bosh are different in one huge way: They adjusted.
They changed their games to fit the team mold, and they did it for the sake of winning championships. They understood that nearly every play would go through LeBron and they played within that system. Wade still averaged 22 ppg in those 4 years with Lebron, but he shot nearly 4 less shots per game than he did the previous 4 seasons, without LeBron. This shows what Wade did for the sake of the team. He played his role, and let LeBron have his team. This is why they won championships, including one against a historically great Spurs team.
When you look at Kyrie and Love, it is clear that they aren’t happy. Kyrie isn’t willing to do what Wade did, and Love isn’t willing to do what Bosh did. Both of them want to be “that dude”. It doesn’t matter who you throw in there at coach, the situation will remain the same. Even more ironic is the fact that the Cav’s traded away Dion Waiters due to his unhappiness, and unwillingness to play to his team role. He was shooting far too much for who he was to the team. Who did they replace him with?
There was some hope after a game 3 stomping of the Warriors in Cleveland, but that hope was quickly smothered, as the ‘Splashbros’ were finally able to find their rhythm. Curry scored 38 points with 7 three’s in the game, while Klay Thompson put in 25 points of his own with 4 three’s. The Warriors hit 17 three’s total, while the Cav’s made just 6. There is some hope in game 5, as Draymond Green has been suspended for the game, but the likelihood of a Cleveland championship is slim to none. In fact, no team in NBA finals history has ever won after facing a 3-1 deficit.
Just like the first time around Cleveland has failed to surround LeBron with the proper tools to win a championship. Cleveland has been able to get there twice off of sheer talent, but facing the Warriors, and their “strength in numbers”, they have faltered. Cleveland will most likely lose it’s second straight, and do not be surprised if LeBron leaves home for good.