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NBA Playoffs Thread
(2018-06-07, 03:07 AM)bluejayyay Wrote:
(2018-06-06, 10:35 PM)Canuxxx Wrote:
(2018-06-06, 10:31 PM)Pouzar Wrote: Wow, GS goes up 3-0.

Not really surprised. The Warriors are the greatest team ever assembled. And they're playing against LeBron + a bunch of scrubs. This is a complete mismatch.


Honestly, that is a tired narrative. Kevin Love was a top 10 player before he joined the Cavs. George Hill is an excellent player, and as recently as last year was a quality third option on a 51 win team in the conference with a pulse. Korver is one of the best shooters ever, and a quality player. Nance is a quality player off the bench. TT, while not worth the contract, is one of the best offensive rebounders in basketball.

The inconvenient truth is that LeBron, despite being a generational player and GOAT contender/minimum top 5 player, doesn’t really make players better like the conventional wisdom goes.

See here:  http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/23684...tes-better

LeBron usually makes great shooters/3-and-d players better. But other guys that need touches often? No. How can he when he dominates the ball to such a degree?

I was cautious about voicing such an opinion in years past, but now it’s become so self-evident that his reputation for making teammates better is exaggerated that I can’t see how this is even mildly controversial. Almost every single high usage player has looked worse/about the same playing with him. Not merely in terms of per-game stats (that’s to be expected), but also in efficiency and overall offensive potency.

Also, let it be known that LeBron is something resembling a defacto GM for that team and regularly goes to bat for players that the organization should let walk. Neither JR nor TT and his bloated contract would be on that roster without his guiding hand.

Calling George Hill an excellent player, especially at this point, is a stretch.  He was a 3rd option (in 49 games) on a 51 win team...that was swept by Golden State.  Where does he rank among all point guards in the league?  I'm not knocking him here, and keep in mind I'm looking at 'excellent player' in a league wide context. 

Kevin Love was a Top 10 player, but he's certainly not anymore.

This Cavaliers team has no business being in the Finals - and as I wrote before, if you swap him out with Durant, Curry or Thompson I don't think they get to the Finals.  And let's not forget guys like Hamilton, Nance, Clarkson, etc. showed up at the trade deadline. The Cavaliers team that's in the Finals was essentially put together a few months ago (aside from guys like Love and Thompson, of course).

Korver is a great shooter, but he's also 37 years old.

Let's put it this way - swap out Lebron with a 'star' like DeRozan, and I think this is a team that finishes near the bottom of the league.
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Calling George Hill an excellent player, especially at this point, is a stretch.  He was a 3rd option (in 49 games) on a 51 win team...that was swept by Golden State. 


Getting swept by one of the best teams ever assembled is hardly damning. Mind you i did not say they were a contender.. they were a good team, and Hill was a legit third option, averaging 17 points a game on 60% true shooting. Every advanced metric pegs him as no less than an excellent player: 1.9 career bpm, .143ws/48, .153 WP48, etc.


Kevin Love was a Top 10 player, but he's certainly not anymore.

He ceased to be a top 10 (or 20, or 30) player literally the instant he started playing with LeBron and largely became a floor spacer, which simply bolsters my point that LeBron‘s greatness can be quantified by the box score; he certainly isn’t making his teammates better in any significant way.

This Cavaliers team has no business being in the Finals - and as I wrote before, if you swap him out with Durant, Curry or Thompson I don't think they get to the Finals. 

I think a core of Durant/Love/Hill/TT/Korver could absolutely make the finals in this years East. KD’s off-ball ability would mesh with this offence quite well. I also think Love would be more effective playing with KD, and the spacing would be. better. Also, Nance is an excellent player, full-stop. Shame that Lue fails to see this.

Remember too that the Cavs needed 7 games to beat a middling Pacers team and a gutted Celtics team. Only against the Raptors were they particularly impressive.


And let's not forget guys like Hamilton, Nance, Clarkson, etc. showed up at the trade deadline. The Cavaliers team that's in the Finals was essentially put together a few months ago (aside from guys like Love and Thompson, of course).

Agreed, but the players they gave up more than made up for the chemistry issues IMO. Rose and Wade are nothing ballplayers at this stage of their careers...IT was horrendous...and Crowder was also awful (incidentally, he was a year removed from the best year of his career, make of that what you will)..getting rid of all those negatives was a massive step in the right direction, and they had half a year to build chemistry.

Korver is a great shooter, but he's also 37 years old.

True, but he’s still a net-positive on any team.

Let's put it this way - swap out Lebron with a 'star' like DeRozan, and I think this is a team that finishes near the bottom of the league.

I think they’d be a 10th-11th seed or so with DeRozan, but that’s due in no small part to DD’s proclivity for mindless iso ball and over reliance on the mid-range.

You’re selling this Cavs team a little short. They acquitted themselves just fine this year with LBJ off the court (I believe LeBrons +/- was a mere +2.0), and managed to finish 3rd in the league in 3pt makes (6th in %).

The problem with the Cavs is their roster management as much as it is their personnel. It may be in vogue to scapegoat JR, but there is no reason to play him 30 minutes a game. He is one of the worst starters in the league and the Cavs would become better simply by halving his minutes.

Anyhow, I don’t dispute that LeBron is the best player in the league or even that he is a viable GOAT candidate. I just think there is an overwhelming quantity of evidence that roundly debunks the idea that he has the ability to make other players any better than the average superstar does. His teammates shouldn’t shoulder ALL the blame for not acclimatizing to LeBron-ball, and in fact LeBron is partially to blame for limiting the effectiveness of some of the star players he’s played with. This becomes more obvious every time a) a great or serviceable player declines or sometimes becomes damn-near unplayable alongside LBJ and/or b) they have career years on other teams (think Kyrie this year).
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It would appear that the Cav's have completely given up

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Yup, this isn't looking good at all.
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Sweeeeeeeeeeep!

In embarrassing fashion.
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Not a ton of drama in this series....
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Glad I didn't watch this game - or much of the series after Game One. I guess the Cavs got a taste of what they fed the Raptors.
---
Give Marc Bergevin some credit.
(He'll pay you back with -10% interest.)
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Can't believe Lebron played games 2-4 with a broken hand. Insane
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(2018-06-08, 05:34 AM)bluejayyay Wrote: I think they’d be a 10th-11th seed or so with DeRozan, but that’s due in no small part to DD’s proclivity for mindless iso ball and over reliance on the mid-range.

But that's exactly the point. The Knicks finished 11th in the East this year (29-53).  They were an awful team.

Pre-concussion Kevin Love was a great 2nd/3rd option.  Hill is a good player, but overall Cleveland isn't a good team.

Would they have got to the Finals with Durant instead of James? I don't think they would've.  James has a higher basketball IQ and is a better ball distributor.  Let's not forget that Oklahoma made the Finals once when he was there (with another superstar on the team), and they nearly lost to Houston in the West Finals with Durant being surprisingly ineffective.
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(2018-06-10, 08:52 AM)Stevie_Y Wrote: Can't believe Lebron played games 2-4 with a broken hand. Insane

Yeah, I can only imagine how great he would've been completely healthy.

He certainly seemed a little off after the first game.
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(2018-06-10, 11:31 AM)Unreal Wrote:
(2018-06-08, 05:34 AM)bluejayyay Wrote: I think they’d be a 10th-11th seed or so with DeRozan, but that’s due in no small part to DD’s proclivity for mindless iso ball and over reliance on the mid-range.

But that's exactly the point. The Knicks finished 11th in the East this year (29-53).  They were an awful team.

Pre-concussion Kevin Love was a great 2nd/3rd option.  Hill is a good player, but overall Cleveland isn't a good team.

Would they have got to the Finals with Durant instead of James? I don't think they would've.  James has a higher basketball IQ and is a better ball distributor.  Let's not forget that Oklahoma made the Finals once when he was there (with another superstar on the team), and they nearly lost to Houston in the West Finals with Durant being surprisingly ineffective.

When I said 10th/11th seed I had around 37 or so wins in mind. Alas, this is the East, so that’s my miscalculation. Also DeRozan is, in my judgment, one of the most overrated players in basketball. I think they’d win the same without him even there.

Pre-LeBron Love was a great second option, bordering on first option offensively. When he was allowed more freedom on offense, he thrived, and was also a better offensive rebounder when not glued to the perimeter. He averaged 26/13/4 on 59% TS in 2013-2014, was 4th in win shares/48 and 3rd in BPM. Yeah, 40-42 doesn’t sound like the most sterling record, but this was in a year where the conference imbalance was at an all-time high (the West won around 64% of the games that year), and his best teammates were Kevin Martin, Pekovic and Rubio (and with Martin/Pekovic missing a combined 42 games...surely that’s as bad, if not worse, than LeBrons supporting cast this year.) To boot, they vastly underperformed their Pythagorean W-L, which was 48-34 (higher than this years Cavs mark of 43-39), and their record against the East was 18-12. The West is a graveyard for middling teams with only one great player.

Even in his diminished role, however, Love has proven to be an extremely valuable member of the Cavs. Since he has joined the team, they have gone 180-91 with him in the lineup, 31-26 when he’s out. It was much the same when he was with the Wolves. As ghastly as some of those teams records were, they were that much worse when Love spent time on the shelf.

With KD, again I don’t regard him as LeBrons superior by any means, but this is simply not a fair comparison in light of the difference between the two conferences. Swap their squads from those years and OKC makes the finals several times in the East, at the very least. Let’s do a year-by-year rundown

2010: 6th seed, lost to the eventual champs in the first round. In the East, they’d have an outside shot of reaching the finals if you switch them with the Cavs.
2011: 55 wins, lose in the WCF to the eventual champions. I think they’d be even odds to make the finals in the East if switched with the Heat.
2012: 47-19. Here they made the finals beating at least two teams better than the best EC team LeBron beat en route.
2013: 60 wins and they lose in the second round. Disappointing, but once again, look at their competition: they beat a Rockets team in the first round with an SRS that would be third in the East, then lose to a team whose SRS would have been second, and higher than the team that LeBrons Heat beat in 7. Westbrook, for what it’s worth, was lost to injury after the first two games of round 1 so the Heat clearly had more talent during their playoff run.
2014: They lose to the eventual champion in the WCF, putting up a better fight than LeBrons team did in the finals (who lost by a record margin in terms of point differential.) No doubt this Thunder team would have been a presumptive favourite in the East with the teams swapped. Another thing to note is that OKC was 25-11 with Westbrook out that year. Ibaka, Reggie Jackson and Sefolosha were Durants best teammates during that stretch. Oof.
2015: Durant misses 55 games, Thunder miss the playoffs by a game.
2016: The Thunder beat a 67 win squad and come close to beating the 73 win Warriors. No East team other than the Cavs could have done that. And they almost did it against an injury-free Warriors, whereas the Cavs were the benefactors of a Bogut injury, a Green suspension and a clearly less than 100% Curry in the finals. No question the Thunder would be favourites in the East.

2017+2018: we know what DID happen, but what could have happened if a Durant-led OKC was in the East those years? I see no reason to think they wouldn’t be favourites to make the finals. Doubtlessly, that would not be so in the West.

All of this is to say (or reiterate) that it is not a like-for-like comparison. Durant is no LeBron but he is a transcendent player in his own right and the one time he had to carry an otherwise crap Thunder team with Westbrook missing significant time, he delivered. LeBrons edge in ball distribution is a bit of a red herring. Durant often plays off-ball whereas LeBron is perhaps the most ball-dominant player in the league, of course Durant will not be as good of a distributor. The question is, is there any evidence to suggest that LeBrons passing leads to an uptick in his teammates shooting efficiency? The answer seems to be, meh, not really. LeBron-ball offenses also don’t feature more ball movement, and for all those assists from LeBron, the teams APG numbers stay fairly similar, indicating that it’s mainly assist distribution that changes when LeBron is at the helm.

2009-2010 Miami Heat: 18.9 APG
2010-2011 Heat (LeBrons first year) : 20.0 APG

2013-2014 Cavs: 21.2 APG
2014-2015 Cavs: 22.1 APG

2009-2010 Cavs: 22.4 APG
2010-2011 Cavs: 20.9 APG

The one exception is the Heat in 14-15, they went from 22.6 to 19.8. That’s a decent drop-off. In general, for all of LeBrons playmaking, his teams routinely finish outside the top 10-15 in assists and assist %, despite finishing near the top in points and offensive rating. They rely on ISO’s and transition offense as much as any team, and there has never been a premium placed on ball movement, even though Blatt and a few others sure tried to implement offenses with more moving parts.

You’ll find that Durant, even with his own penchant for occasional ISO ball, improved an already lively and frenetic offense, with the Warriors going from 28.9 APG to 30.4 APG upon his arrival, and the Thunder going from 23.0 to 21.0.

Anyways, I don’t think LBJs playmaking sets him too much apart from Durant (to be sure, his passing, is better and more beneficial to his team, but the difference is wildly exaggerated) it’s more his superior defense and more reliable game (comparable %’s aside, it’s tougher to stop LeBron at the rim than KD at the perimeter; KD might have an off shooting night—LeBron doesn’t have off athletic nights.) LeBrons high assist totals are a necessary feature of his ball dominance. If he played a little more off the ball (or spent more time on the low block), I firmly believe he’d have less assists but the offense would not suffer one iota. Would that make him a lesser player? Tough to see how.

In sum, LeBron is the best of his era, but his contemporaries often get short-changed in these discussions, as do his teammates. At some point, he has to be held partially accountable for all of these players losing their way immediately after joining a team with a radically different offense than the one they left behind. It’s not an easy thing to adjust to. Much like Kobe, LeBron has never bothered to change his style of play on offense, and likely never will.
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(2018-06-10, 08:52 AM)Stevie_Y Wrote: Can't believe Lebron played games 2-4 with a broken hand. Insane

It wasn't broken!!!
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It was a bone contusion aka bone bruise. BIG difference than a 'broken hand'.

https://www.healthline.com/health/bone-bruise#symptoms
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(2018-06-11, 03:25 PM)RyeRocks Wrote: It was a bone contusion aka bone bruise.  BIG difference than a 'broken hand'.

https://www.healthline.com/health/bone-bruise#symptoms

An "almost broken hand" sounds so much better when LeBron is trying to protect his legacy. He has a whole team of apologists in the media protecting him.
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(2018-06-11, 09:34 AM)Stevie_Y Wrote:


Once again...... IT WASN'T BROKEN !!!!!
Stop drinking the LeBron koolaid!
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(2018-06-08, 05:34 AM)bluejayyay Wrote: Calling George Hill an excellent player, especially at this point, is a stretch.  He was a 3rd option (in 49 games) on a 51 win team...that was swept by Golden State. 


Getting swept by one of the best teams ever assembled is hardly damning. Mind you i did not say they were a contender.. they were a good team, and Hill was a legit third option, averaging 17 points a game on 60% true shooting. Every advanced metric pegs him as no less than an excellent player: 1.9 career bpm, .143ws/48, .153 WP48, etc.


Kevin Love was a Top 10 player, but he's certainly not anymore.

He ceased to be a top 10 (or 20, or 30) player literally the instant he started playing with LeBron and largely became a floor spacer, which simply bolsters my point that LeBron‘s greatness can be quantified by the box score; he certainly isn’t making his teammates better in any significant way.

This Cavaliers team has no business being in the Finals - and as I wrote before, if you swap him out with Durant, Curry or Thompson I don't think they get to the Finals. 

I think a core of Durant/Love/Hill/TT/Korver could absolutely make the finals in this years East. KD’s off-ball ability would mesh with this offence quite well. I also think Love would be more effective playing with KD, and the spacing would be. better. Also, Nance is an excellent player, full-stop. Shame that Lue fails to see this.

Remember too that the Cavs needed 7 games to beat a middling Pacers team and a gutted Celtics team. Only against the Raptors were they particularly impressive.


And let's not forget guys like Hamilton, Nance, Clarkson, etc. showed up at the trade deadline. The Cavaliers team that's in the Finals was essentially put together a few months ago (aside from guys like Love and Thompson, of course).

Agreed, but the players they gave up more than made up for the chemistry issues IMO. Rose and Wade are nothing ballplayers at this stage of their careers...IT was horrendous...and Crowder was also awful (incidentally, he was a year removed from the best year of his career, make of that what you will)..getting rid of all those negatives was a massive step in the right direction, and they had half a year to build chemistry.

Korver is a great shooter, but he's also 37 years old.

True, but he’s still a net-positive on any team.

Let's put it this way - swap out Lebron with a 'star' like DeRozan, and I think this is a team that finishes near the bottom of the league.

I think they’d be a 10th-11th seed or so with DeRozan, but that’s due in no small part to DD’s proclivity for mindless iso ball and over reliance on the mid-range.

You’re selling this Cavs team a little short. They acquitted themselves just fine this year with LBJ off the court (I believe LeBrons +/- was a mere +2.0), and managed to finish 3rd in the league in 3pt makes (6th in %).

The problem with the Cavs is their roster management as much as it is their personnel. It may be in vogue to scapegoat JR, but there is no reason to play him 30 minutes a game. He is one of the worst starters in the league and the Cavs would become better simply by halving his minutes.

Anyhow, I don’t dispute that LeBron is the best player in the league or even that he is a viable GOAT candidate. I just think there is an overwhelming quantity of evidence that roundly debunks the idea that he has the ability to make other players any better than the average superstar does. His teammates shouldn’t shoulder ALL the blame for not acclimatizing to LeBron-ball, and in fact LeBron is partially to blame for limiting the effectiveness of some of the star players he’s played with. This becomes more obvious every time a) a great or serviceable player declines or sometimes becomes damn-near unplayable alongside LBJ and/or b) they have career years on other teams (think Kyrie this year).

Great points, thanks for setting out what is obvious to some of us. LeBron lovers go to great lengths in stating how wonderful he is and that his supporting cast were a bunch of dogs. That just isn't true.
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