LeBron James Westward bound

Weeks ago, we all gathered around our television sets and witnessed something that hadn’t happened in nearly forty years: American Pharoah won horse racing’s Triple Crown.

West loses to CelticsVery soon, we’re about to witness something that’s happened even less frequently than that.

In 1969, the Los Angeles Lakers played the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.  The Celtics beat Los Angeles in seven games but Jerry West was the best player on the floor, averaging 38 points per game for the series.  Accordingly he was awarded the NBA Finals MVP.  He remains the only player on a losing team to have won the award.

That’s all about to change because the Golden State Warriors, whose roster Jerry West coincidentally manages, are about to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers who boast the best player in the series: LeBron James.

In the midst of these playoffs, ESPN hired Dwyane Wade, LeBron’s former teammate, to provide some post-game analysis.  After Game Three, he asked LeBron if Steph Curry’s regular season MVP Award served as any extra motivation for the way he has played in these Finals.

James admitted that while he didn’t like coming in third in the voting (behind Curry and Houston’s James Harden), he didn’t need any extra motivation.

These Finals, LeBron James has played like a man possessed, averaging 36 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists per game.  He is carrying his team.  With the second and third best players for Cavaliers both injured, LeBron has had to be even more LeBron-like.

And he has been.

LeBron drives

But asking him to beat a team that was historically good this season is too much.  That showed in Game Four.  While role players like Matthew Dellavedova, Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov have stepped up their games, they are no match for the depth and talent of the Golden State Warriors.

The best player on the floor, regardless of who wins this series, is LeBron James.   Win or lose, there is no way the league cannot award him the NBA Finals MVP.  And that will be awkward.

So how will this all go down?

Over the past few decades, we’ve watched teams celebrate and raise the trophy, in front of a home crowd if they’re lucky.  The commissioner congratulates the owner, head coach and players.  They all speak, thank the fans and then the best player of the series is announced, the MVP award handed to him while his teammates acknowledge his greatness.

That won’t be the case this year.

Win or lose, LeBron is the best player on the floor by far.  They can’t possibly give him the MVP Award in front of another team that’s celebrating, can they?  Are they going to bring LeBron James the award in his locker room?  Again, this is something we haven’t seen in almost fifty years so the league and the network better start planning ahead because it’s about to happen.

Bron BronCleveland can’t beat Golden State two more times despite LeBron’s otherworldly talent.  Far be it from me to call this series over but at this point, it sure seems unlikely.

The Cavs might surprise me and win two out of the next three.  If they don’t, and the Warriors win, and LeBron continues to play the way he has, the award will be his.

And that will just be weird, deserved but weird nonetheless.   You have to admit it’s a pretty shitty consolation prize.  He’ll be gracious in accepting it but he won’t want it.  He’ll want what Golden State has.

LeBron has admitted he didn’t think his Cavs could get this far this quickly.  They’ll have their chances, maybe next year, maybe the year after that.  And LeBron James will win Finals MVP when it happens.

Odds are he’ll enjoy that one considerably more.

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21 Replies to “LeBron James Westward bound”

  1. LBJ is averaging 31 ppg in the series and his name is all but assured of being mentioned as the Finals’ MVP , win or the loss in the NBA Finals . Interesting question , what is likely to take place in the off=season as I can’t see James bolting from the franchise for the second time in five years. The front office will have to make some changes to the roster. Dellavadova has to be retained as he gives this team a player who can actually play defense ( his tenacity in guarding Curry has been proof of that).

  2. Ain’t gonna disagree with you on this one. Even though they double-teamed LBJ all night, he found Mosgov everytime for an easy dunk. Must be nice for Mosgov.

  3. Al…

    I know Cleveland is pumped but they might want to prepare themselves for the fact that another team might be celebrating a title on their floor in Game Six.

  4. Moose…

    Mozgov and Thompson are viable options down low as long as you don’t ask too much from them.

    Dellavedova is a spark.

    But I’m disappointed in Smith and Shumpert. Who on the Cavs can consistently knock down jumpers if LeBron wants to pass out of a double-team?

    JR Smith is a knucklehead and always has been. I don’t see him on this roster next year.

  5. Not a club anyone wants to be in.
    …Just ask it’s lone member.

    West is a tortured soul…But I don’t think a more brilliant basketball mind exists…It pains me that he is no longer employed by the Lakers.

  6. West is insane, Bleed. Like Midas.

    Let’s not forget what he did in Memphis either.

    And you’re right, he is a tortured soul.

    The guy can’t even watch his team play.

    I picked up his bio a while back but didn’t get through it.

    I may have to give it another shot.

  7. The four teammates who have opened each Finals game alongside LeBron James have been coming off the bench for 45 percent of their regular-season careers. James has started more NBA games than the rest of the Cavs’ current seven-man rotation combined. (found on Internet)

  8. Game Four certainly was a glimpse into the series most likely expected…the Warriors dominating. I don’t see Cleveland winning another game now but I didn’t see them winning one and they already grabbed two. I liked their approach of slowing the game down and crushing the offensive glass but truly have no idea what their plan was in Game Four. Even with Steve Kerr putting Iggy on The King I was amazed how poorly the Cavs countered. Including James. Cleveland was on to something in the first three contests but Game Four found Delly believing his press clippings and thinking he was capable of being their second option, bombing away at every opportunity. He was awful in so many ways. Agreed JR Smith is pathetic. Didn’t step up. Went through the motions, etc. James should be driving the paint with Mozgov and Thompson funneling in behind to pick up any leftovers. It looked like Cleveland forgot how they played the first three games…and now they’ll be lucky to get to play three more. A gallant effort nonetheless and, indeed, LeBron might still be the MVP of the series regardless of a Cleveland loss.

  9. LBJ knows it’s now all or nothing. As for Jerry West he still remain the greatest front office executive the NBA has ever seen.

  10. Jimbo…

    Year after year, we see the NBA that has the most experience… and depth… taking a stab at a title.

    Not only do guys like Shumpert and Smith not have experience, they’re just not all that good. While it was a good trade for Cleveland, I’ve always felt guys like JR Smith are a detriment to a team.

    Ultimately his presence will catch up to them.

    I’m not blaming all of Cleveland’s woes on him but he’s shooting 14-47 for the series. And he’s there for his offense.

    That’s not getting it done.

  11. Burnsy…

    Agree with you whole-heartedly on Smith. He’s there to counter with his offense (he’s certainly not doing anything else) and he’s 14-for-47?

    I also agree that I think Cleveland is toast.

    Losing Game Six on their home floor might be a bitter pill to swallow but it looks like it might happen, particularly if that team shows up the way it did in Game Four.

    I just hope the city has enough jail cells for the stupidity that’s about to happen.

  12. OK – I put my tin-foil hat on again. Bet you money that Cavs take this thing to 7 games. Any takers?

  13. Didn’t say they would win, just take it to 7. We’ll see. Lightning have to pull another rabbit out of hat now

  14. If Curry has another big game like the last one, he might just take both trophies LeBron is currently trying to win.

  15. And neither did, Moose.

    Here was my thinking about GSW and CLE.

    How many Warriors would have started this series for the Cavs? Heck, even David Lee would have started for Cleveland.

    In the end, they were just too banged up.

    They’ll be back. They’ll tinker with the roster, get healthy and make another run next year.

    Until then, Oakland celebrates.

  16. Bleed…

    So Iggy takes home the trophy.

    I can see that I guess.

    I’d have more of a problem with LeBron not getting it had he not shot 40% from the floor for the series.

    How about this.

    You could have gotten 100 to 1 on Iggy to win Finals MVP before the series started.

    Can you imagine hitting that?

  17. Did LeFlop actually get to 40% shooting? He scored a lot of points, but his shooting percentage box score reminded me of Allen Iverson. If you shoot 35 times in a game you better be scoring some points. I get it, Leflop was a man without a team so he felt compelled to take it upon himself.

  18. If you asked him, D, I think he’d probably tell you he was disappointed with the way he played in the Finals.

    Heck, this is a guy that we’ve seen 57% for a season so 40% is way below what we’re used to.

    Now comes word that Love opted out and LeBron could give two shits whether he returns. Should make for an interesting off-season.

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