3 Reason why its Lebron’s fault If the Lakers don’t make playoffs.

The Lakers pulled off a victory over the New Orleans Pelicans behind Lebron James and Brandon Ingram.  The playoffs are still a long shot for the historic franchise.  If they do not make it to one of the top eight teams in the West the blame should lie on the supposed “GOAT”.  Here is why.

Lebron’s a destructive locker room presence.

It’s really not a great idea to openly tell the world that you don’t think your team is good enough.  It’s even worse to basically tell them you hope they are traded.  James has always manipulated management based on his needs but the Lakers front office has allowed him to unwillingly be their mouthpiece. 

The Lakers are a young core that have spent most of their young lives watching Lebron James dominate the league.  They strived to be Lebron, they played him on video games, wore his jersey, pretended to be him when playing pickup games in the park.  When you get the once in a lifetime chance to be on his team you hope that it is everything you dreamed.  Instead you are told you are not good enough and openly disrespected.  While he is the one that takes the criticism in the media they are the ones that the blamed is cast upon. 

Lebron and Luke Walton were never going to work.

Luke Walton was a hot commodity when he was hired by the Los Angeles Lakers.  The fill in for Steve Kerr for a handful of games in 2015 impressing may around the league leading the Warriors to a historic 39-4 start.  Walton had a team that was built around multiple players that were willing to work hard as a unite.  All they needed was a string leader to set the course and they would execute to the highest level. 

Lebron James is not the type of player that wants to be lead.  He is the type of player that wants you to fall in line, that is the same with his coach.  To many times we have seen Lebron run a coach out of town.  David Blatt made it to the finals and was fired the next year because of Lebron. It’s his way or the highway.  Luke Walton is young enough and bold enough to step up to Lebron, which is not a good thing for his career.

Lebron is more worried about the summer then the team.

I love the set-up of the All-Star game over the last two years.  This year especially showed why it can be very interesting.  If you checked the roster of team Lebron it featured Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.  There is no coincidence that the core of his roster was comprised of potential running mates for next season.  Lebron knows that his team his not good enough to beat the Warriors right now so why should he give max effort, he can just wait until the summer so that the excuse can be that he needs help.  Lebron always needs help.  If Lebron loses it’s because the players around were not good enough. 

Telling the world “playoff” Lebron is kicking hasn’t seemed to help his effort on the defensive end.  What about “playoff” Lakers?  Shouldn’t that be what he is focused on.  The King is the greatest player of my generation.  I was never able to watch Jordan in his prime while I was old enough to appreciate it, so sadly I am stuck with Lebron, a selfish player that thinks about excuses rather than taking ownership.  It’s cool though this summer the Lakers will probably sign someone to play alongside him and become the new scape goat.

NBA Finals Pick

The world seems bothered by the fourth straight matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. As the twitter world screams for diversity I am intrigued by this matchup.   I am intrigued because this could be the potential defining moment for a player and a team.

If the Cavaliers win Lebron James will have his first true argument that he is truly the greatest player ever to play the game.  The Cavaliers currently sit as one of the biggest underdogs in 15 years heading into the finals. Gone is Kyrie Irving — he averaged 29.4 points per game in last year’s series— and the role players that Cleveland brought in have mostly been flops. Rodney Hood has been relegated to the bench, and Jordan Clarkson has shot 30.6 percent from the field in the playoffs. Larry Nance Jr. has been effective as an energy guy off the bench, and George Hill has been a solid starter, though he’s been inconsistent. Others returning players from the 2017 Cavaliers team have been a shell of their former selves.  Kyler Korver, Tristan Thompson and JR Smith bring finals experience but other they will have to play vital roles to have a chance to pull off this epic upset.

If the Warriors can pull off their third championship in four years they can cement themselves as a dynasty.  This is not the same Warriors team the cruised into the finals in 2017 at 12-0. Kevin Durant has been has not been the dominant MVP of last season.  He has averaged 29.0 points, but his postseason shooting has been all-too human, at 47.9 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from the 3-point line. Don’t discount the importance of Durant’s defense, either, especially if Andre Iguadola’s leg contusion keeps him sidelined. Iguodala usually gets the lion’s share of LeBron duties when these teams collide, but Durant could be one of the primary options if Iggy can’t go. The Warriors will also have an interesting matchup for Steph Curry against veteran George Hill.  Hill surprisingly has a 10-4 career record against Curry while also holding a better shooting percentage in those matchups.  If Curry does struggle the Warriors will have to look to their other two All- Stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson to take on bigger roles.

This matchup has a clear advantage for the Warriors.  They have the depth and star power to sweep this series.  But there has almost been a sense of overconfidence for the Warriors all season.  When the Warriors struggle they let it effect their emotions.  Durant will most likely be taking on the task of holding down the force that is Lebron James.  If he struggles to do so, will that effect his offensive game?  This Warriors team also lacks the proven depth of the past. Relying on Kevin Looney, Quinn Cook and Swaggy P to provide solid minutes off the bench is a serious question mark.

This is the finals everyone expected to see. It is easy to say the Warriors will sweep with ease.  But let’s not jump to conclusions until the games are played.  Lebron has had a chance to rest for a few days and his legacy is on the line.  I think he can carry them to at least one victory.  I would consider myself a Lebron hater, but that does not mean I do not respect the game that masterful performances I have seen in these playoffs.  The Cavaliers do not have the depth to compete with the historically talented Warriors but I am excited to see how this series plays out.

 Warriors in 5

Raptors/Cavs- Raptors Best Chance

The Toronto Raptors were able to fend off the Washington Wizards in the first round of the East Conference playoffs setting up a matchup with their nemesis The Cleveland Lebron James’s. Cleveland has ended the Raptors playoff runs two years in a row including an embarassing sweep during last years conference semi-finals .LeBron James averaged 36 points in that sweep for Cleveland and carried his squad through a seven-game battle with the Indiana Pacers in the first round by pouring in 34.4 per game, including 45 in the 105-101 clincher Sunday.

The key to this series is and always will be Lebron James.  Can he continue to hold up a Cavaliers team that has been uninspiring through its first round series.  The evolution of the Raptors game has been a bright spot for them this season leading to a number one seed in the Eastern Conference.  Moving away from the simple pick and roll offense of years past into a more ball movement offense has changed the way the play.  Home court advantage in this series will also be a huge advantage, the Raptors were tied for the best home record in the NBA while at best the Cavaliers were mediocre to say it best.  If the Raptors can jump out to an early 2-0 lead in the series it could deflate the psychie of an already mentally drained king.

The Cavaliers do have some hope, the emergence of Tristan Thompson in game seven could breath some fresh air into a team badly in need of a change. The Cavaliers also will likely have a healthy George Hill for the series, something the missed very much in the first round.  His defensive ability will be huge against the Raptors star front court. But all of the role players in the world mean nothing if Lebron doesn’t carry the load. He has had little help from teammates in the postseason — Kyle Korver was often the Cavs’ second-best player until Tristan Thompson’s revival on sunday— and has had to carry Cleveland to this point. In the Cavs’ first three wins of the series, they needed 46, 32 and 44 points from James to get the W, plus 45 points in a tough game seven.

The Raptors have their best chance to dethrone the East’s top dog and they have to take advantage of this chance right now.  With the young Sixers continuing to get better and the Celtics getting back a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward next year the Raptors window for Eastern Conference greatness is quickly closing.  The question on everyone’s mind is whether the Raptors mentally have what it takes to overcome their past.  Can they forget their history and pull off what many outside of Vegas would consider an upset?  They have the star power, the bench and the experience to do it.  They have to prove it.

Raptors in 7

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