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Is It Really Just One More Superstar?

Posted by Radatz on June 13, 2017 at 3:05 PM


It's a place that's the definition of self-entitlement. It's a place that enabled Colin Kaepernick. It's a place where "Free Speech" as championed by its major state university results in "safe spaces," aka censorship. And now it's a place where its NBA champions have voted not to visit the White House. It's really hard to root for these guys and their fan base.


Nevertheless, they're champs for the second time in 3 years. Before you start crowning dynasties, read the list of NBA champions. But in this "everything's better now" era, an era that never goes away, they're already the greatest of all time in many minds. And they're very good. They're fun to watch, not because so many seem to be good shooters (it helps) but because of their coaching and teamwork.


This begs the question of what Cleveland's problem may be. The popular angle is that they need another 'superstar' to offset Durant. A more stable answer might be that they need a better coach.


But that's problematic too. Mike Brown got fired there largely due to LeBron James. Under Kerr, he had no problem leading the Warriors to win after win. Was that because of Kerr's influence? Surely in part it was, but it's hardly the whole answer. Brown seemed to do a good job. Which brings us to LeBron.


The Warriors, for all their talent, have it woven into a self-oiling machine. The Cavs stomp teams that don't have the skill or depth chart to match them, which is everyone else in the east. And nobody thinks Lue is a match for Kerr, or even Brown perhaps now, and nobody thinks he is 'really' the coach anyway. It's a mismatch at the top. It counts. Asks every NFL fan base inside or outside New England.


Which begs the question, would a bench change help Cleveland? It seems to be a complex question. The one endearing trait of the Warriors is that they seem to unite around their coach (at least so far) and play exactly as coached. No team works together like that by virtue of 'chemistry' or 'athleticism'.


By contrast, the Cavs are clearly being orchestrated by James when he's on the floor. It may be that no one else can do it. In that case a playmaking guard might be a good option for them. Chris Paul is being talked about. But here we go again. He's getting ink because he's one of LeBron's banana boat buddies. Meanwhile, James isn't Larry Bird. He seems to want to prove he's another great 'point forward', but really there's only been one of those.


Does anybody notice Durant or Curry or anyone else pointing to spots on the floor or doing much of anything other than moving the ball and making generally good decisions? Not really. They don't sit still long enough to do that anyway. It's a system, offensive and defensive, it comes from the bench, and Mike Brown was capable of coaching it in the interim of Kerr's absence. Last night when Cleveland began to press and overload the outside shooting lanes, GS simply began doing what a team should do --- they set picks and drove to the hoop instead of heaving up contested 3s. It won them the game.


The obvious reduction of all this is the question of whether Kerr himself would improve Cleveland. The answer again is complex. It's more like would he get the chance? The answer is only if LeBron were happy with what he wanted to do. James is a double-edged sword, a terror during the pick-your-own-teammates age in Miami. But even they were brought to their knees by a better-coached team from Texas. That facilitated James' white-horse return to Cleveland. Now it's happening again.


Wherever he goes, the coach is a puppet sporting a tentative seal of approval, and that may be a problem Cleveland can't overcome. It becomes a game of superstars-on-a-scale long before what's there already can ever be molded into the best it can be.



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17 Comments

Reply Ferociousjane
4:53 PM on June 13, 2017 
i can't disagree with anything you have written here.

P/s Tom Brady is an asshole.
Reply Ark_Razor
6:33 PM on June 13, 2017 
I've checked out watching the NBA almost as much as I have watching the NFL. Almost b/c they have not enabled players to disrespect the country, monitored franchises when they want to do something for the community and prohibited it.

However, I knew there was no point of watching any of the post-season b/c I knew where it was headed for the 3rd time in a row. One player can make ALL of the difference in hoops.

What LBJ wants, LBJ gets. With that being said, I have told many people that you could do a lot worse for a sports role model for your kids (if you are picking from current athletes anyway). He's never been in trouble with the law, married his HS sweetheart to legitimize his kids. About the only thing people can criticize him for is The Decision, and even then the $$$ went to his foundation- which basically where even more kids from the Akron area are getting the chance to go to college.

These guys (both GS and CLE) play a game with which I am unfamiliar (to borrow a quote from Bobby Jones). Between the legs dribbles as part of a drive, off balance shots from long range, spin-o-ramas, and passes into the tiniest of areas. Fluidity and unpredictability on an unmatched scale.

I was surprised GS didn't do anything to stop James' same move in the 4th Q of Game 5, but they might not have cared given that they can rain points down on anyone.

I'm going to SF in two days. On one hand I'm glad they won b/c I don't want to be there if there was another meltdown. On the other hand, the fan base (like most fanbases in college or pros) is getting pretty arrogant. While I don't like the idea of championship teams going to the WH b/c of the political grandstanding of any President, I don't like the idea of these guys snubbing an invitation from there either.

I also got sick of the public celebration with the families all up there. NHL rules the roost again. The players were together with the players. The families really were not permitted onto the ice until the handshake line and the Cup was skated.

It would be interesting to see LBJ in an organization that he couldn't control so easily, like the Lakers or the Spurs. Of course the Lakers would need a coach that had more rings than LBJ, not an easy task. I doubt MIA would have been as successful as they were unless Riley was at the top helm.

Paul for Irving? Hmmmm. While LBJ has been the best player in the league over the last decade, he was not the best player in this series- and that may not be his fault.

I am unaware as to why people hate Brady other than his success. Trophy wife, tons of rings and laurels; but he hasn't broken the law and has stayed married to his wife. However, I am open to correction if someone can give me some ammo. I have no love lost for the Patsies, so bring it on.

I guess the Warrior fans aren't criticizing the firing of Mark Jackson anymore. Kerr really appears to be a coaching find. He's got 7 rings now himself as a player and a coach.
Reply Radatz
7:34 PM on June 13, 2017 
Ferociousjane says...
i can't disagree with anything you have written here.

P/s Tom Brady is an asshole.


Probably. But I've yet to hear him pass judgement on anybody in the NFL, let alone the NBA. LeBron's got MEEE disease. Plus he's a dope. Nyahhh.

Then again, he probably got asked the question? But it's one you don't answer. It's a stupid question and a stupider unprompted topic. And, of course, racism can't be involved.
Reply Radatz
7:36 PM on June 13, 2017 
@Ark: The NHL playoffs are being heralded by even LA commentators as the crown jewel of North American sports. Let's hope they don't screw it up.
Reply the immortal scurds
8:32 PM on June 13, 2017 
Radatz says...
@Ark: The NHL playoffs are being heralded by even LA commentators as the crown jewel of North American sports. Let's hope they don't screw it up.

they did tho. the format screwed it up. wash-pitts met way too early. the leafs got screwed matchup wise as well. bad calls, replay-they r trying their best.
Reply the immortal scurds
8:34 PM on June 13, 2017 
to me brady is an arsehole. he is devoid of warmth, sincerity, he is less than honest, and his team got caught cheating a few times. what more do u need? all that success just throws salt in the irritation.
Reply the immortal scurds
8:38 PM on June 13, 2017 
winning it all is about having options.the cavs have james. gs has options. nash had renne and ....a defehsive system i guess, pittsburgh made adjustments and used options.
Reply Radatz
8:40 PM on June 13, 2017 
the immortal scurds says...
to me brady is an arsehole. he is devoid of warmth, sincerity, he is less than honest, and his team got caught cheating a few times. what more do u need? all that success just throws salt in the irritation.


Spygate was a joke. Deflategate was a bigger joke. It's what happens when you succeed too much. You get the flying saucer explanation for crop circles. Me, I don't know the guy nor care to. Must be fishing season!

ps what about the Big Other 2 in Cleveland? James dominates play too much. Wade was more domineering than Irving. Love is like Bosh.
Reply Radatz
8:45 PM on June 13, 2017 
Ark_Razor says...
It would be interesting to see LBJ in an organization that he couldn't control so easily, like the Lakers or the Spurs. Of course the Lakers would need a coach that had more rings than LBJ, not an easy task. I doubt MIA would have been as successful as they were unless Riley was at the top helm.

Kerr's got 7, as you mentioned. But I say Phil Jackson! He and LeBron deserve each other.
Reply the immortal scurds
9:16 PM on June 13, 2017 
exactly. james does too much.they dont have options that they use. i think its an uncoachable team. in a largely uncoachable keague.
Reply the immortal scurds
9:17 PM on June 13, 2017 
he has no charisma
Reply Radatz
1:26 AM on June 14, 2017 
Well, no, but he's got rings. Just hand him the best team in the league on a silver platter and he wins. The Zen Master. Guess the Knicks aren't very 'spiritual'. What a fraud. How can anyone be inept enough to be unable to produce an NBA contender in NY? That takes talent, and they've been hiring it for, oh, 44 years or so now.
Reply Ark_Razor
1:27 PM on June 14, 2017 
Radatz says...
Well, no, but he's got rings. Just hand him the best team in the league on a silver platter and he wins. The Zen Master. Guess the Knicks aren't very 'spiritual'. What a fraud. How can anyone be inept enough to be unable to produce an NBA contender in NY? That takes talent, and they've been hiring it for, oh, 44 years or so now.


New York: where execs and players go to see their careers die. Think of it as a retirement home for NBA personnel.
Reply Ark_Razor
11:36 PM on June 14, 2017 
I just saw an article where KD said the Warriors were not a superteam. LBJ gave us the same garbage when he went to MIA and then CLE.

Memo to all of these guys- a superteam is when you get the 3 (or now 4) best players on the playground to play a game against others. W/o free agency and the current salary structure, these things would have never happened. At least the Celtics did it through trades to break the ice.
Reply Radatz
11:51 PM on June 14, 2017 
I recall Chamberlain turning the Philadelphia Warriors from a last-place team to a contender (second only to Boston and not by much), but that was through the draft. Then as they moved out west, the Syracuse Nationals moved to Philly and became the 76ers in their declining years. Warriors lost to Boston in the finals and... hmm... somehow Wilt went back to Philly (that had to be a demand) and poof --- contender, and a title. Then the Celtics came back and knocked them off in 1968, and --- poof, to the Lakers and a title (after another loss to the Celtics in 1969). But now it's just musical all stars.

But even back then the NBA was corrupt next to the NHL.
Reply Ark_Razor
1:08 AM on June 15, 2017 
Part of the problem in hoops is that one guy can make a franchise. Draft is A-OK in my book. Trades are 2nd best. FA is the worst.
Reply Radatz
1:31 AM on June 15, 2017 
Which takes us to the gist of the silly "who's the best" arguments. Wilt could make a winner out of a bunch of bums but not a champion. But he woudn't have done for Boston's system what Russell did. Yet Russell wouldn't have done much for a bum squad. Perfect for Auerbach's system.

It's like Brady. Best BB could have for his system. But Manning could turn a bum squad into a contender. Brady couldn't. So who's 'better'?

LeBron would have more impact on a bum squad than Durant. But Durant looks like a better fit for GS than LeBron would be.

Red Sox nearly traded Williams to NY for DiMaggio in 1947. It fell through. Stengel would have won 12 WS instead of just 7! Then again... the trade would've cost the Yankees Yogi Berra too! I know this has little to do with the point but it came to mind :)