HOW MANY PASSES SHOULD LEBRON GET FOR HIS SIX FINALS LOSSES?

7/11/19

Jay C. Brandriet

 

LeBron James is probably the most intensely covered athlete of my lifetime. It’s because of his basketball greatness, his polarizing ways, and social media.

One in four fans today, believe he is the best player to ever live. He’s up there.

Considering that, he is not held overly accountable for his six NBA Finals hiccups.

He tends to get more credit for getting there, than blame for coming up short.

(I’m not under doing his winning resume, LBJ is to be graded like a GOAT)

James has faced gifted opponents in the championship round. He’s also performed well, most of the times he’s fallen short.

 

EVERY FINALS HAS A STORY

There is often circumstances that mess with each NBA Finals.

Kevin McHale played on a broken foot in 1987.

In 1988, an ankle help cost Isiah his first taste of glory.

Magic Johnson and Byron Scott both got hurt vs the “Bad Boys” in 89.

KD and Klay were banged up versus Toronto just last month.

I thought the Utah Jazz took two difficult calls from the refs against Chicago in crunch time.

Draymond Green got suspended.

Things happen.

 

How many passes should LeBron get for his six Finals losses?

 

 

2007 NBA FINALS 

Spurs 4     Cavaliers 0

 

REASONS TO GIVE LEBRON A PASS

The teammates on Cleveland who played the most Finals minutes after LeBron were Drew Gooden, Daniel Gibson, and Sasha Pavlovic.

It was the wrong place at the wrong time. The Spurs were better.

 

WHERE WE HAVE TO HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE 

LeBron was left wide open, to expose his lack of jump shooting ability.

He averaged 22 points a night and converted a lousy 35 percent of his field goals.

They could not win a game, though two of them were one possession contests.

 

PERCENTAGE OF A PASS HE DESERVES? 60%

 

 

2011 NBA FINALS

Mavericks 4     Heat 2

 

REASONS TO GIVE LEBRON A PASS

No excuses for this one.

James was under the most pressure he had faced in basketball.

Dirk needed this to become a legend. He was due. It was his time.

 

WHERE WE HAVE TO HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE

The Heat had more talent, and it came with home court advantage.

They had a two to one series lead.

Miami talked it but couldn’t walk it.

LeBron seemed to freeze. He hit his lowest moment of basketball failure.

 

PERCENT OF A PASS HE DESERVES? 0%

 

 

Being the villain did not fit LeBron’s personality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 NBA FINALS

Spurs 4     Heat 1

 

REASONS TO GIVE LEBRON A PASS 

Wade was gimpy and bad. Bosh was just bad.

At least James showed up. His shooting percentages were clean.

 

WHERE WE HAVE TO HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE 

At the conclusion I remember thinking that LeBron had balled, but was still underwhelming.

Miami was attempting to Three-peat. They had four future Hall of Fame guys on the floor.

They lost by an average of 18 points.

Tim Duncan was 38 years old.

 

PERCENT OF A PASS HE DESERVES? 5%

 

 

Ripping on James for muscle cramps made fans look petty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 NBA FINALS 

Warriors 4     Cavaliers 2

 

REASONS TO GIVE LEBRON A PASS 

He was obviously the best player in this series.

He destroyed the box score.

Kyrie Irving got injured at the end of Game 1.

Kevin Love never saw the court.

 

WHERE WE HAVE TO HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE

The Cavs had a two to one series lead, and Game 4 was in Cleveland.

James had to shoot a ton, and his field goal percentage was 39.8.

Even in the 44 minutes Kyrie gave the team, they lost.

This was not the “Kevin Durant Warriors.” It was the “Steph Warriors” that few seem to respect these days.

Being the best player is cool. Winning is cooler.

 

PERCENT OF A PASS HE DESERVES? 50%

 

 

Though he lost three of four to Golden State…James made sure Steph felt him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 NBA FINALS 

Warriors 4     Cavaliers 1

 

REASONS LEBRON DESERVES A PASS

He averaged a 33 point triple double!

Steph, Klay, and KD are the scariest shooting trio to be assembled.

 

WHERE WE HAVE TO HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE 

This Cavs group was a defending champion. They had beaten a 73 win team.

Irving and Love were healthy and productive.

LeBron was still the best player, but KD topped him when it mattered most.

Playing a superior team, is sometimes the cruel reality of pro basketball in June.

 

PERCENT OF A PASS HE DESERVES? 40%

 

After playing as well as anyone could, LeBron lost his focus. He will get more chances on the big stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 NBA FINALS

 

Warriors 4     Cavaliers 0

 

REASONS LEBRON DESERVES A PASS

Him dragging THIS team to the NBA Finals is likely his finest accomplishment.

His Game 1 performance (51/8/8) was epic.

The Golden State Warriors were just better. The firepower was unreal.

 

WHERE WE HAVE TO HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE 

I told Tony Abbott and Tony Parks beforehand, “THIS LeBron can not be swept. It’s not possible.”

He melted down at the end of Game 1. He was mad and distracted at a teammates mistake. It seems like he checked out mentally in overtime. They lost by ten!

The King just went through the motions in Game 4.

James punching a white board and breaking his hand, hurt his team.

 

PERCENT OF A PASS HE DESERVES? 55%

 

SUMMARY

If we look behind the curtain of circumstance, and factor in my made up math…LeBron James should “get a pass” for a tiny bit more than than two, of his six Finals losses.

“3.9 legit losses” I’ll say.

LeBron has plenty more chances to win and lose Finals over the next six seasons.

 

 

 

Jay C. Brandriet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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