FanDuel - WFBC

May 21, 2006

Deja vu? Lebron, Michael...Michael, LeBron: Isn't it funny how history seems to repeat itself? First, it was Michael who couldn't solve Detroit's defense when it was crunch time in his baby steps into the NBA Playoffs. Now it seems to be LeBron's turn. I wouldn't want to be on the defensive end next year against LeBron, not with another year of maturity and renewed drive to push even further. He's gonna be scary good.

posted by donnnnychris to basketball at 10:04 PM - 43 comments

I was hoping for a Wade-James playoff series, but still, did anyone really expect this series to go to seven games? Anybody? The Cavs have nothing to be ashamed of, just forcing a game seven against what was clearly the best team in basketball was more than enough to show how good LeBron James is, and how dangerous this team could be.

posted by uglatto at 10:30 PM on May 21

People, LeBron James is NOT Michael Jordan. LeBron is further along than Jordan as a passer, as a student of the game, and as a guy who makes plays for his teammates on both ends of the floor. However, King James will always be second to MJ when it comes to clutch shooting, and last second game winners (I love that last second shot Michael hits over Cleveland and the jump at the end...that says it all). Give LeBron some time (and Larry Hughes for the entire series...granted, the team was 0-3 when Hughes played, but Larry is the 2nd best player on the Cavs [3rd when Z actually shows flashes of brilliance]).

posted by chemwizBsquared at 11:07 PM on May 21

No great player is the next "whoever." There's not going to be the next Bob Dylan, there's not going to be the next Michael Jordan. If LeBron is going to be great, he's not going to be the next anybody. He's going to be the first LeBron.

posted by uglatto at 11:18 PM on May 21

Huge Detroit fan here. Lebron however is the next step in the evolution of great basketball players. (glad Detroit won but have even more respect for Lebron than I did before the playoffs, the kid can play!!!)

posted by Fade222 at 11:23 PM on May 21

Lol Bob Dylan...yeah he was great but nowhere near as Great as MJ was or Babe Ruth was...those two are great Boby Dylan Please...Lebron Will Never Be As Great As Jordan, but he will be Great ala Larry Bird

posted by mystak20 at 12:26 AM on May 22

If you read my comment it says it seems that it is now LeBron's turn. I never said he was the next Michael Jordan, but the circumstances during his early career have been distinctly similar to MJ's early career. I just believe is going to be the next great player to hold a banner for his generation, as Fade222 said in his post. Anybody who watches this 21-year-old prodigy and thinks differently is not watching the same game as the rest of us. LeBron will be on the same level as all of the all-time greats when all is said and done.

posted by donnnnychris at 02:10 AM on May 22

Even when the Cavs lose and get outsted from the playoffs it turns into a pro-LeBron discussion. Ugh.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:23 AM on May 22

I am the next Kurt Rambis.

posted by Bill Lumbergh at 07:02 AM on May 22

LeBron is a man among boys as far as I'm concerned. even though I'm a die hard Pistons fan.If he would have had any help at all we would be talking about a james wade series. as it is now James has set the tone for what happens next in his unbelievable assention to greatness.

posted by bigpoppav at 07:24 AM on May 22

Bob Dylan...yeah he was great but nowhere near as Great as MJ was or Babe Ruth was Do you even have any idea who Bob Dylan is? It's not like anybody's talking about his midrange jumper or his homerun cut.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 07:39 AM on May 22

Even when the Cavs lose and get outsted from the playoffs it turns into a pro-LeBron discussion. Ugh. I'm with ya on the Lebron hype a little bit, Ying. On the other hand: - the kid is a stud, and just largely excelled on a high-profile stage - for the most part, it took Detroit 6 1/2 games to take the 3rd-year-player/one-man-show out of the game (granted, they did it when it counted most) - there has been a sickening amount of "Pistons will sweep, I guarantee it" or "Ah, Cavs won 2, only because Detroit decided to take a nap, they'll win in 6" chirping, especially on this site (not necessarily by you or in this thread) ... so I'm willing to let the Cavs' fans and Lebron supporters stay warm-and-fuzzy for a few minutes

posted by littleLebowski at 08:02 AM on May 22

No doubt LeBron has better game than Mike at this point in his career. But, let's talk about the level of competition they both faced. Mike stopped alot of Hall of Fame players from getting a Championship Ring. Such as Karl Malone, John Stockton, Dominque Wilkins, Patrick Ewing and if he wouldn't had retired the first time you probably could add Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. As far as LeBron case you can't tell me that he is playing against the same level as competition as Mike did. But, Lebron has got a chance to write his own History in the game.Long live the King!

posted by BootVinson at 08:06 AM on May 22

As far as LeBron case you can't tell me that he is playing against the same level as competition as Mike did. That's an unfair statement; you're looking back on full, hall of fame careers, and trying to compare them to careers in progress? Make that statement after Lebron's retired, not now. There's no way to gauge this.

posted by dfleming at 08:35 AM on May 22

There is only one Michael Jordan and there is only one Lebron James... They are both great players in thier own right! There is no comparison. They both are stars and thier contributions to the game is great. The Cavs will be back with an even hungrier James and team. If the Cavs can pick up a good PG in the off season they will be difinately dangerous! After all the Team and James are still growing and building! Next I pridict a matchup with James and Wade in the playoffs. That will be interesting... I believe the Cavs at least showed the way to beat the Pistons... The Heat is going to take the series in 6....

posted by The Tribster at 09:56 AM on May 22

I must admit, I was a doubter of LeBron. I watched the high school games that ESPN carried and wondered if his talent would transfer to the huge jump in level of competition he was facing. I think that he is a breath of fresh air, and he handles himself extremely well for a person of his age. Cleveland fans are very lucky to have the opportunity to watch LeBron come into his own over the coming years. By the way, TBH, thanks for steering that fellow in the right direction.

posted by mjkredliner at 10:22 AM on May 22

By the way, TBH, thanks for steering that fellow in the right direction. I was kinda hopeing he was being sarcastic. Please tell me he was being sarcastic.

posted by Folkways at 10:39 AM on May 22

It is only natural for fans and spectators of the game to compare thoroughbreds of their generation to those of other generations. Let's face it, Michael revolutionized the game of basketball in the 80's and 90's. Lebron may or may not do the same thing. Only time will tell. I do feel that Lebron will be the next player in the NBA that all others will be measured against. That being said, it is my belief that Michael's legacy is different because what he did, he did against many more teams that were defensively oriented. The NBA has tweaked the rules just enough to almost completely eliminate any type of defense for the offensive players slashing to the basket (except for the offensive charge which always occurs inches outside of the 3 foot arch). Hand-checking is almost obsolete. Bottom line is that Michael's game made it so that the league would make it easier for others to follow and maybe even surpase him in popularity and legacy within the game.

posted by jenjamturley at 11:07 AM on May 22

The competition level is a bit defferent for LeBron than MJ. Slightly changed rules, aging superstars and a lack of great teams to face are all things that could be considered when there is a comparison discussion. But they just missed playing in the NBA together by about 2-3 years and MJ was definitely on the decline! Compare LeBron to D. Wade, Kobe, KG, Duncan, T-Mac, players that are playing now in his era. LeBron is an excellent talent, but he has not become "great" nor is he a King; you have to conquer the land (win championships) before you can be rightfully called "The King". He will have his battles against Detroit, Miami, New Jersey, San Anton., Dallas, etc., but he has to beat them and win consitently!

posted by bkdet at 11:58 AM on May 22

Another thing...the discussion of players like LeBron (superstars) makes it blatantly obvious that it is about the name on the back, not about the one on the front!

posted by bkdet at 11:59 AM on May 22

six points on 1-of-9 shooting, three rebounds and not a single assist This is the stat that caught my eye. Just like in game one, James was non-existant in the second half. I think the Pistons defense had more to do with it than anything else but it still annoys me that even when the team has been ousted from the playoffs by a margin of eighteen points, everyone is still talking about James' greatness. We've heard it all in several threads about James. Of course he is amazing, and yes he needs some players around him but right now he is out of the playoffs. There are still great games to be played, two of them tonight. LeBron's time may come but it won't be this year so please lay off with the worshipping. Congrats to the Pistons for playing top defense when it counted most.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 12:25 PM on May 22

I agree Ying Yang! It has become sickening listening to the commentators worship his every move, from walking to the bench to biting his nails! I honestly felt a little sick! I guess he's called the king cause everyone stays on their knees ready to take a mouth full when he's playing! LeBron's out, now let's get ready for similar media fellatio to be performed on D. Wade!

posted by bkdet at 01:05 PM on May 22

I think the Lebron hype is great. No one who has watched this series could really doubt his superstar status. He was phenomenal. What's even better is that he is only 21 and sounds like a great guy and a great teammate. He is exactly what the NBA needs. The fact that the better team ultimately won doesn't change this equation at all. Detroit spent a lot of defensive effort on stopping Lebron. And, by the way, Lebron can't get an assist if his teammates can't make a basket. The Cavaliers shot terribly.

posted by bperk at 01:23 PM on May 22

What bperk said. YYM are you just sore that we're not discussing your Pistons? Let us Lebron lovers have one more hurrah and then will talk pistons the rest of the summer.

posted by tron7 at 02:13 PM on May 22

No doubt LeBron has better game than Mike at this point in his career. But, let's talk about the level of competition they both faced. Mike stopped alot of Hall of Fame players from getting a Championship Ring. Such as Karl Malone, John Stockton, Dominque Wilkins, Patrick Ewing and if he wouldn't had retired the first time you probably could add Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler And Charles Barkley, Sean Kemp, Gary Payton, Reggie Miller, Penny Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning. And to your second list you can add David Robinson. He truly screwed many would be champions. I never said he was the next Michael Jordan, but the circumstances during his early career have been distinctly similar to MJ's early career. No they're not. LeBron's got a great center (if they would ever throw into the post), a very good two guard and some decent role players in Gooden, that floppy haired Brazilian guy and Flip Murray. Check out the 1984 Bulls roster, all he had were ball-hog drug addicts (Orlando Wooldridge, Quintin Daley) and washouts (Dave Corzine, Jawann Oldham). 1984 Jordan with the current Cavs squad (minus LeBron, of course) and the current no touch rules would have challenged for a title. LeBron is great, but he's got a lot to prove to be considered in the same league as Jordan.

posted by sic at 02:35 PM on May 22

Oops I meant to link to the 1984 bulls roster. What the hell happened to Reggie Theus that year?

posted by sic at 02:36 PM on May 22

Bperk hit the nail on the head. Lebron got shut down because he was double and triple teamed the entire second half. And we're not talking about help defense - the Pistons were leaving guys wide open and when Lebron's passes would hit them in the hands they would either freeze up and pass on the shot, throw up a brick, or else commit a turnover. And though I agree there is no comparing Lebron to Jordan at this stage in his career (particularly because MJ was not in the league at that age), lets think for a moment where MJ would be if he didn't have role players like BJ Armstrong, Steve Kerr, Craig Hodges, or John Paxton - let alone big men like Ho Grant or Bill Cartwright (say what you will) - not to mention all stars like Scotty or Dennis Rodman. That said, the Pistons clearly exemplify the team concept like few, if any, in history. And sic - I'm going to ignore your comments about Jordan taking the current Cavs team to a title due to the fact that they are woefully misguided.

posted by MW12 at 02:43 PM on May 22

Actually that should have been the 1985 bulls. Basically the same bunch of guys. MW12, I said they would challenge for a title; care to elaborate on why my comment is misguided? I'm curious.

posted by sic at 02:56 PM on May 22

sic- I'm sure you could poke holes in my arguments left and right (as I know I could) too. But for one thing, reread my first two paragraphs. And for another, if you put MJ's '85 stats up next to Lebron's 2006 stats, you'll find that Lebron had more points, more assists, and more rebounds in fewer games - all the while committing fewer turnovers.

posted by MW12 at 03:32 PM on May 22

Fair enough. One thing that I think is a mistake, in general, is that most people assume that LeBron is going to get progressively better each year. Why? Not everybody gets noticeably better each year. Some players come into the league very good, or even great, and never get much better (Kenny Anderson, Rod Strickland). Some get worse (Christian Laetner) and many get injured (Danny Manning, Larry Johnson). I admit I do believe LeBron will get a lot better, but nothing's a lock.

posted by sic at 04:01 PM on May 22

I agree. I would never be so bold as to suggest that Lebron is going to win even a single championship - not just because we can't predict what will happen to him but also because we can't predict what will happen with his teammates, his coaches, etc. But his talent is nonetheless awe-inspiring. And not just for his age. He is truly a larger than life figure both on and off the court. And as bperk said above, he is exactly what the NBA needs. I'm just waiting for the day that his real birth certificate surfaces and we find out he's really 25 - that he was enrolled at St Vincent St Mary's as a freshmen at the tender age of 18. Oh, and he must be taking the cream and the clear...

posted by MW12 at 04:19 PM on May 22

All the Jordan comparisons - it is also kind of spooky that Vince Carter (a onetime "next Jordan") came into the league and in his third year he took his team through to the second round and lost in seven games and then.... I guess similiarity is where you look for it.

posted by gspm at 04:37 PM on May 22

Vince Carter can't even carry LeBron's shoes in terms of talent. Carter has talent but LeBron has something altogether different. He's a generational-type player, one that comes along every decade or so. What everybody needs to remember is that this is the age that Jordan came out of college, so LeBron has a huge head start on his Airness in terms of experience at the NBA level. Whether or not LeBron will capitalize on this only time well tell. I like his chances at this point but as many of you have said, the chance for a flameout is always there. I agree with that. I just think the odds are in LeBron's favor. He plays too unselfishly and is too dominant of a physical force. The big wild card will be what teammates are added to help his cause. Jordan never would've had the team success that he did without the addition of Pippen and Grant in the late 80's. LeBron needs the same kind of additions to make the jump to the next level. We'll see how that goes.

posted by donnnnychris at 05:18 PM on May 22

I think LeBron will win at least 1 Ring. His talent is to rare and eventually a owner will come along a put together an incredible team around him, maybe for just a few years. Like Jordan and Koby they are great players but they both had great teams. Owners like to win just as much as the players I cant see some of the ring thirsty owners letting his hand sit naked to long!

posted by PGHTOS at 05:45 PM on May 22

As far as LeBron being the next MJ that is very far fetched. We will never see another MJ in our lifetimes. Need I remind everyone about a person called Kobe who was supposed to be better than MJ but we see were that went, and he had the same coach and several hall of fame players with him. MJ changed the face of basketball. LeBron is just following in his shoes. He was shut down in the second half and only had 6 points. Granted MJ had the same thing happen to him courtesy of Detroit, but he learned how to be a complete player and beat you in other ways. LeBron is far from that and far from ever being that the team looks to him to much and he just wants to take every shot he can and complain when it doesn't go his way. He reminds me more of Kobe and not Michael. When all is said and done he will have been a good player, but not the greatest. The greatest beat all the hall of famers and top 50 players of all time( Magic, Bird, Isiah, Drexler, Ewing, Shaq, Kobe, Dominique, and so on). The only true hall of famers that LeBron has even played that could even begin to compete with the 50 greatest are Shaq and Kobe. Let us step back and review who we are comparing LeBron to, the greatest ever MJ.

posted by fightinirish2323 at 05:58 PM on May 22

Granted MJ had the same thing happen to him courtesy of Detroit, but he learned how to be a complete player and beat you in other ways. LeBron is far from that and far from ever being that the team looks to him to much and he just wants to take every shot he can and complain when it doesn't go his way. If LeBron James wants to take every shot he can get than how does that explain his triple doubles in the playoffs and his career 6.6 assists per game average? James is an amazing player while the supporting cast around him is not. Why should he be passing the ball to players who cannot make shots on an consistant basis? He has shown that he can dominate a game by attacking the basket and making his shots. Him passing the ball only to end up in another missed shot isn't going to get the Cavs anywhere.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:17 PM on May 22

Grant Hill, Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Lebron James next will be Greg Oden, how many Jordan wannabe's are in the league now, I've lost track and don't mean to offend any that have been left out.

posted by Familyman at 06:36 PM on May 22

Hey I know this whole discussion is about Lebron and all but I personally think the highlight of the series was Damon Jones getting punched in the mouth by Anderson Varejo during their celebration of their win in Game 5 I'm sorry but thats plain hilarious

posted by gmactothemax91 at 06:39 PM on May 22

Can't argue that LeBron is a superlative player who will only get better with more years of experience. Experience is the key to both LeBron and the Cav's future success. Look what experience it did for Kobe Bryant. Although he'll never be as good, but with practice, its possible that LeBron will play in the same league as Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant.

posted by Tigger1 at 06:39 PM on May 22

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in the same sentence? I doooooooon't think so!!!!!

posted by donnnnychris at 02:41 AM on May 23

Hey I know this whole discussion is about Lebron and all but I personally think the highlight of the series was Damon Jones getting punched in the mouth by Anderson Varejo during their celebration of their win in Game 5 I'm sorry but thats plain hilarious I saw that on the highlights on ESPN. I had to rewind it and slo mo to get a good look. That was funny stuff. Celebrating can be dangerous.

posted by bperk at 07:45 AM on May 23

Ah, I think it's a pretty natural to compare players - it's just that the comparison is a little difficult right now. Besides, I don't think Lebron plays at all like Jordan. He's more Magic-like. (A lot of you guys don't remember watching Magic in his hey-day. I do. I was 8.) It seems clear to me that Lebron has wayyyyy more phyiscal gifts than Jordan ever had. Bigger, stronger, maybe even faster. And he has had the benefit of basically being in "basketball school" since 8th grade. Jordan didn't make his high school team as a sophmore. There are just too many contrasting points right now to warrant a confident examination. My own expectation is that each will carve out their own chunk of NBA history when it's all said and done. I think that's where we're going to be lucky - we won't have to choose between the two, because they will each soundly define their own eras in such a fashion as to render these kind of discussions just frivolous fun.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:29 AM on May 23

its possible that LeBron will play in the same league as Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. I will bet you everything i own that one day that does indeed happen.

posted by SummersEve at 12:57 PM on May 23

Weedy, great point. My friend and I were saying the same thing the other night. I was in my teens during Magic's heyday and I agree with you, LeBron is more similar to him than Jordan. LeBron is a better scorer than Magic ever was, although Magic was the better passer.

posted by donnnnychris at 01:52 PM on May 23

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