Is it difficult to play with LeBron James?

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LeBron James
theatlantic.com (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Imagine Kevin Durant and LeBron James on the same team…that would be something, huh?

In an interview with Bleacher Report, Kevin Durant had some interesting points about some challenges that may occur for some players that play with LeBron James. Some development issues and some with the media.

“So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people”, said Durant.

LeBron James could be either one of the best teammates to play with or one of the worst. Many teammates of his have had nothing but great things to say about the guy. However, it’s more than we think that can make it difficult to play alongside him in which Kevin Durant is aware of.

Kevin Durant

“LeBron is a player that needs to play with guys that already know how they play the game- and shooters,” Durant said. “It depends on what player you are. Like, young guys still developing, it’s always going to be hard because he demands the ball so much, he demands control of the offense and creates for everybody.”

Durant isn’t wrong. LeBron is the facilitator of any team that he is on and needs to have shooters on the outside. The more shooters he has, the better options he has when driving to the rim. That’s huge because not only would it be best if they could shoot, but also know what the scenario is. LeBron has had some shake-ups when playing with some players over the years like Mario Chalmers on the Heat, Kyrie Irving on the Cavaliers, and recently J.R.Smith in the previous NBA Finals.

“He has so many fanboys in the media. Even the beat writers just fawn over him,” said Durant. “I’m like, we’re playing basketball here, and it’s not even about basketball at certain points. So I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic.”

The media loves LeBron and everything he does on and off the court. When you have arguably the best player in the world on your team, the media will definitely want to cover everything he does to get better, how he betters his teammates, his hobbies away from basketball, his workouts, everything. That can become a distraction for players and lead to the destruction of chemistry for a team. That might not get to Kevin Durant much because he is not afraid to speak freely about certain subjects when it comes to players and games.

Dwyane Wade

LeBron’s incredible IQ for the game has helped get him three NBA Final championships (two with Miami Heat, one with Cleveland Cavaliers). He’s had an enormous number of teammates over the years playing for the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and now Los Angeles Lakers.

Dwyane Wade, one of LeBron’s old most infamous teammates on the Miami Heat, has just played his last regular season game against LeBron in Staples Center.

“We got the opportunity on the court just to look at each other and be like, ‘Man, this has been fun, this has been one helluva ride, and we’ve enjoyed it together,” said Wade. “This is what you play for, playing against one of the greatest players ever. Whether we were teammates, or whether we were opponents, we brought the best out of each other.”

That is one of the truest and most powerful factors of the sport of basketball. The strong relationships bring the competitiveness and talent out of players which helps them grow and become more adapted to the game. Wade and James brought their strong bond to the court and not only won two championships, but have become one of the top five greatest NBA duos of All-Time.

D-Wade and LeBron joined forces in 2010 and went to four consecutive NBA Finals together, capturing two of them (2012, 2013). James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, Wade then joined the Cavaliers during half of the 2018 season, but then returned back to the Miami Heat.

On Monday, December 10th, an emotional game that could have been the last time we ever saw these two Hall of Famers playing on the same court together, Wade had nothing but praise for his old teammate and best friend. In the long run, LeBron would not have won his first two NBA championships without his best friend, Dwyane Wade.

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End of an era.

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Veterans

Veterans around the league understand that whatever team LeBron is on, he is the main guy.

“If you got LeBron, you have to make it all about LeBron,” said Los Angeles Lakers teammate Tyson Chandler.

“He puts a lot of pressure on you, but he takes a lot of pressure off of you, too,” said Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. “If your a strong enough personality, you can handle it.”

Players know that playing on the same team as LeBron is going to be way more than just basketball. That can make it difficult for a player to get distracted by all the side effects that come with James off the court, but it’s not his fault. LeBron acts like a coach on the court that gets the motor going for these Lakers. If you play alongside him, he’ll help make you a better overall player. The NBA knows that playing alongside him gives the team a greater chance of having a successful regular season and playoff run as well.

Other teams in the league have made exceptions to creating duos and trios for their franchises that, don’t include LeBron, which seem to be working out. The Sixers have newly acquired Jimmy Butler to join Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philly. Kawhi Leonard was sent to Toronto and has joined forces with Kyle Lowry and sit atop the Eastern Conference. Paul George, who reportedly backed out from joining LeBron in LA, is now linked with Russell Westbrook for the foreseeable future.

The Warriors are still dominant in the Western Conference with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and now DeMarcus Cousins about to return to the court. With Kevin Durant possibly looking for a new city to play for next season, LeBron and the Lakers could be the best business option for him, but will it be the best decision to become LeBron’s new sidekick?

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