During both tenures with the Cleveland Cavaliers, basketball fans have all gotten used to watching LeBron James carry the team on his shoulders throughout the playoffs. He has been able to lead the team to deep playoff runs, and some great regular season finishes as well. If there’s anyone who knows what it takes to win the championship, LeBron would be the one. After winning a couple rings in Miami with some teammates who were able to help shoulder the load, he’s getting a little fed up with having to carry the team throughout the playoffs and coming up short in the big game.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, LeBron thinks that the Cleveland Cavaliers are not ready for the playoffs:
“I can sit up here and say that we’re a team that’s ready to start the playoffs tomorrow, but we’re not,” LeBron James said after the Cavs trailed by as many as 14 before losing at the buzzer when Kyrie Irving missed a potential game-tying 3. “We’re still learning. We still have things that happen on the court that just, that shouldn’t happen.”
“We gave up a lot of pick-sixes,” James said. “In NFL terms, that means it’s straight to the house. To have 25 turnovers for 30 points — I don’t care who you’re playing, it could be my son’s little league team — you’re going to lose when you give up that many turnovers just from carelessness.”
After a very bad looking loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, this should not come as a surprise. LeBron is saying what a lot of fans and media members are thinking. Everyone believes the championship is going to one of the top three teams in the West, and that means the Cavaliers are going to have to work that much harder.
On the heels of the report from McMenamin, Brian Windhorst of ESPN explained that LeBron may not be happy with having to shoulder the load of the team yet again. Via Windhorst:
“Even though sometimes it’s his fault they don’t perform at the highest level, LeBron knows he’s going to have to carry these guys in the postseason, and I don’t think he’s real happy about it.”
As LeBron climbs in age, this statement from Brian Windhorst seems to be absolutely correct. As any player gets older, shouldering such a tremendous load is very difficult. Give a player the kind of pressure that LeBron has and that could break anyone down. As he strives to win as many rings as he can before his career is over, being the only go-to guy is something that he doesn’t want to deal with anymore. In Miami, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had some postseason experience and they could be counted on to step up whenever they were needed. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both experienced the playoffs for the first time last season and they didn’t even last the whole time due to injuries.
All of this is starting to cause a few conflicts and drama surrounding the team. The playoffs are right around the corner, and if the Cavaliers aren’t ready will the even make it out of the East? If I had to guess, I’d still say they will make it to the Finals, but I’m definitely not as sure when it comes to winning it all.