Kevin Durant or Lebron James?

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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#121 » by Heej » Mon Feb 15, 2021 3:31 am

Haven't been on RealGM in a week and come back to see JordansBulls talking about LeBron choking in 2004 :rofl: why do you guys still fall for his shtick lol
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#122 » by Baski » Mon Feb 15, 2021 11:17 am

VDT wrote:
Jaivl wrote:
VDT wrote:Lebron is better, Durant gives you probably the higher ceiling if you have a lot of talent, as he doesnt have to dominate the ball.

That's probably true in theory, but... who do you even want with the ball on their hands before LeBron?

The answer is probably limited to... Magic and Nash? And even then, is a lesser-role LeBron (more focused on defense/extra passes/screens/running the break/etc) even worse than Durant?


It's not so much who you want with the ball in his hands (which is probably too vague) but how can he coexist with other talented players.

Jordan for a year had pg duties and averaged 32.5/8/8 but the team took off only when Pippen was allowed to handle the ball more and Jordan played a more specialized role. His all around stats were lower but it gave his teammates room to breathe and as a result the team became better. Imagine if Jordan was not able/willing to play in a more off ball role. The Bulls might have still won a title or two (certainly less than they did) but Pippen would look worse as he wouldnt have been allowed to play to his strengths (people might even have complained that Jordan had no help) and overall the team would be worse.

I am trying to say that there is value in being able to have a more specialized role to allow other players to flourish and conversely there is a price to pay when a player dominates the ball too much. Lebron's all around game is impressive but at the same time his inability to assume a different role makes it hard to have a good synergy with other stars . It is probably the reason that despite all the talent he played with, he never had a particularly dominant team.

I feel like this "LeBron ball limits team's ceiling" stuff gets so much play that it draws attention away from the most blatantly obvious reason for LeBron's teams struggles:

Defense

Lebron's teams have for the most part always been great to elite on offense. Where we see the difference between his teams and the ones that beat them is in defense. And yet for some reason we gloss over that and jump straight to LeBron ball as the reason. His 2nd Cavs stint is the most glaring example of this, where LeBron was his team's defensive anchor and the team immediately fell apart when he stopped trying.
The 2020 Lakers still used LeBron ball, had a disappointing offense and yet were about as dominant as any of Lebron's teams have ever been in the playoffs. How do we explain that? Obviously it's because they could play competent defense to stifle their opponents even when LeBron decides to take a breather once in a while.

It's defense, not offense that keeps LeBron teams from being dominant. And again this is blatantly obvious. You replace Draymond Green with Kevin Love or Chris Bosh and the Warriors don't win close to 73 games and might not win any titles. And it wouldn't be because Kerr's system is flawed. The Spurs wouldn't have been dominant for 15 years if Timmy was only a Shaq level defender. Defense wins championships. Wish we could get that straight.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#123 » by Baski » Mon Feb 15, 2021 11:21 am

Heej wrote:Haven't been on RealGM in a week and come back to see JordansBulls talking about LeBron choking in 2004 :rofl: why do you guys still fall for his shtick lol

I dunno. He's kinda cool. His takes don't really have me clutching my pearls like they do for others. He kinda makes it clear he's joking so it doesn't come off as trolling for me.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#124 » by VDT » Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:13 pm

KTM_2813 wrote:You covered a lot of ground in this post, and I have some thoughts that I want to share. Thanks for starting this discussion.

The first point I want to address is LeBron never having a particularly dominant team. I think that this ultimately boils down to the definition of "dominant". A reasonable argument can be made that he has captained at least one, perhaps even two of the top-twenty teams of all-time (see Sansterre's Top 100 project). The 2013 Heat also won 27 games in a row, which I believe is the third-longest streak ever. Those examples seem pretty dominant to me. We can of course alter the definition of "dominant" to mean something like "unassailable top-ten team ever", in which case none of LeBron's teams qualify, but in my mind that's a bit strict. It's all in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.


I would define a dominant team as a team that had an excellent regular season (60+wins, with only exception maybe teams that have been dominant recently and obviously coasting eg Bulls 1993) and won convincingly, without a series particularly in doubt. Look at Lebrons teams after 2011.

2011 No
2012 Regular season was on a good but not dominant 57 wins pace. In the playoffs they had also a relatively close series against Boston being down 2-3.
2013 The almost lost to the Spurs.
2014 No
2015 53 wins team
2016 57 wins team. Barely won the title but it was against a team with the best record in history (although overrated imo).
2017 51 wins team
2018 No
2019 No
2020 60 wins team. They won but it was in the bubble so it is hard to compare as there were a lot of surprising performances in the postseason.

The 2016 Cavs or the 2012 Heat might be close and the 2020 Lakers are a questionmark but he doesnt have an unquestionably historically dominant team imo.

Bear in mind that most of his career he played in one of the historically weakest conferences which influenced his regular season records and postseason success.

KTM_2813 wrote:The second point I want to address is the idea of coexisting with other talent and having synergy with other stars. In my opinion, LeBron has generally played in a way that requires the ball in his hands and forces his teammates into very specific roles (not all the time, such as 2013). However, the goal of any basketball player is to maximize his team's success, not necessarily to achieve the most beautiful, harmonious offense. What LeBron does has historically been extremely effective, and generally maximizes his team's results. It's also produced the most valuable versions of two stars in particular: Irving and Davis. Perhaps they didn't have their best statistics, but they likely achieved the best versions of themselves by dominating in secondary roles, as opposed to less impressive returns as primary options on worse teams.


Lebron having the ball in his hands is certainly effective and probably maximizes the team's success but that is partly because Lebron looks pretty pedestrian if he doesnt have the ball. Jordan was still a better on ball player than Pippen but his ability to play also off ball allowed the team to reach a new level.

I think it is true that Lebron has optimized Kyrie but that's because Kyrie is not a player you want to have the ball in his hands and run your offense. He is a very good, but not elite, iso player that provides spacing. He is actually ideal to have next to Lebron. If you have someone like Wade that was an actual superstar you will have significant diminishing returns.

I dont think he has particularly maximized Davis to be honest. Davis has always been a complementary player that needs to be fed most of his baskets. With Lebron he doesnt have to be the man anymore but he is not playing a t a higher level imo, other than having a better team around him. Offensively, he doesnt clash with Lebron because he is not a player that wants the ball in his hands (ideally he needs someone else to create the shots for him) and doesnt mind playing away from the basket.

On the other hand Lebron is a questionable fit with any star that needs the ball in his hands or likes to score close to the basket. The problem was even more exacerbated in the past (most of Lebron's career), when the three point shot was not emphasized and Lebron's and his potential co star's teammates shooting was not as good as today.


KTM_2813 wrote:The final point I want to address is that LeBron's teams have not been particularly dominant because of his ball-dominance. I think it's worth noting that a team's performance is generally comprised by four factors: offense, defense, health, and quality of opposition. LeBron's offensive style of play only impacts offense, and in that regard, his teams have generally been excellent and sometimes historic. Unfortunately, when I review each season of his career, I see a borderline unluckiness with regards to his team's ability to check off all four boxes. Examples: 2017 Cavaliers were perhaps the best playoff offense ever, but their defense stunk and they went up against the 2017 Warriors; 2015 Cavaliers were decimated by injuries in the Finals; 2020 Lakers were excellent defensively but had major offensive holes. At the end of the day, I think his lacking a 2001-Lakers domination year is more complicated than simply his ball-dominance.

Cheers!


I think a lot of the times what happens is that Lebron's team tries to load up on 3 point shooters to boost the offense at the cost of their defense. If you think about it, Love and Kyrie are basically two such players. The good offense and bad defense are not unrelated so you cant really separate them.

I also dont think he has had bad luck with regards to injuries. First and foremost with regards to himself, but also with regards to his teammates. 2015 is the only major thing i can think of. In an almost 20 year career that is not much.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#125 » by KTM_2813 » Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:47 pm

VDT wrote:I would define a dominant team as a team that had an excellent regular season (60+wins, with only exception maybe teams that have been dominant recently and obviously coasting eg Bulls 1993) and won convincingly, without a series particularly in doubt.


I don't think that's an unfair definition. Perhaps a tad stricter than I would define it, but such is life.

VDT wrote:Lebron having the ball in his hands is certainly effective and probably maximizes the team's success but that is partly because Lebron looks pretty pedestrian if he doesnt have the ball. Jordan was still a better on ball player than Pippen but his ability to play also off ball allowed the team to reach a new level.


Seems we're on the same page that LeBron generally maximizes his team's success. You seem to be very focused on how things look and how he fits with stars, which I view as a nice bonus, but ultimately unnecessary as long as the team performs about as well as it can.

VDT wrote:I think a lot of the times what happens is that Lebron's team tries to load up on 3 point shooters to boost the offense at the cost of their defense. If you think about it, Love and Kyrie are basically two such players. The good offense and bad defense are not unrelated so you cant really separate them.

I also dont think he has had bad luck with regards to injuries. First and foremost with regards to himself, but also with regards to his teammates. 2015 is the only major thing i can think of. In an almost 20 year career that is not much.


The main point I'm trying to make is simply that I don't think you can attribute his teams' lack of dominance to him being a ball-dominant offensive player. Almost every season of his career, there are better explanations, in my opinion. It's not that his teams could never play defense, or were always injured, etc. It's more so that there was always something going on, usually unrelated to him.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#126 » by Ambrose » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:00 pm

JordansBulls wrote:
nzahir wrote:
JordansBulls wrote:KD walked away with 2 finals mvp's and dominated despite both guys having stacked teams and beat Lebron on the highest stage. This is like a Skip Bayless vs Shannon Sharpe debate.


Here is a glimpse of what Durant did and said.



Now show us the 2016 playoffs vs OKC when he CHOKED a 3-1 lead

Something real Goats don't do

Never claimed Durant was a GOAT player. Said 2017 and 2018.

Besides Lebron lost to Dwight Howard with HCA while KD lost to Zach Randolph with it. Lebron won bronze medal twice for the USA as well while KD only won gold medals for the USA.


Are you seriously blaming LeBron for the USA getting a bronze in 2004?
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#127 » by freethedevil » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:11 pm

VDT wrote:
KTM_2813 wrote:
2012 Regular season was on a good but not dominant 57 wins pace. In the playoffs they had also a relatively close series against Boston being down 2-3.
.

How are you going to try and make some point abotu how lebron can't fit next to other stars and then ignore that the cavs only struggled when bosh was injured? Despite supposedly not meshing with talent the cavs, with bosh went 9-1 outscoring a 48 win team by 16 points a game in 3 wins and outscoring a 57 win team by 5 points a game in 5 wins blowing out most of their games in the process. Lebron literally had worse spacing than any jordan championship team and did just as well in the playoffs when he had his full lineup despite hsi team having worse spacing and worse depth.

Explain to me how exactly 2012 fits this silly narrative you've got going that lebron can't mesh with elite talent or needs spacing to win? The bulls had good spacing for the time, the heat had , among, the worst spacing in the league. yet the heat played like the 91 bulls when these stars lebron supposedly can't fit next to plays well.

2020 - wierd
[/quote]
The bubble was 'wierd' because everyone shot well, except for the lakers who had mediocre shooting in the playoffs.. And yet, the lakers went 16-5 more or less cakewalking through the postseason. Funny how that works.

You're right rhough VDT, if we ignore every instance where lebron clearly disproved what you're arguing for then yes, lebron obviously was incapable of leading dominant teams next to superstars. Port go brrr.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#128 » by PaulieWal » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:34 pm

Okay, everyone, let's let go of the bronze medals comments. Time to move on and not derail this thread any further.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#129 » by feyki » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:58 pm

Djoker wrote:
freethedevil wrote:Feyki, I literally conceded durant might have been better defensively in 2018. Do you like, not read what yo respond to?


Might have been better? Lebron was terrible on defense in 2018. KD was much better that season. Even in 2017 KD was better on defense. And of course in those specific FInals series between them, Lebron was also terrible on defense and much worse than KD.

In the post you responded to me you mentioned that KD doesn't touch Lebron as a scorer which is a laughable take. I get that you love Lebron but try to be objective.


I wouldn't call it terrible, it still ahead of average, to me. At least he was on positive. On/off metrics like rings comparison, no way Lebron was -3 and KD was -2 in the 2018. That was because of their teams road. GSW did not play any defence that year, both on the regular season and playoffs; Cavs also coast in the regular season, they held Raptors under their Season OffRtg, how would be happen when you're 29th best defence?

Thread had turned ish threads, btw. Even in player comparison board :/ .
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#130 » by VDT » Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:04 pm

KTM_2813 wrote:
Seems we're on the same page that LeBron generally maximizes his team's success. You seem to be very focused on how things look and how he fits with stars, which I view as a nice bonus, but ultimately unnecessary as long as the team performs about as well as it can.


He maximizes then if we take his limitations for granted. Which is why i mentioned Jordan. If he coouldnt/didnt want to have a more off ball role ,

KTM_2813 wrote:I think a lot of the times what happens is that Lebron's team tries to load up on 3 point shooters to boost the offense at the cost of their defense. If you think about it, Love and Kyrie are basically two such players. The good offense and bad defense are not unrelated so you cant really separate them it would mean that maximizing the team would equal him having the ball and initiate the offense. At the same time this would likely mean that the team would not be as as good as they were historically. The maximization would be true but only if Jordan's inability/unwillingness to give his teammates a bigger role is taken for granted. In other words, if Lebron could be more versatile in terms of his role in the team, the team would be even better.

KTM_2813 wrote:The main point I'm trying to make is simply that I don't think you can attribute his teams' lack of dominance to him being a ball-dominant offensive player. Almost every season of his career, there are better explanations, in my opinion. It's not that his teams could never play defense, or were always injured, etc. It's more so that there was always something going on, usually unrelated to him.


There may also be other explanations in play however Lebron was actually selecting his team/teammates, an advantage that past generations did not have. At the same time there were diminishing returns when playing with other star players (especially with Wade) and the fact that it was required to have good 3 point shooters around him (at least with Cavs) meant that likely certain compromises in terms of player quality had to be made. It is probably a little bit of everything.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#131 » by PistolPeteJR » Tue Feb 16, 2021 2:07 am

uberhikari wrote:
McBubbles wrote:
JordansBulls wrote:Lebron averaged roughly 12 mpg in the Olympics that year that is the same amount of minutes Hakeem averaged in 1996. It’s more than Stockton averaged in either the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Had they lost they would get the same blame especially if we are talking about an all time great.


I'm probably going to get some sort of mod warning for this but on a completely separate note, are people sure JordansBulls isn't a troll? I've been lurking on this forum for a long time and they've legitimately never made an argument that isn't completely terrible. It's like they're a bot that searches the web for a players record with HCA and spits it out with no context.


I add people like JordansBulls as a foe, so I never have to read what they write in any thread. I probably have like 20 people on my foe list.


Share the list (sorry not trying to derail lol...) ;)
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#132 » by McBubbles » Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:55 pm

Baski wrote:
VDT wrote:
Jaivl wrote:That's probably true in theory, but... who do you even want with the ball on their hands before LeBron?

The answer is probably limited to... Magic and Nash? And even then, is a lesser-role LeBron (more focused on defense/extra passes/screens/running the break/etc) even worse than Durant?


It's not so much who you want with the ball in his hands (which is probably too vague) but how can he coexist with other talented players.

Jordan for a year had pg duties and averaged 32.5/8/8 but the team took off only when Pippen was allowed to handle the ball more and Jordan played a more specialized role. His all around stats were lower but it gave his teammates room to breathe and as a result the team became better. Imagine if Jordan was not able/willing to play in a more off ball role. The Bulls might have still won a title or two (certainly less than they did) but Pippen would look worse as he wouldnt have been allowed to play to his strengths (people might even have complained that Jordan had no help) and overall the team would be worse.

I am trying to say that there is value in being able to have a more specialized role to allow other players to flourish and conversely there is a price to pay when a player dominates the ball too much. Lebron's all around game is impressive but at the same time his inability to assume a different role makes it hard to have a good synergy with other stars . It is probably the reason that despite all the talent he played with, he never had a particularly dominant team.

I feel like this "LeBron ball limits team's ceiling" stuff gets so much play that it draws attention away from the most blatantly obvious reason for LeBron's teams struggles:

Defense

Lebron's teams have for the most part always been great to elite on offense. Where we see the difference between his teams and the ones that beat them is in defense. And yet for some reason we gloss over that and jump straight to LeBron ball as the reason. His 2nd Cavs stint is the most glaring example of this, where LeBron was his team's defensive anchor and the team immediately fell apart when he stopped trying.
The 2020 Lakers still used LeBron ball, had a disappointing offense and yet were about as dominant as any of Lebron's teams have ever been in the playoffs. How do we explain that? Obviously it's because they could play competent defense to stifle their opponents even when LeBron decides to take a breather once in a while.

It's defense, not offense that keeps LeBron teams from being dominant. And again this is blatantly obvious. You replace Draymond Green with Kevin Love or Chris Bosh and the Warriors don't win close to 73 games and might not win any titles. And it wouldn't be because Kerr's system is flawed. The Spurs wouldn't have been dominant for 15 years if Timmy was only a Shaq level defender. Defense wins championships. Wish we could get that straight.


1. Defence.
Thank you x1milion for bringing this up. I feel like I'm going insane when someone blames LeBron's losses in general on offence. It's not even some esoteric, hard to observe phenomenon that only elite BBIQ'ers can discern, his team's have usually very clearly lost because of either a massive talent disparity or defence, but the latter isn't sexy and so regardless of context it's ignored.

A team with 1 star and 4 starters that are good on offence and dog poop on defence is considered stacked, and if you lose with that set up you're perceived to have underachieved. A team with 1 star and 4 starters that are good on defence and dog poop on offence is considered trash, and if you lose with that set up then you're given credit for "carrying so hard" regardless of how true that even is.

2. LeBron-Ball. This narrative drove me absolutely insane the most in the 2018 season, when I saw people attributing his loss to the 2018 Warriors on nothing else but LeBron-Ball (and subsequently realized that I'd outgrown the NBA subreddit lol), as opposed to the myriad of other more pressing issues.

People that DO acknowledge the fact that defence is the issue will say "ah but you see, LeBron teams are full of shooters! And shooters make his defence worse, so Lebron-Ball is actually the reason for his team's poor defence!" to which my response is: What in the **** are you talking about? 3 point shooters, are inherently bad Defenders? So 3&D players, just don't exist I guess? LeBron's team had 3&D players in 2016, they just got worse on defence due to natural decline.

The other thing that compounded this issue for me the most during the 2018 Season though was the Houston Rockets. That team was operating on the same LeBron-Ball principles that the Cavs used to beat the Warriors in 2016. A ball dominant playmaker exploiting mismatches + a secondary playmaker + 3&D players = ATG RS offence. The only difference between the 18 Rockets and LeBron-Ball is/was inferior personnel.

And funnily enough, the reason the Rockets Warriors series even went to 7 in the first place was mainly because of defence, but as mentioned in my previous point, defence isn't sexy enough to warrant a discussion so **** it.

Rant over lol, very cathartic.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#133 » by Baski » Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:17 am

McBubbles wrote:
Baski wrote:
VDT wrote:
It's not so much who you want with the ball in his hands (which is probably too vague) but how can he coexist with other talented players.

Jordan for a year had pg duties and averaged 32.5/8/8 but the team took off only when Pippen was allowed to handle the ball more and Jordan played a more specialized role. His all around stats were lower but it gave his teammates room to breathe and as a result the team became better. Imagine if Jordan was not able/willing to play in a more off ball role. The Bulls might have still won a title or two (certainly less than they did) but Pippen would look worse as he wouldnt have been allowed to play to his strengths (people might even have complained that Jordan had no help) and overall the team would be worse.

I am trying to say that there is value in being able to have a more specialized role to allow other players to flourish and conversely there is a price to pay when a player dominates the ball too much. Lebron's all around game is impressive but at the same time his inability to assume a different role makes it hard to have a good synergy with other stars . It is probably the reason that despite all the talent he played with, he never had a particularly dominant team.

I feel like this "LeBron ball limits team's ceiling" stuff gets so much play that it draws attention away from the most blatantly obvious reason for LeBron's teams struggles:

Defense

Lebron's teams have for the most part always been great to elite on offense. Where we see the difference between his teams and the ones that beat them is in defense. And yet for some reason we gloss over that and jump straight to LeBron ball as the reason. His 2nd Cavs stint is the most glaring example of this, where LeBron was his team's defensive anchor and the team immediately fell apart when he stopped trying.
The 2020 Lakers still used LeBron ball, had a disappointing offense and yet were about as dominant as any of Lebron's teams have ever been in the playoffs. How do we explain that? Obviously it's because they could play competent defense to stifle their opponents even when LeBron decides to take a breather once in a while.

It's defense, not offense that keeps LeBron teams from being dominant. And again this is blatantly obvious. You replace Draymond Green with Kevin Love or Chris Bosh and the Warriors don't win close to 73 games and might not win any titles. And it wouldn't be because Kerr's system is flawed. The Spurs wouldn't have been dominant for 15 years if Timmy was only a Shaq level defender. Defense wins championships. Wish we could get that straight.


1. Defence.
Thank you x1milion for bringing this up. I feel like I'm going insane when someone blames LeBron's losses in general on offence. It's not even some esoteric, hard to observe phenomenon that only elite BBIQ'ers can discern, his team's have usually very clearly lost because of either a massive talent disparity or defence, but the latter isn't sexy and so regardless of context it's ignored.

A team with 1 star and 4 starters that are good on offence and dog poop on defence is considered stacked, and if you lose with that set up you're perceived to have underachieved. A team with 1 star and 4 starters that are good on defence and dog poop on offence is considered trash, and if you lose with that set up then you're given credit for "carrying so hard" regardless of how true that even is.

2. LeBron-Ball. This narrative drove me absolutely insane the most in the 2018 season, when I saw people attributing his loss to the 2018 Warriors on nothing else but LeBron-Ball (and subsequently realized that I'd outgrown the NBA subreddit lol), as opposed to the myriad of other more pressing issues.

People that DO acknowledge the fact that defence is the issue will say "ah but you see, LeBron teams are full of shooters! And shooters make his defence worse, so Lebron-Ball is actually the reason for his team's poor defence!" to which my response is: What in the **** are you talking about? 3 point shooters, are inherently bad Defenders? So 3&D players, just don't exist I guess? LeBron's team had 3&D players in 2016, they just got worse on defence due to natural decline.

The other thing that compounded this issue for me the most during the 2018 Season though was the Houston Rockets. That team was operating on the same LeBron-Ball principles that the Cavs used to beat the Warriors in 2016. A ball dominant playmaker exploiting mismatches + a secondary playmaker + 3&D players = ATG RS offence. The only difference between the 18 Rockets and LeBron-Ball is/was inferior personnel.

And funnily enough, the reason the Rockets Warriors series even went to 7 in the first place was mainly because of defence, but as mentioned in my previous point, defence isn't sexy enough to warrant a discussion so **** it.

Rant over lol, very cathartic.

It really is in infuriating isn't it? :lol:

The 2011 Mavs had JET, Stevenson and Marion lighting the Heat up whereas the Mavs defended so well that LeBron was too confused to run any plays.

2013 Spurs defense had LeBron so messed up he forgot he had a jumper. And yet despite his offensive struggles, it went to 7 games. But I guess maybe giving Bosh more Postups vs Timmy would've given the Heat the victory sooner.

2014 Heat was pathetic on defense. Diaw and Duncan had Bosh looking like a headless chicken. Wade was so damaged he couldn't even close out. LeBron did his part in letting Kawhi light him up. But sure LeBron should've played more offball and given Bosh more postups vs Timmy down low.

The 2015 Cavs had no real offensive weapons and yet were still able to take the Warriors to 6 games with LeBron having a Westbrook type offensive series. How did they do that we wonder?

In 2016 the Warriors were getting whatever they wanted against the Cavs in the first few games, to the extent that guys like Shaun Livingston were having resurgent games where Curry and Klay combined for 20 points in Warriors wins. LeBron had to turn into a 10-limbed Murasakibara absolutely **** on the Warriors defensively only to eke out a close 7- game win. But I guess they might've won more convincingly if he let 8ppg Kevin Love post Draymond up some more.

2017 Cavs had zero rim protection, LeBron stopped playing defense after KD dropped him that first time, and TT was so bad that Curry Rodman'd him multiple times. Everybody else was pitiful and couldn't stop fouling. On the other side though the Ws made Deron Williams have the worst finals performance by any non-star ever. But yeah Love should've had more postup chances so KD could swat the **** out of him some more.

2018 Cavs were actually even worse defensively somehow, whereas the Ws maintained their elite defense from years past. Lebron averages 34/ whatever/ whatever and they still get swept. And the problem was supposed to be the Cavs offense?

2020 Lakers finally get a good defense around LeBron, LeBron ball has one of its worst offensive showings over a season, and yet the Lakers bulldoze through the West.

And we look back on all this and conclude that they lost because Kevin Love didn't get his empty 26/14 and Bosh his 26/10 like in the good old days when those stats led to missing the POs and 1st round exits. It's weird how blind we choose to be.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#134 » by McBubbles » Wed Feb 17, 2021 12:51 pm

Baski wrote:
McBubbles wrote:
Baski wrote:I feel like this "LeBron ball limits team's ceiling" stuff gets so much play that it draws attention away from the most blatantly obvious reason for LeBron's teams struggles:

Defense

Lebron's teams have for the most part always been great to elite on offense. Where we see the difference between his teams and the ones that beat them is in defense. And yet for some reason we gloss over that and jump straight to LeBron ball as the reason. His 2nd Cavs stint is the most glaring example of this, where LeBron was his team's defensive anchor and the team immediately fell apart when he stopped trying.
The 2020 Lakers still used LeBron ball, had a disappointing offense and yet were about as dominant as any of Lebron's teams have ever been in the playoffs. How do we explain that? Obviously it's because they could play competent defense to stifle their opponents even when LeBron decides to take a breather once in a while.

It's defense, not offense that keeps LeBron teams from being dominant. And again this is blatantly obvious. You replace Draymond Green with Kevin Love or Chris Bosh and the Warriors don't win close to 73 games and might not win any titles. And it wouldn't be because Kerr's system is flawed. The Spurs wouldn't have been dominant for 15 years if Timmy was only a Shaq level defender. Defense wins championships. Wish we could get that straight.


1. Defence.
Thank you x1milion for bringing this up. I feel like I'm going insane when someone blames LeBron's losses in general on offence. It's not even some esoteric, hard to observe phenomenon that only elite BBIQ'ers can discern, his team's have usually very clearly lost because of either a massive talent disparity or defence, but the latter isn't sexy and so regardless of context it's ignored.

A team with 1 star and 4 starters that are good on offence and dog poop on defence is considered stacked, and if you lose with that set up you're perceived to have underachieved. A team with 1 star and 4 starters that are good on defence and dog poop on offence is considered trash, and if you lose with that set up then you're given credit for "carrying so hard" regardless of how true that even is.

2. LeBron-Ball. This narrative drove me absolutely insane the most in the 2018 season, when I saw people attributing his loss to the 2018 Warriors on nothing else but LeBron-Ball (and subsequently realized that I'd outgrown the NBA subreddit lol), as opposed to the myriad of other more pressing issues.

People that DO acknowledge the fact that defence is the issue will say "ah but you see, LeBron teams are full of shooters! And shooters make his defence worse, so Lebron-Ball is actually the reason for his team's poor defence!" to which my response is: What in the **** are you talking about? 3 point shooters, are inherently bad Defenders? So 3&D players, just don't exist I guess? LeBron's team had 3&D players in 2016, they just got worse on defence due to natural decline.

The other thing that compounded this issue for me the most during the 2018 Season though was the Houston Rockets. That team was operating on the same LeBron-Ball principles that the Cavs used to beat the Warriors in 2016. A ball dominant playmaker exploiting mismatches + a secondary playmaker + 3&D players = ATG RS offence. The only difference between the 18 Rockets and LeBron-Ball is/was inferior personnel.

And funnily enough, the reason the Rockets Warriors series even went to 7 in the first place was mainly because of defence, but as mentioned in my previous point, defence isn't sexy enough to warrant a discussion so **** it.

Rant over lol, very cathartic.

It really is in infuriating isn't it? :lol:

The 2011 Mavs had JET, Stevenson and Marion lighting the Heat up whereas the Mavs defended so well that LeBron was too confused to run any plays.

2013 Spurs defense had LeBron so messed up he forgot he had a jumper. And yet despite his offensive struggles, it went to 7 games. But I guess maybe giving Bosh more Postups vs Timmy would've given the Heat the victory sooner.

2014 Heat was pathetic on defense. Diaw and Duncan had Bosh looking like a headless chicken. Wade was so damaged he couldn't even close out. LeBron did his part in letting Kawhi light him up. But sure LeBron should've played more offball and given Bosh more postups vs Timmy down low.

The 2015 Cavs had no real offensive weapons and yet were still able to take the Warriors to 6 games with LeBron having a Westbrook type offensive series. How did they do that we wonder?

In 2016 the Warriors were getting whatever they wanted against the Cavs in the first few games, to the extent that guys like Shaun Livingston were having resurgent games where Curry and Klay combined for 20 points in Warriors wins. LeBron had to turn into a 10-limbed Murasakibara absolutely **** on the Warriors defensively only to eke out a close 7- game win. But I guess they might've won more convincingly if he let 8ppg Kevin Love post Draymond up some more.

2017 Cavs had zero rim protection, LeBron stopped playing defense after KD dropped him that first time, and TT was so bad that Curry Rodman'd him multiple times. Everybody else was pitiful and couldn't stop fouling. On the other side though the Ws made Deron Williams have the worst finals performance by any non-star ever. But yeah Love should've had more postup chances so KD could swat the **** out of him some more.

2018 Cavs were actually even worse defensively somehow, whereas the Ws maintained their elite defense from years past. Lebron averages 34/ whatever/ whatever and they still get swept. And the problem was supposed to be the Cavs offense?

2020 Lakers finally get a good defense around LeBron, LeBron ball has one of its worst offensive showings over a season, and yet the Lakers bulldoze through the West.

And we look back on all this and conclude that they lost because Kevin Love didn't get his empty 26/14 and Bosh his 26/10 like in the good old days when those stats led to missing the POs and 1st round exits. It's weird how blind we choose to be.


:lol: Appreciate the Kuroko no Basket reference, wonder how many people here watched it, but yeah it is ridiculously infuriating. NBA offence isn't a democracy, it's a meritocracy. The best scorer on the team gets the most shots, 2nd best second most, 3rd best 3rd most, etc. Hearing people say that a player that used to be a 1st option on offence (an inefficient post playing 1st option no less) that became a 3rd option on offence got worse because of PPG was just, :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:. There's literally never been a 1st option in NBA history that's been turned into a 3rd option and had their volume remain unchanged, but we'll conveniently ignore that so we can criticize Lebron.

The other thing you kept on hearing was "Lebron can't play off ball". I don't know if you've heard of the channel Basketball Explained, but he made a very popular video on why 18 KD was better than Lebron / why KD has actually always been better, and he said that Lebron can't play off ball. I might actually make a post criticizing it, it was so bad. When I gave him several stats in SEVERAL back and forth responses that showed that Lebron was actually one of the best off ball players in the league in 2012-14, he straight up said "Well I don't believe it, agree to disagree", like, **** what m8 :lol: ? Plus, people think it's just a matter of scheme to run a motion offence, not the fact you need 5 very well rounded players with a high basketball IQ and ballhandling ability. But yes, let JR Smith and Tristan Thompson pound the rock and round up turnovers cuz motion offence.

Furthermore, it's very strange the amount of responsibility people think Lebron has, or rather should have in regards to his team success. People COMPLETELY ignored the 18 Warriors defence and said that the reason his teammates were missing shots is because "Bron-Ball gets his teammates out of rhythm". Spot up shooters don't need to be in rhythm, which is why they're called spot up shooters and not rhythm shooters, for one. Two, JR Smith shot something like 30% on layups in the finals series. If you think that Lebron's teammates are so incompetent that they're incapable of shooting anything but **** percentages without Lebron's help, then you've already explained why Lebron has lost; they're trash :lol:

The topic of responsibility got me thinking though, and it was this line of thinking that made me consider for the first time whether Lebron seriously had a case against being better than Jordan, which I now believe wholeheartedly. Not necessarily at his peak ( mainly because I don't actually know when the **** Lebron's peak was and he changes so much as a player season to season that only taking one kinda sells him short) but in terms of career value, on which player gives you the highest championship odds, I nowdefinitely think Lebron > MJ.

Pre 2018 I always believed that Lebron was clearly the second best perimeter player ever and that the only reason Lebron vs MJ debate was had was for clicks. MJ vs Kobe discussions were on ESPN all the time and they were ridiculously unwarranted, so whilst Lebron is better than Kobe it's just the same shtick, until I really thought about Lebron's responsibility compared to his peers. Up until last year, prime Lebron had pretty much never played with a rim protector. Not only had he never played with a rim protector, he had never played with a defender better than himself. If he wasn't the best defender on the team or if he didn't put max effort on defence then his teams defence would be ****, end of discussion. You know who else has that responsibility? Big men. Big men that aren't the primary and oftentimes not even secondary offensive decision maker / playmaker. Lebron James was simultaneously, primarily responsible for both his teams offensive and defensive ceiling and if he took effort of one his team would fail in that department no questions asked. That's a level of responsibility that no other perimeter player has ever had, and that big men have only had for one ATG carry job season, yet Lebron had that from like 2009 to 2018, or 2011-2018 if you want to be generous. Kobe takes 2003 to 2007, and 2011-13 off on defence and racks up accolades whilst being hailed as one of the best defenders of all time whilst Lebron takes defence off in 2014, **** up his back in 15 and then takes it off in 2018 and gets shat on as "having left his defence in Miami" and being "one of the worst defenders in the league for years". If Lebron had a Pippen and a Grant, or a Pippen and a Rodman, a Kareem, a Shaq, a Robert Parish, even a Bynum during his prime, how much more energy would he have, how much better would he look as an individual and how much more team success would he have? How much better would his already GOAT longevity be? He'd already played WAAAAY more minutes than Jordan at the same age, whilst having a much larger burden to carry. If Lebron had the same benefits his ATG peers did, the difference between him and them would be compounded.

I really don't like hypotheticals in sports either because people mental gymnastics or moral victory their way into basically stating the hypotheticals as truth. Like, if someone says "MJ could have won 8 straight if he didn't retire" (which he wouldn't have for obvious fatigue related reasons), what they're actually saying is "in my head MJ basically won 8 straight". Conversely, if someone says "Lebron could be 1-9 if not for x" they're actually saying "In my head Lebron only has one championship". More popularly, if someone says "X player would be better if they had the athleticism of y", they're basically saying "regardless of objective reality, player x is better than player y cuz they're more skilled / better pound for pound". But this isn't really a hypothetical as much as it is contextual, because it's not hypothetical. Lebron with a bigger burden to carry than anyone else and more mileage than anybody else already has a top 5 peak and top 2 longevity. A.K.A, already has a great GOAT case. Having a GOAT case + a higher level of difficulty than anybody else = even better GOAT case.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#135 » by KTM_2813 » Wed Feb 17, 2021 1:39 pm

Regarding the above, I anticipate that some may respond with: "The reason LeBron's teams don't play defense is because they prioritize spacing over defense in order to accommodate LeBron's offensive philosophy." Perhaps to try and get ahead of this, I think it's important to note a few things:

1. Historically, there are many examples of teams with both good-to-great spacing and good-to-great defense. For example, the 2014 Spurs, the 2015-2018 Warriors, the 2019 Raptors, etc. You don't necessarily have to choose between spacing or defense, IMO, it just takes a fairly competent front office and a bit of luck to achieve it.

2. The 2015 Cavaliers post-Knicks trade and pre-injuries were actually a pretty good defensive team, and the 2016 Cavaliers were as well (top-five prior to Lue and top-ten overall, IIRC). It was only in 2017 that they started to slip, when ironically Irving took more control of the offense and actually ended up handling the ball more than LeBron. In other words, if the idea is that a more LeBron-centric offense automatically leads to worse defense, we actually kind of see the opposite when it comes to the 2015-2017 Cavaliers. To be clear, I don't personally think their offensive philosophy impacted their defense, but it's something I've seen argued before that doesn't hold up very well, IMO.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#136 » by VDT » Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:27 am

McBubbles wrote:



People that DO acknowledge the fact that defence is the issue will say "ah but you see, LeBron teams are full of shooters! And shooters make his defence worse, so Lebron-Ball is actually the reason for his team's poor defence!" to which my response is: What in the **** are you talking about? 3 point shooters, are inherently bad Defenders? So 3&D players, just don't exist I guess? LeBron's team had 3&D players in 2016, they just got worse on defence due to natural decline.



3 point shooters are not necessarily bad defenders but a lot of them are, especially as they get older, since their shooting is enough to keep them in the league. Beyond that, when you are primarily looking for shooters you will likely have to make some compromises and end up with no defense shooters (a la Korver, Reddick etc) as the 3+D guys are a rare commodity as everyone wants them. The Cavs are a prime example of this kind of roster construction. Even their secondary stars (Love, Kyrie) fit in that good shooter no defense archetype. Essentially the team went all in on shooters to accommodate Lebron while not bothering to play any defense. Their offensive and defensive performances are not unrelated.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#137 » by McBubbles » Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:04 am

VDT wrote:
McBubbles wrote:



People that DO acknowledge the fact that defence is the issue will say "ah but you see, LeBron teams are full of shooters! And shooters make his defence worse, so Lebron-Ball is actually the reason for his team's poor defence!" to which my response is: What in the **** are you talking about? 3 point shooters, are inherently bad Defenders? So 3&D players, just don't exist I guess? LeBron's team had 3&D players in 2016, they just got worse on defence due to natural decline.



3 point shooters are not necessarily bad defenders but a lot of them are, especially as they get older, since their shooting is enough to keep them in the league. Beyond that, when you are primarily looking for shooters you will likely have to make some compromises and end up with no defense shooters (a la Korver, Reddick etc) as the 3+D guys are a rare commodity as everyone wants them. The Cavs are a prime example of this kind of roster construction. Even their secondary stars (Love, Kyrie) fit in that good shooter no defense archetype. Essentially the team went all in on shooters to accommodate Lebron while not bothering to play any defense. Their offensive and defensive performances are not unrelated.


1. There is not a single type of player that doesn't get worse on defence as they get older... so that's an odd point. Shorter players tend to age worse defensively than taller players due to the fact that you can lose power and explosiveness (lateral quickness and verticality mainly) but you can't lose height, but that's a result of athletic advantages, not a play type. Furthermore perimeter players have more value on offence and so will choose to save energy on defence for the offensive end, whilst the inverse is true of big men, but the type of player is irrelevant. 3 point shooters don't disproportionally become worse on defence than ball handlers, or slashers, or mid range shooters though, that's a rather baseless assertion I think. You can't just have a team full of 4 big men to prevent your defence from rapidly declining with age lol.

2. LeBron's teams have a habit of making a ridiculous amount of finals, so saying the Cavs 3&D players weren't as good on defence in 2018 as they were in 2015, therefore this proves 3&D players get worse on defence doesn't really work when they also have more mileage than every other player in the league in the same time span. You didn't say that tbf, but that's the logical conclusion to what you did say.

3. None of this makes sense the more I think about it, and I think you're working backwards from the conclusion. There is not a single play style in basketball that doesn't get improved from 3 point shooting and spacing, so even if your theory about 3&D players being worse on defence than other archetypes is true, acting like LeBron's playstyle imparticular enables this would just be false. Literally everything you've said can be placed on the GM / roster construction. Sorry we couldn't get you young 3&D players, or 3&D players that stay good for a long time, like every single team you've lost to in the past 7 years that have had both ATG 3 point shooting and ATG defence.

Know what I mean?
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#138 » by GYK » Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:48 am

Lebron is very much easily better than Durant. To the point Durants MVP(best? certainly in context of the season, it being one of 27 seasons with a clear best player) is when he played point forward with all his scoring skills. In a similar way as Lebron. Durant is only a better scoring, being able to score better from all distances and in all scoring situations. Yet Lebron is literally the best driver ever and not to bad at any distance or in any situation. Actually pretty good, tho I think it’s clear why his range closer to the logo is better than the line. Opponents clearly play/fear the drive giving him space and time to line it up.

I wouldn’t call Lebron unlucky but he’s kinda unlucky. Everyone needs talent to help and he’s just hasn’t been the luckiest tho he tried his best. First 7 seasons they couldn’t draft stars before his arrival or after his debut(bad organizations, coaches and GM’s get great players more often than Pop’s get Duncan’s). He took his career into his own hands and Wade gets old fast. Kyrie couldn’t handle been in Lebrons world(tho I think it had less to do with Lebron but the media. That father figure quote, ugh). Love not having a skillset that translated with other talent. But more than anything he’s just as unlucky as Wilt. He’s fantastic. A walking legend and better teams just pop up around him. Durant on the Warriors really skewed a ridiculous run of performances from him. Same with Wilt losing to Russell and the Celtics like 8 times. If you have the best player in the league that alone can do so much but Russell(and as a fan of the Nets, Durant) will consistently have the better 2 and 3(possibly more). Lebron and Wilt just didn’t get lucky. They did amazing work enough to be two top 5 players but most/best playmakers win and they teams lacked.
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#139 » by freethedevil » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:31 am

McBubbles wrote:
VDT wrote:
McBubbles wrote:



People that DO acknowledge the fact that defence is the issue will say "ah but you see, LeBron teams are full of shooters! And shooters make his defence worse, so Lebron-Ball is actually the reason for his team's poor defence!" to which my response is: What in the **** are you talking about? 3 point shooters, are inherently bad Defenders? So 3&D players, just don't exist I guess? LeBron's team had 3&D players in 2016, they just got worse on defence due to natural decline.



3 point shooters are not necessarily bad defenders but a lot of them are, especially as they get older, since their shooting is enough to keep them in the league. Beyond that, when you are primarily looking for shooters you will likely have to make some compromises and end up with no defense shooters (a la Korver, Reddick etc) as the 3+D guys are a rare commodity as everyone wants them. The Cavs are a prime example of this kind of roster construction. Even their secondary stars (Love, Kyrie) fit in that good shooter no defense archetype. Essentially the team went all in on shooters to accommodate Lebron while not bothering to play any defense. Their offensive and defensive performances are not unrelated.


1. There is not a single type of player that doesn't get worse on defence as they get older... so that's an odd point. Shorter players tend to age worse defensively than taller players due to the fact that you can lose power and explosiveness (lateral quickness and verticality mainly) but you can't lose height, but that's a result of athletic advantages, not a play type. Furthermore perimeter players have more value on offence and so will choose to save energy on defence for the offensive end, whilst the inverse is true of big men, but the type of player is irrelevant. 3 point shooters don't disproportionally become worse on defence than ball handlers, or slashers, or mid range shooters though, that's a rather baseless assertion I think. You can't just have a team full of 4 big men to prevent your defence from rapidly declining with age lol.

2. LeBron's teams have a habit of making a ridiculous amount of finals, so saying the Cavs 3&D players weren't as good on defence in 2018 as they were in 2015, therefore this proves 3&D players get worse on defence doesn't really work when they also have more mileage than every other player in the league in the same time span. You didn't say that tbf, but that's the logical conclusion to what you did say.

3. None of this makes sense the more I think about it, and I think you're working backwards from the conclusion. There is not a single play style in basketball that doesn't get improved from 3 point shooting and spacing, so even if your theory about 3&D players being worse on defence than other archetypes is true, acting like LeBron's playstyle imparticular enables this would just be false. Literally everything you've said can be placed on the GM / roster construction. Sorry we couldn't get you young 3&D players, or 3&D players that stay good for a long time, like every single team you've lost to in the past 7 years that have had both ATG 3 point shooting and ATG defence.

Know what I mean?

I'm going to go on a limb and assume that VDT's yet to explain how Lebron's led two title teams with **** spacing in 2020 and 2012?
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Re: Kevin Durant or Lebron James? 

Post#140 » by freethedevil » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:29 am

dcstanley wrote:
VDT wrote:
Homer38 wrote:

You should know that age is just a number sometimes .... I mean in 2014 Manu, Parker and Duncan were still playing at a high level despite their age ... Much higher than Wade in 2013 and 2014....And the depth of the spurs was also a huge advantage...I mean they had 62-20 in 2014 (best record in the NBA) despite no player having played 30 minutes per game during the regular season.

The 2014 spurs are so underrated....At least one of the best 3 champions since 2002.They had no weakness.

Those who judge a team only by their age is not a good way to judge a team .... Not because one player is older than the other means that he is washed or less good than the other .... Every player is different ....

The 2013 spurs are also underrated even if their 2014 teams were better ....Much better team than their 58-24 record


You misunderstood me. I am not saying that the Spurs were old and washed up . I am saying that the Heat managed to beat the same team the year before and since the main stars of the Spurs were older than those of the Heat, whose players were in their prime years, other than Wade maybe, i dont see any reason to believe that the Spurs were some kind of juggernaut that the Heat could never hope to beat. If anything one would expect the opposite, the younger Heat to win more convincingly.

This idea that Lebron could have done nothing against the Spurs is revisionist history and doesnt make much sense if you think about it. How can you beat the same team one year and suddenly have no chance the year after, especially when said team is older than you.

Because the Heat got worse? The Spurs had four players that performed better than Wade. You aren't winning in the finals if the secondary option is performing worse than multiple players on the opposing team.

From an impact perspective you could pretty easily ague 2014 was the worst year of Lebron's prime. Honestly, the 2011 mavs were as good in the postseason as the 14 spurs and that was a tighter series.


That being said....Durant literally got outclassed by westbrook against the same opponent VDT's critcizing lebron for losing to..

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