LeBron continues to astonish….
So how great an accomplishment is this for LeBron James, his sixth straight NBA Finals appearance? No one has managed that since the Celtics dynasty. Has he silenced his haters?
C.J. Hampshire: LeBron is iconic. When you think of all the great players in this league, it is truly impressive what he has managed to do with different teammates. But he has done it against a weak Eastern Conference. The best players in the conference, aside from Paul George, are on his team. So, like, he stacked the deck. The haters are going to point to his Finals record. 2-4.
Mallory Stith-Wheat: His legacy will never be what people want it to be and that’s what the haters hold on to. He is not Jordan and he is not Magic and he is not Kobe. But 6 straight NBA Finals appearances solidifies him as the greatest player of his generation and a top 5 of all time if he can seal it off with a Finals win and up his Finals record to 3-4. He’s already been to 7 NBA Finals. Jordan was in 6. Kobe was in 7. Magic was in 9.
Julian Billick: I look at the accomplishment as winning the entire thing. We are celebrating a player who was expected to do what he did. It’s a great moment in time but he has to win, otherwise he’ll be 2-5. It’s not Jerry West but close. I’m not a hater if I say the most gifted player to walk the planet has to prove it by holding up the trophy.
Brendan Gillespie: It says everything about who LeBron James is in his era. He dominated. He made players better. He carried them. He set the tone. But if he doesn’t win it with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, it will say something about him.
We are in this Steph Curry fog and it feels like LeBron James is the forgotten one. If he loses to the Warriors, some have said he will be over. His time is done. Isn’t that being a prisoner of the moment?
Mallory: Yes. Steph may pass him as best player if he beats LeBron for the second year in a row. But LeBron has about six years left. He can reel off about two or three titles.
Brendan: LeBron will be done when he retires. You can never count him out.
C.J.: He’ll never be past tense. He is too talented, too explosive, too old school NBA with all those dunks and shaking the rim. He still can’t be guarded. LeBron guards LeBron by taking ridiculous shots he shouldn’t take. Unless he tears an Achilles, he will be relevant.
Julian: We like the new thing and LeBron is the old thing. He’s been around a long time. We know everything there is to know about him. Pencil him in the Eastern Conference Finals. What we don’t know is what happens next.
Who wants Steph vs. LeBron, and who wants Durant vs. LeBron?
C.J.: Steph. A rematch would be sweet. If it is Steph, then the Warriors came back from 3-1. They have the heart of a champion. Did the Warriors win it last year because of the injuries or are they just better?
Brendan: Steph. He’s everything right now. He’s the face of the league. He has brought an entirely different fanbase into NBA basketball talk. Is he as good as LeBron? Is he the best player? Can the Cavs stop the Warriors? Will there be revenge?
Mallory: Steph. We need a fair fight. Last year wasn’t fair. Everyone is healthy and so let’s go. But I’m not sure if the Warriors can win in OKC.
Julian: KD. Can he finally win one at LeBron’s expense? Can he further sink LeBron into NBA Finals purgatory? Can he and Russ shock the NBA Curry love fest? Will this keep KD in OKC? LeBron and KD play the same position so they would be required to stop one another. Can they? Frankly I have Warriors fatigue. I don’t want to see last year.
photo via llananba