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2012 NBA Most Valuable Player: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks

The votes are in and Lebron James has won his 3rd MVP award. The Chasing 23 writing team sees it no differently, making Lebron the unanimous choice for the 2011-2012 season.

The NBA Realist: Lebron James

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the MVP is all about criteria, and for me,  the MVP deserves to be awarded to the best player in the NBA. For the past 4 years this has been Lebron James.

2012 not only saw Lebron enhance his overall game, but in my opinion, peak to a statistical level that only 3 other players have been able to reach:

1.)   Michael Jordan (1988, 1989, 1990,1991)

2.)   Wilt Chamberlain (1962,1963)

3.)   Kareem Abdul Jabbar (1971,1972)

Lebron averaged 27.1 ppg on 53% FG shooting during a season in which the league average for FG% was 45% – an astounding 8 point differential. He also shot 60.5% True Shooting, while averaging 8 rebounds and 6 assists and evolving into not only the NBA’s most versatile defender, but arguably it’s best, covering all 5 positions throughout the course of the game while mastering the delicate balance between on-ball defense, and help defense. Moreover, he served as the definitive Alpha Dog on a team that finished with the 3rd best record despite missing it’s second best player for over 40% of the season.

The 2 supposed biggest knocks on his season?

1.)   Failing to take the final shot in an All-Star game.

2.)   Passing to Udonis Haslem in the last seconds of a regular season game against the Utah Jazz– a game that saw Lebron hitting 8/9 shots in the 4Q.

Are you kidding?

No other player in the history of the NBA (with the possible exception of Wilt Chamberlain) has endured more scrutiny, double standards, or hypocrisy, than Lebron James. Fortunately or unfortunately, all of his regular season accomplishments will be perceived for naught should the Heat fail to win the championship.

Pressure is on.

 

Brown Mamba: Lebron James

So The King has taken back the crown that rightfully belongs to him (even though it was taken away unfairly last year). The media, in an attempt to stir up some late season drama around the MVP race, implied there was actually a close competition between Lebron and Kevin Durant, but in reality, it wasn’t even close. It’s was actually a bit laughable to even think about — the only category that one could justify that Durant is better is in scoring, and even there, Lebron is far more efficient. When it comes to the regular season, Lebron has been head and shoulders above the rest of the league for several years now, and his recent growth as an elite defensive force has only served to distance himself even more from the competition. Only Lebron could relegate Dwyane Wade, arguably a top 15 all-time talent, into a position where he is the unquestioned no. 2 on a team.

Honorable Mention: Kevin Durant

 

Sean Cribben: Lebron James

This season only reconfirmed what had become patently obvious over the last two or three seasons: that LeBron James is the most befuddling superstar in NBA history. When fully invested, his play is so dominant, so transcendent, that there’s nary a soul that can dream of matching him; observe his clutch performances in his first career playoff series in 2006, his Game 5 evisceration of the Pistons in the 2007 Conference Finals, his duel with Paul Pierce in Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Semis. But when detached (the entirety of the 2007 regular season, the 2010 Celtics series, the 2011 Finals, etc.), his passivity and insouciance are of such a debilitating effect that his team’s fortunes typically take a nosedive into the abyss.

His 2012 campaign was thus a perfect encapsulation of his career narrative thus far. From the “Greatest Season Ever!” talk which greeted his early-season efforts, to the “What the hell is wrong with LeBron?” conversations that filled the airwaves post All-Star break, to the “LeBron is Back!” chatter inspired by the Heat’s latest revival, the entire spectrum of the LeBron James Experience was on prominent display throughout the course of the season.

But however low the troughs, his peaks were of such undeniable brilliance that his inconsistency can be forgiven. Indeed, shooting 53% from the field (a career-high) while leading his team in all the relevant statistical categories and developing some hitherto underdeveloped facets of his game (most notably on the low-block), coupled with a relatively weak field (Kevin Durant excepted, of course) and a late-season surge.

Honorable Mention: Kevin Durant

 

Daniel Douglas: Lebron James

It speaks to how bored I’ve become with LeBron James and his robotically brilliant yet somewhat hollow seasons (his box score always seems to exceed his impact) that I found myself saying “Yeah, he put up 28/8/6 but so what?” If Kevin Durant had not played like complete dogshit at varying points toward the end of the season (case in point: a late regular season game against the Lakers), I would have talked myself into picking Durant as the Most Valuable Player. I’m not sure what type of analytical acrobatics I would have used to justify him – he’s a better scorer than James, no more, and not by much – seeing as how James had a better all-around season than Durant or any other MVP candidate has, arguably, had in their entire career. When you look at it objectively (and doubtless this will cause bitter fighting in the comment section) LeBron has been the best player of the last ten years. I know. He hasn’t won a championship, which means he’s not as good as someone who has, but if he played with an elite big man, like Kobe Bryant always, always has, I suspect LeBron would have the same number of titles (if not more). I hate myself for trying to solidify my argument with a hypothetical Back to the Future fantasy so let me just say this:

When a player is being criticized for having an off month – as LeBron was in March – yet is still putting up 24.8 PPG 8.5 RPG and 6.1 APG – when this statline is indicative that the player has tapered off – I don’t see how you can’t give him the MVP trophy (again).

Honorable Mention: Kevin Durant

 

Bruce Blitz: Lebron James

The MVP award certainly is the highest honor an NBA player can receive for his regular season level of play. The value of this award on a player’s legacy is so high that I believe the responsibility of the voters, or people who discuss the award, is very high. I would like to qualify my choice by stating that I do subscribe to the league pass, and I’ve watched enough games this season to give any basketball fan a headache. I’m basing my choice on what I’ve seen, and certainly can back it up with metrics and facts. I think when certain people look at metrics they forget the level of play that it takes to put up the metrics that LeBron James produces. It takes a very special player to produce in so many facets to the game of team basketball the way LeBron James does. LeBron James is an elite defender, passer, scorer, rebounder, and athlete. No matter who a player has around him, it certainly can only decrease his individual value if his touches are diminished. LeBron James creates a large margin for error when it pertains to his teammates. With LeBron James on the court, he makes life easy on everyone around him.

You can count on LeBron James to drop right near 30 points every night, with a minimal amount of shot attempts which frees up more possessions for his teammates. LeBron’s efficiency as an offensive player has jumped this year due to taking less 3 point shots, an improved post game, and better fundamentals on his jumper. LeBron James opens up the floor for his teammates with his ability to suck in defensive attention, and his court vision to hit the open man. LeBron James ends defensive possessions with rebounds, but more importantly he is the centerpiece of a top 5 NBA defense in the Miami Heat. Without LeBron James, I don’t see that team coming even close to being a top 5 defense. LeBron’s on ball, and off ball defense is phenomenal. We also saw LeBron James defend every position, 1-5, on many different nights. Now I’m not talking about defending the 3 in one game, and defending the 5 in another game… I am referencing the games where he actually defended every single position during the course of a single game. The negatives on LeBron are obviously his game finishing shot attempts, and his free throw shooting. LeBron certainly has negatives, just like every other player in the NBA. I guess you could classify these areas as “still need improvement”. That does bring his value down a bit, but with that being said all of the other players in the NBA have more weaknesses, or areas that “still need improvement.” There is no question that LeBron James should be the 2012 NBA MVP. I won’t even bother going into the metrics.

 

E-Dog: Lebron James

It’s tempting to pick Durant, who at just 23 will win multiple MVP awards before it’s all said and done. But while Durant has had another excellent season, much of Oklahoma City’s success this season has to do with Russell Westbrook’s assertiveness and James Harden’s emergence, and as good as Durant is, I don’t think he can take credit for those developments. As for Paul, he immediately took leadership of the Clippers and transformed them from a laughingstock to a contender. But as considerable as his impact has been, he hasn’t been quite as much of an all-court force as LeBron.

Honorable Mention: Kevin Durant, Chris Paul

Related posts:

  1. 2012 NBA Most Improved Player: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks
  2. 2012 Defensive Player of The Year: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks
  3. 2012 NBA 6th Man of the Year Award: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks
  4. 2012 NBA Coach of The Year: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks
  5. 2011 NBA Most Improved Player Of The Year: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks

Discussion

43 Responses to “2012 NBA Most Valuable Player: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks”

  1. Its good that he won the MVP this season, but the real quest rolls on tomorrow. When he will help Miami take apart the Pacers.

    This is great for him in terms of all time greatness, but hes got to start adding titles, and he will start that this year I believe.

    As a Heat fan I am in full agreement with those that say that anything less then a title and this season is a failure.

    I think if Miami doesn’t win the title this year(unless Wade or James goes down in the playoffs), Coach Spro will be gone and Miami will be exploring trading Chris Bosh to someone for a Center(not sure who). They won’t trade Wade or James(nor should they) but Bosh will be traded if Miami fails to win this year.

    The south Florida radio stations have been buzzing about the idea that Miami could bring Steve Nash in this offseason(title or not) and the idea that if offered a center of equal value to Bosh then Miami would pull the trigger on such a deal, no matter if they win the title or not. Simply because Bosh hasn’t always brought the inside out game that Miami thought they would be getting when they signed him and Wade together.

    Posted by nightbladehunter | May 12, 2012, 8:29 pm
    • NBH, agree with your comments. I have been arguing this all along against the ring counters – an individual player can only win a ring when given the supporting cast, and this year (and last) Lebron has had it. He absolutely should win, considering he has as many (if not more) weapons than the others.

      The only excuse would be a 69 Jerry West, or 09 Lebron type performance in which Lebron plays out of his mind, but his supporting cast lets him down.

      No doubt 2011 was a stain on his resume. But everyone except for Jordan and Russell has a stain on their resumes. Lebron has an opportunity to exorcise his demons.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 13, 2012, 2:13 pm
      • “No doubt 2011 was a stain on his resume.”

        That ‘stain’ still ranked among the best postseasons of the past decade. LeBron and Wade in the 2011 playoffs were better than several star players on title-winning teams.

        The 2011 Heat lacked consistent production outside of the Big 3, and LBJ/Wade often picked up the slack with their play. You’re just remembering what LeBron did in the Finals, but 16 wins are needed for a championship, not 4. Can’t discount what LBJ did for the Heat in the previous rounds, especially when Wade struggled in the ECF.

        Posted by The Realist #2 | May 13, 2012, 4:10 pm
        • Realist #2 – Actually, I am remembering the entire playoff run, not just what he did in the Finals, and I am not discounting what Lebron did in the prior rounds. He averaged 26-9-6 on 46% FG and 56.3% TS prior to the NBA Finals. – Slightly higher rebounding averages but lower shooting percentages and assists and the same number of pppg. He played well in the closing moments of the Boston and Chicago series, but I would not categorize this as his best playoff run of the decade (which is another idea for a topic). In fact, I would argue that his 2009 run was more impressive.

          Regardless, if Lebron and Wade were better in 2011 than several stars on title-winning teams because Lebron and Wade are fundamentally just better, period. Therefore, a subpar playoff performance for Lebron is still going to be better than most. However, 2011 as a whole did not meet with Lebron-type standards, and his “wet the bed” in the NBA Finals has to be included as part of the overall evaluation.

          I do not ring count, but I do evaluate players’ legacies based on how they perform against a team that they are supposed to win. It is why I hold folks like Hakeem in high regard, and penalize players like Kobe and Bird. The Heat lost in the NBA Finals against a team that they were supposed to win, and a large part has to be attributed to Lebron. Had he played to his status quo, no doubt they would have won.

          Thx for the read.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | May 14, 2012, 9:54 am
          • No problem. I enjoy your articles.

            A couple quick points:

            1. I was pointing out that LeBron 2011 playoffs was still great, not that it was his best. It’s comparable to his 2007 playoffs, and both are among the better performances of the past decade. His 2009 playoffs was better than both, and it’s also among the best postseasons ever.

            2. How was the Heat being favored to win that series and losing a knock against the individual player? If LeBron played like Wade in the Finals and Wade was the one who struggled, the Heat still lose (by the way, Wade should have won Finals MVP). If Bosh played more like Bosh in the Finals, the Heat win despite LeBron’s poor performance and the silly “ringless” conversation is (ironically!) put to bed. Rings only tell you which team outplayed the rest, not who the better individual player is.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 14, 2012, 10:35 am
          • R2 – Because Lebron is not just an “individual player” – he was the Alpha Dog and best player on that Heat team, and as such, should be held to a different standard vs the #2’s and role players. It is the same reason that I knock Kobe in 2011, Bird in 83, Wilt in 68, etc, and it aligns with my personal criteria when measuring players.

            Yes, the role players on the Heat may not of played well, and Bosh may not have played to his best, but as an Alpha Dog, you only get to point the finger when you yourself have brought your A-Game. Not only did Lebron fail to do this, but was difference between winning and losing that series. In other words, regardless of how the Miami bench played, or Bosh played, had Lebron played to his typical standard, the Heat would have won that series.

            Even if the Heat lost, and Lebron played to the same level that he did in 2009, he would have been excused, because an Alpha Dog can only do so much – but that did not happen. Moreover, had the Heat won despite Lebron’s poor performance, he would have still been off the hook, oftentimes, Alpha Dogs are required to contribute less in order to do whatever is necessary to win.. However, when a team underachieves, the Alpha Dog must be held accountable if they fail to bring their A-Game.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | May 14, 2012, 4:10 pm
          • Why hold anything against Bird?

            I suppose you could make a case that the Celtics should have the Bucks in 1983, but losing to those Lakers teams (even at the Garden) is hardly a choke.

            It’s also not like the Sixers weren’t a great team in 1982. They had made the Finals ion’79-80 and NARROWLY missed in ’80-81.

            The only series that the Celtics were clearly the superior team was in 1982-83 when they inexplicably lost to the Bucks.

            By the time the Celtics lost to the Pistons, injuries and excessive minutes had taken too much for them to beat an elite and hungry team.

            There is probably MORE evidence that Bird elevated the Celtics to wins rather than losses. The 1987 ECF comes to mind

            “There’s a steal by Bird”

            My favorite quote form Bird after a wrenching loss was in the context of what the Celtics needed to change the outcome:

            “12 heart transplants”

            You really want to penalize a great player for losing to great teams when he is willing to accept personal accountability?

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 14, 2012, 2:06 pm
          • Paulie,

            Birds teams underachieved in 82, 83, 88, and 90 against teams that they should have beat.

            83 – vs. Bucks was inexcusable as was Birds poor performance and statistical drop (19-8-5 on 44% shooting) as the Alpha Dog

            82 – They absolutely should have won against the Sixers in 82 since they not only had home court advantage, but were the more talented team. Moreover, I never bought into those Sixer teams, without Moses Malone, being “great”. They were a collection of very good role players/All-Stars without a true #2. In all honesty, I felt like they overachieved against the Celtics in 82. Regardless, 82 once again saw Bird underperforming in a big series, averaging 18 points on 41% shooting after averaging 23 points on 50% shooting during the season – a sizable drop. Moreover, the fact that he missed the GW shot in a pivotal gm 3 does not help matters.

            88 – The worst of all… the Celtics again had home court against the Pistons, and arguably as talented, if not a more talented supporting cast than the Pistons. Yet, Bird, who had a career year during the season (30-9-6 on 53% shooting), played absolutely aweful and disappeared in the Conference Finals, averaging (19-12-6 on 36% shooting).

            90- Similar pattern. The Celtics lose to a Knicks team that they should not have beaten, and Bird once again underperforms.

            I never faulted Bird for losing to those Lakers teams (although one can make a very strong arguement that had he not had a subpar Finals, the Celtics would have won). They were very evenly matched. However, the aforementioned 4 cannot be justified given Birds poor performance during those series.

            Bird’s legacy has benefited from “clutch” moments more than any other player in NBA history. His dramatic moments have made us forget that he ever failed. The reality though is that Bird has had more inexcusable failures coupled with poor playoff performances, than any other player in the Top 15.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | May 14, 2012, 4:27 pm
          • Let’s also not forget the 1980-81 ECF when the Celtics were down 1-3 to the Sixers and came back to win that series and the NBA title.

            Bird led the Celtics in scoring in each of the last three games. Bird, in fact, led the Celtics in scoring in six of the seven games. The exception was the 105-107 loss in game #4 when Maxwell outscored Bird 20-18.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 14, 2012, 3:29 pm
          • I can stipulate for the early years, yet Bird clearly recognized his personal failures and elevated and already great all around game. Though, I will disagree that those Sixer teams weren’t great. True that after Moses, they were a lot better, those teams were still really good.

            I would take issue with 1988 as the Pistons were the better team.

            By 1990, the minutes and the injuries that Bird and McHale had suffered took too much away form tier top games.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 14, 2012, 5:04 pm
          • “In other words, regardless of how the Miami bench played, or Bosh played, had Lebron played to his typically standard, the Heat would have won that series.”

            If “winning” were simply a matter of LeBron playing like LeBron, he would probably have 3 or 4 “rings” by now :-) LeBron had a subpar Finals. He’s also had playoff series where he played BEYOND his own levels – even historic levels – and his team also didn’t win. Do you also hold those other series against him?

            I don’t agree with your argument. Basketball is a possession sport. There are 9 other players on the floor to account for, and one player does not generate points every possession nor does he defend every possession on the floor (to say otherwise would simply be false). It is absolutely possible that the Heat could’ve won that Finals without LeBron doing anything different. Then the Heat wouldn’t have won because “he did what he needed to help them win” – it would simply mean that they won in spite of him.

            Does LeBron make it more likely for his team to win by playing well? Yes. It is absolutely necessary for him to play well for his team to win? No. And the same is true for every other player in history.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 14, 2012, 5:07 pm
          • Disagree on a couple of points R2:

            1.) Lebron would not have had 3-4 rings by now because even if Lebron played at “par”, those Cleveland teams would have lost to the Lakers, who were simply better. However, had Lebron played at par in 2011, I disgaree with you and absolutely believe that the Heat would have won the Mavs.

            2.) I don’t hold the “historic” series against Lebron, because he did everything possible to win – which again aligns with my point. In my opinion, it is the job of the Alpha Dog/leader to do everything within their power to impact winning. You can’t always control what the other 9 players are doing, but you can certainly control your own effort and play.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | May 14, 2012, 5:32 pm
          • The 76ers from 1979-80 to 1984-85 were only 13 games worse than the Celtics.

            Considering that 76ers or Celtics represented the East in EACH of the NBA Finals in that time, it is really hard to say that the Sixers were not a great team.

            From 1979-80 until 1984-85

            Celtics 367-125 .746
            76ers 354-138 .720

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 14, 2012, 5:24 pm
          • “Lebron would not have had 3-4 rings by now because even if Lebron played at “par”, those Cleveland teams would have lost to the Lakers, who were simply better.”

            Perhaps; perhaps not. I said that just to show that it’s obviously a team effort. And yes, I agree that LeBron playing like LeBron would’ve made the Heat win the Finals, but that’s assuming that everyone else gives you the same production.

            My main point is that for whatever reason, some people feel as if LeBron’s legacy would’ve been “enhanced” if the Heat won the title in 2011, as if LeBron playing better was THE only path to winning. It wasn’t. The Mavs could’ve missed more shots. Wade could’ve made more of his. Same with Bosh. Etc., etc…and you would have the Heat winning with a poor LeBron Finals. Maybe the people who “count rings” would be satisfied with that, but it would be false to conclude that a win meant that LeBron played well.

            Just my two cents. Thanks for the debate.

            Posted by The Realist #2 | May 14, 2012, 6:12 pm
      • sorry to disappoint you nba realist and nightblade hunter, but the spurs will beat the heat for the ring this year!!!!

        Posted by samtotheg | May 13, 2012, 11:57 pm
        • I don’t think so. That series would be over in 5 in Miami’s favor. The spurs are not good enough on the offense(Idc about regular season number’s the playoffs are much different as Chicago found out last year and this year) or on defense(not up to their defensive play on their title teams by any means) to win a title against Miami, if Miami is healthy(not having Chris Bosh would change things, would extend the series for example).

          Posted by nightbladehunter | May 14, 2012, 7:25 am
          • That’s a very bold prediction given that Bosh, who may be back, won’t be 100%. San Antonio has home court too. Just hard to see that series being so lopsided. Popovich is too good of a coach to let it get that out of hand. I guess we’ll see if both of them get to the Finals.

            Posted by J.T. | May 14, 2012, 2:30 pm
          • the spurs are winning the title whether bosh is there or not, their offense has no holes in it and they are alright on defense, they are a bad matchup for the heat lakers,thunder etc.

            Posted by samtotheg | May 16, 2012, 10:14 pm
          • Spurs not a good offense?!

            Regular season – 103.7 PPG
            Playoffs- 103.4 PPG

            Nightbladehunter, you my friend are not the sharpest tool in the shed.

            Posted by Rick Jr. | May 17, 2012, 2:32 am
  2. I’ve been starting to think even if Lebrons postseason numbers are great the fact that he hasn’t won might cause some people to question his resume. But if we’re talking strictly the regular season, grinding out games every night every year where would you rank this dude? Top 7, maybe top 5 all time?

    He basically guarantees a high seed with almost any type of supporting cast, his stats are always better than every other player in the league and now his defense is right with the best of the league, he is one of the more consistent superstars in terms of fighting injuries and bringing it every night whether we talking about against the Lakers or against the Bobcats on the 2nd night of a back to back. He’ll sell out every game he goes to across the country and he has 3 MVP’s (biggest awards for regular season).

    I got Kareem, Jordan, Wilt, Oscar, Karl Malone, Kobe and Bron in no real order

    Posted by stillshining | May 13, 2012, 7:53 pm
  3. you don’t consider Russell, Wilt, Magic, Bird, Duncan or West in that mix?

    You may want to do a little more research.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 13, 2012, 9:31 pm
  4. Bird won 3 MVPS
    Kareem 6
    Russell 5
    Magic also with 3
    Mo Malone 3
    Wilt with 4

    You put Kobe, and his 1 MVP ahead of all of them?

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 13, 2012, 9:35 pm
  5. Paulie – if you really wanted to call one outlier out of that list, you should have started with Karl Malone. I’m not sure what set of criteria you could use to argue him ahead of Duncan (for example, at the power forward position)

    Posted by Brown Mamba | May 13, 2012, 11:17 pm
  6. I would agree that Duncan (and the rest) are all ahead of Karl Malone,

    But Malone does have 2 MVP’s. Probably stole one from Jordan, though.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 14, 2012, 2:10 am
    • You want to talk about the biggest stolen MVP I have seen in my liftime…Dwade got robbed by Kobe in 2008. His numbers were far better all around and he meant far more to his team then Kobe did. But of course Kobe being in LA playing alongside another superstar(after the trade) got the MVP.

      Posted by nightbladehunter | May 14, 2012, 7:29 am
      • Hold on, this has to be Wade himself. So the MVP should have gone to a guy who’s team went 15-67? At least Karl Malone’s team was a winning one, which has a lot to do with winning the award historically.

        Posted by J.T. | May 14, 2012, 2:35 pm
      • I think you meant chris paul should have won that mvp. chris paul had the same amount wins if i remember and a 2 to 2 tie in the season series against kobe and gasol and bynum and ariza and phil jackson it was cp3 david west and tyson chandler holding it down ….cp3 deserved it more.

        Posted by samtotheg | May 16, 2012, 10:16 pm
      • ROFL…please ban Nightbladehunter from this website. His contributions spew Miami bias as evidenced by this post.

        What a sad soul. It’ll be rough watching the Big 2 choke away another title this year. Sit down, son!

        Posted by Rick Jr. | May 17, 2012, 2:34 am
  7. Hard to have an award stolen from you when you don’t even recieve a singel vote!

    I really cannot say that Wade was better than Bryant in 2007-08 as Wade was injured and only played 51 games.

    the numbers:

    Bryant 3192 MP .459/361/840
    28.3/6.3/5.4

    Wade 1965 MP .469/.286/.758
    24.6/4.2/6.9

    There is no in hell Wade was more valuable than Bryant in 2007-08.

    Kevin Garnett may have an argument, but not Wade.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 14, 2012, 7:43 am
  8. Wade was not better than Bryant in 2008. Won’t go into the metrics that show this here, but he was injured that season and was mediocre even when he was on the court.

    Karl Malone was arguably a better player than Roberston, and I’m not even putting Bryant on another level above Malone either. Even taking his less than stellar playoff production into account, Malone was a force in NBA history.

    Posted by The Realist #2 | May 14, 2012, 9:47 am
  9. I can’t agree that Malone was a better player than Robertson.

    I understand that it is fasionable to downgrade the players of that era because of the pace and style of play, but I am not completely sold that tells a complete story. Typically, the negative factors that players like Robertson, West, Baylor, etc had ot deal with are totally dismissed as non factors.

    Mailman was absolutely a force in the NBA. I have him as the third pest power forward of all time behind Baylor and Pettit. I have Malone behind Bryant all time at #17.

    A big problem with Baylor’s legacy has been the lack of attention the NBA received during his playing days and his abysmal tenure with the Clippers.

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 14, 2012, 9:58 am
  10. The Lebron thing is something else. The sheer insanity of it never seems to let up.

    So I watched tonight’s game and you could bang on Lebron for missing free throws but you would also have to bang on Wade and half the Pacers as well so what does resident NBA analyst Tim Legler do? You got it. Harp on Lebron for not “appearing aggressive” before he set up Wade perfectly on the postup that Wade eventually missed.

    You almost have to laugh.

    Posted by ks | May 15, 2012, 9:28 pm
    • Lunacy, isn’t it? Not that people should be harping on that play anyway, but just for arugment’s sake: the Heat got exactly they could’ve asked for out of the possession – Wade getting by a smaller defender with a layup RIGHT AT THE RIM. The help defender wasn’t even in position to make a play on the layup. You would think a self-proclaimed analyst would take that play over the alternative (LeBron shooting a three, LeBron stepping in and shooting a midrange shot, or LeBron driving to the rim from the 3-pt line was he was likely to run into help defense on the strong side), but of course when it comes to LeBron all common sense goes out the window.

      Posted by The Realist #2 | May 15, 2012, 10:59 pm
      • Realist 2, KS,

        What are you thoughts on last nights game? I can’t believe Spo dialed up a play for Chalmers at the end when he was 1/9 before that last shot? The hell?

        They should have taken advantage of the pick and roll since hibbert cant defend it for shit

        it’s hilarious how these idiots are still talking this “lebron crunch time” bs when he leads all players in the playoffs with 8.3ppg in the 4th quarter….oh espn and casual fans, what will we ever do with you

        Posted by Mike | May 16, 2012, 7:39 am
        • Mike,

          I like that the Heat at least ran and executed a play. They needed a 3 to tie and had 8 seconds left so I didn’t mind them going for it there.

          In terms of who got the shot, it was pick your poison. Overall, they were terrible from 3 and Chalmers did get a good look.

          Posted by ks | May 16, 2012, 8:24 am
      • Indeed. The really crazy thing is that he didn’t say that Lebron should have done anything differently. He said that he should have just “appeared more aggressive” by jab stepping at and faking his defender before he passed to Wade. What that would have accomplished is beyond me.

        Posted by ks | May 16, 2012, 7:59 am
      • Mike, I thought that this game shows how good LeBron and Wade are (although Wade played an average offensive game; he was still good defensively). Go back and look at the performances of the rest of the Heat players on the floor. They’ve actually played well in the playoffs, but last night they made the BOBCATS look good offensively. The Heat had no business being in that game.

        KS, Legler is a sorry excuse of an “analyst”. LeBron had the ball on the right side of the three-point arc with plenty of time left on the clock, and if you watch the replay closely the Pacers were gearing up for any LeBron drives to the rim (watch as the Pacers defender on Battier slides to the lane in order to cut off driving lane on the strong side). Who in their right mind would want LeBron to take a shot from the perimeter/a contested shot in the lane over help defense when Wade had a clear layup attempt at the basket?

        Posted by The Realist #2 | May 16, 2012, 8:29 am
        • There was that terrific block on the LeBron drive late in the 4th that would have tied it.

          A great defensive play!!

          It was as if neither team wanted to win that game last night!

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 16, 2012, 8:37 am
        • KS/Realist 2,

          After Bosh got hurt, I expected Miller/Battier/Anthony etc to step up and help Lebron and Wade. Granted it’s one game but Joel playing 36 minutes with zero points is inexcusable. Wade and Bosh had 52 of the Heat’s 75? Somebody else on that team needs to step while Bosh is away. Only way Heat can win this series without help is if Wade/Lebron play FLAWLESS

          Game 1 I suggested spo put Cole on collison to match his quickness. it took until game 2 for him to realize that…smh

          As a Lebron fan, I’m worried. It would pain me to see this team go down. Only good thing that can come out of it is spo getting fired.

          Posted by Mike | May 16, 2012, 11:05 am
  11. Wade missed an open layup that would have tied it!!

    Posted by Paulie Walnuts | May 15, 2012, 9:38 pm
  12. Two additional thoughts that I wanted to get in but couldn’t due to space limitations:

    1. LeBron has been the Heat’s engine this season, powering them for at least three and a half quarters, sometimes more. No, he doesn’t take over in crunch time the way we would like. But that doesn’t change the fact that he has indisputably become the Heat’s tone setter, similar to Shaq on those Shaq & Kobe Lakers title teams.

    2. Erik Spoelstra had to ride him like a horse this season so that Wade could heal from injuries and get rest, and also due to the deficiencies of the supporting cast. I suspected at the start of the playoffs that LeBron was at a high risk of wearing down due to the load he carried this year; this will be something to keep an eye on.

    Posted by E-Dog | May 17, 2012, 4:36 pm

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