LeBron James could face the toughest task of his NBA career. What are some other takeaways from the basketball news?
Lifting Cleveland Cavaliers remains herculean problem for James
Anybody who thinks LeBron James shouldn’t have a big task ahead of him in bringing a championship to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers is not seeing the big picture. Yes, James remains the best in the NBA. Yes, he now knows how to win the big one. However, deeper examination will show the situation he had in Miami is not the same. When James joined the Heat in 2010, he was entering a situation already rich in championship experience from Dwyane Wade who won Finals MVP in 2006 to team president Pat Riley who had six rings as a head coach.
That is not the same scenario LeBron takes on with the Cavs. Kyrie Irving has not seen playoff action once in his career, nor has pending trade target Kevin Love. In fact nobody on the franchise from the coaching staff to the front office has zero championship experience. To ask James to transform all of that instantly into multiple rings is both unfair and shortsighted. It takes time and experience to win in the playoffs. LeBron turns 30-years old in December, so his timetable in Cleveland is increasing.
Derrick Rose rift with Bulls largely due to his not playing
For the past two years reports have surfaced regularly about a disconnect between point guard Derrick Rose and Chicago Bulls management. The difference in messages sent has led many to believe there is a rift going on between the two sides, something owner Jerry Reinsdorf refuted. The truth of the matter is these ideas of a rift have been a result of Rose not playing for two years. Without him fans have watched the Bulls hover in playoff purgatory, good enough to make it but not good enough to go all the way. That can lead to frustration and wondering about how hurt Rose actually is. In the end, if he finally returns to his old form, none of it will matter.
Paul George injury could have mixed impact
Nobody wanted to see what happened during the Team USA showcase when All-Star forward Paul George broke his leg. It was a tough blow to the teams’ chances in the coming tournament but more than that a serious setback to a promising NBA career. The incident also could end up having a mixed impact on the future of the U.S.-international competition.
Commissioner Adam Silver was quick to say he doesn’t think the George injury will force a drastic alteration in how pro players are involved in world play. Still, it could result in a serious drop off in interest from top players to participate since they don’t want to risk losing money or chances at a title through similar injuries. Either way, USA basketball is in store for a turbulent aftermath.
Tony Parker extension keeps San Antonio Spurs machine running
Part of running a successful NBA franchise is being able to ensure continuity. That and talent breed sustainable success. No team has understood this better than the San Antonio Spurs having won five championships since 1999. They continued to invoke that philosophy when they had a three-year extension to point guard Tony Parker. With him locked up for the future and Kawhi Leonard coming into his own, there is no reason to think the Spurs won’t be competitive for the foreseeable future even after Tim Duncan finally retires.