Look, I really don't like defending LeBron James.
But something needs to be said; as someone who spends an irrational amount of time in the Clevelandish area, I know that even when he's mailing in games, he's a hugely exciting player and probably the best pound-for-pound athlete in the League now that Iverson's declining. He certainly isn't what's wrong with the Cavaliers; that would be Mike Brown [good lead in the Daily Dime by Chris Sheridan on that] and Larry Hughes. And really, everyone else. But let's focus on Hughes, if only because my boy Richard (a Wizards fan) will appreciate it.
I was watching a little of the Nets-Cavs Game 6 at the Oberlin College women's basketball coach's house. She plays guitar too [cool lady]. And I quickly realized that the vaunted Jason Kidd was not the most valuable player on the court. Not even close. LBJ was the only, is the only, and will be the only reason that the Cavs are achieving any success this postseason. We [Coach, my boo, and me] watched Larry Hughes brick on three consecutive possessions three different ways - bad early shot, bad perimeter shot, bad transition shot.
I'm not going to look up stats now, but here: Jordan never won a title without Pippen. LeBron has Larry Hughes.
Duncan has Le Eunuque and Manu. (Although Duncan probably should be MVP of the league and probably will be MVPthe Finals this year, he certainly has more help than James.)
Boozer has AK-47 and Deron Williams.
The Pistons have a really solid starting five.
And yet the Cavs have lost two games in the final few possessions - on the road - to them. And the reason ain't Larry Hughes.
Now, the stats.
Hughes' oncourt/offcourt for this year. Go ahead, check it out...I'll be here, Or don't. Whatever. I mean, you've read this far, shit, finish it off.
Hughes is worth +1.9 points per 100 possessions when he's on the floor. His production is -.1.
LeBron is worth...wait for it...+8.1 points per 100; his production? 13.6.
Maybe, when the Cavs lose this series in 6 [write it down], people will start comparing LBJ to Peyton Manning. If Manning had a support system like James has had in his early career - still just 22, remember - he'd have been in a coma before the end of Year 1.
So don't blame LeBron for looking like this all the time: