I don’t know about you, but I think sports should be about sports. Watching world-class athletes go head to head used to be something to get away from all the drama in the news, now it seems you can’t go anywhere in US sports without politics getting involved.
If like me you much prefer the action on the court rather than the hysteria off the court then hopefully this article will satisfy your hunger for basketball as opening night draws ever closer.
LeBron James is now entering his 15th NBA season, and what a decade and a half it’s been. He came into the league as the most hyped up prospect in NBA history, and he did not disappoint. 15 years later he is a 3 time NBA Champion, a 3-time Finals MVP, a 4-time regular season MVP and is widely regarded as a top 5 player of all time.
Until LeBron James retires he will always be expected to contend for a title, it’s just testament to how good he is. His style of play always lead to success because he knows that basketball is a team game and that the best teams always win.
Although James is once in a generation player, sadly he is not invincible. No King rules forever and LeBron’s time at the top of the sports world is slowly coming to an end. The NBA is an ever-changing landscape; new players come and go, teams rise to the top then eventually fall off, the only thing that is constant is the cycle of change that defines the NBA and American Sports in general.
Here are my top 5 reasons why LeBron James will not stand victorious at the end of this season.
5. Ageing/Broken Roster
The NBA has sadly developed into an arms race league where franchises rush to acquire as much talent as possible just to out-gun other teams around them. Boston sort of started this trend in 2007 with their big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Then Miami went ballistic and brought LeBron and Chris Bosh to play with Dwyane Wade.
Golden State then took it another level adding Kevin Durant to Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. OKC has now formed their own superstar squad with Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony and just went you think Cleveland couldn’t add any more stars the likes of Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose have found themselves with LeBron, Isaiah Thomas and Kevin Love.
With regards to Cleveland, it may be too late for their roster. If it was 2011 with the same roster then the title would be already be decided, but Rose is miles away from when he was the youngest MVP in league history and Wade is far from the player he was back then.
The NBA season is a grueling 82 game marathon and the Cavs have several players that are very injury prone. Expect Wade and Rose to miss large chunks of the season, Thomas to only return in 2018 and for LeBron to sit at least 10 games. It doesn’t matter how good your players are, if they aren’t on the floor then they are no use at all.
4. Kawhi Leonard
For how good Golden State were last season, if it weren’t for one key injury in the Western Conference Finals then the Warriors might not have even made it to the NBA Finals. They were getting their behinds handed to them in game 1 at the Oracle until Kawhi went down with an ankle injury. After that incident, Golden State mounted a strong comeback and went on to win the series in 4 games.
Kawhi Leonard is LeBron’s biggest individual rival in the NBA today. Forget about Kevin Durant or Steph Curry, nobody poses a bigger threat 1 on 1 than Kawhi. Not only is Leonard the best individual defender in the game but he’s developed into one of the best scorers in the entire league.
LeBron has to work so hard on offense against Kawhi to get anything and now has to expend even more energy on defense as well, and for a guy who will be turning 33 this season, that is not a good prospect.
3. The Boston Celtics
One of the best aspects of the NBA is its unpredictability; you never know what will happen next. This was exemplified this offseason what it became common knowledge that Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland.
The pair of Irving and James had just made their 3rd straight NBA Finals appearance and were one of the best combinations in the league. Nobody expected Irving to decide he wanted out with the amazing amount of success LeBron James brought him.
Kyrie ended up in Boston alongside Gordon Hayward and Al Horford and many people expect Boston to do better than last year. Do I think that Irving and the Cs are good enough to beat the Cavs in a 7 game series? No, but that’s basing my judgment on the Irving we saw playing 2nd fiddle to LeBron. James is an amazing teacher when it comes to professionalism and how to improve your game and there’s no doubt that he will have made Irving a much better player than when LBJ first returned to Cleveland.
Maybe Irving is much better than we all think, maybe he becomes a great perimeter defender and is still the player we all know and love on the offensive end.
One thing I do know is that I can’t wait for the first matchup between these two, it’s certainly not one to miss.
2. Father Time
One of the biggest reasons why the NBA is the best league in the world is that the average athlete literally stands head and shoulders above everyone else. The average height for men in the USA is around 5 foot 10, the average height in the NBA is 6 foot 7. We look up at these giants and revere them like Gods because what they do on basketball courts does not appear human.
No athlete in the NBA is more revered than LeBron James, who might be the most physically impressive human in terms of the combination of size, speed, strength and dexterity. But in reality, even LeBron James is no match for time itself.
LeBron will start to slow down very soon, and it will be a true tragedy for the sports world. He will still be in top form this season, but inch by inch time’s remorseless scythe will pick apart his athleticism just like it does for every single human that has ever existed.
Do not despair too much LBJ fans; LeBron has the best medicine and rehab innovations the sports world has ever seen at his disposal and his incredible body has already proven time and time again that it will not go down without a fight.
1. The Bay Area
Don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Golden State Warriors are actually quite good at basketball. They’ve won 2 out of the last 3 NBA titles and won the most games over a 3 season span of any franchise in NBA history.
They have 2 of the top 4 players in the world, the best defensive player in the world and the best shooting 2 guard in the NBA… and they are all right in the middle of their prime. They have an excellent coach and player motivator in Steve Kerr, a fantastic home court in the Oracle Arena and the most momentum out of any team in the NBA.
The basketball being played by the Warriors is some of the best we’ve ever seen and it looks only set to improve this season as team chemistry and confidence continues to improve, leading to only more misery for everyone and anyone that dares to challenge them.