LeBron James is sadly coming off another Finals defeat, outmanned by the heavily favored Golden-State Warriors. LeBron fought valiantly, becoming the first player to ever average a triple-double in the NBA Finals, but the Warriors were just the better team.
It has now become obvious that the Cavs aren’t good enough to compete with the Warriors. The Warriors are better both offensively and defensively and look only to get better next season with improved team chemistry. LeBron just doesn’t have good enough teammates to keep up with Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
LeBron is still the best player in the world thanks mainly to his ability to make his teammates better. At only 22 he took a team of nobodies to the NBA Finals. They were promptly swept by the San Antonio Spurs because nobody can win a title by himself.
The main reason why LeBron left Cleveland in 2010 was because they never provided him with any help. The season before LeBron left the Cavs went 61-21, the season after he left? 19-63. LeBron is the ultimate team player and had he had some better teammates earlier on in his career who knows what he could have done.
Not all of his teammates have been bad though, he’s had some good ones and when they perform they win championships. Here are my top ten teammates of LeBron James
10. Kyle Korver
Although he hasn’t even played a whole season with LeBron yet Korver’s impact was immediately felt upon his arrival. Korver one of the best shooters this league has ever seen with a shooting stroke that belongs in a museum somewhere.
Last season Korver lead the league in three-point shooting percentage for the fourth time in his career. He is the perfect teammates for LeBron because he gives the King the much-needed floor space he needs to drive to the rim and makes plays.
Korver is a free agent and is now 35 years old. Maybe we’ve seen the last of the human flamethrower but there is a chance he signs the veteran’s minimum for one last chance to get a ring.
9. Anderson Varejao
Known for his crazy hair and blue-collar playing style, Varejao was a guy which every team needs; someone to do the dirty work. He set good screens, fought for rebounds and defender the opposition’s big men.
He wasn’t a great rim protector or scorer but he still managed to put up a respectable 8.6 points and 7.6 rebounds a night during LeBron’s last year before he left for Miami. He did the things which don’t show up in the boxscore which was why when he was waived by the Cavs in 2015 the Warriors swooped in and picked him up.
8. Udonis Haslem
Another glue that LeBron has had in his career is Udonis Haslem, the Miami Heat’s all-time leading rebounder. Haslem was an important piece of the Heat’s back to back titles in 2012 and 2013 with his rugged defense and rebounding.
He played with real passion whilst on the floor and was a sturdy presence in the locker room. Ask anyone in the Heat’s front office and they’ll tell you how valuable it is to have someone like UD, someone who did all the little things that win you games.
Haslem looks set to retire very soon with three rings to his name and a career he can look back with pride
7. Mo Williams
Before joining the Heat in 2010 LeBron had only ever played with one other player who had an All-Star season. That was Mo Williams in 2009 where he averaged 17.8 points a game and shot 43.6% from three.
He was a good second option for LeBron who provided excellent floor spacing and good ball handling and passing for his teammates. He actually hooked up with LeBron and the Cavs again in 2016 but was waived before the chance to get his ring.
6. Carlos Boozer
Although we now remember Boozer for his lackluster defense on the defense first Chicago Bulls in his younger days he was a great player. He only played one season with LeBron in 2003-4 but he averaged a double-double with 15.5 points and 11.4 rebounds.
He was then traded to the Utah Jazz where he proceeded to become a two-time All-Star in 2007 and 2008 with Devon Williams. Maybe if the Cavs hadn’t traded him then they would have had more success in playoffs and LeBron wouldn’t have left in 2010.
5. Ray Allen
The most clutch shot of all time. With 5.2 seconds left with the Heat down 3, Ray Allen hit at corner three after receiving the pass from Chris Bosh and saved the season for Miami. The Heat then went on to win in overtime and won the series in 7 games.
Ray Allen is the greatest spot up shooter the league has ever seen and when he came to the Heat in 2012 his impact was immediate. Like I’ve mentioned LeBron needs to be surrounded by shooters so that he can either finish at the rim or pass the ball out for the open three.
Allen is a sure fire Hall of Famer who’s time with LeBron will be mostly remembered by breaking the hearts of Spurs fan in game 6 in Miami in 2013
4. Kevin Love
Although it looks likely that Love will be traded there’s no denying his talent. A stretch four with great passing abilities and a soft touch at the rim, Love has been a great third option for LeBron and the Cavs.
In his three years with LeBron, he’s averaged 17 and 10 and given him that floor spacing I seem to be obsessed with. When the Cavs want to slow the game down they can throw it to Love in the post where he is a great finisher.
If his time in Cleveland is up then he can look back on those years with dignity as he helped Cleveland win its first major sports trophy in 52 years.
3. Chris Bosh
Although he looks like a dinosaur Chris Bosh was a key piece in the Heat’s “Big Three” era. A versatile scorer and savvy defender, Bosh was a perfect compliment to LeBron and Wade.
With LeBron, he would spot and shot with his incredible mid range game or go into the post where he had great footwork and a nasty up fake.
Although his blood clots look set to end his career prematurely he has had some memorable moments highlighted by winning two titles and making the game saving block on Danny Green in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals.
2. Kyrie Irving
Despite the fact that Kyrie came up short in the closing stretches of game 5 of this year’s Finals which saw the Warriors win the series 4-1 he still had a great series nearly averaging 30 points a night.
Irving is the best ball handler in the league and is up to debate for the best finisher we’ve seen in a long time. The way he can finish with both hands with a huge variety of moves is just incredible.
Irving is still only 25 and has a long career ahead of him but he’s already made his mark, most notably hitting the dagger three over Steph Curry in game 7 of last year’s Finals.
The future is bright for Uncle Drew.
1. Dwyane Wade
This one was obvious.
When LeBron left Cleveland in 2010 it was mainly to go play with arguably the third-best shooting guard in NBA history. Wade’s incredible overall play made him one of the leagues best players and when LeBron came to play, they formed a duo that terrorized the league for the next four years.
The number of alley-oops the two executed for each other has created some of the best highlights the league has seen. Wade was basically a slightly worse version of LeBron. Incredible athletic, amazing finisher at the rim, great passer and an extremely pesky defender.
It’s very sad that we only got to see them for four years, but it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.