LeBron gets ring #4

LeBron James

LeBron gets ring #4
October 21
13:16 2020

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers captured the 2020 NBA Championship against the Miami Heat. The Lakers dispatched the Heat in six games, securing LeBron his fourth title overall and the 17th for the Laker franchise as a whole.

There were already a lot of debates about James being the “G.O.A.T.” (Greatest of All Time), but now that he has his fourth title, those debates are being thrown out fast and furious. The question remains if this title inches him closer to His Airness, a.k.a Michael Jordan, the G.O.A.T in many people’s eyes.

With this title, LeBron becomes the only player in NBA history to win a title and be MVP of the NBA Finals with three separate franchises. That statistic can be looked at in a positive or a negative way, depending on which side of the fence you sit on.

Some people will harp on the fact that James left the Cavaliers the first time to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami to win his first couple of titles, then he went back to Cleveland to join Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to win title number three and now he has Anthony Davis as his sidekick for number four.

Jordan fans will hold on to the fact he won all six of his titles with one team, the Chicago Bulls. What people fail to realize is Jordan and James played in different eras, so to compare their path to the finals is unfair, because changing teams is just the way of the league today.

After careful consideration, I chose not to do an article about who is better between the two players, because the argument is too subjective and you can sway the argument either way based upon who you think is better.

What I will do instead is focus on the stellar season James and the Lakers enjoyed and try and forecast what will happen for the Lakers next season.

I think LeBron has been so good that we seem to forget that this is year 17 for him. He is 35 years of age and is still the best player in the world and just showcased that on the brightest stage. James has kept himself in unbelievable shape to maintain a high level of play for so long.

The world had high expectations coming out of high school for James and he has lived up to and exceeded them. I mean they were calling James “The Chosen One” and “King James” at the age of 17, so I can just imagine the amount of pressure he has played under for nearly two decades.

We have never seen a player sustain this level of greatness for this length of time. What he has lost in athletic ability, which is minimal, he has gained in basketball IQ. James seems to be a step ahead of his opponents, especially during crunch time.

Next year will be very interesting for James and the Lakers as they attempt to defend their title. This year was very unique, and things worked out very well for James and the Lakers. For one, the pandemic gave James a rest right at the time teams are normally gearing up for a playoff run. Instead of playing with tired legs, James benefitted greatly from the rest once the players entered the bubble.

Secondly, the Lakers were able to avoid playing the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Finals and instead played the young Denver Nuggets, who they quickly overwhelmed in five games.

Lastly, the Lakers played the scrappy Miami Heat in the finals instead of Milwaukee or Boston. The Heat had a great season with a group of young rising stars, but as it turns out, they were outmatched in the low post against the much bigger Laker front line. Milwaukee and Boston had bigger front lines that would have given the Lakers a tougher time, especially defensively against Anthony Davis.

I am not taking anything away from what the Lakers did because they didn’t control the schedule, but let’s be honest and admit all the dominoes fell in place at the right time for them. Next season, that won’t be the case.

Things will be a little more difficult for the Lakers to repeat as champions. For starters, the Golden State Warriors will be back at full strength with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson returning from injury. On top of that, the Warriors have the second pick in the draft this year, so they could either take the best available player or choose to trade it for a veteran player to add to their roster.

The Western Conference is just going to get tougher with teams like Denver and Utah having a year more of experience under their belt. Just getting out of the west will be very tough for the Lakers. Also, the Clippers will have a point to prove next year, so they will be formidable as well.

When it comes to the Eastern Conference, Boston’s young core will be ready for another run at the title. With Jayson Tatum coming into his own as one of the best players in the league, the Celtics should be much improved next year.

Milwaukee has been disappointing in their last two post-season runs. As Giannis Antetokounmpo nearing free agency, the Bucks know they better put together the best team possible to make a another run at the championship and keep their two-time MVP in town.

The biggest unknown in the Eastern Conference will be the Brooklyn Nets. I am interested to see how the duo of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant play together. The Nets have a nice group of complementary players, so if they gel quickly, Brooklyn has a chance to be one of the top two or three teams in the east.

I am eager to see how the draft and free agency will play out, because those two things will have a major impact on how things shake out next season. It’s good for all of us fans to see so many quality teams out there with a chance to win it all. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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