All About LeBron. Correct?

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All About LeBron. Correct?

Postby thehef » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:49 am

Granted, we're only 3 games into the 2015 NBA finals, so the Cavs are far from a lock to win the title. However, the false narrative has already started, and it's all about LeBron. The story so far, though, isn't really LeBron. He's doing what we'd expect (actually, maybe a little less than we'd expect since he's only shooting 40% and has been pretty ordinary in the clutch). The real question - that tells the real story - is "who's NOT doing what we'd expect?" So far that would be 1) the Cav's role players (who, beyond LeBron, are all that they have left) who are clearly exceeding expectations, and 2) most of the Warriors, who are not performing to expectations. Without a doubt, a case can be made that #1 is the cause for #2. And LeBron certainly deserves some credit for that. But the reason the Cavs are up 2-1 is not because LeBron is doing something amazing. It's because the Cavs' role players are doing something amazing, and/or the Warriors' core is laying an egg.
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Re: All About LeBron. Correct?

Postby Mike Goodman » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:22 pm

I'd opine that LeBron had perhaps the best Finals of anyone who didn't win Finals mvp.
In the '80s, the Lakers twice had the wrong player chosen for mvp -- Magic over Kareem in '80; Worthy over Magic in '88 -- both times due to a great final game.
In '74, Kareem dominated like this, but his Bucks lost to the Celtics in 7.


Just stopped by to drop off this bit of trivia from Eric Freeman of Ball Don't Lie blog:

" In defeating LeBron James and the Cavaliers, NBA MVP Stephen Curry became the first player in league history to beat all four of his fellow All-NBA First Team members [in the playoffs].
Curry (and, you know, his teammates) bested Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans in the opening round, Marc Gasol and the Memphis Grizzlies in the conference semifinals, James Harden and the Houston Rockets in the conference finals, and LeBron and the Cavs in the finals to complete the impressive, if also somewhat random, achievement."
http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball- ... 13400.html
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Re: All About LeBron. Correct?

Postby thehef » Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:22 pm

Even though the Cavs came back to earth and the Warriors put it all together to win the title, the false narrative continues. Near the end of the game six
telecast I believe Mike Breen used "amazing," "exceptional," and "unbelievable" to describe LeBron's performance. The implication seems to be that he
exceeded even the lofty expectations that we have for him.

LeBron is unquestionably one of the best players on the planet. But did he actually raise his game in the finals? A look at his per-36 numbers and shooting percentages would suggest that he did not.

His per-36 assists (6.9 in the finals vs 7.4 during the season), steals (1.0 vs 1.6), and blocks (.4 vs .7) numbers were all lower. His FT (69% vs 71%) and
3pt (31% vs 35%) percentages were slightly lower in the finals. His overall FG% was considerably lower (39% vs 48%).

LeBron improved over his regular-season per-36 in two areas: Rebounding (a big improvement - 10.5 in the finals compared to 6 in the regular season), and
turnovers (2.8 vs 3.9). The rebounding increase was likely due to the facts that Kevin Love was out and much of the series featured small-ball, with LeBron
playing more power-forward on defense. In fact, in the last three games (where the Warriors went nearly-exclusively with small-ball) LeBron's per-36 rebounding numbers improved to 11.9 (vs 9.1 in the first three games). His TO decrease was impressive given his increased ballhandling (a result of Kyrie Irving's injury).

I'm not at all suggesting that LeBron shouldn't have been on the court for high minutes, which partially accounted for some of his gaudy numbers. Nor would I dispute a contention that the Cavs would've been blown out in four straight without LeBron. But the stats do not indicate that LeBron raised his game, or did anything other than perform as we typically expect. If anything, he was not quite up to his regular-season standards.

Consider that LeBron jacked up 196 shots in the finals - including 42 three-pointers - and attempted 67 free throws. With that many shots, he sure ought to score at least the 215 points that he did. Granted, without Irving's playmaking and without Love's contributions, it's not surprising that LeBron shot more, and made less ... What other options were there? Still, if LeBron equals his regular-season shooting percentages, he scores an additional 40 points, and that probably translates to at least a seventh game, and possibly a Cavs series win. Now that would've been would've been exceeding expectations.

Alluding to the original post above, what actually happened - in addition to LeBron "simply" being LeBron - in the last three games the Cavs' role players stopped exceeding expectations, and the Warriors began meeting expectations. If anyone exceeded expectations, it was that guy who - IMO - was very rightly named Finals MVP :)
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Re: All About LeBron. Correct?

Postby Mike Goodman » Fri Jun 26, 2015 5:34 pm

In the season, LeBron played just 30.4 minutes per Cavs' game. Having him go 45.7 mpg in the Finals is perhaps unprecedented.
Put another way, a guy who is used to getting 18 minutes of rest per game got just 4 rest minutes for those last 6 games.
His FT (69% vs 71%) and
3pt (31% vs 35%) percentages were slightly lower in the finals. His overall FG% was considerably lower (39% vs 48%).

Relative to his regular season ratios, LeBron in the Finals got fewer FTA and took more 3-pointers. The result is that his eFG% was down from .535 to .431 .
Part of that might be due to the Warriors' league-low opponent eFG% of .470; this was .026 below NBA avg.
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