If Miami Heat superstar LeBron James wants to avoid the criticism for another season and capture that championship that has eluded him for the first nine seasons of his career, he's going to have to earn it.
Looking at the duds LBJ is surrounded by, the only way he's getting that ring this season is by doing it by himself.
Right now, the only consistent thing in a Miami Heat uniform is LeBron, who has brought it every game so far. All he's done is average 30.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals, while shooting 50.5 percent from the floor.
It's hard to imagine James doing more, but unfortunately to win a championship, he's going to have to.
LeBron simply doesn't have the help around him to get it done any other way.
On a nightly basis, he simply just doesn't know what he's going to get from Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh. Especially in the case of Wade, who has turned in a couple spectacular performances in the playoffs, which he is capable of doing in the finals, but overall the eight-time All-Star has been average at best.
As far as Bosh, who knows how healthy he is to contribute, but since his return Bosh has only looked like his former self in one of his four games—Game 7 vs. Boston.
How many games does this series go if LBJ doesn't put the Heat on his back and carry them?
Wade and Bosh combined to score 29 points in Miami's Game 1 loss, or the same amount as Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers did. For the Heat that's unacceptable.
As for Battier and Chalmers, their contributions were nice, but were mostly limited to the first half. If I were LeBron, I wouldn't count on that type of production from them for the remainder of the series as they've combined to average only 17.9 points throughout the postseason.
The bottom line is that if LBJ is counting on his teammates to help him get a ring, he's not going to get one.
He's going to have to do it by himself.
LeBron's demonstrated this postseason that he's capable of doing exactly that, by turning in two of the greatest postseason performances in history.
There was Game 4 vs. the Pacers when LBJ went into takeover mode from the opening tip, scoring 40 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and dishing out nine assists.
More recently there was also Game 6 of the Celtics series when LeBron went for 45 points and 15 rebounds.
He's capable of those types of performances and while it's not as easy as turning a switch on and off, James is going to have to find a way to bring that out frequently enough to get four wins.
If he doesn't, he can't rely on his teammates to help. Not consistently at least.
Sure they may be there for James to win a game or two this series, but to win four, King James is going to have to do it himself.
If he doesn't, it's going to be another long offseason filled with doubts.