Not So Fast on the Cavs Talk

Adam WhittemoreContributor IJune 3, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 30: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the hoop over Mickael Pietrus #20 of the Orlando Magic in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 30, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Everyone in the world has been talking about the Cavaliers this week. Specifically LeBron James. I don't really care to comment on the whole "walking off the court and then not speaking to the press" thing. He is not a saint, though everyone seems to think so. That being said, it's not a big deal. Nothing interesting comes from a losing player in those post-game conferences.

What I do want to talk about is how people are treating the Eastern Conference Finals. Now that the Magic have advanced, the talk around the dial is that LeBron was let down by his teammates. I have heard this multiple times, from ESPN anchors to Bill Simmons.
This is what I have to say about it: of course LeBron James is the best player on the Cavs. He is a freak of nature that can make every player around him better. His offensive skills are practically endless and he is borderline unstoppable when he is playing well.
The problem with the idea of his team letting him down is that most of them did not play any worse than they did during the regular season.
With the exception of Mo Williams, everyone else played to their potential. Delonte West was pretty good, actually. Varajao was his usual flopping self. Big Z was slow on both sides, but was a big body taking up space. The backups were almost completely ineffective. All of these things were par for the course when it comes to the regular.
If Mo Williams had played as well as he did during the season, they might have won an extra game in the series, but I doubt it.  
The truth of the matter is, the main people "responsible" for the Cavs' lost was Mike Brown and LeBron.
For one, Mike Brown seems to utilize the most vanilla, lethargic offense in the history of the NBA. He never really adjusted to the fact that their guards are six inches shorter than their Magic counterparts. And when the game was on the line, it seemed like his ability to get the ball in the hand of anyone else but LeBron was absent.
The problem is, the last one might be the King's fault just as much as the head coach's.
No one seems to want to recognize how many mistakes LeBron made this series. Other than having freakish offensive statistics, he also made a ton of turnovers.
He has improved his passing greatly, but he is not a point guard. Why was he constantly taking the ball down the court in the fourth quarter? And when he did, why did he settle for so many terrible jump shots when the referees would have more than likely thrown him a bone anyway if he had driven to the basket?
On top of this, his defense was less than stellar. I know he had to pace himself or he would not have been able to carry the offense, but he just plain did not play well on that side of the ball. Like Ric Buecher said, maybe if he had learned how to conserve energy on offense, instead of playing point guard, shooting guard, and small forward, then maybe he could have stretched out his talents a little more.
The team just plain is not very good, and LeBron took it about as far as he could. But you can't say they let him down, they were never any better than this.