The problem with Lebron’s team is, well, Lebron. Don’t get me wrong, he is definitely one of the top players in the league today. I’m not about to get into a Kobe vs. Lebron argument; that will come another day.
Lebron has the skill set and physicality that many players hope for. He is a freak of nature standing at 6’8” and has significantly bulked up from his high school body, weighing in at 250. Opposing coaches always fear when Lebron has the ball in open court and is heading straight to the basket. Not only can he get to the rim quickly, but he is extremely strong. To better understand how difficult it is to guard him, imagine trying to cause an NFL running back to fumble without touching his body. Lebron will either wind up on the ESPN’s top 10 for the breakaway dunk, or for dunking on you trying to block him. His shot selection has gotten better all while improving his field goal percentage. He has also made the first team all-defensive team for the second straight year.
Despite these individual accolades, Lebron has yet to win an NBA championship, or a NBA Finals game for that matter. During an 82 game season, coaches are willing to “rest” their players and lose a game because it is more important to be healthy for the playoffs than win home court. It comes as no surprise that Lebron’s team will have one of the best records at the end of the season. However, in a 7 game series where each game matters, it will be easier for opponents to key in on Lebron and force his teammates to win the game. Lebron may average 40+ points in the series, but it takes 90 or more to win.
In order for Lebron to win a championship, he needs to develop chemistry with his teammates. He can have all the role players he wants on his team, but hes still not winning. Even when Shaq was traded to the Cavs, Oneal claimed he was here to “win a ring for the king.” Lebron’s assist numbers come from primarily dunks rather than a mix with open jumpers and 3 point shots.
So how can his team practice for this? Make him a 6th man. Now hear me out. He needs a second and third dependable option that can score and run the team when Lebron does not. By Lebron coming off the bench will do two main things. One, and most importantly, it will demonstrate his desire to win games over individual accolades and media coverage. In addition, would you consider Manu Ginobili or Lamar Odom to be in a bad situation? Lebon’s empire wont hurt that much. Two, it will force his teammates to become better players since they will be taking more shots and passing the ball more without Lebron on the court. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” Lebron hasn’t won yet. Fix it.