Looking for the Magic's MVP? Try LeBron James

Sam OrmeCorrespondent IMay 25, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 24:  Fans try to distract LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers as he shoots a free-throw against the Orlando Magic in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the the Amway Arena on May 24, 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)

The King.

The greatest player on the planet.

The goat?

LeBron James may be the most talented player on the floor in the Orlando-Cleveland series, but if he continues to play the way he did in Game Three, you can expect this series to be over in a hurry. Six games, max.

I can hear you all shouting in disbelief now. "What's wrong with a 41/7/9 game?" you're asking. Wasn't he the best player on the floor?

Maybe, but his minus-12 in plus/minus is awfully revealing. How could Orlando have scored 12 more points than Cleveland while LeBron was on the floor?

I'll give you two stats: 11-of-28 FGA, 1-of-8 3PA.

14 of those missed field goals were deep twos or threes. And five of those missed threes were in the last six minutes of the game.

Do you think that miracle shot that won Game Two gave the King a little more confidence in the long ball than he should have had?

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I know LeBron is trying to improve his all-around game. If he can consistently hit from deep, then he becomes a completely unstoppable force. You can't let him drive inside, but you also have to guard him on the perimeter. He'd be terrifying.

However, the fact is that he's still not reliable from outside, and he doesn't need to be. In fact, right now, he shouldn't be. When LeBron drives inside, he's almost a lock to score two (he was 10-of-13 from inside 16 feet) or, better yet, draw a foul.

Maybe he knows something I don't, but I don't see how a 77 percent chance at two points is worse than a 12.5 percent (again, 1-of-8 from deep) chance at three points.

It gets better: when LeBron drives inside, the defense collapses on him, leaving a teammate open. Who tends to benefit from those open looks? Usually Mo Williams, the three-point specialist and the guy widely credited with the Cavs' incredible improvement this season.

Remember him? The guy shooting over 43 percent from deep this year? Why don't you let him take your threes?

(Granted, Williams was 3-of-10 from behind the arc last night, but one has to wonder how many more he would have made if he were given all eight of LeBron's attempts. Even if he only makes three of them, Cleveland might have won this game.)

Finally, what happens when LeBron becomes LeBrick and misses a three-point attempt? More often than not, Dwight Howard is there to clean up. He's averaging over 13 rebounds per game in this series, and those rebounds tend to lead to fast breaks for Orlando.

Sure, the three-pointer looks heroic, and it must feel awesome to make one under pressure. But if LeBron keeps jacking up three after three, he's going to hang his teammates out to dry.