What a 4th quarter for LeBron last night. He did it all down the stretch as the Cavs pulled away from the Magic for their 14th straight win. I guess some will still say that LeBron didn't hit a game winner, so Kobe is still the better "closer." I really wish that term would go away. It seems like only reason people use that term is after talking about how great LeBron is. LeBron is having an unbelievable season, but Kobe is a better "closer." Why? Because he hits more buzzer-beaters? Nights like last night where LeBron can't be stopped and the Cavs pull away is what makes LeBron better than Kobe in every way - and it isn't close anymore. It's like a early 90's baseball GM wanting Mitch Williams over Dennis Eckersley.
Let's take a look at the numbers now that LeBron is 25 and entering what should be his prime. After last night, LBJ is averaging 29.9 points (1st), 8.3 assists (6th), 1.6 steals (14th), and 7.1 rebounds (37th) per game. Seasons where a player averages 30/8/7 are very unusual. Michael Jordan had 1 in 1986-87, when he was also 25. Kobe has had great years, but has never topped 7 in either assists or rebounds.
It also seems like Cleveland is pulling away from the pack and establishing themselves as the top seed in the East this year. I think the East champion will be the #1 seed because all of the top 4 play so well at home. It will be very tough to win a 7 game series this year with the Cavs having home court.
Looking in the future, it is hard to guess where LeBron will end up and how many titles he will win. I do think that the number of titles will be more than 2. He has said in the past that he wanted to be a worldwide celebrity. Signing with McDonalds is probably just the 1st in a series of decisions that he thinks will lead him in that direction.
I think New York makes a lot of sense, but they will not be immediate contenders with their current roster. However, the draw of New York City and playing for D'Antoni may be enough. LeBron would get the chance every night to play in a wide-open style that will accentuate his athleticism. Plus, what point guard wouldn't go to NY in a heartbeat to play in that style with LBJ? Even with a huge pay-cut? A serviceable guy like Steve Blake, Marcus Williams, or Ray Felton would jump at a chance to play on a team with LBJ/Harrington/Lee in D'Antoni's system.
Another scary thought is Joe Johnson taking a 1 year veterans deal to go play with that crew for a season. He has already turned down 4/60 million from the Hawks and he is unlikely to receive a similar offer from anyone else. Does Joe envision a chance to play with a LeBron or Wade for a year or two since he is already filthy rich?
Is a team of Felton/Joe/LBJ/Harrington/Lee with a few veterans and draft picks off the bench good enough to win the title? I say yes, because that team would have the world's best player and closer in his prime. Jordan was 28 when he won his 1st of 6 titles. I say LeBron gets his 1st earlier than MJ did.