On Lebron James...

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On Lebron James...

Postby Eugene on Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:53 pm

This is the second installment of my musings, the previous, the Golden Age... third, really, if you count the Fadeaway post... I expect to have several more...

Anyway...

Lebron James... Next as ESPN as dubbed him... Bill Walton said that he's good enough to start for either Dallas or Philadelphia. If he were the GM in position to draft him, he'd take no less than Dirk Nowitzki from Dallas and Allen Iverson from Philadelphia... Shaq says he's the real deal... Scouts have been drooling over him since his tenth grade season... Michael Jordan has personally invited him to his private workouts... ESPN2 airs his games, nationally...

So, by consensus, he has to be good, right? No, he has to be great, right?

Kobe Bryant averaged little more than 7 points his rookie season. Likewise for T-mac.

So... Lebron James is going to come in and average 20 points a game, as some have predicted? Are you kidding?

I'll even make an allowance... he doesn't have to dominate... he needs only to make a contribution -- a meaningful contribution -- when he goes to the Cavs or the Knicks.

No way.

He'd not start for either the Knicks or the Cavs. Maybe for the Nuggets or Memphis. Not for Chicago. If Vince is still in Toronto, probably not for them either. And he shouldn't.

He plays defense selectively. He has a tendency to drift aimlessly because, let's face it, he can. He doesn't move much at all without the ball -- he's either floating at the three point line, or posting up. In his latest game, he didn't make a single meaningful cut without the basketball.

He tends to fall in love with the three -- it's a highschool three, mind you -- and miss. Doesn't matter, he has the green light from the coach.

I can point out 3 or 4 players on the court the other night who have more heart than he does. Just because he's more talented than all the other players, doesn't mean he can take a night off or cruise along at 80 percent when the other nine guys go full throttle.

He has the skills and vision of a good point guard. Not even close to Magic. I saw a play where he posted up, got the ball, and as the defense collapsed, made a nice dish to a cutting teammate. That dish in the low post, while a good pass, is nothing nearly as phenomenal as Walton made it out to be. Any halfway decent forward in college should be able to make that pass. His no-look passes? You see those passes and better everyday out at the local playground.

But he has those skills plus a prototype body and a 40 inch vertical. And that gives him a tremendous edge over the competition -- if the competition is Juniors and Sophomores who hope to make All-McDonald, as the case maybe.

He is tremendously gifted -- physically. He has pretty good skills otherwise, but nothing to gawk at.

Maybe he learns the pro game. Maybe he becomes the next whoever. But those things come from hard work, discipline, and desire. For a kid who is named All-everything and has everything, those things are hard to come by.

My view? He could be as good as Kobe and T-Mac. But if they didn't get nearly as much hype, why should Lebron?
The task of the artist is to translate for us the essence of things we take for granted.
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Postby EGarrett on Mon Jan 06, 2003 10:09 pm

Let's look at Tracy McGrady's high school scouting report:

Another high school player with tremendous physical ability but not
much of a clue about how to really play the game of basketball.

McGrady likes to compare himself to Penny Hardaway. I can see that a
little bit, but Penny played PG as he grew up -- it's not clear that
McGrady played organized basketball.

McGrady is an amazingly gifted athlete. He moves gracefully, has very
good quickness, and jumps very well. He has a smooth shot that appears
fundamentally sound. He is athletic around the hoop, able to contort his
body to get looks at the basket in heavy traffic.

Offensively, he has great potential with his shooting. He could be a
tremendous offensive rebounder. However, he doesn't move without the ball.
Period. Perhaps that's a fault of his high school coaching. It's a big
weakness in his game.

Defensively, he again has great potential. He does a decent job on defense
when he tries, but nothing exceptional, except shot blocking. McGrady
has a lot of work to do on the defensive end of the court. He doesn't
box out very much, either.

Ballhandling is above averae for a high school senior his size. Nothing
remarkable, though.

McGrady is certainly an intriguing player for a NBA team to draft. He
has great potential, but has really only had one year of great play in
high school to base a decision on. He could become a great 2 or 3 in
the league. Most any team would have to wait a minimum of a year, perhaps
two, before getting any feedback.

In comparing him to the other recent high school seniors who've made the
NBA, McGrady compares most closely to Jermaine O'Neal. Physically, he
probably approaches Garnett, but he doesn't have Garnett's size or feel
for the game.


Now let's take a brief look at one of Kobe's:

General Info:
Led his team to the state championship, while
averaging 30 ppg. He's currently 17 years old.
Comments:
Has been compared to Grant Hill, but some scouts
feel he doesn't have the ballhandling and shooting
skills to be an effective guard.
Summary:
He'll likely be a top 20 pick.


Both of the guys had shown some flashes of skill (McGrady's shot and body control, Kobe's fadeaway J that he rarely hit and post-up ability) but for the most part were raw athletes who had hardly any skill to compete at the next level. The error scouts made was in looking at 17-year-olds with the perfect physical tools and assuming they wouldn't be good because they lacked skills that came with time and maturity. Those are both things that no 17-year-old has. Lebron is bigger and stronger than McGrady and Kobe were at the same age, but has also shown more flashes of skill...the same developing fadeaway jumper that Kobe had...ballhandling...and great passing ability. He has more physical tools AND more skills. That's why people are excited.
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Postby champ on Mon Jan 06, 2003 11:21 pm

quite interesting observations which certainly indicate greatness for Lebron.
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Postby Rens on Tue Jan 07, 2003 6:17 am

Oh yeah... can't miss greatness... can somebody find Harold Miner's scouting report please?
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Postby scubilete on Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:19 am

Harold Miner or Felipe Lopez, I do believe Felipe caused the same expectations and he made the mistake of not jumping directly to the NBA so his game would stay being the same. let Lebron get to the NBA to see if he really can get his game to be over that level, if you start choosing guys who led nation in scoring you will see a bunch of them are useless or just good players.

Let's see Lopez Partner in Saint John: Zendon Hamilton, average in his last year for High school (30 ppg), in the NBA ? don't even remember if it was 4 or 3.
Kurt Thomas, I heard he led the NCAA in scoring in some year, what's his scoring, average good, good player.
10 years ago, we heard about a big Player called Bo Kimble, who led the NCAA in scoring (35.3 ppg), drafted for the Clippers in the 90 (8th Overall), who was that in the NBA, his first year almost 7 ppg.

I believe Lebron is good but I think we should let him play with his high schools and stop the comparison with others that have already shown they are great. when Lopez went to the NCAA, Iverson came from nowhere and stole the show in the NCAA, nobody knows if some of the kids you're not paying attention to come and show better stuff than Lebron once they get here, just Like Stoudamire is doing with Yao who I believe is showing or playing better than Yao and can even steal the rookie of the year from him as well.
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Postby TheBob on Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:33 am

scubilete wrote:just Like Stoudamire is doing with Yao who I believe is showing or playing better than Yao and can even steal the rookie of the year from him as well.

mpg ppg Rpg Bpg Apg fg% to
Ming 26.5 13.2 7.90 2.00 1.5 .560 2.16
Stoudemire 30.5 12.5 8.90 1.18 0.8 .466 2.18

I don't think you can really say Stoudemire is playing better than Ming so far. Ming is better than him in all major statistical categories with the exception of rebounds.
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Postby scubilete on Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:42 am

Well, just go back and take their last 10 games and compare again and you will see what I'm talking about.
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Postby champ on Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:54 am

if ming don't win rookie of the year, i'm blaming steve francis, cos ming is unstoppable but only gets 11 attempts per game.
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Postby Clinton on Tue Jan 07, 2003 4:49 pm

Yeah Francis should step aside and let the rookie run the team. :lol: Give Ming a year or two before he comes your first option. The Rockets are playing well enough anyway.
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