A Game Changer
Ok so Wiggins will be traded to the Timberwolves, and it seems I stand alone in my thinking the trade shouldn’t happen. I guess I must admit defeat as the majority has spoken. (I still don’t make that trade. )
Before I get to the meat of this Topic I want to apologize to “icthawfan” as it seems in our previous banter I may have over stepped the line. It wasn’t my intent but in life we sometimes do things we don’t mean too. “Icthawfan” it was never my intent to lead you into thinking I don’t care about your point of view. It was a mere mistake on my part of the choice of words in trying to project what I was thinking in the course of our banter. My point was I don’t care what anybody says I don’t make this trade. (Do you understand?) Either way if I did hurt you feelings. I apologize, as I do enjoy your points of view.
OK so now to the meat of this topic. With all the talk about Wiggins, we have forgotten about another KU Stud by the name of Joel Embiid. Ten years from now who is the NBA stud? Wiggins or Embiid? Does either have a legit chance of being an NBA great? If you were a GM of a NBA team with the first pick in the draft who do you pick? Do you pick either one of them? Lastly and my real point if the roles were reversed and Embiid was a Cav. Do you trade him for Love?
I am not in favor of the trade either and I don’t think it is the “no brainer” some have labeled it. You can build a team or you can buy a team; San Antonio built one and Miami bought one, which would you say is the more successful franchise?
As far as Embiid and Wiggins, I believe both will have well above average and possibly even great careers.Wiggins getting a head start gives him the initial upper hand. If Embiid ca regain his health and maintain it, the potential is huge; however, if he continues to have injuries, he could be the next Gregg Oden…I surely hope not.
@JayHawkFanToo I like the way you put it, build and not buy! Feel the same way about Embiid. Great question on their future, I hope they both remain healthy and prosper. They are great reps for KU! I look forward to following them, along w/the rest our players. Went to Bens summer slam, had a lot of fun! It’s great to see his love for KU and helping kids in his neighborhood. He’s got a great charity. They were auctioning a red jersey of Bens, winner got to sit in the chair and Ben jumped over it to dunk. A very generous man won the bid, 450.00 and picked out a kid that lived in the homeless shelter to sit in the chair. Rock chalk proud!
I’ll be glad if the package is still Bennett and a first rounder with Wiggins to Minnesota. I think Bennett can return high first round value (from his weak draft) in a few years. He looked slim and athetlic in summer league play.
Minnesota’s roster isn’t horrible with those guys. They won’t get out of the West, but they’ll be able to compete. If few things go right (Zach Lavine turns out to be ok / Pekovic and Rubio stay healthy. Dieng / Glenn Robinson / Muhammed continue to improve. They need another rotation big. It’s not a horrible situation. Unfortunately, we’ll never see them on TNT. That’s the worst part. Sounds like a good place for Wiggins to find his inner alpha dog. Would you prefer he was on Philly?
As for the East, I’ll be rooting for the Wizards, but I’m believing in the Bulls (and rooting for them against anyone other than the Wizards). The Bulls can be very very good. If Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol can stay healthy for the playoffs, I’d consider them to be the team to beat in the East this year, and it wouldn’t be close.
If I were the Cavs in their current situation I would absolutely trade Embiid for Love. We already know that Embiid probably won’t play much (if at all) next season due to injuries. For a team like the Cavs, their window of opportunity is here in the present, so potential future gains from Embiid are somewhat tempered by not being able to get that return in the present when their team is the strongest.
Ten years from now, I think Embiid is probably a better player if he is healthy. The rarity of his skillset almost guarantees that he would be the better player. You’re basically talking about a taller and possibly more athletic Kevin Garnett here. That’s a sure fire hall of famer if he’s at full health. For Wiggins, he’s an athletic marvel, but when you talk about wing players, there will always be tons of super athletic wing guys in the NBA. As I’ve said in other posts, I would comp Wiggins’ best case as a better version of Paul George or a more athletic Scottie Pippen. Either one of those outcomes makes him an elite NBA player. But a taller, more athletic Kevin Garnett is literally something that we have never seen before. Maybe Wilt, but it is a tough comparison because the game was less athletic overall at that time.
On the other hand, you have to at least look at the worst case for both players. Worst case for Wiggins is that he becomes an above average (but non elite) defender that never quite figures out his offensive game and becomes a very good wing on a playoff type team who, if surrounded by another star or two could play for a champion. For Embiid, his worst case is Greg Oden, or a career arc similar to Bill Walton - basically a couple of tremendous seasons, then basically derailed by injuries. I think no matter what, if Embiid can play he will be a great player, but big man injuries are always a huge risk.
If I had the first pick in the draft as the Cavs, and I was in their position at the time (i.e., not knowing that Lebron was returning), I likely would have packaged that pick with Bennett for Love in the first place. If I had to keep the pick I would have probably taken either Wiggins or Parker.
“You can build a team or you can buy a team; San Antonio built one and Miami bought one, which would you say is the more successful franchise?”
Ain’t that the truth!
“If I were the Cavs in their current situation I would absolutely trade Embiid for Love. We already know that Embiid probably won’t play much (if at all) next season due to injuries. For a team like the Cavs, their window of opportunity is here in the present, so potential future gains from Embiid are somewhat tempered by not being able to get that return in the present when their team is the strongest.”
Is Cleveland a “present threat” more than a “future threat?”
I know LeBron tilts a lot of scales. But the Cavs still have a bunch of young talent that will have to learn to execute in the league while learning to play as a team. I’m doubtful LeBron and Love (alone) can bring a trophy to Cleveland.
I’m not sure what is the right answer Wiggins vs Love, but there is no way I can look at this without being biased. Same goes for comparing Love vs Embiid. With Embiid, I would want to feel like he’ll recover fully and become a factor. If I believe that, there is no way I’d take Love over Embiid.
Unless Wiggins gets hurt and can’t cut like he is currently capable of it will be a real stretch to not see how easily he can mold into being one of the best swing defenders in the league. He could easily develop into being one of the best swing defenders the league has ever had. It is easier to question his ability on offense. Very soon he should at least be a decent offensive player executing some things well on offense. It is very much up in the air if he will learn to execute offense well in many areas and will be a constant big number guy, and a guy you go to down the stretch.
I like how you framed Embiid as a taller, more athletic version of Garnett. Hadn’t thought of him in that way but I see what you mean.
approxinfinity last edited by
@justanotherfan I was thinking about Embiid being like Garnett this morning on the ride in and was wondering why no one had thrown out that comparison yet. I wonder if people’s minds went there when it became apparent that Wiggins was going to Minnesota and contemplating superimposing their situations. I know mine did.
I love the Garnett comparison. Good stuff. I guess my hang up is the potential of Wiggs and Embiid. and my dislike for Love and LeBron. I could understand trading Wiggs and Embiid for a proven NBA winner. For me Love doesn’t fill that bill. He seems more of a stat guy to me.
I know winning can cure all problems, but it can also hide real problems on a team too. What happens when Love is upset that he isn’t getting his double doubles? Maybe I’m reaching but I just see problems with the Love and LeBron combo. How does Love respond when LeBron rips him a new one for not playing defense?
Just curious as my NBA knowledge is a lacking. Has any NBA team traded away an NBA star or great before they became great or a star? Maybe if I had a few examples I could warp my mind into trading Wiggs and Embiid for a Love (no defense) type player.
bskeet last edited by bskeet
@DoubleDD said:> Just curious as my NBA knowledge is a lacking. Has any NBA team traded away an NBA star or great before they became great or a star?
Good question! …ask and ye shall receive
This is a list of draft day trades only… So this kind of trade (Wiggins for Love post-draft day) would not show up on their list… Still there are some interesting ones…
- 2006: Bulls Trade LaMarcus Aldridge
- 2008: Grizzlies Trade Kevin Love
- 2001: Hawks Trade Pau Gasol
- 2006: Suns Trade Rajon Rondo
- 1998: Bucks Trade Dirk Nowitzki
- 1996: Hornets Trade Kobe Bryant
Wow??? The big one is Kobe Bryant, I wander how the Hornets fans feel about that trade? Thanks for enlightening post. How would you like that hanging over you organization?
In all fairness, Kobe was an unproven high school player selected with the #13 pick and Divac was a proven veteran. Cleveland is willing to trade two #1 picks and more for a proven veteran; hopefully this ends up the same way and Wiggins turns out to be as good as Kobe.
@drgnslayr I think Cleveland is definitely a “present threat” moreso than a “future threat.”
As you stated, Wiggins will almost certainly be a very good defender, with the possibility of being an all time elite defender. However, if his offense does not keep pace with that, he will never be a top NBA player. Pippen was always a great defender, but until he became a better scorer he wasn’t an elite wing.
Jordan was a top notch defender. Lebron is a top defensive player. Kobe was, particularly early in his career. So was Gary Payton. But the reason that they were top players was that they combined a high level of offense as well.
They talk in the NBA all the time about two-way players. In order to really excel in the NBA you have to have two way players. Kevin Love, for example, is a poor man to man defender, but he makes up for his lack of one on one defensive skills by being an elite rebounder. Kevin Love may not be a rim protector, but he helps his team finish possessions by securing the board. In fact, Love was third in overall rebounding, but #1 in defensive rebounding. In fact, in every season in which he has qualified other than his rookie year, he has finished either first or second in defensive rebounding.
Can Wiggins be a two way player, or is he going to be an incredible defensive player that struggles to be anything more than a set shooter and transition scorer? And even if he does, will he become a 2 way player the caliber of Kevin Love? Right now Kevin Love has 3 elite NBA skills - rebounding, passing and scoring. Wiggins has two - athleticism and defense, and we haven’t actually seen him be an elite NBA defender, although he should be at least very good.
Like I said, for the Cavs, their current situation is to push for the playoffs and championships. If I were presented the same question for a team like the Sixers, Magic or Jazz, my answer would be different because those teams are in no position to make a run in the playoffs right now. Their best option is to build for the future.
Crimsonorblue22 last edited by approxinfinity
@DoubleDD thought you might be interested in this article. Wiggins is saying the right things!
I agree, Wiggins said all the right things; amazing that James has not yet talked to him.
While trying to re-build his image, LeBron has lost a lot of friends and fans and has shown that everything he does is based on what is good for him personally and he is just a gun for hire; although in all fairness most professional athletes are. I wonder what would happen if he leaves Cleveland after a year or two and leaves them at the altar once again…
@Crimsonorblue22 and Jayhawkfan I want to know how does the great LeBron, the anointed King, and the Ambassador of Basketball. not pick up the phone and talk to Wiggs? Why the silent treatment? Maybe Jaybate is right. This is all about shoe companies. Espn posted the video of the interview.
@DoubleDD my friend, sounds like it’s a done deal. Sucks!!! Hopefully something good will happen for wiggs! As for Lebron…
icthawkfan316 last edited by
@DoubleDD Sorry I’m just now getting over here and roaming around the new site. Stopped in over the weekend, took one look, and decided I didn’t have the time or focus to get my bearings over here and would return when I was able to give it more attention.
All that being said, no worries brother. It didn’t “hurt my feelings”. I mean, it’s just a sports site with a bunch of (mostly) anonymous fans, and nothing you said was a personal attack. My only quibble was that you might indeed wish to rephrase, as a dismissive approach isn’t constructive to furthering the conversation. As I put it then, if I don’t think you care, why would I engage you in conversation? Regardless, I appreciate the clarification.
I’ve continued to straddle the line on this issue. I’m not overly in favor of it, even while trying to maintain an objective, unbiased point of view. I do, however, understand much of the argument to make the trade. The window of opportunity to win in James’ prime, the desire to pull out all of the stops to win just that one championship that has eluded the city of Cleveland for 50 years, the trade-off of the proven commodity vs. that of the potential prospect, etc. I would want to see what I have with Wiggins. Give me 20 or 30 games with him to see how this group meshes. But, if I was the Cavs GM and you put a gun to my head, I’d make the trade.
And to @JayHawkFanToo, to the question of which is the more successful franchise, you’d have to say the Heat wouldn’t you? In the 4 years since they “bought” their team of the Big3, they made 4 straight NBA Finals, winning 2, going 1-1 against the Spurs. Now over the past 10-15 years, obviously the Spurs. They have 5 titles in the post-Jordan era. But the Heat have 3. Nothing to shake a stick at. The Lakers have 5. Were their teams bought or built? Or a combination?
It’s more fun to experience a championship when your team has more “home-grown” talent. But I think it is extremely difficult to try and build. So many things had to pan out for the Spurs. If they don’t win the draft lottery and get to draft Tim Duncan, are we still having this discussion? Would they still have been able to build themselves a 5-time champion?
@icthawkfan316 thank you for your forgiveness.
What the Heat and the big three accomplished was quite impressive no doubt. However lets keep a few things in mind here. One the Heat and the Big 3 played in a very weak East Conference, as they did lose two of four. Second lets also keep in mind the first time they played the Spurs it wasn’t so much the Heat beat the Spurs, as it was more the Spurs dropped the ball. Something the Spurs made a vengeance in a big way. Last years NBA Championships is one of the worst beat downs I’ve seen.
Do you think this Heat team would’ve beat Jordan’s Bulls? Or how do you think NBA fans will remember the Heat run? Lets be honest they were lucky to have won two. Who will be remembered more the Heat or the Spurs? Building a team may take longer but the rewards are bigger and are remembered. Sure you can put a team together as they’re trying to do in Cleveland, however the Cavs (had) all the pieces to be a dynasty. However no they sold out to get one championship. What happens if they don’t get that championship? Which could very well happen. Think LeBron in his old age can encourage stars to come and play with him when the game it starting to pass him bye?
I know we will disagree but I believe you should always try to build a team and not just put one together. Let me ask you a question. Would you rather root for a team that is it built or is put together? Do we not mock UK for putting teams together? Sure UK got a championship doing it that way, but does anybody really remember, or even care? However I’m willing to bet that 08 KU team will remembered in college basketball scrolls not only for the shot but because it was a team.
Perception is everything, even to fans. Your knowledge of the NBA game surpasses mine no doubt. However as a causally fan when I think Jordan I think Bulls, when I think of Bird I think Celtics, when I think of Magic I think Lakers, when I think Duncan I think Spurs. That my friend is a legacy. Think I’m going to remember where Bosh played, Carmello played, or even LeBron played? Sure I know now but time has a way of warping the mind. How many teams have won a championship only to be forgotten? Yet how many fans still buy jerseys from the Celtics, Bulls, Lakers, and Spurs just because not only did they have star power but they were a team? Just my two cents.
@DoubleDD perfectly said!
@DoubleDD Here’s what the Heat gave away for LeBron in a sign and trade:
Two first-round picks, that must be used starting in 2013 and ending by 2017 2012 second-round pick Miami received from New Orleans Future second-round pick Heat acquired from Oklahoma City Cleveland can also swap first round picks with the Heat in 2012 A large trade exception($15 million or so) that the Cavs must use in trades for one calendar year.
Here’s what they gave away in sign and trade for Bosh:
The Raptors reacquired their own 2011 first-round pick originally sent to the Heat on February 13, 2009 (trade of Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks) and Miami’s 2011 first-round draft choice (lottery protected).
Although this neither completely validates nor invalidates the argument that a team should build (and/or sign in free agency) in general, lets see who those picks were used on as well as the top players still on the board that the Heat might have gotten with their picks.
Let’s include the 2010 draft trade that Miami made to clear room for LeBron…
2010 Miami trades Eric Bledsoe (18th pick) to OKC for the 32nd pick. Lance Stephenson was also still available at the 40th spot.
2011 Miami trades the 28th pick to Toronto for Bosh. They end up getting this player back (Norris Cole) but Jimmy Butler, Chandler Parsons, and Isiah Thomas were still on the board.
2012 Miami trades away 27th Arnett Moultree for future 1st rd pick. Several decent players were still on board, but no stars.
2013 Miami gives up 30th pick for LeBron, Cleveland trades pick that ends up being Nemanja Nedović to Golden State. Ray McCallum and Glen Rice still on board, but no certain NBA talent.
The Heat still owe Cleveland a first-round pick from their 2010 addition of James, with that pick due to Cleveland in 2015 as long as it is not among the first 10 in the draft.
So all in all, was it worth it? I’d say in this case, it was. But… the irony might be that had the Heat had more young talent (specifically Bledsoe and maybe the 2015 pick) maybe the cupboard would not have looked so bare to LeBron and he would have resigned this offseason instead of going to greener pastures.
If this supports a general philosphy, it is that it’s better for a team to sign in free agency than sign a star in a trade. And that’s what I really don’t understand here… Is it just etiquette / avoiding infamy and hatemail / wanting to win NOW that keeps Love from waiting and coming over after next season, almost guaranteeing a dynasty in Cleveland and a strong supporting cast?
LeBron walked without any strings. If it’s all business, isn’t that the most prudent way? Should you feel obligated to the team you’re departing to go in a trade?
@approxinfinity point taken. However lets dig a bit deeper here. LeBron leaving the Cavs has really opened up this discussion of building a team and putting one together. How do I explain this? I’m not against picking up players in trades and FA’s signings. However teams with a core of players that were drafted and paid there dues are remembered. I’m not saying that you can’t go out into the FA’s market and sign players by trading your draft picks. and have success. The Heat proved that. However in ten years will you remember the Heat run? or will you remember the Spurs run?
How many NBA fan’s still buy jersey’s from the Bulls, Celtics, Lakers just because they are in a sense home grown teams? Fans remember. How many fans jump off the Heat bandwagon this year? Yea the Heat had their run, their taste of success, but will anybody remember? 10, 15, 20 years from now who do NBA fans remember the Heat or the Spurs? Keep in mind the Heat had the worst beat down in the NBA finals. Fans remember and spend their money with that in mind. Know how many times I picked up stuff and apparel that was connected to the Bulls. Celtics, Spurs, and Lakers? A lot and I’m not even a NBA fan. You now why because it’s worth money.
Sure putting a team together can give success for today, but the question is will anybody remember? NBA fans are no different than any other fans. You’re a fan would you rather root for home grown players or hired guns?
Ask your self this question? Why is LeBron the most hated greatest player ever? What because he left the Cavs? Why did he leave the Cavs? To chase championships and Jordan? LeBron will never be or surpass Jordan, Bird, Magic, or Duncan. Know why? Because he signed a contract with the Heat. Sure Cleveland fans will love him if he wins a championship for them, but nobody else will. Disagree with me ask Nike how many fans love Jordan outside of Chicago land.
Greg Popovich has been coaching the Spurs for 18 years. In that time the Spurs finished with less than 50 wins twice, his first year and the '88-'89 strike shortened season (they won the Title that year); they have finished first in their conference 11 times and won the NBA Title 5 times… To me, this is what solid, successful and self-sustaining program is all about.
Couldn’t have said it better!
In order to build a successful NBA team, you have to be able to both draft talented players and also trade or sign other players to supplement those guys.
For instance, the Spurs drafted Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Splitter and Cory Joseph. They traded for Kawhi Leonard on draft day (dealing George Hill, a player they had drafted and developed). They traded for Matt Bonner. Belinelli, Diaw, Danny Green, Patty Mills and Jeff Ayers, the guys that really enhanced their depth, were all signed as free agents. That’s how you construct a team. You draft an all time great like Duncan, make some smart picks in Parker, Ginobili and Splitter, make a couple of saavy trades and then supplement everything through free agency.
Now, let’s look at the roster construction of some other historic teams.
The Magic Johnson Lakers of the early 80’s had Johnson, Michael Cooper, James Worthy and Norm Nixon acquired through draft (though Nixon was traded before the titles really started stacking up). A draft day trade brought back Byron Scott. They got Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bob McAdoo (both all star level players) through trades. Mitch Kupchak, Kurt Rambis and Jamaal Wilkes all came through free agency.
The Bird Celtics are similar to these Spurs, as Bird, McHale, Cedric Maxwell, Danny Ainge and Greg Kite were all drafted by Boston. Dennis Johnson, Robert Parish and Quinn Buckner were all acquired through trades. M.L. Carr was a free agent pickup.
Jordan’s Bulls had Jordan, Horace Grant, BJ Armstrong, Stacey King and Will Perdue all drafted by Chicago. Pippen was acquired in a draft day trade. Bill Cartwright was acquired through a trade. Cliff Levingston, John Paxson and Scott Williams were free agent signings. The second three-peat saw only Jordan and Kukoc as players drafted by the Bulls (along with the draft day trade that brought back Pippen. Luc Longley and Dennis Rodman were both acquired through trade. Everyone else - Randy Brown, Ron Harper, Steve Kerr, Bill Wennington, Judd Buecheler - was signed through free agency.
And now the Heat. They only drafted Wade (although they did sign Haslem as an undrafted free agent that year). Joel Anthony was an undrafted signee. Chalmers and Norris Cole were both draft day trades. Bosh and Lebron came through trade. Battier, Allen, Juwan Howard, Rashard Lewis and the rest came through free agency.
Everyone makes trades and signs free agents. I think the difference with the Heat is that the trades for Bosh and James were so prominent. The Celtics traded for Robert Parish, who anchored the middle for those teams. They don’t win those titles in the 1980s without him. The Lakers don’t win without trading for Kareem. Same for the Bulls needing to trade for Rodman. These were all-star level players that they acquired through trade - in Kareem’s case, and MVP level player.
The other thing you have to remember is that most teams are pretty savvy now and won’t make some of the mistakes that allowed some of those earlier teams to be built. The Lakers drafted both Magic Johnson and James Worthy #1 overall. How did they get those picks? Well, the 1979 pick (Johnson) came because at the time free agency meant teams received compensation for players signed away from them (which has since been changed). New Orleans signed Gail Goodrich in 1976 and had to give the Lakers their 1978 first round pick, their 1979 first rounder and an additional second rounder. That 1979 pick ended up being #1 and became Magic Johnson. That’s how Johnson ended up on a stacked team and won two titles in his first three seasons. After that second title, the Lakers picked James Worthy #1 overall. They got that pick from Cleveland, who after that and a series of other trades had the Stepien rule named after them (the rule that prevents an NBA team from trading consecutive first round picks).
So that allowed the Lakers to draft two hall of fame players that, had they drafted in the appropriate spots considering their finish, they never would have landed either Johnson or Worthy in all likelihood.
I really enjoyed your post. Great info and putting examples into context of today.
It seems that all the great teams happened because they got those one or two extra top-notch pieces somehow. Sometimes those come from trade deals involving acquiring the rights for future draft picks. From my angle, it seems teams are often too short-sighted in trading those away in hopes of making something happen today… especially when they know their current team will finish near the bottom and be placed high on draft day.
I would understand it better if all the teams were publicly-held corporations and they had to answer investors who are focused on short-term profits (wins). But trading away the future to acquire a piece today that most-likely won’t make you a championship team immediately often seems absurd. I think it all points to the weaknesses of teams and coaches… their lack of confidence in developing new draft talent. Granted… there are always risks that players coming into the league will not be able to make that final transition to the level of play.
The NBA chews up players… chews up talent. I’m always amazed to see players like DWade still around. I’ve never been a huge DWade fan, but as the years move forward, and he is still bringing his game, I have a growing respect for what he has done and how he can negotiate minutes on the floor and still remain a contributor. My current fav player in the league is Ray Allen. He’s like a ghost. Still here, still playing, still helping win championships (last year). But he is like a ghost in how he gets out of the way of the wrong kind of contact, and picks and chooses his aggression. Same with DWade.
Why I wrote that last paragraph… the league is uncertain. Players comes and go. Look at Paul George. It seems, as a team, you want to always have as many irons in the fire as possible. Trading away future picks is like putting a gun to your head in Russian roulette. What team doesn’t need those future picks later?
The Love/Wiggins deal is largely about the fact that Love has already proven himself in the league. It shows just how valuable that reputation is worth… and it shows the high perception of risk with players like Wiggins just coming in. But at what point do you weigh all the factors and suddenly “healthy youth” starts outweighing “proven elder?” It seems the injury risks would fall more against elders. Few, few players have the capabilities of a DWade or Ray Allen.
It feels like we are taking human carcasses and tossing them in a big blender for 10 seconds, than stopping to see what flesh is still moving. Maybe the young virgin players, who have no scars, might make it through more often than the older players who already have big scars from previous trips to the blender. I know my metaphor is over the top… or is it?
@drgnslayr yeah it is! You are good at that!
The more I read, hear and think about the Cavs roster next year, the more confident I get that they’re going to suck on defense.
Do you think oft-injured Andy Varejao, Kevin Love, Brendan Haywood and Tristan Thompson are going to be able to provide any consistent rim protection? Are mid-30s 3-ballers Ray Allen, James Jones and Mike Miller going to play D through the season? Deep into the playoffs? Are Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and LeBron going to improve their D from last year simply by exerting themselves more? Are they still going to be as effective on O if they do?
I’m just not seeing a team that can play D. The deficiencies of this team seem pretty reminiscent of the deficiencies in Miami. We’ll see.
@DoubleDD You guys had a lot to say about LeBron not being likeable. I was willing to like him until he forced Wiggins out the door without talking to him or referencing him at all to the media. That pretty much did it for me. I guess I’m relieved and feel more like myself. I can still root for LeBron to fail.
However, I was curious how his likeability will fair outside of the Jayhawk faithful. You made mention of his legacy earlier, and while I’d like to believe you that his legacy will not age well, or that it will be dwarfed by the legacy of the Spurs, because I feel much the same way you do, I don’t know where we could find quantifiable analysis of public perception on him. I know the media wants to love him now, so forget any “LeBron is the most popular male athlete!” polls cited by ESPN, but I don’t know if we’ll ever really know. Thoughts?
@drgnslayr love the post. After reading all the comments and doing some research. I’m not sure it’s so much about proven versus potential as I thought it once was. I’ve come to the conclusion it’s more like the product of our society. I know crazy right? However just like in life there is the undeniable desire to get what you can get now and don’t worry about the future. So what if you ruin your franchise for 5 or 10 years so long as you get that championship. That is all that matters. However does that championship really matter that much when you finish last every year and are getting creamed when your so called can’t miss players have all moved on?
To many people never think long term or it’s affects. Some will even say that LeBron left the Heat because the cupboard was bare? Well I wonder why? Could it be the Heat traded away all their picks to have the big 3? Sure they had a great run, but 10 years from now will anybody remember? I bet 10 years from now the Spurs will be remembered. The Heat will be a flash in the pan, but the Spurs would be remembered as a dynasty.
Already the Media is building up the Cavs a sure fire championship team, and the trade isn’t even happened. They are blinded by the talent the Cavs will put on the court of Irving, Love and LeBron. Yet reality is Irving and Love play no defense and the Cavs will have no bench. Did not the Spurs teach us anything? Of course they did, but again it’s all about what you can get now.
Love maybe a good to great player no doubt, but is he really worth 3 first round picks? I don’t think so. Let’s not forget Love spent what 6 years in Minnesota and they didn’t even sniff the playoffs. If he so good like everybody and a few KU fans have said then where is the playoff runs? No Love is a stat guy. Tell you one thing I just became a huge Wolves fan and Cavs hater, and you now what I’m not alone.
@approxinfinity time is the ultimate judge. LeBron will go down as one of the best to ever play the game. He’s that good. However LeBron did irreversible damage when he left the Cavs. Fans are people, and most people are loyal to their teams no matter what. LeBron chased a legacy when he should’ve built one.
No fan from any part of the country or world would have thought of him as a lesser player if he would’ve just stayed with the Cavs and maybe won one or two championships. He would be considered amongst the greats. Yet he sold out and chased a legacy. Legacies aren’t something you chase they are something you build. Do you think Jordan would be the enigma that he’s is today if say he won 3 championships with the Bulls and went somewhere else and won three? Remember fans love loyalty no matter who they root for. After all fans are loyal. Who do you think a fan cherishes more the player that sold out and chased the money and a better supporting cast, or the player that stood pat and took less money to win with his team?
Sure LeBron is a favorite right now. He went back home. Maybe if he can win a couple championships with the Cavs all can be forgotten? However as time pass bye and Espn and the likes start running their shows from the past. LeBron will be remembered as the one that chased a legacy.
“Legacies aren’t something you chase they are something you build.”
That one needs to go over on the quotes page. That is now one of my fav quotes of all times… thanks!
I believe LeBron is as much a victim of himself. As a human being, he has received special treatment since one of his early pubescent growth spurts. Humans who get accustomed to special treatment suddenly can’t relate to the rest of the human experience. I think he likes to stir the pot wherever he goes because he is used to a stirred pot even just from him walking into a building. He must be one of the most identifiable humans on earth. But I question if he likes to stir poison into the pot. He just sees everything only through his own perspective because life has always come to him.
Just imagine LeBron playing for Coach Pop? He may be the only coach on earth with even a tiny chance of teaching him that team play goes way beyond lifting your assist stats.
I’m critical of LeBron… but I’m thankful for having the opportunity to see him play live and plenty on the tube. No one can challenge his greatness as a player. But he is a long ways from becoming one of the great team players of all times. Getting on that level requires doing as much off the court for your team as on the court. And the best team players open their vision to the entire league and beyond. Everyone is on the same team.
I hope a light comes on inside LeBron while he is still playing. He is a great player and it would be awesome for him to develop all the levels of greatness as a player! It would be good for him, the league, for basketball… and even for mankind! (hope he doesn’t read this…)
I’m not surprised that certain NBA franchises dominate. There are plenty of tools in place to promote a better balance, but certain teams just have better ownership, management and coaching. SA and Coach Pop are at the top of my list! Check out about any interview with his players and they usually mention how many years they have been with Pop. Pop understands the value of continuity. I’ve heard it in his words many times, and now I hear him speaking through his players’ lips. Continuity is an extra gift from having a great team concept that the players are all bought into. It is no surprise that SA players want to stay put.
The great players do not go chasing someone else’s legacy; they create their own. Look at the better players of our generation such as Jordan, Bird, Magic, Kareem and many others; their legacies stand alone and do not need to be compared to someone elses’s to be considered great. Some other players, Kobe and Shaq come to mind, while great on their own, spent a lot of effort in trying to prove their greatness (compared to other players) and in the process their legacy became less rather than more.
There is no question that LeBron will be consider one of the top players of all time; however, his legacy will not be as great because he spent a lot of effort trying to top Jordan’s instead of creating one of his own. There is no question that LeBron does what is good for LeBron and collateral damage is of no importance to him. People were starting to get over the big middle finger he gave Cleveland 4 years ago, and then he decided to do the same thing to Miami, and now he has new group of fans that deeply dislike him.
If the Cleveland experiment backfires, the damage will be huge and maybe not reparable, despite how forgiving and forgetful fans can be.
@JayHawkFanToo The mention of Jordan brought to mind Michael Jordan’s hall of fame speech. He basically spent his entire speech demeaning just about everyone that had ever come into contact with him and talking about how great he was. Jordan was as much about Jordan as anyone ever has been - he looked out for his own interests. It just so happens that he was fortunate enough to be teamed with an all time great as a teammate for his entire run, as well as other “very good” players (Rodman, Horace Grant, Kukoc). Early in his career, when he wasn’t surrounded by those types of players - basically, from his rookie year until 1989-90 - his teams got bounced from the playoffs early. It wasn’t until Pippen and Grant excelled that Jordan started winning titles.
Bird never won a single title without McHale and Parish. Johnson never won one without Kareem. He only won two of his five without Worthy. Wilt won one title with Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham, and the other with Jerry West. Russell won with Cousy, Jojo, Havlicek, KC and Sam Jones. Havlicek passed it on to Cowens. Olajuwon won his second title with the help of Drexler. Kobe and Shaq teamed up for three. Kobe won two more with Gasol. Wade won with Shaq, then Lebron and Bosh. Duncan won two with Robinson, then, with Robinson gone won more with Parker and Ginobili. Isiah Thomas won with Dumars and Rodman. You can go back through history and can’t find a single all time great that won multiple titles that did so without teaming with another all star level talent, often and all time great.
Those two paragraphs cover 44 of the 67 titles won in the history of the league, including every multiple title winner of the last 30 years. Greatness requires not just individual greatness, but the greatness of at least one (probably two) teammates.
Some teams just aren’t good at building that. Dallas has surrounded Dirk with that type of talent once. Paul Pierce and Boston did it once, but couldn’t repeat. Barkley never did win a title. Stockton and Malone didn’t, either because they always needed one more piece. Same with Ewing. Robinson never won a thing before Duncan came along.
The thing is, I think the current players are well aware of this. Lebron is well schooled in history, particularly NBA history. So is Kobe. They know what it takes to win a title just by looking at history. They also know that those windows often slam shut long before we are ready.
Lebron knows that his legacy as a great player at this point is defined only by titles. He needs at least one more, and the next 3-4 years is the best time to get it.
@justanotherfan the ideal that the number championships define a players legacy is not entirely true. Yes championships help but they’re only a part of the equation. Being loyal to your team and fans are part of that legacy too. Hanging around when things are going bad even though you could go and shop your skills somewhere else is apart of a legacy too.
I don’t think you’ll find a person arguing the point that a star player doesn’t need help. It’s how you go about giving that player help. I feel that building a team is always better than putting one together. Yes I understand trades and FA’s have to happen. Just not to extreme that you trading 3 first round picks for one player. Especially when that one player is Love.
Listen to the argument? Even the one your making? ((LeBron only has so many years left so you pull out all the plugs to win a championship for LeBron)). What happened to win one for the Cavs? When did this all become about LeBron that he can make or break organizations, because he is chasing something he’ll never really have a legacy. Oh no he’ll be remembered for sure, but not in the realm of Jordan, Bird, Magic, and Duncan. Me first players are usually forgotten in the realms of time.
Very nicely summarized.
Championship help a legacy but do not make one. Lets not forget that players such as Robert Horry, who no one would consider a superstar has 7 rings (that is more rings than Jordan, Johnson or Jabbar), while players like Larry Bird, who everybody considers a superstar has only 3 .
Love these posts. All very compelling. I’m charged up for the NBA season right now! This has got to be one of the most anticipated seasons ever. Many story lines now that the tanking for Wiggins season is finally in the rear view.
“…the ideal that the number championships define a players legacy is not entirely true.”
I second that. Actually… who decides the legacy value? Fans. And fans all differ. In my books, I look for performances that stick out from the rest.
For example… I wasn’t a big Isiah Lord Thomas III fan until 1988. I, like most non-Detroit fans, was adjusting to the “Bad Boy” style of play. But Game 6 was where I went from being neutral on Isiah to fully appreciating him as a player and person. He badly sprained his ankle, which immediately became swollen to the size of a grapefruit. We’ve all been there… But he wouldn’t get off the court and instead he went for 25 pts in one quarter to keep his team in the game (an NBA Finals record I believe is still good today). They went on to lose that series with the Lakers… but Isiah’s play was a part of inspiring the Pistons to then become back-to-back champions in the following years.
Those championships do mean a lot, but it was what got them there that mattered most. Isiah was the catalyst. That game still sticks with me, more so than the two championships that followed.
All the greats have moments where they achieved far beyond anything in reach of lesser players. That is what makes them great. And it is typical that championships follow somewhere (but not always).
Players like Charles Barkley don’t have the gold and diamond ring reminders of their championships. They have to live with the fact that they just didn’t have the good fortune to play on the right team at the right time and have the right kind of luck to run alongside the race to the finish line. But… fans are not going to forget Charles Barkley (and company). The lack of championships is not going to erase the record book, one which includes Barkley’s prowess on the boards and how he dominated the league on rebounds with his height of 6’6".
Championships are illusive. And there is no higher law of fairness in place to guarantee that the very best take home the trophies. Sports is a subset of life… look at some of the richest people on the planet and tell me they are the very top business minds. I’m not dissing on those who win trophies or large piles of money. Most (and maybe all) deserve their rewards. I’m just not saying they are the best because they reached that summit.
In the case of LeBron. He was already one of the all-time greats in my books before he went to Miami. His success in Miami really didn’t enhance his position where I sit. He can still climb higher with me if he realizes how being a team player is a lot more than improving assist stats.
I agree that championships don’t establish a legacy. There is more than that.
For instance, let’s switch sports and talk about Jackie Robinson and Curt Flood. Both of them have legacies that are more about what they did off the field than what they did on it. Those are legacies built around not being a star.
But I think stars are judged differently. We judge them based on individual accomplishments, team success, off court things and personality. Nobody worries about whether non-stars have a great personality except for those that are putting together the team.
Lebron has done the on court stuff and his off court history is pretty good to me. As far as we know he hasn’t impregnated a dozen different women, gotten into a bunch of bar fights, drove drunk, shot someone, hit his wife/girlfriend or any of the other things we often read about athletes doing. He just decided he wanted to play for a better team, and so he did. Now he has decided that he can do a better job assembling a team than the executives in Cleveland which, given their track record, isn’t an unreasonable belief.
In a way, I think this will be his legacy. The NBA is starting to shift even more towards being a player’s league and with that will inevitably come the ability of the player’s to dictate how rosters are constructed. No one is going to games to watch the executives duke it out - they go to watch the players play. The players now realize that and are exercising that influence. As the best player, Lebron is leading the way on that, first by making it clear that he would take the max so that the league salary structure actually makes sense (i.e. best player making the most money) and then by making Cleveland act now to improve around him for both now and in the future. After all, a core of Love-Irving-Waiters isn’t that bad.
Trading 3 for 1 isn’t ideal, but as I wrote before, it’s necessary given that you can’t really build your franchise off other teams’ incompetence anymore. Teams aren’t just giving away talent for nothing at this point.
For instance, if Lebron had come into the League in the Magic Johnson situation (landing on a veteran team poised for a title run), he would have been drafted by Detroit instead of Cleveland (the Pistons picked second that year) and landed on a veteran team. If that happens, how many titles does Lebron help Detroit win from 2004-2010? Does he match Magic’s run of five titles from 1980-1987? If so, what is his legacy?
Or let’s say that Lebron comes into the Bird situation (drafted by one of the best front offices in sports, with a legendary coach) and lands on a team like San Antonio. I think it’s fair to say that if that had happened, the Spurs would have won more than the 3 titles Bird won in the early 80’s with Boston.
Or let’s say that Lebron comes into the Jordan situation (drafted by the Cavs, but able to pair with another star just as he’s coming into his own) who then are able to somehow trade in 2006 for the rights to LaMarcus Aldridge, giving Lebron a floor spacing big just as he starts figuring out how to utilize a player with that talent.
If any of those scenarios happen, we are probably discussing Lebron’s career in far different terms. Heck, give him Kevin Love from the 2008 draft and we aren’t even having the current discussion.
@justanotherfan first I don’t think the discussion changes on Love. (((he doesn’t play defense))). If he is such a great player then why hasn’t the Wolves even sniffed a playoff invite? There is more to being a great player than stuffing the stat book. Maybe it’s just me but great players put their team on their back when they are tired and over matched and leads them to victory and greatness. Something Love has never done, but hey he spreads the floor and rebounds.
I understand your Love (no pun intended) for LeBron as he is truly a great player. However time is the ultimate judge of ones career. History has shown fans and the media remember the teams that where built and not put together. It’s not really a new idea to put a team together. In all sports it’s been tried and for the most part has failed. Even the Heat’s two championships in 4 years can be considered a failure in the grand scheme of things. Lets not forget the great Heat team that everybody thought was the greatest of all time suffered the worst defeat of any NBA team in a championship series to a team that was built.
Maybe you’re ok with trading all your draft picks (your future) and signing all the great FA’s to win? However as a fan I’m not sure I would be interested. I fully understand that trades and FA’s signings are apart of any sport. Yet just as we can look at all the success, we can also say well that didn’t work. In the end Fans and not just hometown fans decide what a legacy is. We can spin it this way or that way, yet in the end Fans decide. That is why we all remember the Bulls, Celtics, Lakers, and why we will remember the Spurs.
One last thing it seems odd to me that LeBron desires to have major players on the court with him. Yet I’m not sure Jordan, Bird, Magic, or Duncan desired great players to be on their team with them. they just wanted to win for their teams. Don’t get me wrong LeBron wants to win, but it’s for himself and not the team he plays for. If that’s not the case he would’ve never left his home team to chase championship with his big three. Fans will remember. Just saying.
As a fan I ultimately want my team to win championships. I’m a Royals fan, but I’m in my early 30’s, so I am too young to remember the playoffs of '84 and '85. I have memories of exactly 3 teams that finished above .500 - 1994, 2003 and last season. If you gave me the option of having the Royals win two World Series titles over the next 4 years, then being a 100 loss team every year for five years after that I would take it and I would not think twice. I’m a fan and I want to see my team win the big one, because even one title trumps several losing seasons. Heck, I’ve already sat through more than a few losing seasons, but to get a pair of titles, I would sit through five more losing seasons wearing my World Champions t-shirt and rewinding my championship DVD.
Fans remember titles, especially in the pros because titles are hard to come by. At KU we have a different perspective in basketball because KU is quite literally always good. The KU spectrum ranges from good to elite in basketball. A down year is a fourth place finish in the conference and an 8 seed in the NCAA tournament. At KU, there’s no sense in mortgaging the future because the future is almost certain to be bright.
In the NBA though, that is not the case. The Bulls were awesome as long as Jordan and Pippen were there. As soon as those two left, the Bulls were no longer a great team. When Magic Johnson retired, the Lakers went from being elite to so-so until Shaq and Kobe hit their primes. After Bird, McHale and Parish, the Celtics were pretty pedestrian until they got Garnett and Allen (and Rondo) to team with Paul Pierce. That’s just the way it goes in the NBA because the greatness of a team is directly intertwined with the players.
There is no assurance that the future will be bright, so if you are good now, you better shoot to be great because it will be over before you know it. Ask the Pacers about that. They were on the brink the last couple of years, then free agency hit for Lance Stephenson and Paul George broke his leg. They probably won’t even make the playoffs this year after being the second best team in the East 2 years straight. Just like that, it may be over for them. Maybe they can land someone in the draft and Paul George comes back 100% next year, but maybe it doesn’t work out and 2013 was the Pacers best chance at greatness and they let it all slip away. Six months ago the Pacers looked like they were on the brink of toppling the Heat - today, they are trying to figure out what they should do about the 2014-15 season.
That’s pro sports for you. There is no guarantee that you will be good perpetually because no one team has the ability to corner the talent market like you can in college. That’s why I look at OKC and wonder if they made the right decision with James Harden. I understand the salary cap, but why not play those two years out and see if the Durant-Westbrook-Harden-Ibaka group was enough to win a title because who knows, that window may have closed for them. You never know.
@justanotherfan You almost had me. Very good point of view. I’m not trying to dismiss the value of a championship to an organization or it’s fans. Besides why play the game if the goal isn’t to be the best? My point was that there is more to just winning championships to a players legacy. I feel I’ve presented a strong argument on this issue.
I’m a bit older than you so I do remember those Royals from the late 70’s and early 80’s. I’m here to tell you the 85 World Series win does not define the Royals. Yes it was indeed a crowning moment, but it didn’t define Mister K’s Royals. Year in and Year out the Royals were a team to be reckoned with. The beginning of each season was filled with great determination, enthusiasm, and expectations. You see people just didn’t give away Royals tickets on those days. You considered yourself lucky to have tickets to a Royals game in those days. Keep in mind this was before the Royals won the World Serious in 85 and were crowned champions. Today every baseball fan can’t wait for the Yankees and the Red Sox’s to play each other. Well in those days it’s was the Yankees and the Royals. Every time they took to the field is was almost mythical and magical. It was the big bad Yankees armed with deep history and plethora of Hall famers, versus the small time, Midwest no history, but would play and fight you anywhere, anytime. OH my friend there was bad blood in those days.
Those Royals teams weren’t put together with FA’s and trades, no sir they where drafted, paid their due’s homegrown players. Those teams you could sink your teeth into, fall in love with. You felt their pain when they slumped, yet when they won it was like you won too. My friend this was all before the Royals won a championship in 85. You see going through the ups and downs connects the fans to a team. It creates a loyal fan base. It creates a legacy.
You look back into history and see the 85 World Series Championship and say that was the moment. However my friend the moment was getting to that 85 World Series and telling the world and the Yankees we are the champions.
Well that’s how I remember it anyways.
Boy do I remember the Royals in the 80s!
George and Clint would come down and party in Lawrence. I remember doing shots with them off a bar. Both of those guys had 1 speed… peddle to the metal!
Too bad Clint wasn’t still around in '85.
George had a crazy temper. I’m pretty sure you can youtube him and see some nice footage of him being thrown out of games.
The real playoff series every year was the American League playoffs. KC vs NY. Brett vs “Mr. October.” I cried like a baby more than once.
Championships are not always the measure for greatness… however… it was just flat-out necessary that we win one in that era. We had been denied too long. I know I rarely would have hatred for a team, but in those years I hated NY!
Funny… but nothing will suck you in more to something than to have two strong sides going after it, and when you have a love for one side and hate for the other you become a true junkie to the situation.
I’ve always hoped to run into “Mr. October” sometime to thank him for being a part of it all. And he was a magical player who could strike out a million times but there is no one else you would want coming to the plate in October. I know he became a big-time classic car collector and I thought I might catch him at one of the big auto auctions.
I believe I still have a shot glass from partying with George and Clint, buried somewhere probably under a Led Zeppelin album!
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@DoubleDD said:> “Those Royals teams weren’t put together with FA’s and trades, no sir they where drafted, paid their due’s homegrown players. Those teams you could sink your teeth into, fall in love with.”
Are there any true dynasties in sports any more? The teams that I always thought of as dynasties were built just like you described above. In every sport.
Just another reason I hate the OAD situation. No true sense of team or community with these boys that are just passing through.
“Are there any true dynasties in sports any more?”
Sure there are… KANSAS in the B12!
We can all joke about that… but we should honor it.
We can argue that the B12 isn’t as good as it should be, but our league RPI is always high and most of the members of this conference are very old schools, rich in tradition, large institutions of education (and sports).
10 in a row is a big deal! Especially if you ask your question again and exclude Kansas in the B12!
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@drgnslayr Lol - you’re right. I was thinking pro sports at the time (until the OAD rant), but I’m more than happy to have KU considered a dynasty. RCJH
Another thought that just ran through my warped mind - regarding RCJH. I’ll bet a large portion of sports fans throughout the country could tell you off the top of their head, or at least figure out what RCJH stands for. Can you think of another college sports team that has a widely recognized acronym such as ours? Please don’t say EMAW.
I don’t think you can really build a dynasty through the draft anymore. Too much has to go right. With salary caps and things like that, even if you draft all the right guys (like OKC did with Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, Harden, etc). you can’t really keep them all together.
Or you get good too quickly. Lebron faced this problem in Cleveland. In 2004 they picked 10th a took Luke Jackson, who didn’t pan out. They had no pick in 2005 and then didn’t pick until 25th in 2006 and didn’t pick higher than 19 until after Lebron left. Lebron was actually too good to let the Cavs develop a team around him through the draft because they didn’t get high picks in multiple years. The same thing happened to David Robinson in the 80’s and 90’s. Stockton and Malone as well. They made their teams so much better that they couldn’t continue to add through the draft.
Or what would have happened to Jordan had the Sonics not sent them #5 pick Scottie Pippen for #8 pick Olden Polynice. Had the Sonics just kept Pippen, we would probably be talking about how many titles the 90’s Sonics won and how close Jordan got so many times without breaking through. Sometimes you need to get lucky to build a dynasty.
I would say the closest we have to dynasties (say in the last 20 years) in pro-sports are the San Antoni Spurs, whose player were either drafted or acquired before they became stars and developed by Coach Pop, and the NE Patriots in the NFL. Both franchises have built their teams and stayed at or near the top of their sports consistently, with “consistently” being the key word. Many other teams got hot for a few years and then declined.
I could never be a loyal fan for a team that tries to buy a championship. There is just nothing in it for me as a fan. I prefer rooting for players that have paid their dues. I can connect with them. They become my players.
FA’s are nice and are necessary but let’s face it the only reason they’re playing for your team is because they got paid, and when the contract is up they’ll be looking for the next big contract or team that gives them the best chance to win a championship. There is no Loyalty.
Trades are a little different in that the player may have no choice. So I as a fan give them the benefit of the doubt.
I guess what I’m saying is I want the player to care about the city, the state, and the organization as much I do. I have no desire to drop money buying jerseys and tickets to watch hired guns.
@nuleafjhawk I’m afraid we live in the days of instant gratification. Todays generations are more than happy to root for players that weren’t drafted, or teams that weren’t built. As long as they win championships. Problem no matter what the sport there is only ONE Champion.
There is hope though. As you said look at any dynasty and the formula is the same they are built.