We continue our Q&A sessions with a long time friend of the blog, Carolyn from the Cleveland Cavailiers blog And One on Cleveland.com
She also had 5 questions for us. Check out my answers here.
1. How have the Cavs been doing it? It's been said many times that the Cavs were one good to great player away from putting it together, Mo Williams cannot be that good, can he?
In my dreams, Boobie and LeBron link arms and waltz their way to the championship. And then came
Wait, that wasn't your question, was it? Can Mo be that good? What does he have to do to prove it to you? The man floats through the air with the greatest of ease, left-handed, under-handed, reverse spin, deep in the Q, under the basket, behind the back to LB or Z, the man is everywhere. Boobie is a pure shooter and the cutest guy in the league but Mo is a playmaker extraordinaire.
2. Lebron's stats are down from last year. He plays less, scores less, assists and rebounds less. The team isn't all that different from last year except for Mo Williams. How is he able to lower his output and still have people saying he's having a better year this year than last?
Playing less and lowered stats go hand-in-hand, don't they? Playing less means he's even more powerful in the clutch moments, playing less means even stronger leadership from the bench, playing less means less likelihood of injury. Let's put it this way – when LeBron's happy, everybody's happy. And LeBron is way happy at the moment.
His skills have tightened and focused – the difference between his play and 'Melo's the other night was startling. At one point in the Nugg game, LeBron made a ridiculous fastbreak play, no one could catch him, a delicious dunkadelic moment, cut to 'Melo on the Nugg bench, shaking his head in wonder.
Not to mention the improved free throw shooting, which is critical since typically enemy teams play him 4 on 1. There's never enough room, someone always fouls him.
3. How is it possible that I completely forgot that Ben Wallace is on your team?
Because you're still eyeing the horizon for the next Calvin Murphy, twirling a baton in one hand and swishing baskets with the other?
Here's the thing about BW – what he brings to the Cavs isn't always captured on a stat sheet. Such a scary presence under the basket. I don't care if his free throw percentage hits negative numbers; when Ben throws his weight around in the paint, we win games. Period.
4. How much credit should Mike Brown get for the Cavaliers' record this season?
I'm guessing Mike's answer to that would be "exactly as much as every other person on the team and in the front office." What I love most about Mike is his complete faith in his staff and his players. He's my kind of coach – forget knocking you upside the head if you make a mistake; he nurtures. A slower process but you're seeing the results this season.
As for quantifying his contribution, I don't see how it's possible. I'm not sure we would be in this position without him; on the other hand, I'm not sure he would be Coach Mike ".614" Brown without LeBron, Danny Ferry, and the rest of the gang.
Mike's patience has paid off: a little offense, a little defense, a little championship ring.
5. What will be your reaction when LeBron signs with
Sigh. Did you not see my piece this weekend – Hold The Presses; LeBron Loves Us Again? Now he's talking summer extension, provided the season ends well. Hey, no pressure, other members of the team and coaches.
Here's the thing – LeBron is an international star and he's never left Cleveland/Akron. Nike gave him a $90 million contract his senior year of high school. Can you imagine? This was back when he and his mom had no home to call their own. This was a person doomed to failure, 8,000 strikes against him. No dad, no money, no stability, even his beloved Grandma died when he was 3. The fallout from that was stark; he and his mom were living in her home at the time.
Wait, what was the question? Oh right, LeBron leaving
A wise person once wrote:
No other NBA player has spent an entire career with his hometown team. Reggie Miller, born in Riverside, California and playing all 18 seasons with the Indiana Pacers, played more games with the same team than all but two players in NBA history, John Stockton and Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz. None of them played in their own backyard.
Asked why he stayed in
, Reggie replied: Indiana
"There was a lot of people telling me to go elsewhere, but I just couldn't do it. I think the character of a man is to establish something where no one else has ever done before."
LeBron James has a chance to accomplish something no NBA player has ever done before.
He may not be the only jewel in our tarnished crown, but he is a jewel like no other. LeBron's childhood represents the worst this country has to offer. A forgotten family; a single mom desperately trying to do the best for her baby; poverty; homelessness; community apathy. Somehow LeBron rose from that environment to represent the best this country has to offer: community cohesiveness; family ties; dedication; character; intelligence.
I know people will respond with a list of reasons not to view LeBron as a role model. Not sure who these people are; not sure if they live perfect lives. The one thing I do know is that a man with a single championship ring is wonderful. But a single man representing the hearts, minds and dreams of an entire city is a rare opportunity to bring that most prized of NBA skills to its logical fruition: selflessness.
Confession: A wise person didn't write that; I did.