05.28.07

Q : What Do Bloggers And LeBron Have In Common?

Posted in Basketball at 5:13 pm by

A : The Chicago Tribune’s Sam Smith has all sorts of problems with both of them. In what has to be considered impeccable timing, the morning after King James gave the Cavs a new lease on life with a near triple double in Cleveland’s 88-82 Game 3 win over Detroit, Smith claims USA Basketball oughta forget about LeBron, insisting “his game hasn’t been a good fit for international competition or with the U.S. team, and it might be better off without him.”

No one wants to say it publicly, and no one disputes that James is a transcendent talent, but there wouldn’t be any great sadness if James decides to stay home in 2008.

There were some minor attitude issues, and one famous scene last summer in which Bruce Bowen, who is dropping out of contention for the team, openly lectured James about treating administrative staff members with respect.

James, team insiders said, had a habit of ordering people around without ever learning their names.

The bigger issue for the USA Basketball staff is James’ fit as a player. He doesn’t shoot particularly well, but he liked to keep the ball glued to his hand in last year’s world championships. He is a willing passer and really was at his best when playing point guard toward the end of the tournament.

But Chauncey Billups and Jason Kidd will play this summer, and both are far better floor leaders than James. With a terrific playoff run, Williams is dribbling his way into that crowd. They all are better than James at running a team.

Also, coaches worried about James’ ego and view of himself within the team. They found too often when he wasn’t getting his points, he’d try hard late in games to get numbers, apparently so he wouldn’t have to answer questions about poor statistical games.

There also was some discomfort about internal jealousies, so James, along with Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony, was named a team captain to avoid that issue. But now Kobe Bryant joins the team, and his game is more suited to international play because he is a better shooter and defender than James despite James’ immense talent.

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