Kurt Helin

Ben Simmons

LeBron okay with LSU’s Ben Simmons being called next LeBron

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Ben Simmons is the presumptive No. 1 pick in next June’s NBA draft. The 6’10” forward playing for LSU has been compared to Anthony Davis in terms of what he can do on the court and his potential impact in the NBA. Some have said he could be a future best player on the planet.

A future LeBron James?

Simmons was in the crowd Friday night when LeBron put up 37 and Davis put up 31 in the eventual Pelicans OT win in New Orleans. After the game, LeBron was asked about having Simmons compared to him, and he’s fine with it, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I don’t mind it,” James said Friday before the Cavs’ 114-108 overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. “Someone’s going to be compared to someone all the time, and I don’t mind him being compared to me. People not only recognizing what he does on the floor, but he’s a great kid, too. He has a great family, great support system, and that’s why he’s able to do what he [does] on the floor.”

Scouts generally hate player comparisons when talking about guys coming out of college, because every player is unique. Compare Simmons to Davis or LeBron or anyone else and those comparisons carry bagage with them that are not necessarily part of the package. That said, the human brain wants to draw connections to things we know, it makes understanding new information easier, and because of that comparisons aren’t going anywhere. Including ones to LeBron.

We are long, long way from knowing if Simmons can have the kind of Hall of Fame career that LeBron has already assembled at age 30.

That said, I had a scout tell me a while ago about Simmons “he might be worth taking for.”

Kobe Bryant ranks 2010 title against Celtics as his No. 1

Kobe Bryant
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Kobe Bryant is a historian of the game. He grew up with a father who played the game and loved it from an early age, with that came his search for his place in it.

That backdrop helps explain why, when on the NBA on TNT Thursday night, when Kobe was asked about his favorite championship, he went back to the Lakers/Celtics rivalry (thanks to Ryan Ward of the Lakers Examiner for posting these).

That was also a Finals that went a dramatic seven games, featured Kobe’s good friend Pau Gasol, and required a lot of Metta World Peace in that Game 7 to get the win.

Kobe also had interesting answers to other questions encompassing his career.

LeBron James needs help in Cleveland, is cavalry on way?

LeBron James

Friday night in the fourth quarter in New Orleans LeBron James looked every bit the guy who has worn the crown of “best player in the world.” On one level, his 23 points in the fourth quarter felt like a message to the anointed next best player in the universe Anthony Davis, a reminder that LeBron still can play at a level few could ever match, and he will not give up even an early December game without a fight.

But more than that, that dominance was what LeBron had to do to get the Cavaliers near a win — Cleveland had trailed by 13 midway through the fourth and LeBron single-handedly dragged them back and into the lead.

It wasn’t enough. Jrue Holiday drained a three tie it, then in overtime Davis had six points (31 for the game) while LeBron went scoreless, the result being a Pelicans upset win. Cleveland coach David Blatt summed it up well, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“We needed to give him a little bit more help,” said Cavs coach David Blatt.

LeBron, as do all true competitors, would have none of that.

“I hope we don’t think that way,” James said. “It’s never that way. When you get your guys back, you prepare just as you prepare before. It’s only one guy in the world, ever, where everything will be all right when he comes back, and that’s Jesus Christ. Other than that, you can’t bank on nobody … .”

But the Cavaliers should be able to bank on the returns of their starting backcourt, Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert. The cavalry is coming. In Irving’s case, he’s been cleared to practice and is likely just a few weeks away from a return.

Bringing back an All-Star point guard will change the dynamic for the Cavaliers, as will the defense of Shumpert when he returns (likely after the first of the year). They need those two, the Cavs have questions to answer. From the last three games of the Finals last season through Cleveland’s loss to Washington this week, the team has struggled against small ball lineups (Washington went basically five out against the Cavs, and it worked). But if that remains the case when Irving and Shumpert are healthy, when the Cavs could play a front line of Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson together to counter, remains to be seen.

What LeBron has worked to bring to Cleveland the past year plus is the mentality he learned in Miami — the one evident so long in San Antonio — and part of that is they can grind you down and win no matter who is on the court. It doesn’t always work, but when the Spurs rest a star (or when LeBron’s Heat teams did) nobody assumes a loss. Someone else will step up. That has not held the same way in Cleveland, the consistency is not there from the role players. So LeBron is calling a team meeting after a loss in Toronto, he needs to get these messages through to a younger team and show them the way. Miami taught LeBron how to win as an organization; he’s trying to instill that in Cleveland. Right now the Cavaliers feel more like a collection of individuals and not a team.

There is an urgency with LeBron because he knows the Cavaliers are the best team in the East (despite Chicago being ahead of them in the standings as of this writing), but he looks up at Golden State right now and they have that mentality — Harrison Barnes is missing time, Klay Thompson is battling injuries, Andrew Bogut missed time, it just doesn’t matter. Golden State’s swagger is undeniable. If LeBron wants to bring a title to Cleveland this season he sees where the bar is set and realizes right now his Cavaliers can’t clear that. He’s got until June to change that.

Getting Irving and Shumpert back is part of it. But it’s not all of it.

Quote of the Day: In Russia, they ride bears

Timofey Mozgov

The quote of the day comes from Russian center Timofey Mozgov, the Cavaliers’ big man.

It was part of a pregame conversation before the Cavaliers went out and were flat again, losing to the Pelicans Friday night. Via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Top that.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis put on show in New Orleans (VIDEO)


After a slow start to the season, Anthony Davis has been back to his vintage self — he certainly was against the Cavaliers on Friday night. Davis had 31 points on 22 shots, plus pulled down 12 rebounds as the Pelicans pulled away to a comfortable lead against the Cavaliers.

Well, not all that comfortable because LeBron James took over scoring 23 of his 37 points (he also had eight assists and seven rebounds) and it looked like the Cavaliers were going to steal a win thanks to him.

Davis and LeBron put on a show, as you can see in the video.

Then Jrue Holiday tried to steal their thunder with the shot of the night.

Davis scored six of his points in the OT while LeBron didn’t hit a shot, and New Orleans picked up the upset win 114-108.

The loss dropped the Cavaliers to second place in the East by percentage points, they are now looking up at the Bu