LeBron James looked passive throughout the Cavaliers’ loss to the Trail Blazers last night. He scored just 11 points, none in the game’s final 30 minutes.
LeBron defended his performance by explaining he’s trying to instill winning habits on a team with players who might not already have them. Neither Kevin Love nor Kyrie Irving has made the playoffs, and Cleveland went 97-215 between LeBron’s exit and return.
Cavaliers coach David Blatt didn’t parse blame, but he sure doesn’t sound cool with LeBron chilling off to the side.
Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake City Tribune:
Frankly, I don’t quite believe LeBron is intentionally taking a backseat to help his teammates develop good habits. And if he is, it isn’t working.
LeBron taking over at this stage of the season would harm his teammates, but the Cavaliers need him to play a major role. They need experience working with the dominant LeBron, the LeBron necessary for the team to win a championship. There’s a middle ground here.
Though LeBron carries the power in the relationship, it’s on Blatt to fix this – either by putting LeBron in better position offensively or convincing LeBron to make the effort to put himself there.