“LeBron James has no help.” “It’s 1-on-5 out there.” “If LeBron James just had some teammates…”
It’s the narrative of the 2018 NBA Finals: LeBron has been brilliant (40 points, 10.5 assists, and 8.5 rebounds per game) but he can’t do it alone, and mostly it has looked like LeBron vs. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Former NBA champion and All-Star Shawn Marion is having none of that.
Marion went on the “Ballers with Babies” podcast with Mark Williard (about the intersection of sports and family life) and The Matrix went off on the idea LeBron has no help.
“It’s really sad, because basketball is a team sport. So basically if he has no help, so basically you’re telling me he’s going out there, he’s beating 5 guys on 1. That’s bulls***. That’s not fair to those guys who go out there who are professional athletes who go out there and work to help him do the stuff they do. LeBron does everything for the team, but he wants to do everything for the team. You wait until the opportunity arises for you to receive the ball. And that’s just part of it. It comes with the territory but that’s not fair to those guys. There’s no way you can go out there and beat a team 1 on 5.”
Spoken like a man who felt overshadowed at times on a great team (and he shouldn’t have been — Marion was a special player). Also remember that Marion ended his career with the Cavaliers in 2015, helping them reach the NBA Finals, where they lost to these same Warriors.
The line that is interesting in there is that “LeBron wants to do everything for his team.” Not sure if that’s totally true — he wants to be the alpha, the No. 1 option, but he has realized the value of team in Miami and he would like more of that in Cleveland.
Marion is right about this, it’s a bit of hyperbole to say this series has been 1-on-5, however, it’s not hyperbole to say LeBron isn’t getting enough help. Cavaliers not named LeBron are shooting 38 percent overall and 26.4 percent from three. Those are professional athletes who work hard on their craft in Cleveland, but in the harsh spotlight of the NBA Finals, they have not been good enough so far.
If that doesn’t change in Game 3 Wednesday night, this Finals will be effectively over. And that’s not hyperbole.