LeBron's dominance and two draft kids with two different styles
I think it was the eyes. Or the facial expression. Or the body language.
Whatever, what LeBron James showed last night was true and utter greatness; calm, cool, collected, brilliant.
It is just what we want, and need, from the best of the best, a methodical, complete, surgical dominance at the time it was needed most and it’s why James is the most physically-gifted basketball player ever and why we grow a tad frustrated that we don’t see it more often because you watch and you think he could do it whenever he truly wanted, he’s that good.
Yes, shots he sometimes misses went in and that got him rolling and that allowed the night to become so memorable but that 45-point performance might be – given the stage and the circumstances and what was at stake – the best individual basketball game perhaps I’ve ever seen.
And he did so calmly, so coolly, just like I want it. No chest-thumping, no histrionics, no primal screams.
He knew what was at stake, took a game and strangled it. He went about his business in a businesslike manner, brilliantly. It was, I’d suggest, out of the norm. He has had his moments of outward emotion like all athletes do and it makes it look like he’s working tremendously hard. Last night he was so great but it looked, well, it looked easy. There was an economy to it that was amazing to me. It truly was something to see.
James is one of the most polarizing athletes of our time; he inspires awe with this athletic ability and scorn for his Decision. There is a brutish part of his game that I’m not hugely in favour of, I like nuance rather than power but there is – never has and never will be – any denying of his prodigious talent.
Last night, though, we saw a surgical side to him, a calm, that was something to behold.
Hey, TFC people.
Riddle me this?
When are they going to fire the guy who keeps hiring the guys they have to almost immediately fire?
(In case you missed it, Our Man Dan – second hardest-working man in showblz – has the details here)
Really. Doesn’t someone at the top have to be held responsible for the fact that franchise has now had seven coaches in seven years?
I know it’s at the top of the MLSE poobah food chain where these decisions are made but at some time, aren’t the decision-makers responsible?
I’ve been in the States, particularly Boston and along the eastern seaboard about a zillion times over the years, and I think this Dunkin’ Donuts coffee I’m having about 5:30 this morning might be the first I’ve ever had from that omnipresent chain.
And I can dutifully report that it’s nice there’s a 24-hour one a few steps from my hotel but this coffee is gawdawful.
Weak, watered down, tasteless.
Hope Starbucks next door opens at 6 a.m.
Okay, you know I don’t know an awful lot about these draft kids I’m here seeing – this is a journey of discovery in a lot of ways – because I don’t pay any attention to college basketball in the winter.
(Over-coached, too many timeouts, every offence is a three-man weave for about six minutes before someone takes a three; it’s mind-numbing).
Anyway, it’s information gathering and a getting-to-know-them trip (first up was this piece on Andrew Nicholson) and I’m trying to figure out which guys on the Raptors list I should be speaking to.
Two of them – and I have it on very good authority they are at least on a list of possibilities – are Weber State guard Damian Lillard and Connecticut guard Jeremy Lamb.
An aside: There is no definitive list of possibilities for Toronto at No. 8, it is expanding and contracting almost daily, there is much work to do, they are barely closer to finalizing anything than they were a week ago; they don’t know who’ll be there, aren’t sure who they like best and all the speculation you’re reading is just that, rampant speculation.
Now, I’m not sure how much you can learn about kids in the group interview sessions we have but I will tell you this, I’m far more impressed with Lillard than I am Lamb and here’s why:
This is a time of keepaway in some ways, lots players – on advice of self-serving agents who don’t want their clients exposed – don’t like to play against anyone; they want to show their individual skills but games, sometimes even three-on-three, are verboten. Flaws are exposed, draft slots suffer, money is lost and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
So I’m talking to Lillard and he said he much prefers the group dynamic because it allows him to show what he’s got and when it’s pointed out to him that some of the other guys in the room shy away from that, he says this:
“I’m from Oakland. Gary Payton was that kind of person, really competitive. Jason Kidd, Brian Shaw. I feel I have to bring that same thing to the table as an Oakland point guard. I wand to compete and I feel I still have to prove myself playing against higher lever guys and I’m happy to have the opportunity.”
In the next session we get to speak to Lamb and it comes up that not only isn’t he going to compete at any level here, he’s not even going to do the skills drills. He might do some agility today but that’s likely it.
“Not sure, it’s my first time going through it. I was just told I don’t need to do that, (I) need to get ready for the interviews and things like that. I’m not sure on it.”
Now, there are other guys here who won’t go through the gamut of drills and who won’t take part in every session. I read somewhere that Thomas Robinson, a top 10 pick most likely, isn’t going to do anything and I’m sure there are others as well.
But if I’m a GM, I’m troubled by guys who don’t do it all.
Click. Write. Send. There are some boring bits during a day here waiting to talk to people, I need something to do.
Hey, I’m watching TV a lot of yesterday and this morning and there’s all kinds of chatter about Euro2012 and a whole bunch of people who are a whole lot smarter than I are picking Netherlands!
Maybe I’m not so dumb after all.