Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crocodile tears

So LeBron James feels for his former Cavaliers teammates. At least that what he intimates in a story by reporter Brian Windhorst that ran in the Cleveland Plain Dealer Tuesday.

"I know what type of competitors the guys that I played with are, they don't like to lose," he said. "When we were together, we didn't like to lose. It is definitely tough. It is a tough situation going on in Cleveland. I wish those guys the best."

Supposedly, he was serious when he said that. If so, he has taken up residence in Fantasyland. Maybe it makes him feel better. Perhaps the guilt of moving down South hasn't completely worn off.


Spare me the false sympathy. It's absurdly disingenuous.

If he cared, really cared, he never would have even considered leaving Cleveland.

Here is the best player in the National Basketball Association deserting those teammates of which he spoke so lovingly to take up residence with a whole new set. In doing so, he left his former club bereft of the kind of talent with which to compete, let alone contend.

Perhaps it's a lot clearer to him today to strongly consider that the main reason those ex-teammates have lost eight in a row and are careening toward the bottom of the NBA is because he left. Without LeBron, the Cavaliers have been exposed as a very bad basketball team. That's how much of a difference he made.

Not even the coaching talents of Byron Scott can do anything with this team. The Cavs' talent quotient ranks at or certainly very near the bottom of the NBA. Put LeBron on the current team and they are not 7-17 heading into tonight's massacre down in Miami. In fact, they'd be leading the Central Division. Comfortably.

There is not one take-charge player on this team. There is not one man who can step up on any given night and say, "Climb on my back. Just follow me. I'll lead us to victory."

That's the element LeBron gave them the last seven seasons. His teammates fed off him. He showed up every night and they played better because of him. They became the best team in the regular season because of him.

This team is nothing but a bunch of followers. Followers don't win many games. They compete every now and then. They'll win a game here or there. You just never know when.

Scott has got to know he has stepped into a minefield. It seems that no matter what he does, no matter how much he tinkers, he has yet to come up with any viable solution to the club''s problems a quarter of the way through the season. That's because there is no viable solution.

That solution bolted to South Beach last July. So unless General Manager Chris Grant begins changing faces, nothing is going to change.

Scott's main worry, other than getting his club untracked, is that he works for an owner who is used to success. Dan Gilbert cannot be taking all this losing this very well, especially after guaranteeing to his fans that his club will win an NBA title before LeBron and the Miami Heat.

That, most obviously, is not going to happen.

The Heat is on a roll with nine straight -- no, make that 10 straight after tonight -- victories after shaking off early-season problems. And you can bet LeBron will at least duplicate his 38-points-in-30-minutes virtuoso performance when the teams met earlier this month in Cleveland.

"As much as I would love for them to get back on track, I don't want them to get back on track against us," he told Windhorst.

Don't worry, LeBron. That's not going to happen tonight or in the foreseeable future.

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