The Instigator
StudentOfTheGame
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Chaotic_Neutral
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Why LeBron James Can Never Be The Greatest

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/25/2013 Category: Sports
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,116 times Debate No: 34184
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

StudentOfTheGame

Pro

To not only leave a franchise that had done nothing but elevate and support him, but to do it so degradingly showed that Lebron had no loyalty and no respect for the Cleveland organization and why he has disqualified himself from the argument of greatest of all time.

Jordan didn't leave the Bulls and teamed up with Reggie Miller or Patrick Ewing just because it was hard. He wanted to beat those guys and he did. LeBron took the easy way out in order to win a championship. It's not like Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh was drafted or traded to him, Lebron ABANDONED the team that drafted him in order to win. And perhaps in a righteous twist of fate he STILL lost in the finals against an OLD veteran UNDERDOG Mavericks team in 6 against a player who STAYED and remained FAITHFUL to his franchise in Dirk Nowitzski (sp?).

I eagerly await the con argument.
Chaotic_Neutral

Con


Pro raises common critiques of LeBron James as a person and a player:


His decision and manner of leaving Cleveland was wrong.


There’s no doubt that LeBron’s public perception took a hit after he left Cleveland. His decision to participate in a one-hour special called “The Decision” to reveal which team he would be signing with was probably a bad one. Arguably worse was the “Big 3” celebration before they’d even played a game together. It’s unlikely that LeBron meant any ill will toward Cleveland and was simply unable to foresee how these events might come off as arrogant and spiteful. When LeBron’s career is over, these criticisms will likely have vanished and he will be evaluated, as players should be, based on performance.


He took the easy way out to win a championship.


LeBron’s decision to leave Cleveland was probably largely influenced by his desire to win a championship. This is a result of the outward and inward pressure on “great players” to achieve team success. Although I will argue that players do not need to win championships to be great players, it is something that many believe and an area LeBron has been criticized for: his drive and his ability to perform when it matters the most.


The NBA draft is set up so that teams with bad records have the best odds at getting the top picks. The Cleveland Cavaliers tied for the worst record in the NBA in 2003 (17-65) and ended up with the #1 pick. LeBron was drafted into a team with very little talent and continued playing in such an environment for the first seven years of his career. The only All Star players LeBron ever played with were Zydrunas Ilgauskas in 2005 and Mo Williams in 2009. Neither of these players were anywhere near what would be required to compete with other great teams in the league. Yet LeBron was able to carry Cleveland to 66-win and 61-win seasons in ’09 and ’10, the two best records in 43 years for the Cavaliers. His incredible 38.5 point, 8.3 rebound, 8 assist series against the Magic in 2009 was not enough to lift the rest of the Cavs, and they lost in 6 in the Eastern Conference finals. This was the story throughout LeBron’s entire stay at Cleveland: it was the LeBron show and no one was helping him. This was only made more obvious when he left Cleveland: they went from having the best record in the league to having the second worst. From #1 to #29. What happened when Michael Jordan left the Bulls in '93? They went from 57 wins to 55. Did they win it all? No. But they were good enough without him (and without acquiring other big name players) to win 55 and take the 57-win Knicks to 7 games in the second round.


“It's not like Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh was drafted or traded to him, Lebron ABANDONED the team that drafted him in order to win.”


Cleveland does not have a particularly large fan base and would not be able to afford the quality of players that a more popular team would be able to acquire. This is why teams with bigger markets almost always win. Arguing that LeBron should have been able to win in Cleveland would be asking him to do what no other great player in history has done. He would have to carry his team to victory without any real help. LeBron shouldn’t be penalized for being put into a bad situation. He did what was best for him and what most people rationally would do: he took the situation into his own hands and improved it.


Debate Round No. 1
StudentOfTheGame

Pro

His decision and manner of leaving Cleveland was wrong.

The Con's argument was a "wait and see" argument hence he agrees with my assertion and only ask that all doubters be patient enough to wait until the dust settles, which I do not mind.

He took the easy way out to win a championship.

The Con's argument, while factual in most regards, shows his lack of understanding and in-depth knowledge of the game.

"Yet LeBron was able to carry Cleveland to 66-win and 61-win seasons in "09 and "10, the two best records in 43 years for the Cavaliers. "

This is a very misleading argument that most Lebron fans love to make, as well as saying that "Lebron carried the Cavs to the finals." It is true that Lebron won multiple MVPs and deservedly so, however, one cannot say that he single-handily did anything when you consider the fact that 1)It takes a total TEAM effort to achieve a 60+ winning record, no matter how you slice it, and 2)You HAVE to have a good/great team in order to GET to the Finals in the first place. You can't have it both ways, either he had a good team, or he didn't, and judging by the factual evidence quoted from the Con's argument, Lebron DID in fact have a good team, but he just couldn't get the job done.

" This was only made more obvious when he left Cleveland: they went from having the best record in the league to having the second worst. From #1 to #29."

This is also shows that the Con's argument is based purely on hear-say, and it shows that he fails to psychoanalyze the game.

The reason Lebron wasn't surrounded by star players was because the Cavs could not afford one at the time, they needed cap space, so what do teams with little but soon-to-be potential cap space do? They load up on mediocre talent to entice other teams who need to alleviate cap space to trade with them. That is exactly what the Houston Rockets did this past season, and who did they acquire? James Harden, Jeremy Lin, and Omer Asik in ONE MOVE. Take Harden out and they are nothing more than the same 9th seed they were years before, yet Lebron with all of his impatience ABANDONED his team before they could make any moves, thus leaving the team in COMPLETE shambles. What's the point of having a team filled with complementary talent if the superstar they were supposed to complement leaves? It's a no brainier that they would sink so low after that.

" What happened when Michael Jordan left the Bulls in '93? They went from 57 wins to 55. Did they win it all? No. But they were good enough without him (and without acquiring other big name players) to win 55 and take the 57-win Knicks to 7 games in the second round."

It just so happens that the year MJ retired, Scottie Pippen worked hard during the off season (who was developing with MJ I might add) and had his FIRST break-out season IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER. He lead his team in Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, and Minutes (Interestingly enough, only Lebron, Cowens, and Garnett have done so) and why was he able to do this? Because instead of ABANDONING his team and saying "Oh well, MJ's gone I might as well leave too" he buckled down and said "Hey, this is MY time to shine and I'll live with whatever happens." Pippen may have fell short, however, he earned more respect than Lebron did leaving, and it showed that Pippen had FAITH in his team, and I can only imagine how the players who would have trusted Lebron with their LIVES felt when he LEFT them for HIMSELF.

Oh and just an FYI, when Jordan returned in 96' he lead the Bulls to a 72-10 record. He (along with Rodman) increased a 55 win team into a HISTORIC win team. TWO star players increased a WINNING team's record by 17. That's unfathomable.

"Arguing that LeBron should have been able to win in Cleveland would be asking him to do what no other great player in history has done. He would have to carry his team to victory without any real help."

And that's where you're wrong. One man did. And his name is Michael Jordan.

In the Finals against Magic Johnson's Lakers, he averaged 30+ Points, 10+ assists, 5+ rebounds, and 3+ steals. Scottie Pippen averaged a little over 19 points and 5+ rebounds and 5+ assists. Did Pippen have his moments? Yes, but only under the orchestration of Michael Jordan and the great Phil Jackson's triangle offense.
Chaotic_Neutral

Con

"It is true that Lebron won multiple MVPs and deservedly so, however, one cannot say that he single-handily did anything when you consider the fact that 1)It takes a total TEAM effort to achieve a 60+ winning record, no matter how you slice it, and 2)You HAVE to have a good/great team in order to GET to the Finals in the first place. You can't have it both ways, either he had a good team, or he didn't, and judging by the factual evidence quoted from the Con's argument, Lebron DID in fact have a good team, but he just couldn't get the job done."

I am not arguing that the Cavaliers were a bad team; I am arguing that they were a bad team in the absence of LeBron. Pro misunderstands the significance of contrasting the last two with-LeBron seasons in Cleveland to the first without-LeBron season. The plummet from 61-21 to 19-63 after his departure (without many other significant losses that could reasonably explain the difference) clearly demonstrates that the Cleveland teams of 2009 and 2010 were not great teams, they were poor teams with a player who was so good he could elevate a horrible team to a title contender. Very few players throughout NBA history could have this sort of an impact.

"The reason Lebron wasn't surrounded by star players was because the Cavs could not afford one at the time, they needed cap space, so what do teams with little but soon-to-be potential cap space do? They load up on mediocre talent to entice other teams who need to alleviate cap space to trade with them."

This is a point I already made in defense of LeBron"s decision: Cleveland was simply not fit to support him with the players required to win a championship. Pro argues that they were planning for an eventual trade, but how long was LeBron supposed to wait? LeBron had played for the Cavs for 7 years, the number of years Jordan had played with the Bulls before they won their first championship. They had not made the required moves, and as far as I can tell, they were not able to do so in the year of his departure. The leading teams in cap space were as follows: the Knicks, the Nets, the Bulls, the Heat, and the Clippers [1] [2]. It"s not a coincidence that all of these made big moves over the next year, and the first four were the top contenders for LeBron. Cleveland was not fit to make such moves, and thus LeBron"s desire to win a championship led him to look elsewhere.

Jordan, Pippen, and the Bulls

The comparison in question is not LeBron-Pippen, but LeBron-Jordan. Even so, Pippen had already won 3 championships and it was not expected of him to go out and win no matter what. This was not the case for LeBron. He was EXPECTED to win in order to be considered great, so it is understandable that he made the move he did.

The point I"m making is that the Bulls were able to succeed and be a reasonably good team without Jordan. Not nearly as good, however, because Jordan is currently, I believe, the greatest player to have played the game. What I am arguing is that LeBron is on the path to be worthy of that title. But the Bulls in Jordan"s absence vs. the Cavs in LeBron"s absence is an overwhelming argument in favor of LeBron"s greatness and value to his team. It is also an explanation of why Jordan could win in "91, "92, and "93, while LeBron couldn"t win with the Cavs. The Cavs haven"t approached the level of performance they had with LeBron since he left, not even with Kyrie Irving and the improvement of Varejao. The Bulls were a winning team in both years of his absence with records of 55-27 and 47-35.

Pro also acknowledges the importance of Phil Jackson"s coaching. This is yet another advantage Jordan and the Bulls had over the Cavaliers. LeBron never had the coaching talent of Phil Jackson that would entice him to stay with his team and have confidence in their ability to win it all.

A final note: the statistics regarding the 1991 NBA Finals are misleading, although not of huge significance. Pippen averaged 20.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 6.6 assist vs. the Lakers [3], much better than what Pro suggested. He had been exceptionally better throughout the entirety of the playoffs, and his improvement continued into the next season, in which he was named to the All-NBA second team. A very valuable asset indeed.

Sources:
1) http://espn.go.com...
2) http://espn.go.com...
3) http://www.basketball-reference.com...
Debate Round No. 2
StudentOfTheGame

Pro

StudentOfTheGame forfeited this round.
Chaotic_Neutral

Con

My opponent appears to have forfeited.
Debate Round No. 3
StudentOfTheGame

Pro

StudentOfTheGame forfeited this round.
Chaotic_Neutral

Con

Chaotic_Neutral forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
StudentOfTheGame

Pro

StudentOfTheGame forfeited this round.
Chaotic_Neutral

Con

Chaotic_Neutral forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Chaotic_Neutral 3 years ago
Chaotic_Neutral
Throughout Russell's career, there were anywhere from 8-14 teams in the entire league, and only 2-3 rounds were required to win the playoffs. He also played with a considerable amount of talent throughout his career. If Wilt or Kareem had been in his situation, they would've won 8+ for sure, maybe even more than 11. Russell's alleged 'greatness' (he is great, but overrated) is mostly due to luck. A perfect demonstration of why 'rings' don't tell the whole story, or anything close to it.
Posted by JohnSmith1 3 years ago
JohnSmith1
Bill Russell won 11 nba championships... nough said
Posted by StudentOfTheGame 3 years ago
StudentOfTheGame
I made the appropriate changes.

And one could simply argue that he "could" be the greatest one day. I simply said he never could. Ever.
Posted by JohnSmith1 3 years ago
JohnSmith1
student no one is dumb enough to argue that lebron is not in the top 5 or 10 yet for those who know the game: id say top 5: russell, wilt, kareem, jordan, magic with some great others rounding out the top ten like bird and olajuwon.
Posted by Chaotic_Neutral 3 years ago
Chaotic_Neutral
12 hours is not long enough for each round.
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