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Layups: What LBJ’s Game Might Look Like in Miami

Posted by Neil Paine on August 25, 2010

Here's a really interesting read from John Krolik at NBC's ProBasketballTalk, regarding what changes we might expect in LeBron James' playing style when he suits up alongside Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh this fall. John brings up the possibilities of James scoring 25 PPG on a 66.0 True Shooting % if he is freed up to play off the ball and make cuts from the weak side, averaging 10 APG if made the Heat's primary distributor, becoming a better post-up threat if the D respects his ability to pass out of double-teams, and increasing his scoring chances in transition if Miami plays a small, athletic lineup. For all of the obsessing over "The Decision" by casual fans, this kind of discussion -- envisioning how the Heat's new pieces fit together -- is what hardcore hoops junkies should have been having all along.

(H/T: TrueHoop)

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50 Responses to “Layups: What LBJ’s Game Might Look Like in Miami”

  1. Joseph Says:

    I think it'll be very, very interesting to see how it all unfolds. He's clearly the best player in the league and I think he'll do whatever it takes to win knowing he has two legitimate All-Stars helping him out.

  2. King Kong Says:

    I respect LeBrons talent, even though I don't like him as a person, but I think it would be absolutely hilarious if the Heat don't win a title this year. Especially if they lose in the finals to the Lakers. The backlash will be amazing.

  3. King Kong Says:

    also Lebron is better than Dwade, really? Dwade pretty much never had a bad playoff game, and he won a title with past-prime Shaq, both things that you can't say about Lebron

    In my opinion,

    1. Dwade
    2. Kobe and Lebron

  4. Jason J Says:

    I'm also fascinated by how all this is going to play out on the court. I'm not sure the Olympics are the best example of how LeBron will be used because they actually had three superior point guards on that team. He is clearly the best playmaker on the Heat (well, him or Wade). I can't help envisioning a sort of uber-Pippin role for him, where he takes the point forward responsibilities to another level.

    #2 I think a lot of experts are actually picking the Lakers to win this season (I would).

    #3 LeBron is better by most statistical measures - which doesn't necessarily mean he's actually better.

    Wade has certainly had some poor playoff performances. Everyone does over time. In 2007 he shot 43% from the field, averaged less than 24 ppg on 21 fgas per game and averaged more than 5 turnovers a game while his Heat were swept in the first round by a not-so-great Chicago Bulls team.

    That said, more than a few people do think Wade is the best player in the game.

  5. King Kong Says:

    #3

    I wouldn't say 43% is a poor playoff performance, especially since it's just one series. And Lebron (as well as Kobe) had truly terrible playoff games. For example, LeBron only had 1 game over 40% in the 2007 finals, and he had 3 bad games in a row in the ECF semis in 2008.

    This doesn't make him a bad player, and a lot of greats (like Kobe) have those kinds of games, but DWades worst games have just been subpar, and I really don't think he gets enough credit for being so consistently great

  6. AYC Says:

    I love Wade, but Lebron is the better player. More specifically, Lebron is a better scorer, a better playmaker, a better rebounder AND a better defender. Wade is a little better as a decision-maker I think, but the difference is negligible. Both players are used to dominating the ball, so I'm interested to see how both adjust to playing together. But considering that LBJ is the better player, I think all these people assuming he has to adjust to Wade (and not the other way around) are mistaken

  7. Anon x 2 Says:

    "For all of the obsessing over "The Decision" by casual fans,"

    I'm sorry Neil, but in my experience it's been the hardcore fan that's been obsessing over it, not the casual one.

    I like this blog a lot, but I really wish you'd stop with the Lebron apologizing and just move on. The snide comments about those that criticized him are annoying and unproductive.

  8. Nick Says:

    Follow up to the first article: The Heat on defense next year.

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/08/how-good-will-the-heat-be-on-defense.php

  9. Neil Paine Says:

    Re: #7 - Look, I'm not saying that hardcore fans haven't been engaging in it too, but when I hear ordinary people talking LeBron, they're almost universally talking about the psychological aspects of the choice (how he let Cleveland down, etc.), not the X's and O's of the new Heat lineup.

    I mean, my friend's 12-year-old niece hates LeBron now because he "quit on his teammates," a viewpoint that didn't surprise me at all. The surprise would have been if she was concerned about how the Heat will attack a matchup zone defense.

  10. P Middy Says:

    I really hope he plays the point. I mean, they have to be crazy not to put the ball in his hand, right? I'm just imagining him bring the ball up, Wade and Bosh running picks off the ball and House and Miller on the wings ready to jack 'em up. He can crash for offensive rebounds better too when/if he is taking fewer shots. It just seems like if they can get it clicking, it will be devastating.

  11. Anon x 2 Says:

    #9 Neil - I understand that, but it's time to let it go. Sure, let's talk about how Lebron will attack matchup zones, but then please don't sneak in another Lebron criticizer attack. I mean, if you want to get away from the politics and back to the basketball, then don't bring up the politics; it's off-putting.

    As to the intended topic, I'm unconvinced teams will play pure zones. That's usually meant to stop post play in the NBA (where in college it's more perimeter based). That's not to say there won't be zone hedges, because there will be, but nothing like Phx tried vs LA in the WCF.

    Obviously Miami should run, run, run. Teams that want to beat them will have to do so by scoring in the paint to prevent running.

    Lebron off the ball is an interesting topic. If he's able to slash, he's obviously deadly. If he's relegated to spot up shooter, Miami is in trouble. A lot of this will depend on the other players around him besides Wade/Bosh. In Cleveland he could succeed without the ball because they were a top flight 3pt team and Shaq/Hickson could score in the post. If Miami can't shoot 3s reliably enough and/or be a post threat option with not-Bosh big, then he might see too much help too early to get those great slashes.

    the team will be a nightmare for most teams to defend. At the end of the day you're going to have to beat them with a strong inside presence on both ends and reliable perimeter compliment. Hence, Orlando, LA, and Boston are their only potential problems. No one else has the personnel to combat them.

  12. Anon x 2 Says:

    I don't understand the whole "lebron playing point guard in Miami" thing.

    Traditionally speaking, within the confines of the offense, Lebron has always played the point for most of the games. Mo Williams was a SG and sometimes SF in that offense most of the time while Lebron ran the point.

    It's like saying Fisher is the Lakers' point guard on offense. Not really, it's usually Lamar or Kobe. Fisher is the shooting guard.

  13. BSK Says:

    I put this theory elsewhere, relating more to how the Heat will approach the "big 3" than to how specific guys will play.

    A lot of breath has been wasted talking about these guys will burn themselves out since they'll be playing 45 minutes a game. Nonsense.

    Each of these guys individually represents the best teammate any of them have ever had. Couple that with the fairly impressive group of role players they've surrounded with, and there's actually little reason to have all three of them on the court at the same time.

    Play LeBron the first and last 16 minutes of the game, DWade the last 32 minutes, and Bosh the first 32 minutes. Each guy is playing 32 minutes a game and you always have 2 of them on the court (LBJ/Bosh for first 16, Bosh/Wade for middle 16, and Wade/LBJ for last 16). Each guy is playing LESS than ever before and with a better surrounding cast than ever before and the team has 48 minutes of dual superstars on the court. Why wouldn't this work?

    Now, I realize that you'd adjust the formula based on opponent and rotations and such and might break it up slightly differently so no one is out there 32 minutes straight (surrounding half time), but you get the picture. I also realize it might strike some as foolish to pay these guys the millions they are getting to play only 32 minutes a game, but if it puts them in position to stay healthy and maximize their odds of winning, not just in year one but in multiple years, seems like the optimal strategy to me. Crunching the numbers, I'm sure there may be strategies that are more optimal in the short term or produce better numbers, but does it really matter if they win by 20 or 10 if we all know they are CAPABLE of winning by 20 but simply play to win by 10 to reserve energy?

  14. Nick Says:

    Re: BSK

    While I agree with you in general, I think they'll probably have (or should have, I guess) all three on the court for the start and end of games(and halves). I'd probably work it something like, for the first and third quarters, first 3 minutes: all three, then take one out for three minutes, then the second, then the third, and reverse it in the second/fourth quarters. With 3 or so minutes off a quarter, they'd still be only logging 36 minutes a night, which would be a steep drop off their usual.

    The other reason to play this way is so that they have experience with all three in before the playoff, when their minutes would, presumably, go up.

    The benefit to winning by 20 rather than 10 is garbage time, so they get even more rest. I'd probably have an entire bench squad whose job it is to run the clock out if they pull far enough ahead.

  15. Jason J Says:

    #12 - I think the difference between LeBron playing point in Cleveland and playing point in Miami is that he had to play a Michael Jordan in 1989 - score 30 and try to get everybody involved - type role with that line-up. Now he's got enough scoring punch around him that he could play more of a Penny Hardaway / Scottie Pippen point role, focused on getting guys the ball where they need it rather than having to make a play on every possession.

  16. Bob Says:

    I would think it would be a waste of the leagues most efficient high volume scorer to be reduced to a role in which he becomes primarily a creator for others. If I had Lebron on my team, I'd want to take full advantage of all his talents.

  17. BSK Says:

    Nick-

    Good point. My proposal was really the most simplified one, attempting to illustrate how all the talk of the 3 guys being on the court for 40+ minutes together is just silly. You very astutely note that they should log some time together so, if/when the time arises for them to play together, they are familiar with one another and have a scheme developed. All-in-all, Miami should focus on putting themselves in the best position to win the championship rather than having the most impressive regular season ever. Obviously, these two ends aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, but it's likely our proposals will get them closer to the former than many of those focused on achieving the latter.

    Rob-

    It may be a "waste", but if Miami is in position to be wasteful and still find success, who cares? If the team has a better chance of achieving their goal with LeBron in a less-than-ideal role, what does it matter? If LeBron adds 10% to his own productivity by taking on the lead role but subtracts 15% from others, that is not particularly desired. We need to look at context and it's highly likely that the context in Miami dictates LeBron play a different role than he has previously (as well as the other guys) to achieve the ultimate team success.

  18. AHL Says:

    Why is everyone so down on Mario Chalmers? I think he is okay enough to play point just fine, especially with the assists Wade and James chip in. Last I checked, lots of pass-after-the-pass was usually a good thing.

    This Miami team should be all about options.

  19. AYC Says:

    Chalmers is certainly capable of playing the D-Fish role of hitting open threes and playing solid D

  20. P Middy Says:

    I like that idea, BSK. I think if one of the guys is playing through injury they might actually go to something like that to keep minutes down. In the long run though, they will need the full power of that fully operational basketball team to achieve their goal of dominating the basketball universe.

  21. Cage Says:

    James and Wade have to accommodate to each other. The notion that Wade should simply accommodate to James is flat-out wrong-headed. It ignores not only basketball realities (there are several things Wade does better, just as there are several things LeBron does better) but institutional realities-- Wade has intimate familiarity with the Heat coaching staff, offense, and culture.

    Wade and James basically replicate each other's skillsets, with a few shades of variance. They are the best two players alive when it comes to the combination of scoring and play-making. Both are the best passers at their respective positions.

    I do lean toward the model of LeBron as Uber-Pippen myself though. James may have scored more points in his career (because he took more shots; when Wade shoots more, he scores more too), but Wade is the more versatile scorer. And in the playoffs, he's been the most successful, most proven, and most consistent. The poster above is right that Wade has never had a terrible playoff series. Even in the sweep by the Bulls when he played with an unhealed torn shoulder, he played better than Kobe in the 04 Finals (35% FGs) or LeBron in the 07 Finals (35% FGs), LeBron in the 08 ECSFs vs. Boston (36% FGs), or LeBron in his debacle this year vs. Boston.

  22. Jason J Says:

    The sheer explosiveness of these two guys is fascinating because LeBron is so big he's like covering a power forward with guard-like speed. Containing them in pick and roll situations is going to be ludicrously hard - especially when they go small.

    Chalmers or House goes to the short corner. Miller heads to the extended elbow three on the other side. Bosh makes flash cuts between the block, the elbow and the open short corner (usually you'd have a three do this sort of motion, but Bosh has range and speed at the 4/5). LeBron sets a high screen up top for Wade. What does the defense do?

    I guess you could switch it, but LeBron would bullrush Wade's defender into the paint, and that still only works if Wade's defender cheats under the screen. You can't do a normal show and record because they are both WAY too fast and LeBron's man has to trap very hard to stop Wade from turning the corner and attacking the rim. I guess both players could sag back, and Bosh's man could come into the paint, but that opens up at least 2 of the three from open jumpers. Tough to get the defender of the corner man (House / Chandler) in to help and a bad move to leave the easiest three pointer in the game undefended. Nobody traps off Mike Miller.

  23. huevonkiller Says:

    King Kong is a mental case apparently.

    Wade has had PLENTY of bad playoff games. Especially in 2005, 2007 2009, etc.

    Against the Hawks at home in Game 4 he choked. In his prime season, it happens. LeBron is easily better and he'll be more dominant next season as well.

  24. huevonkiller Says:

    "I do lean toward the model of LeBron as Uber-Pippen myself though. James may have scored more points in his career (because he took more shots; when Wade shoots more, he scores more too), but Wade is the more versatile scorer. And in the playoffs, he's been the most successful, most proven, and most consistent. The poster above is right that Wade has never had a terrible playoff series. Even in the sweep by the Bulls when he played with an unhealed torn shoulder, he played better than Kobe in the 04 Finals (35% FGs) or LeBron in the 07 Finals (35% FGs), LeBron in the 08 ECSFs vs. Boston (36% FGs), or LeBron in his debacle this year vs. Boston."

    Wade is the "Uber" Pippen. Wade played like Garbage against Atlanta, against the Pistons in 2005, Bulls in 2007, Bulls 2006, and just ok against the Pistons/Nets in 2006.

    He made his legacy feasting off a soft Dallas Mavericks defense, that both Kobe and LeBron averaged 40 points a game against those seasons.

    Wade is also in his off-peak, so give it a rest. If you don't like LeBron James you might as well find another hobby because he's about to dominate this sport and your guy.

  25. Cage Says:

    @Huevonkiller:

    Everyone has had bad playoff games. LeBron has had three bad, high-profile series, however-- vs. the Spurs in the 07, vs. the Celts in 08, and vs. the Celts in 10. And both of those Celtics series were very winnable.

    Wade's worst playoff series was, as said, against the Bulls when he played with a shoulder sleeve after he rushed back from an unrehabbed shoulder tear. Even in that Hawks series that you reference (in which he also was hurt from Game 4 on), he scored 29 ppg on 43% shooting. That's bad by Wade-standards, but nothing approaching the eggs that Bron has laid.

    On the other hand, Wade was simply a playoff terror from 04 - 06 and this year aginst the Celts, even in a five game loss, he showed the postseason beast that he is. Trust me, if the Heat want to win a title, Wade has to be the go-to-guy in the playoffs. It's not even a question.

    You obviously haven't seen Wade play on anything other than abyssmally-talented teams for a very long so you've forgotten just exacly how good he is. You will remember shortly.

  26. huevonkiller Says:

    A follow up on how "consistent" these players have been recently.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/tiny.cgi?id=E62Or

    Btw the way the Heat had to give away a title in 2005 because Wade got hurt. It wouldn't shock me to see him broken down by age 31 (kind of like Kobe was this year, only worse since he attacks the basket so much).

  27. Cage Says:

    Wade "played like garbage against the Pistons in 05"? Did you seriously just type that? He destroyed the 05 Pistons until he tore his stomach. The Heat were on their way to the Finals and that was with an injured Shaq.

    And just "ok" against the Pistons in 06? He shot 62% as a GUARD!!! If he shoots only 50%, the Heat never make the Finals.

    I will say it again, Wade has had ONE bad playoff series, and he played with a torn muscle. He was mediocre against the Hawks in 09 (let's not forget ATL had HCA and the series went seven games) and obviously good enough to beat the Nets and Bulls in 06.

    Seriously, fankid, who are you?!

  28. huevonkiller Says:

    "Everyone has had bad playoff games. LeBron has had three bad, high-profile series, however-- vs. the Spurs in the 07, vs. the Celts in 08, and vs. the Celts in 10. And both of those Celtics series were very winnable."

    Stop whining with these ridiculous standards. LeBron was on the road with a 45 win team in 2008, he did just fine. Wade didn't even make the playoffs that year, yes that goes against him. With LeBron if I have a Pau Gasol player on my team, I'm set for life.

    Atlanta 2009- Gag
    2008- No playoffs, Choke.
    Chicago 2007- Gagged (Oh he was hurt? No one cares dude).
    Dallas mavericks 2006- Not a top ten defense. No one cares, Kobe and LeBron owned Dallas too.
    2005- Choked, got injured.

    For every Boston series and Dallas series, there's everything else he's ever done.

    "Wade's worst playoff series was, as said, against the Bulls when he played with a shoulder sleeve after he rushed back from an unrehabbed shoulder tear. Even in that Hawks series that you reference (in which he also was hurt from Game 4 on), he scored 29 ppg on 43% shooting. That's bad by Wade-standards, but nothing approaching the eggs that Bron has laid."

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/tiny.cgi?id=E62Or

    Lol nah man I don't think so.

    No his worst playoff series was when he choked in 2005, and the heat lost a title. He's choked plenty of times though, I'm not surprised.

    No one gives a damn about FG%, LeBron still beats him in "stats". Wade is remarkably consistent in not getting past the first round, and having less opportunities to fail.

    "On the other hand, Wade was simply a playoff terror from 04 - 06 and this year aginst the Celts, even in a five game loss, he showed the postseason beast that he is. Trust me, if the Heat want to win a title, Wade has to be the go-to-guy in the playoffs. It's not even a question."

    No I don't trust you, you're a joke. Wade gagged like a dog in 2005 and in 2004 he was nothing spectacular.

    LeBron was the best player in 2006, and he's still the better player now.

    "You obviously haven't seen Wade play on anything other than abyssmally-talented teams for a very long so you've forgotten just exacly how good he is. You will remember shortly."

    Well considering I've lived in Miami since I was 3 years old, that's highly unlikely.

    You're a Wade homer, I'll shoot down any of this nonsense with reality.

    Wade is inferior in the playoffs and regular season. He can hold to one thing though, he was great in FIBA. Like Charles Barkley was great on the Olympic team.

  29. Sean Says:

    King Kong:

    2005-06 Shaq in Miami >>>> 2010 Shaq in Cleveland. Not a great comparison. Both D-Wade and LeBron are great, extremely talented players. D-Wade seems to be more of a leader at this point in their careers, while LeBron is one of the most talented NBA players I've seen in my 30 years of following the NBA.

    It will be fascinating to see how the Heat share the ball.

  30. huevonkiller Says:

    "Wade "played like garbage against the Pistons in 05"? Did you seriously just type that? He destroyed the 05 Pistons until he tore his stomach. The Heat were on their way to the Finals and that was with an injured Shaq."

    Haha ok keep lying to yourself. Wade was below league average true shooting percentage in that series, or otherwise known as estimated points per shot. He wasn't that impressive in the playoffs dude. He choked, gagged, and cost his team a title.

    Keep making up facts. Wade was bad in 4 games, including the one he missed. He cost them the series, stop crying about LeBron in 2010 if you want me to ignore injuries.

    "And just "ok" against the Pistons in 06? He shot 62% as a GUARD!!! If he shoots only 50%, the Heat never make the Finals."

    Actually if Shaq doesn't average 22 points a game on his ridiculous efficiency in that series, the heat don't get to the Finals. Wade in fact choked at the end of that series , in game 6. He didn't close out anything. If anything the only closing he's ever done is against the Mavericks.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/200606020MIA.html

    The Heat never make the second round apparently, even with Prime Wade.

    "I will say it again, Wade has had ONE bad playoff series, and he played with a torn muscle. He was mediocre against the Hawks in 09 (let's not forget ATL had HCA and the series went seven games) and obviously good enough to beat the Nets and Bulls in 06.

    Seriously, fankid, who are you?!"

    Wade choked in Miami 2009, there's no excuse for that. Or was he injured that year too?

    He was bad for LeBron standards in every single post-season, except parts of 2006 and 2010. He doesn't get to skate on 24-25 PER, that's below LeBron's level.

    I don't have to say anything, this website validates me every day by showing Kobe and Wade's overrated abilities and exposing them.

    Wade was inferior in his prime except for this 2010 post-season. Entering his declining phase he should worry about being better than Chris Bosh once he gets to 31-32 years old like Kobe.

  31. Cage Says:

    Huevokiller, you are sad. Wade holds the NBA record for most playoff points scored in first three years. He hit the gamewinner in his first ever rookie playoff game and the 3pter that proved to be the winning shot in his fifth ever playoff game. He then as a rookie led the Heat to push the #1 seed Pacers to a tough six games when everyone predicted sweep .

    He was one of only five players to average over 25/8/6 on 50% shooting against the Nets in 05. He put up 31/7/8 against the Wizards in 05. Against Detroit in 05, he scored 40 in Game 2, 36 in Game 3, and 28 in Game 4, before getting hurt in Game 5.

    In 2006, his most impressive series to me was Detroit. Field goal percentage doesn't matter to you? Well, without 62% shooting from Wade, the Heat lose that series. And you know what, if LeBron could have managed a mere 40% against the Celtics in 08, the Cavs win that series (all it would've taken was better than 2/18 in Game 1-- 5/18 would have done it). How well your franchise player shoots the ball makes a very, very big difference.

    And then the Finals, let's just talk about the fact that it was his THIRD year. Most players you would think would have stage fright and jitters ("witness" James in the Finals the following year). And most players would, but not they guy who did everything I reminded you of above.... Also, Dallas had the 7th ranked defense in 06. Look it up.... Simply put, Wade was one of the best young playoff players ever.

    And then this year-- Wade's numbers vs. Boston with far less help than Kobe or LeBron so the Celts could help on him even more-- 33/5.5/6.5 on 56% FGs. What were Kobe and Bron's numbers again?

    I acknowledge that there have been times when LeBron has been transcendent in playoffs-- Game 5 and the whole Magic series were sublime performances. Stop trying to act like Wade hasn't been equally transcendent.

  32. James Says:

    The only thing that seems to be in Wade's favor is FG%.

    Lebron put up 27/9/7 on 46% shooting against the Celtics, hardly what I would call a choking performance. As for him not having the leadership qualities, what happened to the entire 2009 playoff run? He played his heart out in that Orlando series in which he put up 38.5/8.3/8.1 on 49% FG.

  33. huevonkiller Says:

    "Huevokiller, you are sad. Wade holds the NBA record for most playoff points scored in first three years."

    So much for that record...

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/tiny.cgi?id=bggkb

    " He hit the gamewinner in his first ever rookie playoff game and the 3pter that proved to be the winning shot in his fifth ever playoff game. He then as a rookie led the Heat to push the #1 seed Pacers to a tough six games when everyone predicted sweep"

    He averaged 18 points a game, on below league average efficiency. 52.7 TS%, again, nothing special.

    "He was one of only five players to average over 25/8/6 on 50% shooting against the Nets in 05."

    You're scared man. Just use the aggregate, since Wade is so "consistent"......... He's consistent in being injured, and in playing just below LeBron's level in the post-season.

    When has Wade ever put up 38/8/8 against the #1 defense in the NBA? Oh ok that's what I thought.

    "He put up 31/7/8 against the Wizards in 05. Against Detroit in 05, he scored 40 in Game 2, 36 in Game 3, and 28 in Game 4, before getting hurt in Game 5."

    Wizards?! ;)

    Against Detroit, he was trash in 4 games, that's about all I need to know. He's a fragile player.

    "In 2006, his most impressive series to me was Detroit. Field goal percentage doesn't matter to you?"

    The way you use it incorrectly, no it doesn't. eFG% or TS% matter more.

    "Well, without 62% shooting from Wade, the Heat lose that series."

    And with Wade, but without Shaq averaging 22 points a game on 65% shooting, the Heat get bounced in the first round every year. He's Tracy McGrady, with all the excuses and fragile stuff.

    "And you know what, if LeBron could have managed a mere 40% against the Celtics in 08, the Cavs win that series (all it would've taken was better than 2/18 in Game 1-- 5/18 would have done it). How well your franchise player shoots the ball makes a very, very big difference."

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/200904190ATL.html

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/200904270MIA.html

    Major chokage, all Wade has to do was beat Atlanta, not the Eastern Conference Champs.

    See the difference is, the 08 Celtics are a historic defense. The 2009 Atlata Hawks are a sad bunch of losers, and Wade choked in his prime season.

    If Wade could have found a way to not choke homecourt advantage against the Pathetic Atlanta Hawks, he would have won that series.

    Or did you forget that?

    How well your franchise player shoots the ball makes a very, very big difference. ;)

    Btw, Wade was crying about his injury in 2008 while LeBron was outplaying the League's MVP, Kobe Bryant. Kobe owned Wade that season, and Kobe still choked like crazy against Boston.

    "And then the Finals, let's just talk about the fact that it was his THIRD year. Most players you would think would have stage fright and jitters("witness" James in the Finals the following year). And most players would, but not they guy who did everything I reminded you of above.... Also, Dallas had the 7th ranked defense in 06. Look it up.... Simply put, Wade was one of the best young playoff players ever.

    No Dallas was 11th in defensive rating, you just keep proving your lack of knowledge.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/DAL/2006.html

    Did Wade even have the best stats against Dallas that year?

    If Wade was such a "winner", he'd stop choking in the first round like T-Mac. Once Shaq stop saving him with 22 points 65% shooting in the eastern

    conference finals, he hasn't done anything. Great supporting cast.

    "And then this year-- Wade's numbers vs. Boston with far less help than Kobe or LeBron so the Celts could help on him even more-- 33/5.5/6.5 on 56% FGs. What were Kobe and Bron's numbers again? I acknowledge that there have been times when LeBron has been transcendent in playoffs-- Game 5 and the whole Magic series were sublime performances. Stop trying to act like Wade hasn't been equally transcendent."

    1. You can't use small sample size, or you'll lose this discussion. LeBron James has the best numbers over a small stretch of games.
    2. If you use their entire careers you'll lose because Wade gets constantly injured.
    3. Because of the injuries and bad days you can't cite single games either.

    Alright nice chat though. :)

  34. James Says:

    Although I wouldn't call Wade a choker at all, the fact that he's been more consistent or better than Lebron or Kobe in the playoffs is not one I would agree with, seeing as he hasn't gone all that deep barring the championship run and 05. Wade's an all time great, but he just doesn't play at the same level as Lebron (though its close).

  35. Ray Says:

    Nobody is "clutch" 100% of the time. Or rather, "clutch" describes a higher likelihood of making big shots/plays, not whether you always do or always don't. Wade and LeBron have both demonstrated an ability to rise to the occasion and deliver when their teams have needed them most.

    LeBron obviously played out of his mind in '07 against the Pistons and in '09 against the Magic (to say nothing of his battles against Arenas and Pierce in other years), it was just that his supporting cast wasn't very good in either case.

    Wade was a killer in his first three seasons, and this year against the Celtics, but even against the Hawks in '09 he had great performances most of the series. It was just that in Games 1, 4, and 7 he took WAY too many threes (and was turnover-prone), not a surprise given all the double teams and traps he faced every time he cross half-court.

    Anyway, now they're on the same team so none of this really matters, and maybe we should stick to talking about how the Heat as a whole will fare. The "alpha male" discussion is largely irrelevant, considering they bring different things to the table (Wade took Marquette to the Final Four and won an NBA title, but LeBron is younger and an even greater talent), and it will be more a case of two Super Pippens rather than one Pippen and one Jordan.

  36. James Says:

    So, together on the same team, I see both Wade and James maintaining around 25-28 ppg, they'll get less shots, but I expect Wade's TS% to shoot to around 62% and Lebron's to 67%, so smaller volume, but higher success rate leads to similar point totals. If last year's all star game was any indicator, Wade off the ball is going to be one hell of a ride.

  37. Cage Says:

    Huevokiller, I'm done after this because your use of statistics is so selective and one-sided that it's not even worth talking to you. I try to be balanced and give credit to LBJ where its due, but your arguments are so skewed that they make this discussion no longer worthwhile.

    I'll give you an example. If you read my #@%!ing statement, what I said was that Wade holds the record for playoff points scored in a player's first three years. LeBron didn't even make the playoffs until his third year.

    I didn't say Wade holds the record for playoff points in a player's first three playoffs. I said first three years, as in years in the league. My purpose in pointing that out is, again, to demonstrate again that Wade was one of the best young playoff performers the league has ever seen.

    In general, I'm not sure if you are speaking out of fear or arrogance. It could be fear because LeBron is joining a team where he there is another player who is his virtual equal, and there's a very real possibility he may not end up being the best performer. Or maybe it is arrogance, and you actually have deluded yourself into thinking that James is on some other plane than everyone else(did you something in the choking in the playoffs? Boston series in 2008 and 2010 certainly qualify).

    Regardless, this will all play out on the court. And what you, I, or any writer has to say about it won't matter at all. And if one or the other of James or Wade does end up being the better player, there will be nowhere to hide from that truth, no matter what any of us say.

    @Ray: I agree that the how-the-Heat-will-play topic is more constructive, but my point is the question can't be primarily how-best-to-play-James. It has to be how-best-to-play-both-James-and-Wade. The Heat have to determine what specific plays James and Wade execute better than each other, and then synthesize those determinations into an offense, because they are so similar.

    Personally I would have Wade run more p/r and LeBron more iso. Have Wade off the ball a little more, coming off screens and curls. Put LeBron in the post more. Etc.

    And Bosh and everyone else will play off these two, obviously.

  38. Patrick Arroyo Says:

    I think it's ashamed that some one as talented as Lebron James would seek help from other superstars to win a title.he will never ever be mentioned as one of the greatest players to win a championship,Michael Jordan,Larry Bird,Earvin Johnson and of course Kobe Bryant.this is Dwayne Wade's team not Lebron.he can get angry all he wants because he know it is true,all the great players before won with "HOME GROWN"talent,not from superstars coming together to satisfy their personal ego to win a championship.damn shame!

  39. Anon x 2 Says:

    jason J #15

    I actually think the difference is that he will have the ball in his hands less and will have to play off it more.

    While I agree he might be able to be a table setter more, ala Pippen I still expect him to do very similar things when the play is initiated by him. If anything, he should be able to be less of a facilitator at times whereas in Cleveland his teammates needed him to create for them.

    Also, why does anyone respond to Huevonkiller. He's this boards most obvious troll. Lebron is the only above average player in the NBA. yeah, he's that good!

  40. Cloud King Says:

    Kobe just had another amazing season (ok, one bad game, but everyone shoot poorly and he did get 15 boards) playing basically 4+ seasons in 3 years with multiple injuries and a finger so bad it might have arthritis and people still talk about Lebron and Wade?

    Sorry but they're going to have to win a whole lot of rings for it to count considering how much shit people give Kobe for his first 3 with Shaq.

  41. Hoops M Says:

    I really think LeBron can average a triple double in Miami. He will be one of their best rebounders, and their best passer, with plenty of guys who can finish or hit open jumpers. I see him pushing a 23-10-10 line.

    D Wade has been getting WAY too much credit for his one title with Shaq. Miami has been a marginal playoff team the past few years since then. Cleveland has been one of the best teams in the league, without much real help for LeBron.

  42. Hoops M Says:

    "Kobe just had another amazing season (ok, one bad game, but everyone shoot poorly and he did get 15 boards)..."

    Check their playoff per game averages for the past five years. LeBron is better than Kobe, hands down. How many rebounds did LeBron have in the one game he supposedly "tanked"?

  43. Hoops M Says:

    "I think it's ashamed that some one as talented as Lebron James would seek help from other superstars to win a title.he will never ever be mentioned as one of the greatest players to win a championship,Michael Jordan,Larry Bird,Earvin Johnson and of course Kobe Bryant."

    Michael Jordan had Pippen, Rodman, Grant, Kerr, Cartwright, Hodges, etc.
    Larry Bird had McHale, DJ, Ainge, Walton, Maxwell, Parrish, etc.
    Earvin Johnson had Kareem, Worthy, Cooper, Scott, McAdoo, etc.
    Kobe Bryant had Shaq, Odom, Gasol, Artest, etc.

    What was your point? The James and Wade and Bosh put their own team together, instead of doing what they were told?

  44. Jay Kay Says:

    I find it kind of funny how people say this Miami team will be "Wades team". People have long since forgotten the early 80 lakers team were considered "Jabbars Lakers".

    Sure Wade have been in Miami longer, but traditionally teams "Belong" to the best player, and even if i have alot of respect for Wades talent, theres no real argument on who the best player next year will be. Two time MVP speaks for it self, Wades never been anywere near that, and with LeBron on his team he never will be either.

    The more interesting team is how they should reason with finals MVP, its pretty fair to make the argument it should always go to the teams MVP. Its hardly unfair to say Tim Duncan was the MVP of all Spurs championships, Isiah the MVP of his teams, and even slightly more controversial (at least in this thread) Shaq of his. Without those guys on the team, not even a remote chance of a championship. The fact that they recive some help in the finals dont change that.

    They actually did it "my way" this year, Gasol could easily be picked as the finals best player but the MVP reward went to the MVP aka Kobe.

  45. Cloud King Says:

    how would Gasol be finals best player? He had like 2 games where he shot better than Kobe and he's a PF!

  46. James Says:

    Garnett should've won it as well in '08, Pierce got the award for basically one game (Game 4).

  47. huevonkiller Says:

    Huevokiller, I'm done after this because your use of statistics is so selective and one-sided that it's not even worth talking to you.

    "Huevon", that's what it says. You don't see me calling you "Age"...

    I try to be balanced and give credit to LBJ where its due, but your arguments are so skewed that they make this discussion no longer worthwhile.

    The way you bend over backwards trying to brush off chokage, inferior production, and serious injury amazes me. Stop crying about the elbow if you don't want me to bring up 2005,2007,2008.

    Why exactly are you here anyway btw? I don't have to say anything else, this site validates me completely. That is the purpose of this place you know.

    I'll give you an example. If you read my #@%!ing statement, what I said was that Wade holds the record for playoff points scored in a player's first three years. LeBron didn't even make the playoffs until his third year.I didn't say Wade holds the record for playoff points in a player's first three playoffs. I said first three years, as in years in the league. My purpose in pointing that out is, again, to demonstrate again that Wade was one of the best young playoff performers the league has ever seen.

    While trying to bring up some completely pointless complaint, you missed my point entirely.

    I don't care about your inferior statistic that ignores all advanced metrics. I've shown their value now 7 years into their career, so much for that stat proving anything. This isn't the first three years of their career debate.

    In general, I'm not sure if you are speaking out of fear or arrogance. It could be fear because LeBron is joining a team where he there is another player who is his virtual equal, and there's a very real possibility he may not end up being the best performer. Or maybe it is arrogance, and you actually have deluded yourself into thinking that James is on some other plane than everyone else(did you something in the choking in the playoffs? Boston series in 2008 and 2010 certainly qualify).

    It is logic that drives me. As well as seeing Wade choking in the first round then you excusing him for having a weak stomach and shoulder, and all the little injuries that caused him to blow three playoff seasons completely.

    He wasn't hurt in 2009 though, I'll give him that. He just shot like trash. Also I never said he was a bad basketball player, just Kobe level or T-Mac level.

    Regardless, this will all play out on the court. And what you, I, or any writer has to say about it won't matter at all. And if one or the other of James or Wade does end up being the better player, there will be nowhere to hide from that truth, no matter what any of us say.

    So just say this from the start, and save us both some time.

  48. huevonkiller Says:

    @Jay Kay.

    Yeah those are my thoughts as well, specifically the Kareem example. I've discussed that before elsewhere, thanks for bringing it up.

    Also it is pretty clear Shaq was a monster in the Finals, 36 PPG 59 TS% in those 3 wins. Totally kill Kobe and Anon X 2's favorite player. ;)

  49. Jason J Says:

    anon2 #39 - i'm very interested to see some lineups where they really work lebron off the ball alot - particularly where they have him playing the 4 either with Bosh at the 5 or with Bosh sitting. his speed away from the ball will be very difficult for opposing bigs to match.

  50. Leroy Smith Says:

    Wow, I can't beleive that two guys are arguing about Wade and Bron as if they still play for different squads. Dudes, they are on the same side now. The best part is the guy who keeps calling Wade trash, but then says that his production is only slightly below LBJ's. I think Bron is better as well, but I would have to disagree that Wade choked away every playoff series he's ever been a part of. This is supposed to be about how well will they work together. If you guys want to see them go at eachother, you have to go to youtube where they have some great vids of them palying against eachother.