In his defense of Isiah Thomas as the best small point guard ever (better than Chris Paul) Bill Simmons points out one thing – early on, Zeke figured out sacrificing some individual stats to help his teammates grow would lead to titles. The same made the difference between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Kobe figured it out and made the Lakers bring in Pau Gasol. Even Michael Jordan had to accept he couldn’t do it on his own.
How great LeBron is in this department is still to be determined. On one hand, LeBron always worked on his playmaking skills. For a while, the criticism was he was too willing to share the ball. Lebron will pass up a good shot for a teammates’ better shot – James doesn’t have that “my contested shot is better than your open shot” bug in the system.
But many of his former teammates said that’s one of the most difficult shots in basketball – an open shot assisted by LeBron. You don’t get to miss many of those without consequences. You’re not just missing a shot by LeBron “The King” James, you are also pissing off LeBron “GM” James. Few know it better than Kevin Love.
The impenetrability of the locker room is a sanctity. If there’s a problem, a god team deal with it behind closed doors. Passive-aggressive tweets directed at your teammate are the complete opposite of it. I would respect LeBron more if he had called out Love directly. Everyone knew who he was talking about, and it goes against everything we know about good leadership and building team unity. Then LeBron did the expected thing – blamed the media.
Love explained how difficult the transition to Cleveland was. He came from Minessota where he was “the guy,” but never got close to title contention to being the third-string in Cleveland and a title expectation from day one. To paint a picture of the dysfunction in Minnesota, Love pointed out one year they rotated through 27 players on the roster.
The same as Chris Bosh, Love sacrificed most in the big three. He basically became a rebounder and three-point shooter, knowing Kyrie and LeBron will control the pace and style of the game. Love was cool with that but wanted some recognition of the sacrifice he made.
“All I wanted from those guys was to get some recognition ‘This guy sacrificed a lot. His learning curve to do that is a little bit different.‘”Kevin Love, Pardon My Take
Being subtweeted by basketball’s biggest star doesn’t help with that. Love mentioned he never addressed the tweet with Lebron, they just moved on. James figured out it was the wrong thing to do, as he would later work on including Love in team activities.