LeBron Lands a Playmate

Not that he needed it, but LeBron James finally has a legitimate playmate to help him try to win a ring.

Of your teammates before Antawn Jamison, what say you, LeBron?

They weren’t enough to make you commit to sticking around, causing Cleveland to take advantage of a waning rival’s fire sale. The Washington Wizards have officially mortgaged their present for their future, thanks in large part to the combustible¬† Gilbert Arenas and his lofty gun-toting ways of the Wild Wild West. Since everyone and their mother has a take on this deal, I won’t bore you with much linkage.

Rescued from the slums of Washington and brought to bask in the glow of LeBron, Antawn Jamison can't help but smile.

Instead, let’s focus on what this REALLY means for Cleveland in terms of a) the Eastern Conference Playoffs and b) what will happen if they advance into the NBA Finals

a) Cleveland has all but wrapped up the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, despite Boston and Orlando being mathematically alive and well. Those teams know they’re chasing the Cavs at this point, and are not so much interested in ascertaining the #1 seed as they are battling it out for #2. The Cavs traded away Big Z, who they could potentially get back if Washington opts to buy him out, and got a smaller but more mobile guy to aid LeBron in his quest for some bling that his record-breaking Nike contract can’t afford him.

Antawn is a great pickup for any squad, contending or not contending. He pumps out 20 and 10 seasons like Columbia University hands out Pulitzer Prizes (as if they were candy). He’s a serious catch like Ben Affleck in She’s Just Not That Into You. Oh yeah, I watched it-mostly scrounging for any scene with Scarlett Johansson that I would use as gratitude to my sweet eyes for sticking it out with me for 22.5 years and rarely relenting. Thanks, eyes. Your gift? Scarlett Johansson getting groped by Bradley Cooper.

Back to my original point: look for Antawn to fit in well with this team. He’s an all-around great guy that will have no problem meshing with an already superb locker room atmosphere. Who knows, he may even teach fatass Shaq a thing or two about humility and class.

That being said, do not mistake this trade as a free ride to the NBA Finals and/or Championship. Antawn’s really good-but the entire Cleveland team is not built like a conventional championship team. In fact, the reason they’ve been able to get away with that is because of the unique skill set of LeBron. That’s what Cleveland is-a compilation of misfit players that otherwise wouldn’t fit the mold of any other teams’ desires.

Consider Mo Williams, who looks way too much like the dad from House Party. The guy is an undersized shooting guard, and not quite a point guard. He hoists up shots but can dole out assists. That’s both good and bad-he’s not the typical starting backcourt player on a championship team. He is taller than some point guards, but shorter than all shooting guards, making him a defensive liability.

Next, think about the number of swingmen Cleveland has. Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker-these guys would normally be small forwards, except LBJ occupies that role. Also, they wouldn’t normally be starting. They’re simply not that good-they’re good defenders and athletic finishers at the rim, but other than that, they aren’t good enough to start on most other contending teams.

Then think about the big men they have. Anderson Varejao? Really, Cleveland? You inked this guy for $50 some odd million two years ago and think you can ride his curls mixed with LeBron’s receding hairline to an NBA Championship?

I’m sorry, but I just don’t see that happening. The Cavs made this trade for two reasons:

1. Get LBJ some help/firepower

2. Get better to beat the Lakers

They accomplished one, but at the cost of two, in my estimation.

With Antawn, they can spread the floor, something they already did effectively. However, he’s a guy that can score in tough spots, make weird shots, and can rebound like crazy. That’s a plus. The problem is, Big Z and Shaq were guys that could potentially give Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum fits defensively. We watched it twice this season-Big Z got under Pau’s skin, forcing him to play like a weenie, and Mountain Drew didn’t bring it when juxtaposed with Shaq.

Antawn? Too small to cover either of them. Instead, they’ll be forced to rely on Varejao, Jamison, and Shaq to deal with Pau, Drew, and Lamar. I don’t think that’s a fair fight. Maybe if this was 2000 Shaq, but it’s 2010 Shaq, who shouldn’t make readers think that “2010 Shaq” is his weight accompanying his name, which I can’t say isn’t happening right now.

So, if nothing else, we see that b) will not work out for them, even if they accomplish a).

They are not going to beat the Lakers with a smaller lineup than the Lakers. A healthy Cavs versus a healthy Lakers team in the Finals will result in the Lakers winning in 6. When it comes to winning the East, consider Shaq’s recent domination of Dwight Howard to be fool’s gold. He might be getting under Howard’s skin now, but come playoff time, we all know that Howard is going to turn it up a few notches-especially when SVG finally turns him loose.

The man is quite time right now. And don’t sleep on Boston. They’re very old, but if they get Cleveland in the second round, call it Boston in 7-and you heard it here first. If Cleveland draws Boston in the ECF, then they’ll probably win due to age wearing down the C’s best players, save Rajon Rondo.

However, the Lakers have their own problems to worry about out West, and they start with Carmelo and end with Billups. While I still envision the Lakers beating any team out West in 6 games tops, that doesn’t mean the Nuggets aren’t capable of winning it all. I could see them toppling the Cavaliers in the Finals as LeBron gets exploited for his over-rated one-on-one defense and Chauncey uses his veteran savvy and big-shot making ability to make Mo Williams look silly out there.

If Chauncey is dangerous enough for Kobe to have to guard him, imagine what he could do to Mo Williams.

Even with the addition of Antawn, the Nuggets are well-equipped to deal with any sort of lineup the Cavs can throw out them. They have versatile bigs like Nene and Chris Andersen that can stick with a guy like Antawn and turn the tables on the pest that is Varejao.

In fact, these two teams play tonight in what could be a not-so-bizarro NBA Finals matchup. That is, of course, if the headlining act of Boston Celtics @ Los Angeles Lakers doesn’t pan out.

And despite all the recent trades, I still have little reason to believe it won’t.

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6 Responses to “LeBron Lands a Playmate”

  1. chappy81 Says:

    Well if the scenario you said plays out and the Cavs meet the Lakers in the finals, what makes you think the Lakers will be healthy? Bynum doesn’t stay on the court for more than 20 games at a time, so count him out. One thing about Cleveland is that they don’t really need a PG, when they have Lebron to give the ball to. Mo just needs to hit a few shots here and there, and take over on possesions when Lebron needs that in-game break. Long way to go though! We’ll see where everyone’s at in a couple months.

  2. Anthony Burrola Says:

    That was the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. If it’s not a knee, Bynum will be fine. And since his knee is not what’s been keeping out this year, assume he will be fine. Isn’t that what everyone does? We don’t make matchup comparisons with injury taken into account unless someone is injured in a way that could effect them down the road. A bruised hip? Get out of here.

  3. Klasky Says:

    Haha, well anthony…this appears to be your first “hater”. Fair enough i suppose, however i was under the impression that you have to use valid points when arguing with someone.

  4. Fred Says:

    Is it weird to say I’m scared of Denver more than Cleavland?

  5. Laron Says:

    No, not as weird as being a Clippers fan.

  6. Anthony Burrola Says:

    He’s not a hater, and if he was, he wouldn’t be my first. And Fred, it is not weird in the slightest. Denver is a more talented team and Carmelo is a more talented scorer than LBJ.

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