ROI: Developing an accurate understanding of how the NBA game actually works
Two seemingly unrelated articles about how a good many NBA observers fail to “see” the game today, compared to previous generations:
In the 1960s, Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics won multiple MVPs and was generally considered the game’s best player. He had virtually no offensive game to speak of. I sometimes contend that if Russell played today, with his awkward offensive skills, ESPN’s public opinion makers would persuade the public to believe Russell was an ordinary player of questionable value. My hunch is he would be viewed today in the same light the public views Tyson Chandler or Marcus Camby.
LeBron James should be careful not to listen to criticism from his inferiors, people who never played the game like him and don’t really understand how to win something. Young man, keep that mess out of your head. Everything you are doing and saying is right.
Sure, James could hunt for offense a lot more aggressively — if he wants to suck the life out of the Miami Heat. Maybe his critics would be happier if he went 3 for 30 and ruined the flow for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Since when does a refusal to overshoot when you aren’t knocking down shots qualify as poor leadership? And since when does a stat line of nine rebounds and seven assists qualify as a horribly passive performance? And since when is unselfishness a flaw?
I’ll tell you since when. Ever since the sublime talents of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant deceived star worshippers into thinking that NBA greatness is defined by lone wolfness. Ever since their stunning scorer’s mentalities seduced their admirers into forgetting that without Phil Jackson, and his relentless insistence on sharing the ball, neither won so much as one ring. Not one.
There is something off in the way James is being treated by his critics.
which are, in fact, intrinsically related to one another.