The Pistons Love The New LeBron

May 23, 2007 – 6:38 pm by McD

It’s been a discussion point on every major sports talk-show on television and radio. Everyone is dissecting it. Everyone has an opinion about it. Skip Bayless probably even got angry about it. It’s as though LeBron had never passed before. Indeed, it’s as though Passgate stopped the earth on its axis for those brief seconds that James’s pass was in the air followed by Donyell Marshall’s errant shot in the waning seconds of Game 1. Everyone is down on LeBron James, to an almost absurd degree.

Now the Pistons are weighing in on the matter. And guess what? They’re all for LeBron passing up the big shots and deferring to his crappy supporting cast. Surprise, surprise.

“It was the right basketball play,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders. “It’s called using your teammates, and that’s what LeBron did.”

In other words, keep passing up shots, Bron-Bron, so we’ll have juice left for the NBA Finals against the Spurs, er, whoever wins the Western Conference. Why wouldn’t they want one of the best three players in the league passing the ball more? If the tables were turned and Rip Hamilton was driving in traffic and kicked out to Billups on the wing, everyone would laud him for making the right play. Why the different media treatment for King James?

Duh, because he’s way better than Rip Hamilton. He also had more basketball talent around him when he was on The Simpsons than on the current Cleveland roster. And that team would have had Warren Sapp playing power forward and Michelle Kwan at the point. Maybe if James were surrounded by great spot-up shooters like, say, Jason Kapono, things might have been different. Oh wait, Kapono and his career 46% average from three was in Cleveland just a couple of years ago. Just to be mean, let’s do the math on this one: Kapono’s career three point percentage is .459 while 34 year-old Donyell Marshall’s career average is .349. You see, 46% is better than 35%. Nice one there, Cavs.

Let’s face it, the Big Sports Media want the Pistons to win. It’s a much bigger story for them if LeBron continues to be unable to get his team a championship than if he elevates his game and becomes the transcendent player of his generation. There are only so many ways to say that LeBron James is good at basketball. But there are tons of ways to write a “why can’t LeBron win the big one?” article. A lot of these guys are so old that they already spent a lot of their careers praising Michael Jordan and they don’t want to have to end their careers lauding LeBron James.

Our advice to LeBron James is this: when your opposition is in the press telling you to keep playing a certain way, chances are you need to re-evaluate what you’re doing. It also means that they’re terrified of you. Even though Donyell Marshall sucks, his shot still almost went in, so keep playing like you’ve been playing. Oh, and pray that Cleveland’s management becomes competent soon so you wont’ have to keep passing to the Donyell Marshall’s of the world.

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