If this NBA season has taught us anything, it’s that LeBron James’ decision to abandon Cleveland was not exactly misguided, at least outside of that whole terrible execution thing. (Involving Jim Gray in anything pretty much guarantees you of terrible execution). The woeful supporting cast he had with the Cavaliers has been made abundantly clear by the team’s current neverending losing streak.
But that does not mean joining his superfriends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami was the best choice for LeBron.
The emergence of Blake Griffin as the first rookie All-Star since 2003 gives credence to a once absurd notion: the best team for LeBron to land with would have been the Los Angeles Clippers.
There was some speculation over the summer that the Clippers were in the running to get LeBron, but it was pretty much laughed off since, hey, they’re the Clippers. Going to the Clips would have seemed like the chumpest move ever at the time. But the thought of Griffin as LeBron’s primary frontcourt running mate instead of Chris Bosh brings a demented smile to my face. What rim would stand a chance against that dynamic duo?
Futhermore, the Clips would still have a capable outside scoring threat in the form of Eric Gordon, who has a lot more mileage left on his tires than Wade and could put up sick numbers with everyone collapsing on the dynamic duo inside. Not only do I think that James-Griffin-Gordon would have made a better Big 3 in the long run, the Clippers also have a better potential supporting cast in the starting lineup than the Heat.
The injury to Chris Kaman has led to the emergence of young stud DeAndre Jordan at center, and the return of Kaman from injury would give LA a pair of big men better than the ancient stiffs like Zydrunas Illgauskas and Erick Dampier that the Heat trot out there.
A Baron Davis who actually gives a crap is one of the better point guards in the league — it just takes a bit of doing for him to appear — but with LeBron on the team, you get the feeling that Good Baron would show up all the time since LeBron threatening to kick your ass is probably more intimidating than Donald Sterling heckling you. I also think that backup point guard Eric Bledsoe is another young player with potential to be a solid NBA starter in the future — let’s not forget how good another point guard from Kentucky, Rajon Rando, became after a couple years of seasoning. I do know I like those two a lot better than Carlos Arroyo/Mario Chalmers.
One more thing. Had LeBron gone to LA instead of Miami, no one would have called him out for joining “someone else’s team.” The Clippers would be his team, pure and simple. There would be no doubting his alpha dog status in that locker room.
As LeBron’s 51-point effort against the Magic showed on Thursday night, he’s still the best damn player in the world. Good enough that someday he’ll probably still win a championship, comic sans missives be damned. But as strange as it sounds, I think he passed up on the chance to win even more by joining the Heat instead of the Clippers.