It took about 48 hours for LeBron James to go from being allegedly "snubbed" in MVP balloting to the he's-not-as-good-as-Michael-Jordan insults after the Cavs lost a 21-point lead in a Game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics.
The Cavs aren't losing the East finals series. If that does happen, then we can revisit the LeBron-Jordan debate but comparing greats who played in different eras is difficult and oftentimes pointless.
Different rules. Different style of play. Different NBA. Everything else is speculation, guesswork and a reciting of numbers and stats as if they prove everything and anything is flawed, too.
But the bigger issue is every time James isn't voted the league MVP that it's some type of snub. It's about as ridiculous as the narrative that James, 32, was better than ever in the postseason as Cleveland won 10 games in a row. This, of course, was before Sunday's loss to Boston. Funny how that dissipated quickly.
Anyone remember the four-game sweep of the Indiana Pacers in the first round? The Cavs hardly looked unbeatable vs. Paul George and a cast of mostly nobodies.
When Cleveland is on, they have more shotmakers than anyone in the East. But defensively they're hit or miss (mostly miss).
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No, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard -- the MVP finalists based on 100 media voters (myself included) -- had better 82-game seasons. All three are worthy. If one of them were unworthy, then that would be a snub.
And for those of you who quickly recite numbers as exclusive proof: Leonard and Harden had teams with more wins. Westbrook's had just four fewer. And the best record in the league, 67-win Golden State, didn't have anyone finish in the top three.
There's no player anyone would rather have than LeBron James in the playoffs. But why is it so hard to grasp that MVP is a regular-season award? What happens after the middle of April doesn't apply.
James' offensive numbers are great, but he hasn't been a reliable one-on-one defender for several seasons now. Chasedown blocks don't count. Neither do plus-minus ratings.
If James wants to feel snubbed -- "Fourth? I haven't been fourth in a long time," he told reporters -- so be it. He's entitled to feel that way. But after four MVPs already, where James ranks compared to the all-time greats won't be determined by how many more regular-season accolades he accrues.
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He's wise to dial it down during the regular season to save himself. James has appeared in 1,061 regular-season games. He has played in more than 200 playoff games.
It's about what happens in the postseason. He wasn't snubbed for MVP. It's not unreasonable to mention James in the same sentence as Jordan.
Compare that to 2011 when he appeared in the NBA Finals for the first time with the Miami Heat, where he eloped for what would be a four-year stretch before returning home. He underperformed in getting schooled by the Dallas Mavericks in losing that series. He led Cleveland from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals to beat a 73-win team in Golden State that was being compared to Jordan's 72-win Bulls.
James has come a long way. Maybe he continues to make steps to add to his dossier. Maybe he doesn't win another ring. But only when his career is complete can his place actually be fairly determined.
All the rest of the chatter is just for page views.
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