With everyone pointing out how LeBron James made the correct decision now that the Miami Heat is up 2-0 in their best of seven series against the Celtics, it’s time to take a look back.
First, James is getting all kinds of credit for tempering his game and allowing Dwyane Wade to be the focal point at times. But was he willing to do that in Cleveland?
How many times did James take the ball from his teammates and spend countless seconds dribbling at the top of the key looking for his shot?
In retrospect, James didn’t trust the other guys wearing the wine and gold. Granted, there was no one the equal of Wade on the Cavalier roster, but there were players like Mo Williams, Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison who have and can make plays.
However, the front office made some mistakes as well. They tried to make deals to bring more talent in, no question about that, but they made errors in talent judgment as well.
The first mistake made was by coach Mike Brown and his handling of first round draft pick Shannon Brown.
No one knows what goes on in the locker room, and perhaps Brown’s attitude was questionable in the eyes of the coaching staff, but this guy has some ability, but he was never given a real chance to play in Cleveland.
He has proven to be good enough to be a contributor on two NBA title teams with the Lakers, averaging 8.7 points this season.
Brown could have been a guy who could get out on the fast break with James and been part of a lethal fast break.
Even in his rookie year, we thought Brown should have been brought along slowly so he could have been a factor in the playoffs.
Instead, he played just 202 minutes for the season.
Another opportunity to bring in a player to complement James was wasted in 2009 when then GM Danny Ferry picked Christian Eyenga on the first round.
Eyenga looks like he has some ability and may be a contributor down the line, but he couldn’t play immediately and that’s what the Cavs needed.
To take Eyenga, Ferry passed on several players who are contributors on good teams. However, at the time, the two guys people were clamoring for were former Pitt Panthers: Sam Young and DeJuan Blair.
Young started 46 games for a Memphis team that has reached the second round of this year’s playoffs, averaging 7.3 points per game, shooting 47% from the floor. Certainly, he could have helped out last year when he had similar numbers.
Blair played in 81 games, starting 65 for the #1 seed in the Western Conference, San Antonio. He averaged 8 points and 7 rebounds, shooting 50% from the floor. He certainly could have been in the mix last season as an inside player because he got minutes with the Spurs last season.
James probably made up his mind to leave the Cavaliers before the season ended last year because, in his mind, he didn’t have enough help.
Would having guys like Brown, Young or Blair on the roster have swayed him? Probably not.
But that doesn’t mean that Mike Brown and Danny Ferry should be off the hook either. All of those guys are contributors for good teams in the NBA.
They could have helped here as well.