LeBron James is seen by many as the greatest NBA player of all-time, but one retired former All-Star thinks that James would have been less successful had he arrived in the league even ten years earlier.
Detroit Pistons great Rasheed Wallace appeared recently on “The Million Dollaz Worth of Game” podcast. Wallace touched on the differences between his era and the modern era as well as how James may have fared back then.
“He probably would’ve done good with his physical stature, with him being bigger than the majority of the rest of the players,” said Wallace. “So he probably would’ve held his own. But I don’t think he would be as successful as he is now. It’s a whole different era back then. I couldn’t necessarily say that he would’ve been a beast. But I think he would’ve held his own.”
Wallace, who played in the league from 1995 to 2013, actually had plenty of overlap with James, who entered in 2003. In fact, James’ coming-of-age moment came against Wallace and the Pistons when he scored 25 straight points to help down them in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals.
The point Wallace appears to be making is that basketball used to look a lot different in his heyday. In the early 2000s, defense was king, and it was not uncommon to see 74-73 final scores. In an effort to improve the fan viewing experience, the NBA then proceeded to ban hand-checking, implement the defensive three-second violation, and call stricter blocking fouls. Those rule changes essentially opened up the lane significantly for offensive players. On top of the three-point revolution of recent years, you might see that same 74-73 score at halftime nowadays.
Still, James, with his size, strength, athleticism, and IQ, likely would have adapted to and ultimately dominated any era of NBA basketball. But that won’t stop Wallace and other older-timers from having these kinds of takes.
H/T Lakers Daily
Paul Pierce is finally speaking out on his firing from ESPN and is throwing a stray at LeBron James in the process.
The retired former All-Star spoke with Chris Mannix of SI this week. In the interview, Pierce opened up about his Instagram Live video that led his termination by ESPN as well as his issues with the network.
“I was done with them, anyway,” said Pierce. “It wasn’t a great fit. There’s a lot of stuff over there that you can’t say. And you have to talk about LeBron all the time.
“Come on, I didn’t do anything illegal,” Pierce went on. “These motherf—–s in the Hall of Fame, some did [cocaine], f—ing battery. What the f— did I do? I was just having a good time. All the people coming after me, half you motherf—–s do the same s—. You’re just hiding it. And you all are married while you’re doing it. I’m divorced, I’m retired, I’m having fun.”
Mannix’s story also adds that the relationship between Pierce and ESPN had been strained for the last two years prior to the video, which featured Pierce playing poker at a friend’s house while drinking, smoking, and mingling with strippers. Pierce hated the travel involved with his job at ESPN, and network executives did not think he was working hard enough. The video was reportedly the last straw for the network.
The 43-year-old Pierce, who had been working as an NBA analyst for ESPN, got fired in April. He has since taken other public shots at his ex-employer.
As for James, he was Pierce’s longtime rival in the Eastern Conference. This is obviously far from the first time that ESPN has gotten criticized for their perceived over-coverage of The King.
LeBron James helped put an end to the DeMar DeRozan era in Toronto, but he would still like to see the team do right by DeRozan.
The four-time MVP James responded to a post on Instagram this weekend asking if the Raptors should retire DeRozan’s No. 10 jersey. James commented in all caps, “THATS A REAL QUESTION??? LOL. ABSOLUTELY THEY SHOULD.”
DeRozan, now with the Chicago Bulls, never got to win a title with Toronto. They traded him to the San Antonio Spurs in 2018 after getting swept in the second round by James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors then went on to win their first-ever NBA championship the very next season led by Kawhi Leonard, the player they dealt DeRozan for.
Still, DeRozan is one of the most important players in Raptors franchise history. He made four All-Star teams and two All-NBA teams in his nine seasons in Toronto. DeRozan is also beloved as one of the rare homegrown stars to emerge from the Raptors. But there may be some lingering hard feelings on DeRozan’s part over the way his time in Toronto ended.
Jared Dudley barely played for the Los Angeles Lakers, but it’s quite clear that his departure from the team is viewed as a big blow by the team’s stars.
Speaking to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, Dudley admitted that he had expected to return to the Lakers, saying it was “crazy” that he was not brought back. The 36-year-old added that he had no hard feelings toward the organization, but had tried to convince the team to bring him back to the point that he was willing to play on a non-guaranteed contract.
“Obviously LeBron and A.D. wanted me back,” Dudley said. “But we just couldn’t convince them.”
How serious were some Lakers about bringing Dudley back? According to Plaschke, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook all lobbied the front office to keep Dudley, but their overtures were rebuffed. With that option out, Dudley opted to retire and join Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd’s staff as an assistant.
James did not hide his anger at Dudley’s departure when the news came out. Dudley was regarded as a key locker room presence who kept the team’s stars on the same page and was widely beloved by teammates. Given his eagerness to return, it’s surprising the Lakers weren’t willing to find a way to accommodate him.
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HBO’s annual series “Hard Knocks” has been a big winner for the NFL. Viewers enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at a team’s training camp, and the series consistently draws a lot of buzz for the league.
That is perhaps why LeBron James thinks the NBA could use its own version. James, a longtime fan of the Dallas Cowboys, is clearly enjoying this year’s version spotlighting the team. The Los Angeles Lakers star said watching the series makes him want a similar version for the NBA — preseason only, of course.
James’ stance may put him in the minority. It’s a well-known fact that most NFL teams hate the idea of being featured on “Hard Knocks,” as the constant presence of cameras can often be disruptive and distracting. It’s why the league actually has a set of criteria for being featured on the show, and can essentially force teams to take part no matter how much they don’t want to.
James could probably volunteer the Lakers if he feels strongly about it. The additions of Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony alone would make them a very intriguing subject.
LeBron James is not happy at all about losing the real MVP of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Veteran forward Jared Dudley has reportedly agreed to a deal to become an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks. Dudley will join the staff of former Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, who is now the head coach of the Mavs.
James, who had been teammates with Dudley for the last two seasons, had a vulgar reaction to the news of Dudley’s departure.
“Congrats to my guy if this true, which [it] probably is!” tweeted James. “But [facepalm emoji] man!! F–K”
“Excuse my language but [this] one hurt!!” the four-time MVP added. “For many reasons that you wouldn’t understand.”
Dudley was a member of the Lakers’ 2020 championship team. While the 36-year-old was no longer contributing much on the floor, Dudley had been universally lauded as a steady locker room presence.
A 14-year veteran, Dudley also served as the Lakers’ unofficial hype man. It sounds like James will definitely miss having him as a teammate.
Draymond Green is LeBron James’ longtime rival on the court, but Green feels similar to The King in at least one regard.
The Golden State Warriors star responded to one of his fan accounts on social media this week. The fan posted some of Green’s best stat lines from the 2020-21 season, including several triple-doubles or near-triple-doubles.
Green reposted the tweet to his Instagram Story and made a funny reference to James.
“@kingjames the washed king but I’m somewhere on the all washed team too,” wrote Green along with several laughing-face emojis.
James often refers to himself as “#WashedKing” on social media to poke fun at all the critics who think that his skills are declining. He most recently used the hashtag in response to being snubbed in an ESPN list.
As for Green, who is close friends with James off the court, he actually had a career-high 8.9 assists per game last season to go along with 7.0 points and 7.1 rebounds. Green also made his fourth All-Defensive First Team and is coming off a gold medal win with Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics. Thus, you should sleep on Green (plus James for that matter) at your own risk.
LeBron James and Stephen Curry are arguably the two greatest players of this generation of NBA basketball. One mutual teammate has a preference between the two in one regard though.
During an “Ask Me Anything” session for Bleacher Report this week, new Phoenix Suns big man JaVale McGee received a question asking who he enjoyed playing with more between James and Curry.
“I would probably say LeBron the first year I was on the Lakers,” he replied.
McGee won NBA titles with both players, doing so with Curry in 2017 and 2018, then with James in 2020. For what it’s worth, McGee had perhaps the best season and the biggest role of his career in his first year with the Lakers in 2018-19. He averaged 12.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game. That compares to just 5.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in 9.5 minutes per game over two seasons with Curry in Golden State.
While they did have a bit of a checkered past before becoming teammates, James clearly helped get the best out of McGee in Los Angeles.
Photo: All-Pro Reels/Flickr via cc by-sa 2.0
LeBron James is about to enter Year 19 in the NBA, but he still clearly sees himself as the best player in the league.
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps polled ten NBA scouts and executives this week on a number of different topics. One such topic was “Who is the best player in the NBA heading into the 2021-22 season?” Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant and Milwaukee Bucks reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo tied for first place with five votes each. James, meanwhile, failed to receive even a single vote.
The Los Angeles Lakers star tweeted out an apparent response shortly after, thanking the panel for providing him with more fuel heading into the year.
James, who will be 37 later this year, turned in a 2020-21 season not far off from his peak production. He averaged 25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game despite missing significant time with a high ankle sprain.
The four-time MVP has been widely seen as the best player in the NBA for over a decade now but obviously cannot remain so forever. James apparently does not think he has fallen off his perch yet though and will look forward to a season where many are writing off both him and his teammates.
This year’s No. 1 overall pick is showing love to another former No. 1 overall pick in the greatest of all-time conversation.
Appearing this week on “Da Windy City with Marc Carman,” Detroit Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham said that he believes LeBron James is the “GOAT” over Michael Jordan. Cunningham explained that James is the best player that he has ever personally seen play.
“It’s hard for me to put somebody ahead of LeBron cause LeBron is the best player I’ve seen with my eyes,” said Cunningham. “Trust me I’ve seen all the Michael Jordan stuff, dude is different. I can’t argue with the fact that you think he is the ‘GOAT.’ But in my eyes I say LeBron.”
Keep in mind that Cunningham is still a teenager, having been born in late 2001. That means that Jordan was long retired before he was old enough to follow basketball, leaving Cunningham to rely on YouTube highlights and films like “The Last Dance.”
In any case, James and Jordan are widely seen as neck-and-neck in the “GOAT” conversation with James improving his standing by winning his fourth career championship last year. Still, many of those who are old enough to have faced both players seem to have a different opinion.
H/T Lakers Daily