湖人版詹姆斯的伟大与无奈

发布:Jerry 时间:2019-03-30 20:00 阅读:120 点击收藏

LeBron-looking-down-1024x683.jpg
作者:DARIUS SORIANO
译者:LamY
校对:小A&邦邦

今年这支湖人再一次无缘季后赛,这一消息我们都知道一段时间了。或许是在篮网正式终结湖人的季后赛希望之前,又或许是在3月2日他们在关键一战输给联盟垫底的太阳之前,但无论如何,至少现在大家都知道了。

尽管湖人本赛季再次陷入低谷,但勒布朗·詹姆斯依然继续用数据捍卫着他在球队的地位。在3月份的10场比赛中,他场均得到29.8分、9.4次助攻、8.1个篮板;其中5场比赛助攻过双,拿下两次三双(包括周日晚对阵国王队),另外还有两场只是少了一个篮板的准三双数据。

他的数据依旧华丽,最近还得到了极大的飞跃,这不仅值得注意,还值得称赞。他一直以来都表现得这么好,极具观赏性。

但另一个有趣的事情发生了。当早些时候勒布朗说他要比往常更早地“激活”季后赛模式时,很多人拿他和湖人开起了玩笑,结果却是湖人以“相信过程”的76人队都拍手叫好的速度输掉了多场比赛。但是,当我们看到詹姆斯的效率时,很难争辩勒布朗没有提高他的竞技状态。我的意思是30+8+9的数据不是那么容易拿到的。

尽管如此,湖人还是输球了。他们输球的原因很重要(就正如为什么他们能击败国王队)。这些东西对于我来说很重要,但为了这篇文章,我打算忽略他们来得出一个不同观点。

你看,勒布朗最近的表现可以从两方面评价。

首先,勒布朗仍然是一名了不起的篮球运动员,一个职业生涯很少出现重大风险的球员。我有理由相信他可能会慢节奏下来——他的职业生涯时间、工作量,加上他职业生涯中第一次严重受伤,再加上他整体运动能力的明显下降,这些都是讨论的关键部分。尽管如此,他仍然保持着联盟中少数人能达到的水平。他阅读比赛的能力,以及准确理解如何得分、助攻和影响比赛的能力仍然令人难以置信。

其次,这些影响已不同于过去。在湖人签下勒布朗之后,我写了关于勒布朗现在和他的队友之间的共生关系,以及这与他第一次在骑士做球队的火车头有什么不同。从这段文字:

当他与埃里克·斯诺、布比·吉布森或者莫·威廉姆斯搭档时,结果都一样。当他与卡洛斯·布泽尔或者德鲁·古登搭档时,结果也会是一样。当他与大Z或者安德森·瓦莱乔搭档,结果都还会是一样。我不是在贬低其中的任何一位,他们都为球队贡献着自己的价值,他们都是优秀的球员。只是勒布朗与众不同,他是另外的一种“优秀”。

勒布朗在2011年转会至热火队,又在2014年回归骑士队。然而此时事情发生了变化,球队人员围绕着他进一步优化,具体来说,即出发点不是简单地考虑詹姆斯能够如何优化他的队友了。

每一个位置都强调投篮,可以无限换防的侧翼和外线球员变得更有价值。高质量的控球和至少有一个能投篮的外线球员几乎是必要的。至少有一个强壮的大个子在后防线上防守,在进攻端上制造麻烦,而且场上还需要一个油漆区终结者。这些是一个球队应有的阵容模型,这将帮助勒布朗成为世界上最好的球员,而不是想当然地认为他能大包大揽去做一切事情。

从克里斯·波什变成凯文·乐福,德怀恩·韦德变成凯里·欧文,肖恩·巴蒂尔变成JR·史密斯和伊曼·香伯特,雷·阿伦变成凯尔·科沃尔,安德森变成特里斯坦·汤普森……热火和骑士的阵容力量不仅被勒布朗惊人的天赋所激发,同时也能提升他自己,确保他的天赋成为并转换为极具杀伤力的武器。

理所当然地,湖人也应该这样做。一个值得质疑的问题是如今他们的排兵布阵如何?同时他们还需要采取怎样的行动使得他们更团结?

如今湖人版的勒布朗依旧优秀,但是正如上文所提到的,他需要特定的队友来激发最佳状态的自己在目前来说似乎尤为重要。不要误会我的意思,勒布朗依然能够得分,依然能影响比赛,但要以赢50+场比赛的方式来影响比赛……这与10年前的情况完全不同。

不过,也许一开始就用这种方式讨论是愚蠢的,毕竟“孤掌难鸣”,湖人队知道他们要面对的是在延长的职业黄金期末尾的勒布朗。与不那么受人尊敬的同时代人相比,超级精英们能够抵御时间老人的时间更长,但每个人都得面对那一天的来临。勒布朗的时代可能还没有结束,但他肯定需要一群特别的队友将他这一火车头来围住,保护他。

然而,理解这一点的重要性并不在于你我这样的人。湖人的管理层不会在这个角度上考虑,把沃顿放在前锋和中锋的位置上,这样就像把一些笨蛋放在桌子上一样,通过封杀他来宣告胜利。球队的前进需要一定程度的自我反思和真正得分,这不仅仅只是把每个部分拼凑在一起,还需要理解和认识到这些部分的价值。

对于勒布朗来说,这并不意味着把他排除在外。就像这并不意味着要接受另一种极端的想法,即年轻球员最终会成为救世主,或者应该被交易以换来詹姆斯的其他明星球员搭档。然而,这意味着要了解他目前的比赛状态,以及是什么提升了他,让他尽可能多地接近自己的最佳状态,而不是想当然地认为无论如何他都会达到最佳状态。

尽管勒布朗依然伟大,但我们正处在他的伟大且凋零的职业生涯阶段。虽然这在7月份就应该很明显了,但是湖人现在也应该看到了。特别是当勒布朗填满了各项数据,但是球队还在继续输球的时候。

原文:
The Greatness and Limitations of this LeBron James
DARIUS SORIANO

These Lakers will not make the playoffs. We’ve known this for some time. Before the Nets officially eliminated them, we knew. Probably even before they lost a key game to the last place Suns way back on March 2nd, we knew. Or at least we should have.

While the Lakers’ season has hit the skids, LeBron James continues to put up numbers that defy the stature of his team. In 10 games in the month of March he’s averaging 29.8 points, 9.4 assists, and 8.1 rebounds a game. He’s tallied 5 double digit assist games and racked up 2 triple-doubles (including one on Sunday night vs. the Kings) — while barely missing two others by a single rebound.

His stats, always great, have taken a jump of late and it’s worth not only noting, but lauding. He’s been so very good and has truly been fun to watch.

This leads us to a very interesting place, though. Many jokes were had at LeBron’s and the Lakers expense when he said he was going to “activate” playoff mode earlier than normal, only to have the Lakers start losing games at a rate which would make the Trust-the-Process 76ers stand up and applaud. But, when staring at his raw production, it’s hard to argue LeBron hasn’t stepped up his level of play. I mean, 30/8/9 lines don’t just happen.

Still, though, the Lakers lose. There is context that matters as to why those losses are happening (just as there’s context to why they beat the Kings). Those things matter a great deal to me, but for the sake of this piece right now, I’m going to ignore them to make a different point.

You see, what LeBron’s recent play has told me is twofold.

First, LeBron remains an amazing basketball player who should be buried at your own risk. I get there’s reason to believe he could be slowing down — his career minutes/workload combined with him suffering the first major injury of his career + a slight, but noticeable decline in his overall athleticism are all key parts of this discussion. That said, he continues to produce at a level few others in the league can consistently reach. His ability to read the game and understand exactly how to score, assist, and impact the game accordingly remains incredibly real.

Second, however, is that the noted impact is not the same as what it once was. In the wake of the Lakers signing LeBron, I wrote about the symbiotic relationship current LeBron has with his teammates and how that differed from the locomotive that was his first stint in Cleveland. From that piece:

Play him with Eric Snow or Boobie Gibson or Mo Williams, same result. Play him with Carlos Boozer or Drew Gooden, same result. Play him with Zydrunas Ilgauskas or Anderson Varejao, same result. This isn’t to diminish any of these players, they all added value in specific ways and were good-to-excellent players in their own right. But LeBron wrecked shop regardless. He was that good.

LeBron’s transition to the Heat in 2011 and then his return to the Cavs in 2014, however, started to shift things and the rosters built around him began to be more curated to optimize him, specifically, rather than simply being built from the standpoint of how he could optimize his teammates.

Shooting was emphasized at all positions. Wings and perimeter players who could defend up or down a position became more valuable. High level ball handling and shot creation from at least one other perimeter player was almost a necessity. At least one rugged big man to patrol the back line defensively and be a nuisance on the offensive glass + a paint finisher was almost always present. These were player archetypes which would help LeBron be the best player in the world rather than just taking for granted he was going to be regardless.

From Chris Bosh to Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade to Kyrie Irving, Shane Battier to JR Smith and Iman Shumpert, Ray Allen to Kyle Korver, Tristan Thompson to Birdman Andersen…the Heat and Cavs built rosters that could not only be boosted by LeBron’s insane talent, but who could help elevate him in ways to ensure his talent was as destructive a force as possible.

This will surely need to be true with the Lakers, too. And one needs to question how well they are positioned to be that team now, as is, and what moves will need to be made to get them closer.
The Lakers version of LeBron remains great, but those grafs above about him needing specific teammates to bring out the best in him seem even more relevant now. Don’t get me wrong, LeBron will still get his numbers and will still impact the game. But to impact the game in a way which puts you in position to win 50+ games…that’s a different formula now than what it was a decade ago.

Maybe this is silly to discuss this way in the first place, though. No one ever “does it alone” and the Lakers knew they were taking on a version of LeBron who was at the tail end of an already extended prime. Father Time can be fended off by the super elite for longer than their less esteemed contemporaries, but the hood and sickle comes for everyone. LeBron’s time may not be up, but he certainly needs a specific crew of ‘mates to circle the wagons and help shield him from living among the mortals.

The import of understanding this most falls not on people like you and me, though. The Lakers front office cannot sit here and put Luke Walton front and center like some dope on the table and claim victory by shuttering him. Moving forward requires a certain amount of self reflection and real analysis — not just of how the pieces fit, but an understanding and recognition of how valuable those pieces are.

In terms of LeBron, this doesn’t mean counting him out. Just as it doesn’t mean taking on either poles of thinking that the young players are going to end up being saviors or should be shipped out for a star running mate to James. What it does mean, though, is understanding the current state of his game and what goes into elevating him in the ways that allow him to approach his best as often as possible rather than taking it for granted that he’ll get there regardless.

Because as great as LeBron remains, we’re at the part of his career where his greatness has limits. And while that should have been clear way back in July, the Lakers surely should see it now. Especially as LeBron stuffs the stat sheet but the team continues to lose.

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