There is one thing everyone should remember when it comes to LeBron James: He is the best.
As his almost-unanimous MVP award reminded us, James’ status as the most dominant individual player in the game is unmatched. It says a lot that so many people are wringing their hands over whether a do-it-all Kevin Durant can carry the Thunder to the NBA Finals, considering that is exactly what James did in Cleveland. For Durant, such an effort would be superhuman. For James, that is just another day at the office.
It therefore makes total sense that the Heat would consider assigning James to defend Bulls guard Nate Robinson in Game 2 of the second-round series, as the Heat reportedly have discussed. If the Heat need to stop somebody, the obvious course of action is to put the league’s most versatile defender on that player and move on to other matters. That solves that.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if I matched up with [Robinson],” James told reporters on Wednesday, with what one can only assume was a massive shrug.
Paul George may be the popular current choice for the title of top wing defender, and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award might be dominated by big men, but all those titles come with the implicit understanding that they are awarded in the non-LeBron division. James is one of the few players in NBA history — Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon and a young Kevin Garnett come to mind — who can actually defend all five positions for more than a stray possession or two. That extends from the heftiest center to the peskiest point guard.
It might seem strange to seem the 6-foot-8, 250-pound James hulking over the 5-foot-9 Robinson on Wednesday night, but it will not look nearly as strange as Robinson going off for a game-high 27 points against the defending champs — which is exactly what happened in Chicago’s Game 1 win. Weird things start to look a lot more normal when they result in victories.
One of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra‘s best qualities is that he has no shame. If the best way to take down an opponent is to stick his MVP linebacker on the other team’s waterbug slot receiver, Spoelstra does it. He uses the tools at his disposal, even if it looks excessive or odd. So what if it seems a bit over the top to use a band saw to split a set of chopsticks? If you have the band saw, and it is the quickest, easiest way to do the job, you might as well use it.
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