Stephen A. Smith still isn’t ready to take the plunge.
After a red-hot start with their reconstructed team following the NBA trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers have crashed back to earth. Losers of six of their last 10 games, the Cavs have slid to fourth in the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings, which currently are led by the Toronto Raptors, who are 3 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Boston Celtics.
Still, Smith remains convinced that the Cavs — not the Celtics or the Raptors — are the favorites in the East. Why? LeBron James, of course.
Watch the “First Take” co-host explain himself in the video below:
Listen, have the Celtics and Raptors vastly outplayed the Cavs thus far this season? Absolutely.
But the NBA — perhaps more than any other professional sports league — is a star-driven league, and James remains its best player. Until another Eastern Conference squad legitimately proves it can knock James off the top of the mountain, the expectation should be that he’ll stay there.
And, given the rash of injuries that have plagued the Celtics in recent weeks, it’s fair to wonder whether Boston will have what it takes to dethrone The King come playoff time.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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