(Ethan Sherwood Strauss is once again in the HoopSpeak lab, concocting new ways to defend LeBron James from criticism. Strauss does this because he likes how LeBron James plays basketball, and would rather not be disturbed while living vicariously.)
When LeBron left the Cavs, he took The Cavs with him. His departure has rendered that team a rotting smear of sun-blasted sewage. They’re more comically depressing than a packed clown car, found in a carbon monoxide-choked garage. I’m surprised the Ohio River hasn’t self immolated from shame.
Cleveland’s ineptitude is a blessing. LeBron James gave the Cavs seven great years, and while seven more would have been ideal, there is a consolation prize. What I mean is: James is so good, that his exit hurt badly enough to give Cleveland an entrance–to a better lottery pick, a new life, quick relevance.
This is how NBA teams get great. It’s a quirk of the five man sport, but devastation is proportional to the tools with which you’re given to cope with it. In other facets of existence, an enormous loss is usually just an enormous loss. If Michael C. Hall leaves “Dexter,” Showtime is jobbed. But, if NBA rules applied, Showtime would be guaranteed the (cheap) rights to the world’s best emerging young actor. Then, the network could find new life building an inexpensive show around captivating talent.
My favorite team–the Golden State Warriors–suffer the stumpy vacillation that is mid-lotto mediocrity. It’s really a hell masquerading as a purgatory. Your team floats from a conference 10th seed, to a 12th, a 13th, and back to an 11th seed. No progress is made, no scintillating rookie talent validates your evenings out.
So, coming from a Warriors fan: How dare you Clevelanders whine about seven awesome years of basketball. And, coming from a Warriors fan: How dare you Clevelanders whine when you’ll get to bottom out and start over.
Hate LeBron? You should be thanking him–not just for the years of great play, but for the nothing he left behind. Cleveland, you could be the next Oklahoma. Unless Dan Gilbert screws it up…which he probably will. In which case, why are you mad at LeBron again?