Russell Westbrook received a ton of flak for not being more effective around LeBron James in the LA Lakers’ embarrassing display last season. Everyone knew Westbrook’s game was a bad fit in a James-centric offense. However, the four-time MVP pushed to acquire the triple-double king.
With Westbrook’s deficiencies highlighted, no one has taken more blame than the former OKC Thunder superstar.
Fox Sports Radio host Veejay Huskey contends that players around “King James” usually get the blame if James fails to win a championship.
Here’s what Huskey had to say on “The Odd Couple” podcast
The 2014 NBA Finals featuring the Miami Heat, led by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, were embarrassed by the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio’s “Beautiful Game” team thoroughly annihilated Miami’s fearsome trio.
In Game 4 of the series, Wade finished with 10 points on 3-13 shooting and missed four of eight free throw attempts. The “Flash” followed up his miserable performance with another stinker in Game 5. D-Wade managed 11 points on 4-12 shooting.
Based on Huskey’s analysis, Kevin Love received the same treatment in the 2018 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. The Cleveland Cavaliers no longer had Kyrie Irving at that time. Therefore, most were expecting Love to put up better and bigger numbers.
Love averaged 19 PPG and 11.3 RPG in four games as the Cavs were swept by the juggernaut Warriors. He and LeBron James were the only players who averaged double-figures for Cleveland. Still, he was criticized for failing to ramp up his game and provide James with more support.
Anthony Davis wasn’t punished for his 2020 NBA Finals performance. He was arguably as dominant as LeBron James on their way to the championship. But over the last few years, he has been ripped for playing out of shape and for lacking the drive to consistently win.
The criticisms hurled at AD, however, seemed fairer than what Wade and Love had been forced to go through.
After taking his talents to South Beach and promising to deliver multiple championships, LeBron James left the Miami Heat and returned to Cleveland. He won two championships. He could have won more had it not been for a colossal collapse against the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.
Dwyane Wade’s 2014 NBA Finals looked like the start of his decline. James must have sensed it and wanted to go someplace else where he could get a better shot at winning another title.
Going back to Cleveland suddenly became a viable option. The Cavaliers had a young team led by Kyrie Irving, who could be guided by a proven winner. LeBron James cemented his NBA legacy by delivering Cleveland’s first championship in any pro sport in more than half a century.
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