LeBron’s Media Melee Dissected

LeBron knows his team isn’t mentally prepared for the big stage. (Getty Images)

Much has been made of the recent LeBron James media tirade, in which he directly and indirectly berated his teammates, coach, and front office all in one jumbled post game speech. However, there’s multiple shots and subliminal to extract from his very calculated responses to media questions. Delay of Game Hoops will break it down for you…

What LeBron said:

“I just hope that we’re not satisfied as an organization…I just hope we’re not satisfied.”

What LeBron meant:

“We just lost to a 18-28 Pelicans team without Anthony Davis.…after losing to the Warriors and the Spurs…and collectively losing 5 out of the last 7 games. If I put up 26, 10, and 12, Kyrie puts up 49 points, and Kevin puts up 22,16, and 6 and we still lose? What are the rest of the guys on this roster doing to contribute.”

What LeBron said:

“We’re not better than last year,” he said, “from a personnel standpoint.”

What LeBron means:

That Cavs lost Mozgov and Delly last year and while those aren’t names that will change the course of a season; they were integral pieces to a science-experiment gone right. Mozgov had very sporadic playing time last year but made contributions when the Cavs needed a big body down low.

Dellevedova played his role like a maestro, filling in as the prototypical backup point guard; coming into the game with two missions in mind. Run the gameplan, and scrap.

Those voids are being felt tenfold in the doldrums of the season when the Cavs’ big three shouldn’t be expending as much energy as they are, losing to run-of-the-mill teams missing their superstar. LeBron played 44 minutes..Kyrie played 42 minutes and Love played 38 minutes.

The Cavs are in the unique position in the East this year (as well as any year and team LeBron is on) that they’re not only guaranteed a playoff spot, but a top 2 spot as well. At this point in the season, LeBron is more into minute management than barnburners  with the Pelicans in January.

What Lebron said:

“It’s great to have bodies. Obviously, in the playoffs, you go down to what, eight max? And if somebody gets in foul trouble, you go to nine. You’re not playing back-to-backs. You have two days in between. You’re able to lock in.”

What he meant:

The bodies LeBron is demanding here is indicative of the word. They’re bodies, not superstars. So once the playoffs hit, these “bodies” aren’t going to play a ton anyway. He just wants the superstars on the squad to get some rest when the season doesn’t really matter.

What Lebron said:

“It’s like when you don’t have bodies. It’s tough,” James said. “The f—ing grind of the regular season. We’re a top-heavy team. We have a top-heavy team. We top-heavy as s—. It’s me, Kyrie, and Kevin. It’s top-heavy.”

What LeBron meant:

“Our bench and role players are playing like a pile of dirt right now.”

Sidenote: You know what else is also top-heavy about the Cavs, Lebron? Those contracts.

Lebron: $64 million guaranteed

Kyrie: $56 million guaranteed

Kevin Love: $67 million guaranteed

What Lebron said:

“We need a f—ing playmaker,” James said. “I’m not saying you can just go find one, like you can go outside and see trees. I didn’t say that.”

What LeBron meant:

This specific quote has been a large topic of discussion because it lends itself to LeBron lobbying for a backup point guard to be added to the team. But his ensuing comments shed light on the fact that he probably doesn’t mean a floor general, backup point guard type.

What LeBron said:

“They’ve got bodies,” in reference to San Antonio when LeBron was asked about the Spurs’ beating the Cavs without Pau Gasol or Tony Parker. They’ve got bodies. For the most part, all championship-contending teams has got guys that are ready to step in. Knock on wood, what if Ky goes down? For two weeks. Let’s say two. What if I went down for three weeks?”

What LeBron meant:

LeBron wasn’t just sending shots to his teammates. He was sending hollow tips. Harpoons. Reading between the lines, he’s directly questioning the skills and abilities of his CURRENT roster in the middle of the season when he still has to practice and play with these guys on a night in, night out basis. Which, in totality is completely okay. As the alpha of the Cavs, Lebron should let his team know when their play is consistently lackluster. But to vent out to the media about your team can have extremely adverse effects.

What LeBron said:

“I don’t know what we got to offer, I just know me, personally, I don’t got no time to waste. I’ll be 33 [next] winter, and I ain’t got time to waste. That’s what I’m talking about.”

What LeBron meant:

“I’ma tryna get these rings  and I can’t leave Cleveland a second time so you guys need to figure this out soon. In case you didn’t realize the Warriors got KD and they’re 39-7.”

How the Cavs have fared the game directly after LeBron’s media melee?

An overtime loss to the 18-24 Sacramento Kings. The Cavs have now lost 6 of their last 8 games and also have lost two straight in which they were leading heading into the 4th. This speaks directly to mental lapse and minuscule errors that become paramount late in games.

Darryl F

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