It’s been an interesting week so far for LeBron James and the Cavs and Monday night was the icing on the cake.
On Saturday night, Cleveland played against the Dallas Maverick and it seemed like the Cavs might be back on track, LeBron was interviewed post game about what he thought about the explosive rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. and if he has impressed James so far. James gave an answer that many wouldn’t have expected but could see it as the Cavs played the Knicks next. James insinuated that the Knicks should’ve drafted Smith Jr. instead of Frank Ntilikina.
While Frank Ntilikina has held his own so far, Ntilikina is averaging around 20 minutes a game in his rookie campaign; his numbers haven’t even come close to what Smith Jr has posted. So far through 12 games Dennis Smith is averaging 14.8 points per game while also grabbing 3.8 rebounds per game and dishing 4.9 assists per game. Ntilikina’s numbers are pretty miserable compared to Smith’s numbers as he is only averaging 4.4 points per game while grabbing a measly 1.9 rebounds per game and dishing out 5.0 assists per game.
While James is without a doubt correct in addressing the fact that the Knicks blew their chance of drafting an amazing talent in Dennis Smith Jr., many people mention that James is just taking a jab at the management of the Knicks more notably ex-president Phil Jackson; he shouldn’t be criticized for it. James always loves to stir the pot, but it seems like he’s more likely to do it lately.
James also mentioned that Enes Kanter, center for the New York Knicks, always has something to say. James comments on Kanter easily flustered the Turkish center.
On Monday’s game between the Knicks and Cavs, tempers flared. James bumped into the rookie Ntilikina and Kanter quickly responded by getting into James’ face. It was weird to see Kanter get into James’ face yet not make eye contact.
It’s weird to see LeBron James play the heel, also known as the antagonist, while with the Cavs. LeBron just has that swagger when he plays as the heel and that’s been noticeable when he was with the Miami heat and he played angry. James had a horrible reputation when he played for Miami, but since his return to Cleveland in 2014, James has been well liked around the league.
Many argue that James has embraced the role of being a heel after the Cavs found themselves down 3-1 in the 2016 NBA Finals when he blocked Steph Curry’s shot and started to mouth off. James also got into it with Draymond Green that series and completely destroyed the Warriors in Game 7, capping off the greatest NBA Finals ever.
LeBron has been fairly quiet since that series as last year’s finals were pretty dull due to the non-competitiveness of the series. Although this season it appears that James is done taking crap from others in the league. James has been more out spoken in the media this season and he’s been a little chippy during games and he’s been more aggressive.
When James has that swagger and plays chippy, it seems like his teammates rally around that vibe that he gives off. James playing heel is infectious for the team although the Warriors take the cake when it comes to having a team as a whole play the heel.
While we haven’t experienced full villain LeBron, he will never reach that level again in his career, we can always sit back and watch the spectacle that is LeBron James.
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