On Sunday, LeBron James put up a game-high 35 points, with a game-high 15 rebounds, game-high 9 assists and a game-high 2 blocks in a Game 7 victory against the Boston Celtics. The victory means the King will be making his 8th consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. What makes this trip so impressive is his group of travelling companions might be the worst he’s had over his 15 years in the league.
The only other All-Star on this team is Kevin Love and he missed Game 7 and only played 5 scoreless minutes in Game 6. The team did start the season with NBA great Dwyane Wade, former MVP Derrick Rose, All-Star Isaiah Thomas and NBA champions Richard Jefferson, Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye. But, midway through the season they were turned into Larry Nance Jr, Jordan Clarkson, George Hill, Rodney Hood and a 2024 second round pick. Those new additions contributed a total of 2 points and 4 rebounds in Game 7.
Watching LeBron carry this team on his back while Marcus Morris was hanging on it reminded me of this 2017 video I saw by OldSkoolBall called “The 15 Worst Players LeBron Has Carried To The NBA Finals.“
Let me make this very clear: I DID NOT create this list and DO NOT agree with (everything on) this list. BUT, I did find it pretty amusing and couldn’t help but wonder how many members from this year’s squad could threaten Eddy Curry or one of these guy’s spots.
- Matthew Dellavedova
- Juwan Howard
- James Jones
- Timofey Mozgov
- Mario Chalmers
- Norris Cole
- Ronny Turiaf
- Jordan McRae
- Sasha Kaun
- Jarvis Varnado
- Terrel Harris
- Joel Anthony
- Eddy Curry
- Dexter Pittman
- Dahntay Jones
I also want to point out that LeBron has been riding the coattails of James Jones for most of his career and thanks to Jones, LeBron went to the NBA Finals seven consecutive times! I’m obviously joking about the coattails stuff and you can read more about LeBron and his relationship with Jones, who he calls his favorite player and best teammate ever, here.
I also want to make it very clear that I believe every player in the NBA (even Udonis Haslem) or flirting with a spot in the league deserves recognition for being one of the top 300-400 basketball players in the world. But at every level, there’s talent that falls under the best and the worst. LeBron is clearly the best of the best and he happens to play with a few guys that played like the worst of the worst over this year’s playoffs.
Here’s what Steph Curry had to say about people being too harsh on LeBron’s teammates.
Via USA Today’s Sam Amick:
“I hate when people say that. Like it’s — they’re NBA players, and yeah they’re new and what-not and ‘Bron is amazing, [and] he played an unbelievable playoff run to date and has willed his team to his eighth straight Finals and all that, which is unbelievable to think about the consistency and the longevity and just the level of greatness that he’s shown in the Eastern Conference. As a basketball fan, to turn on the TV last night and watch the game and there were points in the game where you didn’t know how it was going to play out and they found a way to get it done, so shout-out to him. It was an amazing performance, but don’t disrespect the other guys out there. They fought hard too.”
They did. And that’s why Saturday Night Live made a video tribute for them earlier in the month.