Cavs message boards are filled with posts about replacing Mike Brown, Cavs bloggers are questioning LeBron's will to win and clutchness and they don't even want to watch the team. And we're starting to see the local sports writers write columns about the Cavs needing a reality check (well, Terry Pluto is writing that, Bud Shaw's column in the Plain Dealer today is about Browns owner Randy Lerner not living in Cleveland. Memo to the PD: the Cavs are no longer the 'third team' in Cleveland sports. They're actually the best team we've got around here. It's okay to write about them. Though for Shaw, maybe it's best that he didn't).
The coach and the players aren't on the same page (Brown: the defense was bad. LeBron: I'm OK with allowing the Sixers to shoot 50% at our place it was the offense that was the problem) and there's been reports of players yucking it up soon after getting berated for a terrible loss.
Over this same stretch of games we've gotten more news on LeBron's off the court exploits. He just signed a deal with Microsoft, he's going be roasted by comedians (and Damon Jones) for charity and he floated the idea of making a movie about the LeBrons:
Two major business publications have reported the sports representation agency of Leon Rose, who is James' agent, will be acquired by Hollywood talent giant Creative Artists Agency. If it comes to pass, it will be interesting to see if it paves the wave for James to someday get involved in a major motion picture. James has maintained such an interest for several years and had informal talks with Spike Lee several years ago.Fantastic idea.
One idea already being bandied about is a movie featuring his popular Nike commercial characters, ``The LeBrons.''
``If it is the right opportunity, if it is the right fit for my personality, then I'll be open-minded about it,'' James said. ``If we could do a movie with `The LeBrons' that would be cool. It is something that could happen. It would take a lot of time and dedication, if the right thing comes along maybe it could happen.''
If you read the summaries on ESPN you'd think that all these losses are because of LeBron's teammates ('LeBron gets triple-double but Cavs still lose'). I mean, LeBron scores 30 points and has a handful of assists and boards, so he showed up, right?
Over the last 6 games LeBron is averaging 28.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists; those are fantastic numbers, how could someone bitch about LeBron? But dig a little deeper and you see a different picture: over those same 6 games, LeBron is shooting 46% from the floor, 23% from 3 and 64% from the foul line. Um... not good.
Right now LeBron is struggling; he's shooting too many jumpers, he's missing free throws (and critical ones at that) and he's not really taking over in crunch time (some of this blame falls at the feet of Mike Brown. LeBron should be getting 38 minutes a game, instead he's getting 42, this takes it toll). LeBron looks disinterested out there; you can tell when he's playing and when he decides it's winning time. His whole demeanor changes; he looks angry, he's flying in for rebounds and he's taking it to the hoop with authority. The rest of the time he's settling for fade away 20 footers and floating around Drew Gooden style.
Pluto is right, the Cavs do need a reality check. But it might behoove the Cavaliers if someone in the organization took LeBron aside and told him to focus more on basketball and less endorsements.
If you're playing well and winning, the commercials, movie idea and comedy roasts are cute. It's nice to see more of the Cavs superstar and he's great at what he does.
But if you're losing? It looks like you got your priorities out of whack.
And that's a lack of focus.