He has a great column/blog post about OJ Mayo, outlet passes and the future of basketball. I recommend it (as does True Hoop). But I do a small problem with one part (surprise! the part about LeBron):
...the sport of basketball is headed for a crossroads of sorts, personified by the fact that Kobe Bryant's recent streak of 50-point games received far more national attention than the incredible Suns-Mavs game two weeks ago. Nobody wants to be the next Steve Nash; everyone wants to be the next LeBron James, the next Gilbert Arenas, the next Vince Carter. Those guys make the most money and get the most magazine covers and commercials. Just look at what happened to LeBron's all-around game when he reached the pros -- blessed with an innate passing gene that gave him a choice between becoming the next Magic or the next MJ, he said "Screw it, I'm going for my points" and went the MJ route. I will always be disappointed about that choice.
I'd like to know what he's basing this on, last years All-Star game? Needless to say, I disagree, for a number (five to be exact) of reasons.
1) Does he watch Cavs games? LeBron often spends the entire first quarter trying to set up his teammates, to the detriment of his own offense. It's not like he's not trying to pass.
2) The whole Magic or MJ stuff.... first of all, rarely does anything or anyone live up to the hype and the crazy expectations. The Star Wars prequels, the final two Matrix movies, latter seasons of Sopranos, books 6-11 of the Wheel of Time, etc. Anytime something gets big hype and you start saying 'this could be the best _______ ever', you're setting youself up to be disappointed. I think LeBron's done remarkably well, all things considered. I'm not sure what Simmons is expecting LeBron to be doing.
3) As a Cavs fan, I want LeBron to 'go for his points' more often. I've watched almost all of his games this year and I want him to be more aggressive.
4) Didn't Simmons (and a lot of media types) call out LeBron on passing to his (open) teammates when the game is on the line? Isn't that making the right basketball play and trying to win the game?
5) You wanna see LeBron rack up more assists and become more of a playmaker? You want to see him log double digit assists every night? Look at his teammates. Say you give LeBron some guards who can shoot (Hughes and Snow are almost negative offense), an athletic big man who has good hands AND is aggressive AND can finish (kind of like if you combined Gooden, Andy and Z) and a coach with an offensive gameplan- LeBron's game might look a bit different. His degree of difficulty is off the charts (just imagine if he and Wade switched teams and LeBron is coached by a legend and is surrouned by veterans who know what they're doing).
Look, he makes some good points and I love the piece. And maybe I'm just too sensitive to national criticism of LeBron and the Cavs (look, I'm not used to Cleveland teams getting discussed constantly. This is still new to me), but it's obvious he hasn't seen a whole lot of Cavs games.
[Update] Edited to clear up some parts and fix the massive amounts of typos