Steve Kerr Explains What Happened

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See what I did there?  It’s a like a goof on our category, “LeBron explains what happened?”  You feel me?  No.  Too bad.

Seriously though, Kerr is one of my favorite commentators of all things NBA because he is knowledgeable, candid, and a good communicator.  It’s no wonder he was able to con the Suns into hiring him as GM and letting him ruin the team.

You probably remember earlier in the playoffs when Pippen said that LeBron might be the best player ever, better than Jordan, and everyone roundly shouted him down, including LeBron himself and Scottie’s good friend (and known Jordan antagonist) Horace Grant.  After LeBron did not rise to the occasion last night in the expected Jordaneqsue manner, as reported by ESPN.com Steve Kerr (also a sometime antagonist of Jordan) had this to say:

“The irony to me is that LeBron is not Michael. LeBron is actually Scottie,” former Bull and current television analyst Steve Kerr said Monday on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000. “He’s so similar to Scottie in that defensively he was just a monster, could guard anybody, really more of a point forward than scoring guard. Scottie always loved to distribute the ball. That’s really where LeBron’s preference is.

“Phil Jackson used to call Scottie a ‘sometimes shooter.’ Sometimes they would go in, sometimes they wouldn’t. That’s how it is with LeBron. He’s a great talent and a great player but you can see his flaws as a basketball player. He doesn’t have an offensive game that he can rely on: no low-post game, no mid-range jump shot so when the game really gets tough he has a hard time finding easy baskets and getting himself going. That’s what Michael did in his sleep so that’s why the comparison is wrong.”

What’s funny is as I watched this series I kept thinking, “Boy, the Bulls would ruin this defense.” You can’t go small and put Kidd or Terry on Jordan. No way. He’d post them up and destroy them. You can’t go big and put Marion on him either. Jordan would run him off screens to death. Hell, at the age of 38 as a Wizard Jordan dropped 41 against Marion in Phoenix back when Marion was a good defender (of forwards, not guards).

So looking at the Pippen comparison, does LeBron’s series hold up?

18, 7, 7 on 48% shooting for Bron in 2011 Finals

Actually that’s a pretty average Finals for Pippen. He was more offensively potent against LA, Portland, and Phoenix, but those were all high possession finesse teams. He was less offensively potent against the Sonics and Jazz, but that was in the late ’90s when basketball had a lot more grappling in it. So we don’t learn much from that.

The real problem is that if LeBron is only going to be Pippen in the Finals, then Wade has to be Jordan, and he isn’t. There are some similarities, but Jordan’s game was more complete and he was bigger and more versatile as a scorer. Wade had a good series, but all the synergies that he and LeBron worked out over the course of the season were stripped from them by Dallas’s clever switching between over playing pick and rolls in man to man and paint clogging in zone. Since they are both suspect shooting open jumpers and neither has a reliable high post game, they had no real answer.

Now there are other ways to do it, other comparisons that can be made. Maybe going small with Bron at the 4 is the answer. They could fit another shooter on the floor that way. Maybe a pure point guard to command the floor and keep them in the right sets would take care of all the issues. The expectation that LeBron is going to be like Mike is starting to seem irrational under the analytic light of keen basketball observation like Kerr’s.

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One Response to “Steve Kerr Explains What Happened”

  1. High Above Courtside Says:

    Yeah LeBron isn’t Michael, Kobe, Larry, or Magic. He is really more like Dominique at this point, a human highlight film who is developing a history of choking when the lights are the brightest.

    ps….actually if Dominique had better talent on his teams his legacy might be a little different.

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