Thursday, November 06, 2014

The Sky Is Falling (In Cleveland)

We are now 4 games into The LeBron Redux era in Cleveland, and the alarm klaxons are officially sounding. They lost their first game! Their rookie coach called a team meeting after that first loss! LeBron said something about players from a culture of losing! LeBron's not taking enough shots! They haven't won all four games by a gazillion points each! Sports talk guys are discussing how LeBron's gone soft! How he doesn't have the motivation he had in Miami! How people like him too much! LeBron and Irving had a "healthy discussion"! Something something Dion Waiters something! 

Clearly, the End Times are upon us.

Alternately, let us rewind a few years. After LeBron's first 16 games in Miami, the Heat - the supposedly invincible Heat - were 8-8. There was howling about how young coach Eric Spoelstra couldn't handle the team and was going to be replaced imminently by Pat Riley. Talk about how LeBron wasn't a leader. How he couldn't handle the pressure. How he'd just put up big numbers because he was the only option on those Cleveland teams. How the sky was, in fact falling.

You may recall that the Heat eventually figured themselves out after everyone had gotten more than a mid-major's non-conference schedule worth of games to sort out how to play together. My suspicion is that this year's Cleveland team just might do something similar. After all, Kevin Love's never played with another A-list talent. Kyrie Irving has never played with another A-list talent. LeBron's never played with these guys, the rest of the Cleveland roster has to adjust to having three kaiju roaming in their midst, and they really haven't had a whole heck of a lot of time with their new coach. 

But hey, we're used to immediate gratification, and we love college sports where the carefully assembled superteams spend the first month and a half of the season steamrollering guys from directional schools before playing anyone vaguely on their level. It's a crap narrative, but we keep falling for it over and over again.

So by all means, panic for now. It's tradition. But in a month or two, when things settle down, that panicked position might feel a little premature.

Then again, freaking out about LeBron means never having to say you're sorry. So carry on.
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