Thomsen: I Don't Know If Jordan Could Win Title With This Team

LeBron James has a tall task ahead, but he's "as close to the perfect player as we've seen"

The DA Show
May 29, 2018 - 1:07 pm

USA Today Images


LeBron James will play in his eighth consecutive NBA Finals this week, and this may be the most absurd postseason run of his career. James is averaging 34.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks through 18 postseason games.

The Cavs’ next-best scorer? Kevin Love, with 13.9 points per game. The next-best scorer after that? Kyle Korver, with 9.8.

And yet, James has the Cavaliers in the Finals for the fourth straight season.

“He is better than anyone else in this league right now,” NBA writer and author Ian Thomsen said on The DA Show. “I remember this whole tension that existed when he first came into the league. He wanted to be Magic Johnson; everyone else wanted him to be Michael Jordan. Now I watch him play and he’s both. He’s a hybrid. He passes like Magic, plays for his teammates like Magic, carries his team like Michael, scores like Michael, makes the big shots like Michael, makes the devastating athletic plays at both ends of the court like Michael. 

“So we’re seeing a guy we’ve never seen before,” Thomsen continued. “He’s as close to the perfect basketball player as we’ve ever seen. I’m not saying he’s the greatest yet. When you’re the greatest, it’s a matter of what you do with your talent. But he’s surely the most talented. He’s as close to the perfect player as we’ve seen.”

But if James leads this Cavs team to a championship  against this Warriors team, he has to have equaled MJ, right?

Thomsen’s take? Let’s wait and see.

“It’s a great conversation to have right now,” he said, “but it’s like a couple before they get married: How good of a couple are they? We don’t know until after they’ve been married for a long time. We’re not going to know how LeBron compares with Michael until LeBron has finished his career, we see everything he’s done, and then you let the dust settle.”

Kobe Bryant, for many years, was considered the 1B to Jordan’s 1A. Then a funny thing happened.

Bryant retired.

“No one compares Kobe to Michael anymore,” Thomsen said. “We know Michael was better. Kobe was great; Michael was better. So let’s settle it down. But your point is very, very well-taken. Because if (James) were to win this championship, now he’s done something that I don’t even know if Michael Jordan could have done because LeBron’s team is worse than it was last year. They don’t have Kyrie Irving. They have not defended at a championship level for two years, which is why I think he’s probably out the door no matter what anyway. And he’s playing against a team that compares talent-wise with the best teams we’ve ever seen.”

Add it all up, and James is in charted territory.

“He’s in this sort of enviable, unprecedented position,” Thomsen said. “For the first time in his life, he has no expectations. He can just go for it. No one’s thinking he should win. This is the first time there’s no pressure on LeBron – first time in his life he’s ever had this as a player – and he seems to be thriving in that environment."