LeBron James is an unrestricted free-agent on July 1st. One of the spots James has been rumored to be headed (if he leaves Miami) is Houston. So why should and why shouldn’t Lebron come to Clutch City?
3 Reasons LeBron Should Come To Houston
1. Supporting cast – Dwight Howard and James Harden vs Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. I think the road crews are still picking up Wade’s carcass in San Antonio. His season ended with an ugly 7-25 display in the final 2 games of the NBA Finals. Essentially, Howard and Harden are younger, superior versions of the second half of Miami’s Big Three. Harden may have his issues on defense, but he’s a more explosive scorer than Wade is at this stage. He’s also younger and healthier. There’s no maintenance program that you need with Harden. If Wade had to miss 28 games this season just to perform effectively in the playoffs, how will that change in the future?
2. Howard’s D – James has never played with the kind of rim protector that Howard is. The Heat won 2 NBA titles playing aggressive, blitzing defense, especially against the pick-and-roll. Most of the league’s top defenses (MIA and Oklahoma City aside), play more conservative styles. They want to run offenses off the 3-point line and funnel players to the elite big man. LeBron doesn’t have to play 100% on defense when Howard is in the paint. This is the type of luxury he’s never had.
3. Youth – The Heat seemingly got old very quickly, despite compiling the Big Three only four years ago. The age and wear-and-tear revealed themselves in a drastic way in the Finals against the Spurs. Meanwhile, the Rockets have Harden, Patrick Beverley, Chandler Parsons (RFA), Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, and their full complement of first round picks. San Antonio caught up to Miami’s style over the last year; the Rockets went 4-0 against the Spurs. This is not to suggest that they would have won a playoff series against the champs, but I believe it’s reasonable to suggest that San Antonio has some unique difficulties in playing a younger Houston team.
3 Reasons LeBron Should *Not* Come to Houston
1. Western Conference – Daryl Morey believes the conferences are imbalanced because of superior ownership in the West. Part of the Heat’s success was the ability to coast through the first round of the playoffs, and generally having an easier road to the Finals. I do believe the East will improve for a few reasons: having the top 4 picks in the NBA Draft, improving teams in Toronto, Washington, Charlotte, etc. Still, it will not compare to the gauntlet in the West, where the Suns won 48 games and finished out of the playoffs. Reaching the NBA Finals will be easier in the East.
2. Chemistry with Harden – After the devastating playoff loss to the Mavericks in 2011, Eric Spoelstra altered Miami’s offense to run entirely through James. No matter the team he is on, LeBron must be the catalyst for the offense. Can Harden be nearly as effective playing off the ball? Remember, even with the Thunder, Harden was the point guard in OKC’s finishing lineups. He’s accustomed to having the ball in his hands often.
3. Chemistry with Howard (on offense) – For as much heat as Bosh receives, I think he’s an underrated player. He is a very good shooter, and a threat off the dribble against quality big men. Offensively, James and Bosh are ideal fits. LeBron runs the show while Bosh extends his range out to the 3-point line, so the spacing is terrific. Some of the Heat’s best stretches against the Spurs included the James/Bosh lineups (without Wade). If LeBron opted to come to Houston, we’d see less of the Howard iso post-ups, but he is still going to be in the lane (with a big man attached). That could make the spacing tricky.
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