Melo, D-12 & CP3: Suffering From The Time Of LeBron?

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    Updated: June 10, 2014
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    I have been lucky enough to watch most of Michael Jordan during his prime, and now LeBron James during his. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player I have ever seen and he’s universally regarded as the greatest ever and rightly so. LeBron James is the best player of his generation and when he’s finally done playing, it’s anyone’s guess how many MVP’s and championships he will claim to his legacy.

    While both players are universally lauded for their achievements individually and team wise, the one thing they don’t get enough credit for is stopping others from achieving some of their own goals. Charles Barkley was on Mike and Mike in the Morning and said he felt sorry for a lot of the current NBA players because they have the misfortune of coming up in the Time of LeBron. And Barkley knows that feeling well by never winning a ring coming up in the time of Michael Jordan. But what players will have their legacies hurt by LeBron and what players may survive the time of LeBron?

     

    Players Suffering The Worst From The Time Of LeBron 

    Out of this generation of players, there are super stars everywhere and it’s not looking good for them to get to raise the Larry O’Brien trophy. There is a list of players that have yet to win the trophy and it is getting into crunch time for those players.

     

    Carmelo Anthony: A little Mailman and Chuck anyone?…

    First and foremost on that list is Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks (Knicks player for now anyway). Carmelo Anthony came into the NBA in the 2003 Draft with LeBron James and the two have been friends since high school. The year prior to the 2003 Draft Melo lead his Syracuse Orangemen to the 2002/2003 NCAA Basketball Championship basically single-handedly.

    Melo won state championships in high school, an NCAA championship in college, and he would have an entire career ahead of him to reach the goal of winning a championship on every level. Unfortunately 11 years in he has yet to lift a trophy, and in his 11th year he is sitting at home watching LeBron playing in his 5th Finals while trying to get his 3rd ring. The deepest Melo has ever been in a post season is in 2009 with the Denver Nuggets when he got his team to the Western Conference Finals where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. Barring that one deep run, Melo has suffered numerous 1 or 2 and done playoff ousters; and this year not making the playoffs at all. Melo is turning 30 years old this year and his prime years are running out in the next few seasons.

    Unfortunately for Melo, LeBron doesn’t seem like he’s slowing down. Melo’s has a decision to make, either he says in New York and waits for Phil Jackson to try and build a team around him, which hasn’t worked so far for any other Melo lead team. Or, Melo can go to a ready constructed team and find another star or two to help him create an actual challenge to LeBron’s thrown. If Melo does not find a way to win he will go down as great power forward that retired ring-less because the King of his era wouldn’t allow him to reach his goal. Sounds a lot like Karl Malone & Charles Barkley against Jordan, doesn’t it? DOESN’T IT?!?!? No bueno.

     

    Dwight Howard: A Riddle, Wrapped In A Mystery, Inside An Enigma…

    I’m not sure what to make of Dwight Howard during the LeBron era honestly. Dwight beat a Cleveland Cavaliers team that was led by LeBron in 2009 to reach the Finals. Argue what you will but Dwight’s team beat LeBron’s team, and that’s all that matters. But since then, both players have seen a completely different trajectory in their careers. Both players eventually left the teams that drafted them, and both left those teams in not so good standings and media turmoil. But Bron moved on to bigger and better things. Dwight on the other hand, he’s moved on to headaches and lack of playoff success.

    First Dwight went off to the Los Angeles Lakers to much fanfare. Not only were the Lakers adding to their great legacy of centers, but they were also pairing Howard with future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. The Lakers experiment went horribly wrong because Howard not fully healthy all season long, there was constant bickering between Howard and Laker’s legend Kobe Bryant, and head coach Mike D’Antoni had no idea how to incorporate Howard into his offense.

    The Lakers still managed to make it to the playoffs in Howard’s first season with the team but the San Antonio Spurs swept the Lakers in first round. The Spurs would lose in the NBA Finals to LeBron’s new team the Miami Heat while Dwight watched from home wondering what could have been. Rough. That was Lebron’s 2nd ring, and for Dwight it was another wasted season.

    The next season found a healthy Dwight Howard taking his talents to Houston to link up with All-Star James Harden and former Celtic great Kevin McHale as coach. The Rockets had a really good season and saw Dwight show some of his past dominance, but it was all for naught. Dwight’s Rocket’s team lost a very entertaining first round series to the Portland Trailblazers in 7 games, and just like last year Dwight is home watching LeBron go for another title. Even if the Rockets would have miraculously made it to the Finals this season I don’t believe they were good enough to beat LeBron’s Heat. Guess we will never know. Maybe Dwight will eventually win a title in Houston, but, maybe he wont. Dwight may be the Patrick Ewing to LeBron’s Michael Jordan. What a shame that would be.

     

    Chris Paul: The Little Engine That Couldn’t?… 

    Courtesy of lakerholicz.com

    Chris Paul is the NBA’s Point Gawd. He’s clearly the best point guard in the Association and he’s the best leader and defender at his position. But he’s in his prime at the same time as King James, and he’s on his way to being another player that will fall victim to being part of this LeBron James era. The most disturbing part about Chris Paul’s career, and actually that of Dwight Howard’s as well, is that both players are also suffering from the era of LeBron’s successor, Kevin Durant.

    In order to get to the King, every player in the West still has to get past the next in line to the throne which is Durant. And that task will not be easy for anyone in the West. But even getting past Durant only leaves the task of overcoming the best player in the game at his apex in LeBron. As good as CP3 is, he was never going to get his New Orleans Hornets teams deep into the playoffs. And things may have been different had former NBA commissioner David Stern allowed the trade for Paul to the Lakers go thorough in December 2011. That team would have had a Prime Chris Paul with Kobe Bryant, Paul Gasol and whomever else Mitch Kupchak would have put around that core 3.

    Unfortunately Stern felt the trade would have been too unfair to a Hornets team the NBA had control over, so instead Paul ended up with the other team occupying the Staples Center, the Clippers. In his first season with the Clippers CP3 led his team to the second round of the playoffs where the San Antonio Spurs swept them. The following season CP3 and the Clippers were bounced out of the first round in 6 games against the Memphis Grizzlies. Head Coach Vinnie Del Negro got the axe at the end of the 2012-2013 season (possibly on Paul’s asking) and Doc Rivers was brought in. With Rivers, Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers thought they had a championship team. That is until they made it to the 2nd round of the 2014 playoffs where they lost to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in 6 games.

    Paul is suffering more from the impending time of Durant, than he is of the Time of King James, but again, even getting past KD means meeting Bron in the Finals; and most likely another LeBron win. Chris Paul has yet to reach a conference Final in his career, and he’s not getting any closer than he has in the past. At 29 years old he’s in his prime and he’s playing the best basketball in the league at his position.

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    But none of that matters without him first reaching an NBA Final and winning a trophy. This Clippers team is more than capable of making a deep playoff run and maybe even winning a title. But Paul’s prime years unfortunately coincide with two separate reigns, the current one by LeBron, and the one after which will be Durant’s. And if Paul doesn’t win a ring, he’ll be the John Stockton of his generation. Tragic.

    There are a host of other players who may not win a ring in this era because of what LeBron James will do in the rest of his career. There’s no guaranteeing Durant will win one during LeBron’s reign, same goes for Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and numerous others. Guys like Reggie Miller, Gary Payton, Tim Hardaway and so on and so forth were also victims of the Jordan era. There is still a long way to go in Bron’s career and as many achievements as I am sure he will be obtaining throughout his tenure, it will still be something to marvel at knowing he stopped so many great players from reaching the pinnacle of their profession. Sports can be a cruel thing.

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