Be honest. When you looked over the Cavs roster at the beginning of the season, you didn’t think NBA title, did you?
You saw LeBron James and a bunch of decent if not great supporting players and figured they were still a year — or even two or three — away from winning their first title.Sure, expectations were high, but not this high.
Not crazy high.
Not break-the-Cleveland-hold-on-pro-sports-misery high.
Another playoff run was expected, hopefully to the Eastern Conference finals, but who really thought NBA championship?
OK, Larry Hughes was supposed to be healthier and better (he was and he wasn’t), you counted on Zydrunas Ilgauskas being his steady self (he eventually was just that) and you had to figure Anderson Varejao was going to keep improving (he did).
But who saw Daniel “Boobie” Gibson coming? Who thought Sasha Pavlovic would be a starter let alone a realistic threat come NBA Finals time? Who saw Hughes playing the point and doing a decent job at it?
And who ever saw this team as the legitimate defensive threat it’s become?
Be honest. If you did, you’re alone at the head of the class.
But now come the Spurs, a team with three titles in the last eight years, a team that has practiced for years the very defensive schemes that Cavs coach Mike Brown has been preaching since his arrival.
They have The Big Fundamental, Tim Duncan, a league and Finals MVP who is so good you can’t find anyone who has anything bad to say about him, even though he shoots free throws worse than LeBron.
They also have Tony Parker, who really should be known more for his basketball skills than his girlfriend, even if he’s not.
They have Bruce Bowen, a shut-down defender, and Manu Ginobili, a sixth man better than just about anyone in the Cavs’ starting five except you know who.
The Spurs have the experience. They have the titles. They have the personnel.
They just don’t have LeBron.
And guess what? That might just be their undoing.
Let the national analysts, talking heads and so-called experts scratch at his throne. Let them try to tear him down as not worthy of his King James moniker.
We know differently.
We know the truth.
We know LeBron delivers. He’s delivered at every level and performed on every stage that’s ever been placed in front of him.
Believe it, this can be done. The Cavs can win it all.
They have the confidence, they have the momentum, they have the players.
But mostly they have The Player.
No, LeBron doesn’t have Shaq like Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant did. He doesn’t have Kareem and James Worthy like Magic did. He doesn’t have Scottie Pippen, like Michael Jordan did.
But he does have a bunch of pretty good players who have placed their trust in him and seen him carry them to heights they probably didn’t even think possible just yet.
They believe in LeBron.
Seems only right that we should, too.
Count on it, this can be done. The Cavs can win it all.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James takes part in basketball practice Wednesday in San Antonio.