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Just face it: LeBron is not Clutch

Updated on May 24, 2012

The saying goes: "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” LeBron James may go down as one of the greatest basketball players and as complete a player you’re going to find, but he doesn't have what it takes to mentally put the proverbial nail in the coffin.

A glaring moment came in this past all-star game where he was in a zone, carrying the east squad on his back, which he is very capable of doing since he came into the NBA. He scored 36 points and in the 4th quarter made shot after shot. Down by three with the game on the line, and a chance to prove all the naysayers wrong and send the game into overtime, he passed it to Deron Williams who proceeded to miss from beyond the arc. I think it should have been the other way around but who cares right, it was the all-star game. See, that to me is a cop-out and more evidence of James sneaking out the back door with hoping no one notices. Some people took notice like when Kobe Bryant ripped into him for not taking the shot. He's under very close surveillance in this age of technology and has a lot in common with President Obama. Critics will nitpick on every flaw and once they find a weakness, it's like sharks smelling blood in the water.

People are starting to come to the realization that the guy just doesn't have a flair for the dramatic when the game is on the line. About 99.9% of a game he could be dominant but if he's down in the waning moments, he's nowhere to be found. He almost cowers under that particular spotlight but maybe that's just not his personality. Could he be immature and just hasn't developed that .1% of his game yet? Or could it be that he's more concerned with his image and how he's perceived by the public than he does on closing out games?

I think there's a bit of insecurity and shyness to LeBron that goes unnoticed. We see him in commercials, magazines, and billboards. We see his highlights and hear his name in songs. With all this attention you would think he loves being in the center of it but if you look closely, I think his personality borders more on sharing it than being singled out for it. It explains why he has meltdowns in tight situations and collapses under pressure because he's uncomfortable and his brain locks up. This brings me back to his play in clutch situations.

People are so enamored with finding the next Michael Jordan and want LeBron to embody that same scoring mentality, especially the game winning shots like MJ used to make again and again. Is LeBron James a choke artist? I don't think so, that's just not his craft. He doesn’t have to be what everyone wants him to be; he can just be his himself. With the evolution of basketball, players who are big and can handle the ball are becoming more and more common. LeBron excels when he's bringing up the ball on a fast break and in a half court set. His point guard skills at his size resemble Magic Johnson's and maybe a better facilitator than scorer when the game is hanging in the balance. He has a power forward's ability on both ends of the floor and his post game has improved. He encapsulates so many different attributes in one package that we really can't define what he should be.

Only time will tell but one thing as of now is certain, this new age prototype simply doesn't fit the criteria of a closer. The greatest players throughout the history of the NBA, won championships with great decision making, whether it be scoring when the opportunity presented itself or hitting the open man at just the right moment. Adding a John Paxson, Steve Kerr, or Derek Fisher type of shooter to spot up for James would help him immensely.

Head Coach Erik Spoelstra has to do a better job drawing up plays at the end of games and he sometimes looks indecisive as to whom to draw up plays for, almost like he's picking names out of a hat. Surround LeBron with better role players and a coach who knows how to challenge him and enhance his cognitive ability. Maybe then we'll finally see the “King” arrive with his crown, but until then we'll see more bricks put up to build a castle with the “Chosen One” not worthy to sit on the throne.

You know the saying "pressure bursts pipes", well LeBron, stop worrying so much about your headband and grow up now, the world is waiting.


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    • Matthew Maktub profile image

      Matthew Foreman 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      It is tough to say a guy just "doesn't have it." I think his late game miscues comes down to a number of things. Although, there's no defense to the all-star game blunder. I think I almost fell out of my chair in disbelief when he came out and threw the inbound pass at the end of the game. I don't think any player running as hot as Lebron was would ever want to be the guy inbounding.


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