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LeBron is Vulnerable… I Think

Nathan Bush, Staff Writer

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Before I begin this hot take, allow me to surface this column by stating that I am fully aware that LeBron James will almost positively prove me wrong. But hey, the Cavs are playing horribly right now, and LeBron doesn’t get a free pass just because he’s LeBron.

As I said before, the Cavaliers are playing like bonafide garbage right now and somehow are concealing it behind their stars. We saw just how bad the Cavaliers can be in January, when the former champions suffered a grueling 7-8 record. This terrible month was bolstered by LeBron James lashing out at columnists, cursing in interviews and going as far as starting a feud with NBA analyst and former player, Charles Barkley. The Cavs secret weakness is defense, and if a team with a high-octane offense matches up with them in a playoff series, it could mean trouble for LeBron and his team. In the past 15 games, Cleveland’s defense has been so bad that teams like Brooklyn and the 76ers have better defensive ratings, according to NBA.com. I fully understand injuries like J.R. Smith’s and more recently Kevin Love’s hurt them drastically, but I can’t help but ponder if an active team at the trade deadline might finally attempt to dethrone King James.

When you look up and down the east, there are about three serious contenders to beat Cleveland. Sadly, I don’t feel that Embiid or Waiters can lead their spunky teams to the promised land, so we will just stick with Boston, Toronto and Washington.

The Raptors have looked rough lately, but are still a serious team and really great competition for the Cavs. Their electric old-school backcourt of Lowry and Derozan is one of the best in the league and were able to take the Cavs to six games last season in the Conference Finals. The Raptors acquired Serge Ibaka recently in a trade, and if he pans out and plays like he once did in OKC three short years ago, Toronto may represent the East in a matchup versus the Warriors.

Boston looks great right now. Isaiah Thomas is playing at an Allen Iverson level and appears unstoppable. They also have enough guys to throw at LeBron (Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, etc.) to at least slow him down. I believe the Celtics must make a move during the all-star weekend or they slide out of competition for the Finals. This move can be an easy Carmelo Anthony deal for spare parts, or maybe a risky Andre Drummond deal. That being said, whoever goes to Boston, must be a go-to third option, which is why I feel that Nikola Vucevic is not worth the price.

Lastly, we have the John Wall led Washington Wizards. DC is the hottest team in basketball over the past 15 games, amassing a record of 13-2 according to NBA.com. This hot streak doesn’t appear to be coming to an end anytime soon, but the Wizards have one gaping hole. Their depth. Oh boy, are they thin. They have about as much depth as a seventh grade basketball team. The most firepower they have off their bench is Marcus Thornton, for crying out loud. If the trade deadline passes and Washington fails to strike a deal to strengthen their bench, please forget I even had the audacity to place them in this list. However, if they do, watch out NBA and watch out LeBron James.

No matter what happens, the trade deadline must be a frantic event this year. If these few Eastern Conference teams finally consolidate their talent, LeBron’s six-year reign over the NBA may finally find its stopping point. If these GMs sit on their hands and attempt to win with what they have, LeBron will make them, and me, look like fools in May.

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