If you’ve been paying any attention to the NBA playoffs this year you’ve noticed that all the talk has been about how dominant LeBron James has been, and rightfully so.
He has been playing at a level that very few players in league history have during the postseason and continued that in Game 1 of the Finals with a 51-point, 8-rebound, 8-assist performance.
However, some of the talk that was originally about LeBron’s greatness has turned into questioning the talent around him.
Despite the lack of production from some of LeBron’s teammates, Kobe Bryant isn’t buying that there isn’t talent on the Cavaliers roster. When asked about James’ supporting cast in a recent New York Times interview, Bryant had this to say:
“He’s got some workable pieces there. I don’t understand how, in order to talk about how great LeBron is we need to [expletive] on everybody else. That’s not O.K. Those guys have talent. I don’t buy this whole thing that he’s playing with a bunch of garbage.”
This is kind of surprising that Kobe would say this given his experience wasting some of his prime years alongside the likes of Smush Parker and Kwame Brown. Obviously, James is working with players that a bit better than those two but the talent differential between the Cavaliers and the Warriors is clear as day.
During this playoff run, Kevin Love has been the only other consistent scoring threat outside of James on the roster and without Kyrie Irving to play the sidekick role the Cavaliers are on the brink of elimination.
Of course the roster matters during the playoffs but once the Finals are over, whether Cleveland wins or not, which is a long shot at this point, James will have to assess whether he believes the Cavaliers have enough talent or can improve their roster enough to make him stay in Cleveland.
There has been some speculation that he will come to Los Angeles along with another max free agent such as Paul George which would likely give him a better supporting cast than he currently has.
Ultimately, I think that Kobe is making a decent point here because there are solid NBA players on the Cavaliers roster. Unfortunately, they just haven’t had the time together that you’d hope to have and they’re going up against one of the most talented rosters the league has ever seen so the talent differential is even more magnified.