James is being touted as the next superstar of the NBA
LeBron James is on his way to the NBA, with more hype and higher expectations
than any first-year player before him.
He is expected to be the saviour of the beleaguered Cleveland Cavaliers
franchise (who will select James with the first pick of the NBA draft on 26 June).
And in a larger sense, he could be the saviour of the NBA itself, carrying the league into the post-Michael
Is it too much to ask of an 18-year-old who has just graduated from high school?
The fact remains no player - not Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, nor Tracy
McGrady - has come out of high school and been an immediately
It has taken at least a year or two for each of those players
A handful of truly great players who, as dominating as they
have been while playing against relatively weak competition at high
school or college level, have actually improved upon entering the NBA, such as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
James could be that type of player - the one thing players of that calibre
have in common is their supreme passing ability, and he is a fantastic
distributor of the basketball.
Playing against world-class competition will be a tremendous challenge but playing with world-class team-mates could be even greater factor in
These will not be high school kids standing in awe of James's moves and
getting hit in the nose with a bullet pass.
They will be superlative hoopsters who
can always get to the right spot on the floor and finish assists with huge
But those moments are still months away.
Until then, all the talk about James
revolves around off-the-court matters - first and foremost, the $90m endorsement contract he has signed with Nike.
James is an excellent passer of the ball
A deal of that magnitude immediately spurred rumours that Nike will have more
of a say in the handling of LeBron's career than the Cavaliers.
One thing is
certain - neither his shoe company nor his soon-to-be new team are willing to
take it slow with James.
Searching for a new coach, the Cavaliers actively pursued former Knicks'
coach Jeff Van Gundy but negotiations reportedly soured when the coach would
not give assurances about guaranteed playing time for James.
So the job fell into the lap of Paul Silas, who was sacked by the New Orleans
Hornets shortly after they were eliminated in the first round of the
The headlines following Silas's hiring were not "Cavaliers hire Paul Silas"
but "Paul Silas to coach LeBron."
Silas is a tremendous coach who New Orleans never should have sacked in the
Silas has not yet talked extensively about the task of coaching James,
offering only a few words at his introductory press conference while denying there
is a "guaranteed playing time" deal in place.
"He's a young player that will take a lot of nurturing," Silas said.
"It'll be a task for the whole organisation to help him become the type of
player that he wants to be. The only promise I'll make is that this team will