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Is LeBron a top 15 player in the NBA TODAY?

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
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February 29, 2024 3:31 pm

Is LeBron a top 15 player in the NBA TODAY?

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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February 29, 2024 3:31 pm

Bomani Jones, The Right Time, on LeBron James’ career, college sports, and the NFL.

Steph Curry may be small, but if people wanted to put him in a top tier category, what would Bomani say about that? How much gas is left in the tank for LeBron James, in Bomani’s opinion? What does Bomani think about Tiger Woods’ latest PGA appearance and what’s left for his career? Is college football being destroyed with the way things are going, in Bomani’s opinion?

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Proud to say hello to Bomani Jones. The right time with Bomani Jones is a staple. I know in my car on Fridays, we got to hear Foxworth Friday. Otherwise, the weekend can't start and Bomani joins us this afternoon.

Thank you very much for the time, man. What's going on? Oh man, just another day in the life in New York City. Part of me is still surprised that you're staying up there. Yeah, the only thing is, like, you stay in New York long enough, it's hard to come up with a good reason to go somewhere else. You don't have to drive, everything's within walking distance, right? Yeah, and I can spin the globe, close my eyes, put my finger on it, and whatever country I land on, somebody got a good restaurant from that place. And that's an underrated thing.

That is absolutely right. All right, we don't talk a ton. I follow it, but we don't talk a ton of the association here on the program. But LeBron James did something last night that is certainly worth bringing up, and Victoria brought it up in our one-timer segment. He only scored 19 in the fourth quarter, he made five three-pointers, and the Lakers, who are not as good as the Clippers by any stretch of the imagination, rallied from, what was it, 21 down to win, almost comfortably. What do you make of what we are seeing from LeBron? Is he a top 15 player in the league today?

Well, for me, it's a little difficult. Like, I think top 15 is possible, even plausible. Like, it's just hard because he can't guard anybody anymore, right? And so, he can still put up these incredible counting stats.

The advance stats, actually, this year are superior to last year. It is absurd what he is able to do, not just as somebody who's 39 years old, but somebody who's 39 years old with as many minutes and as many miles as he has on him. It's wild. Like, the three-point shooting had completely fallen off. He has brought that back. It's nuts.

I still find it crazy that he's still playing NBA basketball because he's doing all of this for the 10th best team in the West. Right. They're nice, rather. They are nice. Shouldn't they have been better? I mean, they won the League Cup. They won whatever that thing is called. They won it at the beginning of the year.

It mattered more to them, obviously, than anybody else, or maybe more to him than anybody else. Shouldn't they be better? Yeah, but I think it's fair to say that there isn't that much difference between the fifth best team in the West and the 10th best team in the West.

They're just all kind of clumped together. Now, the thing is, Phoenix is the fifth, so maybe you want to separate them, but in record, they're kind of right there in that clump. It's a lot of teams. The NBA has a level of parity that the commissioner wanted when they started making certain changes to the game about 10, 12 years ago, but I don't think that this is a league that thrives on parity. I don't think that's what people want, but I think that's what's happened.

I mean, is there any league that thrives on parity? I mean, the NFL might claim that that's what they want, but they don't. They want teams to dominate. They want to see, now, because of Patrick Mahomes, they want to see the Chiefs. Before that, they wanted to see Brady and the Patriots. Before that, it was the 49ers, whatever it was. Every league wants a dominant team, don't they?

I would think so. Like, the NFL has an advantage that none of these other leagues really have, which is that its tournament is single elimination, so there's an expectation of a certain level of drama that you get once you get to the postseason. The NBA wound up in that trick bag where you had those years where they used to do the best of five. Well, they used to do the best of three for the background, which is really crazy to look back on, but then that started messing up the money a little bit too much, so they moved it to best of five, and then best of five wound up getting some of your better teams being eliminated, and so they wanted the extra money from the extra game and to remove the uncertainty, so they took it to best of seven, and so no league sets itself up for the better team to win more, but I think a necessary function of your postseason is to have some measure of variance, and it is better to have the variance, I think, than to have parity. Yeah, parity to me is something that leagues pretend they want when we know, because all we hear, and the NFL is completely immune to this anyway, because if the Super Bowl were played between the Jaguars and the Detroit Lions, no offense to either franchise, a hundred million people would still watch it, so it doesn't really matter who ends up there, but you see the same teams week in and week out on the national games of the week.

There's a reason why we don't get Jacksonville, Indianapolis at 425 on CBS or Fox, right? That it's the same teams over and over, and boy were they screwed last year when Aaron Rodgers got hurt four games, four plays into game one, and all of those national windows, especially early that the Jets were in, we had to watch Zach Wilson play. You were going to be a Jets fan for about a hot minute, weren't you? Yeah, I gave it some thought, man, but Aaron Rodgers made it difficult enough, then I just had to pity them because they didn't even get to complete a pass before it all fell apart.

That was just really kind of sad, man. Yeah, the whole thing is sad, and once again the Jets look like a laughing stock. It's funny that that NFLPA survey, we haven't even talked about it yet, the NFLPA did a survey of all their players and asked them to rate their own franchise in how good it was in, I think it was 11 different areas, and the Jets and the Giants basically live in the same building, and the Giants rated their franchise much better than the Jets. Some franchises just can't get out of their own way. Strangely enough, the Panthers rated pretty well except when it came to the owner. It does seem that even the players don't like David Tepper all that much. All right, so I had to stop.

Okay, you go. The Chiefs were also at the bottom of a lot of stuff on that survey too, but they try to keep them hungry, like what is this? 31st on the list. The only thing that rated really well was Andy Reid.

Everything else was near the bottom. That's crazy. We got Andy Reid and we got Patrick Mahone.

The rest of it, you wash your own clothes. How about that? But here, you know, we're going to get into some college sports in a second with Bomani Jones, but think about this, because I've covered some NFL teams. It's been a while since I've been in the NFL market to cover an NFL team, but I covered Washington for a while, and I covered Baltimore when they first moved to Baltimore from Cleveland, and it amazes me when I see pictures of college locker rooms and college facilities, how much better they are than professional facilities.

Have you thought about that at all? That seems so antithetical to me. Well, it's antithetical only because college sports are so illogical, and they pay those kids with locker rooms, right? Since they can't give them the money, they give them fancy locker rooms in order to recruit them and thereby keep them. If you go ask them dudes at the NFL, what would they rather have, that locker room with a barbershop in it or five million dollars? They'll take the five million dollars every time and have the locker rooms that they currently have. I've always said that if the universities were not non-profits, essentially, and had to waste all the money, that they could fund the rest of the university's athletic department pretty simply, but they have to waste money. It's basically built into the system.

We'll get to the college element in a second. I want to get to Steph Curry real quick because I've seen some stuff written about, and I know you and I have kind of just texted back and forth about whether or not Steph is a top 10 player of all time, and it's weird because he's small. He's 6'3", and he's maybe 200 pounds or whatever he's listed at, but his impact on the game is such where if people wanted to put him into that unbelievable class of a top five player of all time given everything, what would you say to that? He's one of these players where his impact on the direction of the game seems to be pretty clear, and it happens in 2015. In 2015, he was the MVP, but in 2016 is when it turned into why don't you shoot 10-3 of the game, right? Let's just go ahead and blow the math completely out, and that 100% changes the direction that the NBA has gone. That championship that they won in 2022, which for me was the big game changer, whereas the one where it's just like, oh, this guy can really just decide that he himself is going to make it happen. It's not just simply a matter of the shots are falling.

It's that the focus is locked in, and this dude is deciding he's going to be able to do it. He is a defining player of an era, and it is worth noting that he has done all of this on LeBron James' watch. You could say they added Kevin Durant and everything else. That's fine, but ultimately, all of this winning that he has done has happened on LeBron's watch. Yeah, what, two of the championships came at LeBron's expense, right? Was that, or was it three?

Three. Three, yeah, three out of the five came on, or four, whatever the number is, came on LeBron James' watch. There was the one, of course, where if Draymond Green doesn't lose his mind, they probably win that one too. I mean, it opened the door for the Lakers, rather the Cavaliers, to come back. I mean, he's such a transcendent player, and he's dragging what I believe to be a bad team into the playing tournament, isn't he? Yeah, this team is not good, and they brought back Kerr for these next two years, which I thought was a very interesting decision that I can only assume, that only happens if Steph Curry wants it, because they're bringing Kerr back at something like 18 million battles a year, and I don't think he's done a great job, at least in these last couple years or so.

I don't see great room for that roster to improve itself. They're going to have to make the hard decision, and this is actually where I think Steph Curry doesn't get enough criticism is that I want to do this, and I want to do it with my friends saying, nah, man, somebody's going to have to tell Klay Thompson it's over, right? Somebody's got to tell Draymond Green it's almost over.

He's the guy that's got to do that. LeBron would have had Klay Thompson up out of there. Right, that's true. LeBron the GM is much more difficult than Steph, Steph the GM. There's no doubt about that. It's just cool because I've lived the whole LeBron era. I've lived the whole Steph era.

Heck, I don't talk about it as much as I want to. I lived the entirety of the Tiger Woods era, and now every time Tiger Woods plays an event and he leaves the event early, like Golf Channel does a story, what does this mean for Tiger's schedule? What do you mean what does it mean for Tiger? He's going to play one more event and that's it. He's going to hobble around Augusta National for four rounds, hopefully, and then we're done for the year.

It's pretty simple. Yeah, pretty much, like this is where we are now. I feel it makes me feel old, especially when I see like the kids of players who I saw their entire careers.

That makes me, that makes me, that makes me feel even more old. Bamadi Jones is joining us. All right, I want to get to, I know you talk about it and I don't know exactly, philosophically, I'm torn because college football is never going away. When I say that the SEC and the Big Ten are destroying college football, I don't mean they're destroying the popularity of it or the quality of the games. I just mean that they are destroying the fabric of it and it's becoming nothing more than an absolute minor league system for the NFL, for whatever that is. It's always been the feeder system for the pros but it's so concentrated now that I just think that they're killing it but they're not, it doesn't matter because it makes more and more money.

Where are you and where we are now? 14 teams will likely be in the playoff after a couple of years and the SEC and the Big Ten are just dominating the money. Well, we've completely lost the plot and on one level I say we've lost the plot is that there is literally one school in America that plays for the national championship every year and that school is Alabama. Nobody else is doing that. Like, Michigan just won its first full unshared national championship since I want to say 1948.

Yeah, they've enjoyed themselves quite a bit while playing all of this. Ohio State, since widespread integration, has only won two national championships, right? That's not generally what people are here for. Only Alabama cares that much about this. We're in it for all kinds of like weird regional reasons by and large but that's the plot.

That's always been the plot. Expanding this playoff, which is by the way more miles on the players that they don't get paid for, it's not, this is not why anybody showed up for this and that, that to me I'll always find to be disturbing. But the other thing, and I don't, I just don't think this rests comfortably with anybody because it's a fair conclusion that we reach but it's one that's problematic for the health of the sport, which is the worst thing they ever did was make it such that you could transfer without having to sit for a year. I never found it to be an oppressive thing to put in to make it that you had to sit for a year if you were going to transfer.

I just, I never like, given what the circumstance and the situation is, I thought that that was perfectly reasonable. You get to go, you're on scholarship, you get to go to school, all this stuff. All they're saying is you can't play football games for a year. I don't feel like that's that staggering a thing. Making it now that everybody can bail whenever they want to, basically after one year, what you got is a lack of familiarity, right? And I think, and I think that's the biggest problem that you wind up with is nobody even knows who the players are when they play.

And I also think that in a lot of ways, it takes away a measure of emotional resonance from the game. So I'll give an example. You remember Quentin Thompson played point guard in North Carolina. It was a bumpy ride for Quentin Thomas in those four years, a really, really, really bumpy ride. And I remember his sophomore year, I was at the Carolina Duke game and listened to a five-year-old say, daddy, don't put that man back in the game.

Fast forward two years from that, he had to play all those games after Ty Lawson got hurt. And it was like, you got to see like that full redemptive arc of college basketball and kind of like that, you know, like, you know, kind of one of those reminders that you're dealing with really young people and you watch them grow up. And the people who are like around programs the most, that's the most charming thing about a senior night.

For example, is you there's a good chance you saw this person come in as one person, you're watching them lead as another one. And to me, that's a big part of why a lot of people that watch these games are into them in the first place. It goes away with somebody bails so quick because once it gets hard, everybody goes somewhere. And what makes these stories, not just charming for those of us who are observing, but honestly, I think more fulfilling for the people involved in them is overcoming those things. And that's been lost.

That's gone. And it's really all because everybody thinks they're going to make some money off of it. And the worst thing about it for the players is most of y'all ain't going to no damn league. Oh, yeah.

You would be much better off staying at that one place for four years, and maybe you get to be on scholarship for life. Bomani Jones is joining us here on the Adam Gold Show. We have just a couple more minutes left. So you and I differ on that. I think that I've always thought the players should be allowed to transfer without waiting. I understand your point.

Because I think they're almost two different things. It doesn't hurt them to have to sit out a year. That shouldn't be viewed as punishment academically if we were still talking about college athletics. But I think we've long since forgotten that that's what the whole thing was supposed to be about.

And it's all about making as much money as possible these days. So I don't mind that the players have that freedom. In fact, coming after you, we're going to talk to Harrison Ingram of UNC. And granted, he was an older player, graduated from Stanford before coming to North Carolina.

And you could always do that if you were a graduate. But I'm okay with the constant movement. And I do think it's going to change when we get collective bargaining because that's coming, where the deal will be, all right, here's where we are. And we're going to have to basically sign a contract to be here, which I think would be good for everybody. Because I think what you said about Quentin Thomas is actually healthy for all of these kids growing up. Yeah, and I agree with you that it's fair what's happening now. And it's the coaches that put us in this position, right? That anybody can bail and go get more money than they just started looking bad. And it is one of those kind of 2020 changes, right?

Like, you know, when we when we all fell off our collective ass, George Floyd is one of the things we did, as I recall, these guys do these things whenever they want to. Right. But but it's still not good, even if it's fair.

It's not good. And we can acknowledge those two things can exist at one time. Right. Yeah, I totally understand. I wish college sports were like they were 20 years ago. Except that the players could get money out of the system.

I really do. I wish that and maybe we'll get back to that with changes that have to happen. But I wish we could have what we had before.

And the amount of interest in the amount of money that the the the conferences create and the NCAA men's basketball tournament creates, which is going to expand to 96, probably within, I don't know, five to 10 years. And and just be able to get players their part of the system. But we all know why that doesn't happen, because schools are afraid that the kids are going to get rich. And some of some of them should. Not all of them, but some of them should.

But everybody deserves something out of the whole system. Bamadi Jones, the right time. Foxworth Friday, tomorrow. Looking forward to that always, sir. Appreciate it, man. We'll talk again soon. Amen. Thanks for having me. I will talk to you. You got it. Bamadi Jones at the money underscore Jones on Twitter.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-29 16:37:01 / 2024-02-29 16:45:16 / 8

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