The NBA in the late 2010s was dominated by two teams. In the Eastern Conference, we had the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers that made 4 consecutive NBA Finals appearances from 2015 to 2018. In the West, we had the Golden State Warriors led by a trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala. They made 5 NBA Finals and stopped LeBron from winning 3 rings in 2015, 17, and 18.
The one ring the Cavaliers won in 2016 saw them overcome a 3-1 deficit, the largest in Finals history. This prompted the Warriors to recruit Kevin Durant, with whom they were unstoppable in 2017 and 2018. That move has been criticized by many over the years, as the Cavs stood no chance those two years to continue what could have been the most interesting rivalry of the modern era.
Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe were discussing the Kevin Durant situation right now and got sidetracked into a conversation about how KD would fare if he had Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, with Skip saying they would be a problem to the Golden State Warriors if they had LeBron instead of KD.
“If you put KD with Kyrie and Kevin Love, you’ve got problems. They’re 5 or 6 years younger then, Kevin is no spring chicken now. He’s going into Year 16,” Skip said.
Shannon Sharpe asked for a clarification on the ages of the players in this situation, “You’re telling me LeBron at 32, 33, and 34 with Steph, Klay, and Draymond in their prime?”
“This is the same group that blew a 3-1 lead because Steph Curry went completely AWOL, missing in action,” Skip responded by bringing up the Warriors trio fail in the 2016 Finals.
This take is a complete hypothetical but one that is a little hard to accept. LeBron did everything he could for the Cavaliers and brought them back to the Finals in 2018 even after losing Kyrie. However, Kevin Durant was also playing a class apart in those Finals series.
Ultimately, the results would be the same because the Warriors just had greater talent depth on their roster. This take will be baffling to many but joins a long line of Skip Bayless takes that tend to minimize LeBron’s achievements as a player.