It was three years ago that LeBron James decided to “bring his talents to South Beach” and join Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat. In their first season together, the Big 3 triumphed over adversity to reach the NBA Finals, only to fall to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks. LeBron crumbled under pressure and put forth a mediocre effort, only eclipsing 25 points once throughout the 2011 NBA Finals.
Move forward three years and everything has changed. It seems as though after LeBron and company grasped their first taste of glory in the 2012 NBA Finals, their hunger only grew, as well as their confidence. LeBron put forth a monumental effort for the ages in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, putting up 37 points, 12 rebounds and four assists to win his second NBA Finals in two consecutive seasons. With the growth of James has come the deterioration of his two sidekicks, Wade and Bosh.
Bosh didn’t score a single point in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, leaving the rest of the Heat to pick up his slack. His numbers were also down, as he averaged a meager 12.1 points per game during the 2013 playoffs, 4.5 points short of his season average. Bosh only broke 20 points twice throughout this postseason, while failing even to reach double digits in five of his 24 playoff appearances.
Now Wade does have some ground to stand on considering he already won a championship well before the arrival of James and has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. But once again, Wade averaged 21.2 points per game during the regular season, which plummeted to a civilian 15.9 points per game during the postseason. Wade also failed to break 20 points in 18 of the 24 games in the 2013 playoffs, which the Heat battled through to win a championship.
On the other hand, LeBron distanced himself from his two counterparts by reaching 30 or more points in seven of his 24 playoff appearances and only failing to reach 20 points in five of those games. He also accumulated three triple-doubles and two double-doubles during this postseason, willing his Heat to victory. There is no doubt anymore who the best player in the world is, and there will be a heated debate as to if James can surpass his “airness,” Michael Jordan, if he continues to get better as we only know he can.