This may be surprising, but I actually respect Gilbert Arenas opinion here. I don't respect the conclusion he came to from said opinion, but I respect the opinion nonetheless. I may be fairly in tune with the happenings of the NBA , but in terms of basketball and the nuances of the game, I am definitely more of a casual fan. So when Arenas says that LeBron doesn't have a quick first step and is better when already in motion, it may not be something I had realized, but it definitely makes sense. When he says that he isn't great at changing direction and plays a straight up game, not predicated on crossovers and ball handling, it's actually enlightening. Mostly because those are things that never crossed my mind while watching LeBron James over the course of the last decade plus. With that said, he loses me when he proclaims that LeBron James isn't a #1 option.
The last thing I want to do is sit here and defend LeBron James. While it is a pleasure to watch him play basketball, it's damn near unbearable to watch his antics after the whistle and off the court. However, if we are going to have ex-NBA superstar that went from 'Agent Zero' to absolute zero over the course of a year or two downplaying his accomplishments, then defend LeBron James is exactly what I will have to do. Here is my biggest issue with people that criticize LeBron for being more of a facilitator than a scorer, it's ALL subjective. What defines a number one option? In my opinion , it's a player whose hands you want the ball in when the game is on the line. Whether that player puts the ball in the hoop himself or passes it to a player that is wide open for a higher percentage shot. Whatever has the highest probability of putting points on the board. Why does a "number 1 option" need to have the capability of being a great 1-on-1 player? Last time I checked, NBA games weren't being played at Rucker Park. You can't sit here and tell me that LeBron James needs a 'go-to' guy around him to be successful when he has a history of out scoring said 'go-to' guys while putting up gaudy assist and rebounding numbers. Now, does he need more talent than he had during the NBA finals? Absolutely. That would go for Jordan, Kobe, and Magic as well. No single player could have taken a team whose second best player was, at times, either Timofey Mozgov or Matthew Dellavedova and beat a 67 win team en route to a championship.
Do I doubt that if LeBron James was more worried about personal statistics than winning than he could put up unforeseen numbers? Not at all. However, LeBron James' 'potential' isn't based on how many points he scores, it's based on how many championships he wins, and you don't win championships by worrying about yourself first. Sure, LeBron pushed himself to the absolute limit and damn near won Finals MVP as the loser, but that's the key word, he was the loser. Basketball is a team game, and LeBron's teams are better when he is making the talent around him better, instead of trying to do it all by himself. You can describe James however you'd like, but no matter who else is on his team, he will always be the primary option.