There's a big problem with Larry Bird's comment about LeBron James.
This week's HEATcast, Behind Enemy Lines, discussed comments by Bird that were posted in the Miami Herald's HEAT Blog:
Larry Bird recently sat down with Bill Simmons for a podcast session and had some interesting things to say about LeBron James.
First off, Bird said LeBron is without question the best player in the game today.
"LeBron James is by far our best player in this league," Bird said. "I don’t think there’s anyone next to him."
But then Bird was asked who in the game he would like to play an entire season with. Bird went with Kobe Bryant because of "his desire to win, his dedication in the offseason to get better and he’s tough. He’s just a tough cat."
Bird added: "But if you want to have fun like I did with Bill Walton you play with LeBron. It would probably have been more fun to play with LeBron but if you want to win and win and win it’s Kobe. Not that LeBron isn’t a winner."
The problem with Bird's comment is that he never won more games than the 67 the Celtics won when Bird played with Bill Walton in 1986. Who would ever think the greatest Celtics player from the modern era would be such a big fan of the Kobe System?
If Bird's evaluation of players is that flawed, then it explains why the Pacers have never won more games with rosters he built than the one he inherited as general manager for the 2003-04 season. This season's Pacers team may be the best roster Bird's put together as GM and LeBron almost singlehandedly defeated them this season with an estimated 0.470 wins produced (a team only needs to produce an estimated 0.501 wins for a game to go in the win column).
What it really boils down to is that Bird would rather have someone with Kobe's personality than LeBron's production. Maybe that's the politics of the game that Josh Smith was referring to when he found out the coaches didn't vote him into the All-Star Game this year.
Check out the HEATcast to hear the full discussion of Larry Bird's comments, the Celtics and the Lakers.