By Erik Lewis, Feature Writer
The ‘King’ is coming home, and Johnny Football’s hype and off-duty drama is reaching unprecedented levels. Not even Betty White could bring this much publicity to Cleveland. She probably wasn’t surprised James returned to the promised land. Or was she?
Will it be enough to bring Cleveland much needed championships and excitement to a city flush with franchises struggling to stay relevant?
The Browns have gone 49 years without winning a Super Bowl, and have never won an NBA Title. The city’s lone bright spot was a World Series victory for the Indians in 1948.
LeBron and Manziel should bring that excitement back. The two could be known as Cleveland’s saviors, or even the Diabolical Duo. Both wreak havoc on other teams, and the media. With Manziel’s “party boy” M.O. and James’ knack for staying in the headlines, whether he scores 50 points or not, the two can bring Cleveland back to relevance, or at least more media attention.
The phrase no press is bad press might apply here…then again it might not. The amount of pressure on both the Cavaliers and Browns to win and win soon is now on. The stove has been turned all the way up to high, as if both teams didn’t already feel the pressure to win.
Manziel, although still not No. 1 on the depth chart yet, is looking to end the era of failed Browns quarterbacks which spans over 15 years and includes 19 different names.
Manziel will have to use his arm more than his legs if he wants to help the Browns. He can’t risk injury on every play if he wants to play an entire season. With the probable loss of top receiver Josh Gordon to yet another suspension, Manziel will have more pressure in the pocket. Johnny will be effective on the run and out of the pocket, but if he takes a page out of RGIII’s lesson book, he will pick his spots to run, which he did at Texas A&M.
With his small, barely 6-foot frame, Manziel could get roughed up by defensive ends and linebackers that want to hurt him and are sick of hearing about his weekend or his talent.
On the other side of things, LeBron hopes to bring a title in his return to his old stomping ground (or kingdom). This time, he might have more help than just Larry Hughes, Daniel Gibson, Drew Gooden (#midrange) and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
James acknowledged that he knows it will be tough, but until he gets into the season, he won’t know how tough it will get.
“I’m not promising a championship,” James said in his Sports Illustrated story. “I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested.”
With a roster full of rookies, James will have to do what he did to be successful with in Miami, which is share the spotlight and, more importantly, the ball. He will also have to teach the young talent on the Cavs, like Andrew Wiggins, Kyrie Irving and top-notch draft flop, Anthony Bennett, how to win in the NBA. In my mind, that all has to start on the defensive end of the floor. Night-in and night-out effort on the defensive end of the floor is necessary for any team to win — just look at the Spurs.
This is especially needed when shots aren’t falling on certain nights, which can happen on occasion, even in an scoring happy league like the NBA.
The King won’t have to score 30 points per game to help the Cavs win, he’ll just have to produce enough with Irving, Wiggins and others. I would think 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists could be enough with solid production around him.
It’s a good thing Johnny Manziel and LeBron James are friends, because the start (and return) of their careers to Cleveland is going to need to be a team effort. Neither can totally outshine the other.
To bring Cleveland back to prominence isn’t going to happen overnight, as much as they might want it to.
The clock starts now, (Hot) Cleveland. Will it rock?
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