Written by Rohit Ghosh
Follow @rohitghosh on Twitter
How Valuable is LeBron James For The Cavs?
It's almost the postseason, and AccuScore took some time to look at LeBron James and how valuable one player can be in a game that could decide the winner of the Eastern Conference. Wednesday's top of the Eastern Conference battles could decide home court advantage for the Conference Finals and preview that heavyweight battle if all goes to chalk.
The Cavs are coming off a back-to-back, and AccuScore ran its simulations prior to the conclusion of Tuesday night’s win, where James ultimately recorded a triple double, so the numbers may not match identically with Wednesday’s simulation results on the site, but the computer’s assessment of LeBron James is clear.
The Cavs’ go from a 32.4% chance of winning Wednesday's game in Boston without, arguably, the best basketball player on the planet to a 40.1% chance of winning in Beantown with James in the lineup, which is a whopping increase of 26.4%!
Safe to say, the Cavs are not about to win the Eastern Conference in the regular or postseason without James on the court.
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Whether or not James gets voted as a top candidate in the MVP race, the fact of the matter is that his impact on the Cavaliers -- in the long run – is immense. In the short run, it’s equally notable.
The Cavs’ roster has enough talent to sustain wins in the regular season and beat bottom dwellers, but increasing the Cavs’ odds of winning from 32.4% to 40.1% is something no single other player provides against competition of this caliber.
The Cavs haven't had a whole lot of success with James off the floor - going winless when no. 23 has rested.
Heading into March, Cleveland is about nine-to-ten points better offensively, per 100 possessions, with James on the floor, and are about three points worse defensively per 100 possessions. He has an impact on both ends. Against Boston in simulations, Cleveland held the Celtics 1.2 points lower on average, which makes a big difference in a close game. Add in that the Cavs score about 2.5 more points with James in simulations, and the game gets a whole heck of a lot more interesting and entertaining with the three-time NBA Finals MVP on the floor.
This isn't anything new, though. Two years ago, Cleveland went 3-10 without him on the floor. Last year, 1-5
Given that James plays between 37-to-38 minutes per game when on the floor - is this really that surprising? While his usage ratings might not be to the levels of a James Harden or Russell Westbrook, his presence on the floor for that amount of time makes the overall impact just as much, if not more.
With “the King” on the floor, the Cavs remain the favorite to reach the NBA finals; without him, their winning percentage suggests they could be a lottery team. Ultimately, the computer still likes the Celtics because they come in rested and have the home court, but James gives the Cavs a far better chance to win according to AccuScore’s 10,000 simulations.
See AccuScore’s Celtics vs Cavs expert picks against the spread and totals + all of Wednesday’s action: NBA Picks