The Cavaliers have had no shortage of drama in the 2017-18 season.
From the Kyrie Irving trade, to injuries, to trading away half their team at the deadline last month, to head coach Tyronn Lue’s current leave of absence, the team has had to contend with plenty of adversity.
That’s why former general manager David Griffin is saying that LeBron James going to his eighth straight NBA Finals could be the biggest accomplishment in his career.
Griffin told Business Insider that while it is hard enough make it to that many consecutive Finals, this season adds another layer of difficulty for James.
“I think this year in particular because there’s been so much turmoil, because it’s been such an unsteady year in some ways emotionally, it would be an even bigger feat mentally than it ever has been,” Griffin said.
James continues to put on a spectacle each night. Since Jan. 31, he is averaging a triple-double of 29.0 points, 10.4 rebounds and 10.0 assists.
On Wednesday night against Toronto, James recorded 35 points, 17 assists, seven rebounds and zero turnovers. Per Elias Sports Bureau, James is the only player to have a game with 15-plus assists and zero turnovers since the NBA started tracking turnovers in the 1977-78 season.
But despite James’ outstanding individual numbers this year, many view his supporting cast as weaker than in previous years, meaning that if he can in fact make another Finals trip, the achievement is that much more astounding in Griffin’s eyes.
“If he makes it to the Finals this year with the group he has, it’ll be the truest testament to his greatness,” Griffin told Business Insider. “Because, mentally, to be able to grind and do the things he’s had to do, if he were to do it eight years in a row, it would just be truly unprecedented.”
It’s hard to qualify achievements, especially in the case of a player as great as James. But when it comes to his ultimate legacy, it’s arguable that his greatest and career-defining achievement will be the 2016 championship.
But even if making it to his eighth straight Finals isn’t the greatest thing he’s ever done, it will still be pretty memorable.