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Cavaliers’ Mike Miller: ‘Championship or bust makes basketball not as fun as it should be’

Aug 6, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

Mike Miller Mike Miller

Once LeBron James made the decision to return to the Cavaliers, the recruiting of his former teammates who could fill the role of veteran sharpshooters began to take place.

Mike Miller is the one who statistically is likely to have the biggest impact, but James Jones was added, as well.

If nothing else, the pair can help James lead a young team with zero playoff experience through the tangled web of traveling an entire NBA season with targets figuratively placed on its players’ chests.

The expectations on any LeBron-led team are for a championship to be within reach, and Miller, speaking at his introductory press conference in Cleveland on Wednesday, acknowledged it — while admitting that the game isn’t necessarily as fun when that’s the case.

From Scott Sargent of Waiting For Next Year:

“LeBron makes things easy, but it’s also about what this organization is about,” said a suited Miller at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “Cleveland is a hard-working city, and winning a championship takes a lot of hard work. It’s a blessing and we’re excited about the opportunity.

“It’s going to be crazy this year and we understand that. ‘Championship or bust’ makes basketball not as fun as it should be, but [a championship] is our goal.”

Miller’s right, in that the scrutiny that comes over the long grind of the regular season can be grating, especially if the team should get off to a slower-than-expected start, or find itself in the middle of any type of losing streak.

LeBron and his former (and now current) teammates have been through that fire, and that experience will be helpful, especially with guys like Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters who at times haven’t handled the pressure from the media with all that much grace.

While the journey may not be that enjoyable at times due to the pressure to succeed, the payoff, of course, comes at the end of the season — provided the Cavaliers make it to the Finals, and live up to those championship expectations.

  1. duhwighthoward - Aug 6, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    The Black Keys are from Cleveland.

    • balsagna - Aug 6, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      The Black Keys are from Akron. Akron is 40 minutes outside of Cleveland, but yes, Akron is often considered a part of Cleveland much like Canton. It’s semantics I suppose.

  2. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 6, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Which is why I was legitimately excited to see LeBron, Wiggins, Bennett, Waiters, Irving, & Tristan Thompson play & develop together over the next few years.

  3. antistratfordian - Aug 6, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Will LeBron be in the Finals for the 5th straight year? I think so.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:16 PM

      Well, he’s getting his 2nd all star in Love to pair up with Kyrie and himself…

      I should HOPE he does…

      All stars MJ played with in each of 6 championship seasons…

      Zero Championship #1 1991
      1 Championship #2 1992
      1 Championship #3 1993

      1 Championship #4 1996
      1 Championship #5 1997
      Zero Championship #6 1998

      MJ’s total number of all stars in his 6 championship seasons was…

      Four (4).

      In MJ’s 6 title seasons he averaged playing with 0.67 all stars.

      LeHelp has played with the following all stars in his five finals appearances (sorry, couldn’t say championships though).

      finals #1 Zero
      finals #2 Two
      finals #3 Two
      finals #4 Two
      finals #5 Two

      LeHelp has averaged playing with 1.6 all stars in his 5 finals appearances.

      4 finals he played with 2 all stars

      MJ never played with 2 all stars in one finals ever

      let’s not even begin to look at PER of LeBron’s teammates and compare them to those MJ played with (well just a peek – D Wade is 8th all time in PER, Bosh is 54th all time and Scottie Pippen is 114th all time)

      • antistratfordian - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:06 PM

        Yea but MJ had far more all-defensive help. I think James with MJ’s teams would win more than 6 rings. MJ on Bron’s teams… 0 rings. MJ absolutely needed a rebounder… Bron is his own rebounder. That sort of thing.

        You know there was a time around 1997 where MJ and Pippin were considered the 2 best players in the league, and they both made 1st team All-NBA and 1st team All-Defensive… which is insane… that would be like LeBron playing on a team with himself. LeBron has never played on a team where another player besides him made either 1st team All-NBA or All-Defensive, let alone BOTH, let alone that PLUS being coached by Phil Jackson.

  4. urallstupid - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    complaining about pressure when you only choose to play on teams with the best player is ironic.

    • paleihe - Aug 6, 2014 at 6:01 PM

      I didn’t read his quote to be complaining in any way.

  5. mackcarrington - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    Well, if you don’t win a championship, you’ve wasted a year of your life.
    I guess there are a lot of players who don’t have any reason to live.

  6. clevelandrox - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    GO CAVS!

  7. seasickcecil - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    Based on this Dion Waiters isn’t going anywhere. http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24650594/waiters-lebron-called-me-before-decision-told-me-to-be-ready

  8. seasickcecil - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    @WojYahooNBA: Free agent forward Shawn Marion is leaning strongly toward signing with Cleveland over Indiana, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

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