LeBron James, as much as any member of the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers, has been vocal about the process it will take to transform his team into a championship contender. But with the Cavs off to a 5-5 start, even James admits it’s not easy staying focused on the long view.
“It’s my biggest test,” James said Friday morning in advance of the Cavs’ game against the Washington Wizards (ESPN, 8 p.m.). “My patience isn’t [endless]. I have a low tolerance for things of this nature. So it’s something I’m working on, as well, which I knew from the beginning that that was going to be my biggest test to see how much patience I got with the process.
“What helps me out is I’ve been through it before, but at the same time, I’m a winner, I want to win, and I want to win now. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not down the line, I want to win now. So it’s a fine line for me, but I understand what we’re enduring right now.”
The Miami Heat infamously started off 9-8 in 2010-11, James’ first season with the team. This was after James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh predicted they would win multiple championships during a pep rally before they even played a game together, and with the heightened expectations that came from analysts such as ESPN/ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy declaring they had a shot to best the Chicago Bulls’ single-season record of 72-10.
After Cleveland lost to the San Antonio Spurs 92-90 on Wednesday, James said he had a “sense of comfort” to have already been through a rocky start with a new team four years ago back in Miami.
These Cavs are facing the same sort of outside pressure that James’ first Heat team did. James reminded reporters that just because Cleveland has all the ingredients it needs, doesn’t mean that it won’t take time to make the meal.
“We put a lot of pieces together that wasn’t here last year,” James said. “I don’t want to say ‘rebuilding.’ I think [when] people think of rebuilding, they think of starting from the ground up. But we are a team that wasn’t together last year, so [we have] the same struggles as the [Philadelphia] 76ers or as the Miami Heat right now and us, we have some of the same qualities as far as putting new guys together.
“Obviously the talent is a little bit different on every team, but [the Cavs are] coming together and going through a new system — we have a new coach, we have a new staff, we have new players. The problem with everyone is everyone wants overnight success and no one wants to work for it. So, you put in the hard work, you get the satisfaction of it later.”
James was asked specifically about how satisfied he is with how his relationship with first-year head coach David Blatt is going.
“It takes a long time,” James said. “I don’t know the exact time, but it takes awhile. You have to go through things on the floor and be with him, and you got to go through a lot of tough times and see how guys react from it and see how you come back from it. But, it doesn’t happen overnight.”
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