The 2017-18 season was LeBron James‘ final year on the Cleveland Cavaliers during his second stint with the franchise. He played in all 82 games for the first time in his career and led the Cavs to the Finals for the fourth consecutive season.
The Cavs began the 2017-18 season with Dwyane Wade, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Derrick Rose on the team. While all four players were traded at the 2018 trade deadline, one of them spied on LeBron during his time with the King.
How good was LeBron James in 2017-18?
LeBron led the NBA in minutes per game in 2017-18. He played roughly 36 minutes a night and guided the Cavs to 50 wins while averaging 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 9.1 assists while shooting 54.2% from the field, 36.7% from beyond the arc, and 73.1% from the free-throw line.
The Cavs finished with the fourth-best record in the East and faced the Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, and Boston Celtics in the 2018 Eastern Conference playoffs. LeBron and Co. needed seven games to defeat the Pacers in the first round and the Celtics in the conference finals. The Raptors, meanwhile, were no match for the Cavs and got swept in the second round.
LeBron averaged 34.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 8.8 assists in the Eastern Conference playoffs. He also hit two game-winners, one against the Pacers and the other versus the Raptors.
The Cavs struggled before the 2018 trade deadline, which is why they traded Thomas, Wade, Rose, and Crowder and acquired George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., and Jordan Clarkson.
Before the deadline, though, one of the four players traded made it a point to spy on LeBron and learn his tricks.
Derrick Rose spied on LeBron James
In 2018-19 when he played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Rose admitted he spied on LeBron. The former Chicago Bulls superstar was trying to see how James took care of his body and mind.
“I was kind of spying on him the entire time while I was there even though he didn’t notice,” Rose said. “I was looking at everything that he did. You have to. Lookin’ at the master. So, I took everything in and I think I learned from him.”
Whatever Rose learned from LeBron by spying on him worked, as he has rejuvenated his career since getting traded by the Cavs and released by the Utah Jazz. He averaged 16.2 points in 60 games with the Timberwolves and scored a career-high 50 points, put up 17.2 points in 65 games with the Detroit Pistons, and has played a key role in helping the New York Knicks climb up to the fourth seed in the East this season.
LeBron was one of the many players in the NBA who congratulated Rose after he scored 50 points against the Jazz. The four-time MVP called the 2010-11 MVP a “superhero.”
Both MVPs played for their hometown team
LeBron and Rose both lived out their childhood dream. They were drafted by their hometown team with the No. 1 pick and won an MVP Award.
The Cavs drafted LeBron with the first overall pick in 2003. He won two MVPs with them and one championship.
Meanwhile, Rose became the youngest MVP in NBA history in 2010-11 with the Bulls. He and Michael Jordan are the only two players in franchise history to win Rookie of the Year and MVP.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.