LeBron exceeds all expectations

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

CLEVELAND -- Accolades have become commonplace for LeBron James, but it's not every day you get compared to the likes of John, Ringo and Paul in their heyday.

While the comparison seemed a bit odd, at first, coming out of the mouth of Kevin Garnett on Saturday night, further examination left little doubt to what the Minnesota Timberwolves forward was getting at.

"LeBron has probably not only met all our expectations, but blew the expectations out of the water," said Garnett, a 10-year veteran who also made the jump to the NBA directly out of high school. "If you're paying for a ticket to see LeBron, it's like a present. I hope the city of Cleveland totally understands what they get to see night in and night out.

"He's like the Beatles right now."

There are times when the Cavaliers superstar makes it look like he's been playing in the NBA for years, but the reality is that James, the first overall pick in 2003 out of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, recently began his third season in the Association and won't turn 21 until Dec. 30.

An improved supporting cast this season includes newcomers Larry Hughes, Damon Jones and former Toronto Raptor Donyell Marshall, but there is no question who drives this up-and-coming bunch.

On Saturday night, James poured in a season-high 38 as the Cavaliers dropped their first home loss of the campaign, 89-85 to the Timberwolves. The loss came on the heels of a tough defeat to the Indiana Pacers, one of the Eastern Conference powerhouses.

"We're not a great team right now, we're a good team," said James, who was averaging 28.4 points per game going into last night's game with the Los Angeles Clippers. "But we're getting better."

First-year Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown, a former Pacers assistant, has come to appreciate James more and more while seeing him on an everyday basis.

"It doesn't surprise me, but from the outside looking in you don't know his leadership skills and leadership abilities," said Brown.

Garnett, who suffered through some lean years with the T-Wolves, says it's only a matter of time before LeBron and the Cavaliers break through.

"This team is new and they're going to figure it out," said Garnett, the fifth overall pick in 1995. "They're going to be totally, totally, totally there. They play hard, they've got the talent and on top of that, they've got a great coaching staff. I look for big things coming out of the Cavs."


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