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LeBron James is sort of flirting with historical greatness

Feb 8, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

Here’s the bottom line. Yes, LeBron’s triple-crown numbers are amazing. The only other players to average 29/7/8 over a full season are, you guessed it, Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson. However, LeBron’s scoring efficiency is a much better indicator of how LeBron is helping the Cavs win than his rebounding numbers. When you consider LeBron’s True Shooting in context with the rest of LeBron’s statistics, it becomes apparent that LeBron is truly having a season for the ages. Averaging a triple-double for a season would make LeBron the answer to a bar trivia question. LeBron scoring the ball efficiently is what could bring the Cavs their first NBA championship.

via Cavs the Blog

Our own John Krolik lays out LeBron’s current statistical pace, including a few obscure milestones in reach.If LeBron keeps pace, it will be:

  • Just the fifth time a player has scored 29.5 points per game while shooting at least five threes a game. We’ve now reached the point where you hope he pulls up for a three instead of bulldozing you, but even then, you’re doomed.
  • Just the fourth time a player has scored as many points with as high a True Shooting percentage. True Shooting percentage factors in free throws and three point shooting for kind of a “weighted” percentage.
  • Likewise, just the sixth time a player has had a True Shooting percentage of 60%, average more than 29 points and five assists per game. There are only two other names on that list. Michael Jordan (did it four times) and Larry Bird.
  • Just the seventh time across three players (Oscar Robertson and MJ being the other two) that a player has averaged 29 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists.

Some of that may seem like it’s pretty specific in its requirements, especially when that nifty, tricky True Shooting percentage is brought in. But those numbers tell the story of something very real that’s happening that is the crux of what Krolik lays out. James is playing the most efficient basketball of his career, and its effect on the Cavaliers is obvious. Each season we marvel at how good this player has become, and each season he improves. The ceiling is approaching the lofty levels of the most drastic hype machines, at least statistically.

  1. bobdevo - Feb 8, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    And, lest we forget, he just turned 25. In each of the previous off-seasons LeBron has worked hard to improve specific parts of his game: the jump shot, the 3-point shot, help defense, chase down defense, and most recently, post-up. And each new skill me masters makes him harder to guard and to control.
    We really have no idea yet how good this guy can get. But he’s already made my 10 Best of all time:
    Oscar Robertson – g
    Michael Jordan – g
    Magic Johnson – g
    Jerry West – g
    Larry Byrd -f
    LeBron James – f
    Karl Malone – f
    Elgin Baylor – f
    Wilt – c
    Kareem – c

  2. Caleb - Feb 8, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    If I were you, I would change my internet name. Putting Karl Malone ahead of Tim Duncan automatically qualifies you for a Don Nelson status of ridiculousness. You should be ashamed.

  3. Tedrick - Feb 8, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    Top top 10 all time should look like this. Guards Magic and MJordan O Roberston and K Bryant. Forwards Bird Duncan J West J Erving Big Men Kareem and Wilt. That is the reat top 10!

  4. john b - Feb 8, 2010 at 8:48 PM

    My ten best will slaughter yours bob:
    1- Jordan -g
    2- Kobe -g
    3- D Wade -g
    4- Nash -g
    5- Duncan -f
    5- KG -f
    6- Lebron -f
    7- Bird -f
    8- Wilt -c
    9- Shaq -c

  5. john b - Feb 8, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    tedrick come on man erving will get schooled in the paint by lebron the guy couldnt dribble with his left or play D 4 the life of him. I can’t see how Jerry West would get around Duncan or KG and Shaq would kill Kareem and in the post. Game over by half time.

  6. LUFFY - Feb 9, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    Per over-all career stats, I think Malone is kinda ahead of Duncan. Doesn’t matter though, it’s his top ten not ours?
    For real, Kobe’s not in your list? you hate him or something?

  7. Lowell Wikins - Feb 9, 2010 at 7:40 AM

    No one will ever be better than Jordan. Neither Kobe or Lebron are close.

  8. HoopsMcCann - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    I agree Caleb. After all RINGS are the ultimate prize, not stats. In that regard Malone and Lebron don’t even belong on this list. How about replacing Malone with Duncan and his 4 AND LJ with Kobe and his 4 (soon to be 5) rings! LJ has no business being on this list – yet – but one day he will.

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