Feb 1, 2012, 1:26 PM EDT
LeBron James has been a statistical beast this season.
He is averaging 29.2 points per game, 8.3 assists and 7.1 rebounds. He is shooting 55.1 percent, the best of his career, because he’s cut down on his three pointers and long twos and instead is playing more out of the post and closer to the rim.
His current PER of 33.3 this season is better than any other player has ever kept up over the course of a season. Better than Wilt Chamberlain (31.8), better than Michael Jordan (31.7), better than them all.
Over 20 games, this is LeBron’s best start ever. Over at ESPN’s Heat Index Tom Haberstroh broke down the numbers.
James’ 33.4 PER after 20 games is his best, barely eclipsing his 2008-09 start when he put up a 32.1 PER along with 26.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game in just 35.1 minutes of nightly action. The 17-3 Cavs were embarrassing teams so badly that season that James sat the bench for over a quarter’s worth of time in the early going. But still, on a per-minute basis, James’ current campaign bests even that one.
What sets the current pace apart from his past starts is his rebounding and shooting efficiency. Sure, he’s averaged 29 points and seven assists before, but never eight rebounds and never with 55 percent shooting.
What LeBron is doing so far this season is stunning.
Right now some of you are saying, so what? Doesn’t matter if he doesn’t win a title. (And even then many will dismiss him or want an asterisk next to it if he does get one this year.) I think there is merit to an amazing regular season, but frankly LeBron would agree with you — he doesn’t care if he doesn’t get a title this year.
There are times we let our passions blind us to how beautiful and amazing a player or team can be. We shouldn’t do that with LeBron this season — he has been amazing and we should enjoy it. There will never be many players of his caliber in this league, and we need to appreciate what we have while we have it.
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