LeBron James’ first season as a Los Angeles Laker didn’t exactly go how it was supposed to. The Lakers roster was plagued with injuries, and they ended up missing the playoffs, after being voted in the pre-season as a championship contender. LeBron specifically suffered his first major injury of his career, and he was sidelined for over 25 games.
Since LeBron is LeBron, and especially since he’s in Los Angeles, people started talking.
Towards the end of the season and during the off-season, a lot of people, including First Take commentator Skip Bayless, started saying that LeBron is slowing down and that he’s washed. People have doubted the Lakers’ ability to win the 2019-2020 championship this year because they think LeBron is far from his past-self and don’t trust him to lead a team like he has in the past.
However, according to data, that simply isn’t true. LeBron didn’t have the best season according to his standards, but compared to the rest of the league, he was still a top three player, and had a great season.
Scoring is one of, if not the most important part of basketball. This line graph shows that aside from a couple years, LeBron’s field goal percentage has actually increased over the years. It also shows that he’s a better shooter than Kawhi Leonard and James Harden, with Kevin Durant competing right next to him.
Rebounds and assists are also very important parts of basketball, and they portray how good a player is. Last year, LeBron only trailed Russell Westbrook in total assists and rebounds per game. He is ahead of every other single NBA player, including Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, who are considered to be the top players right now.
To check this further, we created a standardized score combining points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, steals per game, field goal percentage, and three point percentage. The red bars indicate years in which LeBron won the MVP. This past season was an above average year for LeBron, ranking it his 7th best season. He’s even ahead of one of his MVP seasons, 2008-09. Technically, LeBron is slowing down, but only compared to himself.
LeBron is still at least a top three player, and he personally might not have had his best season, but compared to the rest of the NBA he had a great one. That just shows how LeBron is one of, if not the best basketball players of all time. Lakers fan shouldn’t worry about this year because LeBron is still LeBron and should have another successful season.