By Josh Baumgard
By now we all know LeBron James is a freak. A man put on this planet to impose his athletic prowess onto the basketball world. I don’t even like writing these LeBron Almighty posts anymore, because it’s too easy.
The saga continues as the King mutilates the month of February to the tune of 68 percent shooting and 56 percent from three-point range through six games. Not bad for a perimeter oriented player who leads his team in assists and exerts a high level of energy defending any and every position on the court.
Since joining the Heat 3 seasons ago, James has 51 games with at least 30 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, which is more than the next two players combined [ESPN Stats and Info]
After mopping the Lakers on Sunday, James joins Adrian Dantley (1979) and Moses Malone (1982) as the only three players to have scored 30+ points and shot 60%+ in five straight games.
Most regular NBA players offer one or two strengths, while the elite perform exceptionally in a handful of areas. LeBron’s only weakness right now, if you want to stretch and call it one, is his 73 percent free throw shooting. Meanwhile, 75 percent is the league average.
A master of his craft, he’s turned his critics into mutes. He’s on pace to surpass Michael Jordan’s career best .539 field goal percentage from the 1990-91 season. His three-point shooting has rocketed to 42 percent (17th in NBA), tops on the Heat, even with shooting specialists like Ray Allen (41.9 percent) and Mike Miller (38 percent) attempting shots with substantially less resistance.
He is so far and beyond the top player today, it’s comical. Kevin Durant may be the best pure scorer. Tyson Chandler may be the best pure defender. But nobody comes close to the multifarious game of LeBron James.
For anyone else to be even considered for MVP this season would be an insult to the sport. Forget this “It’s his turn” heap of crap. Define the terms “Most” and “Valuable” one more time.
“I say this to Miami fans,” said Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra on Sunday. “Don’t take it for granted. He’s making greatness look easy.”
And at just 28, his game is still growing.