LeBron James is having a spectacular season as per usual, but this year is different. The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently on a twelve-game winning streak led by James who is putting up 28.0 PPG, 8.5 AST, and 7.9 RB. He is doing all of this without two core players, Derrick Rose and Tristan Thompson, as well as an all-star in Isaiah Thomas. However, what’s most impressive about James in his fifteenth year is the fact that he is getting better.
The best player in the league continues to elevate his game by improving his efficiency. James currently sits in second in PER and is top ten in field goal percentage. He is currently shooting 58.4 percent from the field which is the highest of his career. James is also shooting the three-ball efficiently at 41.6 percent making it the highest of his career thus far. His free-throw percentage (77.3 percent) is the best it has been since his 2008-2009 season when he finished the season shooting 78 percent from the line.
Clearly, James has been extremely efficient, but it doesn’t end there. In the past he’s had a reputation to occasionally shy away from closing games. Even if that was the case, it isn’t anymore. Recently, Micah Adams shared James’ PER in the fourth quarter, which happens to stand at 44.07 being higher than any of his previous 14 seasons. According to NBAMiner’s clutch time stats (five minutes or less left in the game/overtime with neither team ahead by more than 5 points) James has scored 71 points which is first in the league. He’s a reliable closer for his team, and with stats like these it’s hard to argue against it.
Whether or not James wins the MVP award this year, most can acknowledge that he is the best player in the game, even at 32 going on 33. He continues to defy father time and work on his craft day in and day out. As he is only getting better, all we can do is sit back and appreciate the greatness that is LeBron James.
By: JR DePierro
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com