Is LeBron James the Best Player in the NBA Right Now?
In a word: undoubtedly. LeBron James — small forward for the Miami Heat, reigning NBA MVP, Finals MVP, and NBA Champion — is not bad at basketball. He’s probably not the best shooter in the game (that’d be Kevin Durant), or the best scorer in the game (still Carmelo Anthony), nor is he the best passer (take your pick: Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, and Ricky Rubio all sound good to me), but he is the best player by virtue of his lack of weaknesses. James — standing at 6’8″ and weighing 250 pounds — is famous for refining the bad habits out of his game. By now, ten years into his NBA career, he’s a freshly pressed shirt — wrinkle-free.
This is what LeBron does in a so-called down year
He’s averaging almost 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 6.5 assists a game. Aside from Oscar Robertson, who pulled down numbers like that over six separate seasons, only Larry Bird (did it twice), John Havlicheck (ditto), and Michael Jordan (once) have done that over a season. LeBron has done that four times in a year when he’s being accused of taking games off. Absurd.
He’s peerless in the true sense of the word — a nonpareil superstar
LeBron’s contemporaries — Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh — never really measured up. Wade won a ring first and Carmelo’s never missed the playoffs, but there was never any real rivalry between the four superstars of the 2003 draft. James’ biggest rival, relayed to ESPN by the man himself, was Celtics legend Paul Pierce. Along with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the Celtics would frustrate James for the first half of his career, as well as providing a blueprint for his own championship success by pairing with Bosh and Wade in Miami. James broke through the Celtics barrier in Game Six of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, and has been on an unstoppable tear ever since.