15-for-15 : LeBron James is still amazing!
It’s hard to believe, but LeBron James just finished his 15th season in the NBA. The King put together a historically great season, that statistically might be better than any player in NBA history.
He finished the season averaging 27.5 points (his highest total in eight years), 8.6 rebounds and set a career high with 9.1 assists. James’ average (27.5) is the highest of any player in Year 15, surpassing Karl Malone’s (25.5) 1999-00 season and Kobe Bryant’s (25.3) 2010-11.
Moreover, no player of at least 30 years of age has ever averaged 27 points and nine assists for a season. Yet here is James doing it, and at the same time, he is one of the most efficient players in the league. We don’t need advanced statistics to say that he is still playing amazingly, eye-test is more than enough.
Most of the NBA’s greatest players never even reached the 15th season. Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Pete Maravich, Larry Bird, Bernard King, Allen Iverson, just to name a few. James is simply incredible, one of the best players at his age ever, maybe the best.
Despite his godly performance, LeBron is not this year’s MVP, James Harden is (who had the better season). But we have to celebrate his amazing season. Here are 15 stats that will blow your mind, enjoy:
15. LeBron James played all 82 games this season, for the first time in his career. James is the 1st player to start all 82 games in his 15th season or later since both Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher did it for the Lakers in 2010-11. Since entering the league in 2003, James has never sat out for more than 15 percent of a season (regular and playoffs combined), and has played over 9,000 more minutes than any other player in that span.
14. James finished the season with 2251 points, it is his 10th 2000-point season (only Karl Malone – 12 and Michael Jordan – 11 recorded more such seasons). He passed Kobe Bryant (2,133 in 2012-13) for the most in NBA history by a player in his 15th season or later.
13. LeBron recorded 18 triple-doubles this season, a new career-high (he had eight before the All-Star Weekend, most ever he had before the break). That’s the most by a player in his 15th season or later in NBA history. No other player in league history has more than three triple-doubles in their 15th season or later. His total exceeded that of 7 other players to record one in their 15th season (Jason Kidd – 3, Paul Pierce – 3, Pau Gasol – 2, and Kobe Bryant, Vlade Divac, Mark Jackson, and Zach Randolph each with one). It is truly a great accomplishment.
12. Again, he got 18 triple-doubles !!! LeBron is the oldest player in NBA history to record 15-plus triple-doubles in a season. He and Wilt Chamberlain are the only players to reach that mark after turning 30 years old.
11. James (who turned 33 during the season) recorded 18 triple-doubles this season after he had 13 last season. In NBA history, only one other player as old as LeBron has produced 10 plus triple-doubles in each of two consecutive seasons. Jason Kidd earned 12 triple-doubles with the Nets in the 2006-07 season and then had 13 the next year, which he split between the Nets and the Mavericks, and which he finished at age 35.
10. From February 2nd to April 6th, Lebron averaged a triple-double, 29,5 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 10.0 assists. This 30-game span is the longest of his career. Before this season, his longest was six games in 2008 (30.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 10.7 assists).
9. James also became the oldest player in NBA history to average a triple-double in a calendar month (February) containing at least 10 games played. The previous oldest to do it was Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968 at 31 years old. And on the same night, he also became the first player in NBA history to tally more than 30,000 points, 8,000 rebounds, and 8,000 assists.
8. During the season James became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 29,000 (in November), 30,000 (in January), and 31,000 (in April) points. He is the youngest player to reach every point milestone from 1,000 up to 31,000.
7. The Chosen One has led the Cavaliers in points and assists in 26 straight games (March/April). That is the longest streak by any player in NBA history, surpassing Nate Archibald’s 24-game streak (in 1971-73).
6. LeBron last made 800-plus field goals in a season in his third year in the league (2005-06 – 875) and he did it again this year. James is the league-leader in field goals made with 857, and it is not a surprise that he is the first to do it in his 15th season or later.
5. James led the league in the regular season with 36.9 minutes per game. James is the most experienced player to lead the NBA in minutes per game for a season (he also did it last season). No other player has led the league in minutes per game beyond his 12th season (Allen Iverson was in his 12th season when he averaged an NBA-high 41.8 minutes per game in 2007-08).
4. LeBron reached 1,500 points and 500 assists on the season for the 11th time. He is now tied with Oscar Robertson for the most such seasons in league history.
3. In February The King passed Zyndrunas Ilgauskas on Cleveland’s career rebounds list, and is now the Cavaliers leader in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. He joined Michael Jordan and Kevin Garnett as the only players to lead their respective franchises in all four categories.
2. On March 21, James scored 35 dished out 17 assists, and did not have a turnover in the Cavs’ 132-129 victory over the Raptors. He became the first player with at least 35 points, 15 assists, and 0 turnovers in a game (regular season or playoffs) since individual turnovers were first tracked in the 1977-78 season.
- James is one of only five players in NBA history to lead his team in all five major statistics (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks) for a full season, and now he became the first to do so twice.
1977-78 – Dave Cowens
1994-95 – Scottie Pippen
2002-03 – Kevin Garnett
2008-09 – LeBron James
2016-17 – Giannis Antetokounmpo
2017-18 – LeBron James
Not bad for an old man. Now take all of the above into consideration, add the age factor, and you can definitely make the case that this is one of the most incredible seasons in NBA history. So please, stop for a moment and just appreciate LeBron James.
Statistics used courtesy of NBA/Stats, Elias Sports Bureau and Basketball-Reference.