LeBron James finished January with worst plus-minus of his career
LeBron James is the best player on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Heck, he’s the best player in the entire NBA.
But there comes a point in every basketball career when a player starts to decline, and James might be headed there very, very soon.
James is quite possibly the best stat stuffer in the league, but there’s one statistic he’d probably rather not have. In the entire month of January, James was a minus-99 while on the floor, per Justin Kubatko of StatMuse.
LeBron James finished the month of January with a plus-minus of -99, easily the lowest of his career. His previous low for a single month was -42 in February 2006.
— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) February 1, 2018
Plus-minus numbers are full of noise, and they are an imperfect measure of a basketball player’s impact on the court. But the fact that James had the worse month of this career by that measure is telling, and alarming.
His previous worst month per the tweet was 12 years go, when he was still in his first stint with the Cavaliers and hadn’t reached peak-LeBron levels. Now, in this 15th season, he’s starting to become a liability, which seems strange considering who he is.
But James is not the entire problem here. The Cavaliers as a whole are underperforming, not playing defense and generally are in an extended funk. Those facts are not going to change just because James is on the basketball floor.
However, part of James’ role on the team is to galvanize the team and help them perform at a certain level, and it’s clear that he’s not doing so at the moment.
It will be interesting to see what happens going forward, but it’s safe to assume James will be better in terms of plus-minus when the season nears its end.