Jay C. Brandriet
LeBron James turns 37 years old today. Later in this calendar year, LBJ will begin his 20th NBA season. The mileage on his body is more noteworthy than his advanced age.
My buddy Conner and I had a memorable conversation in the early part of 2017. He asked me if LeBron could be the best player in world in five years? Because it was LBJ I thought about it, but it was easy to say no.
The Lakers (17-19) are currently struggling. They are old. Westbrook is an odd piece. AD can’t stay healthy. We knew all of this months ago.
Is there signs of age with James?
He’s been absent for as many games as a Laker, as he had missed in his entire career.
He doesn’t attack the basket as often.
Multiple times a night in defensive transition, he’s walking.
You know those highlights on the cover of ESPN.com that will say things like, “LeBron with the soaring dunk”? You’ll notice less “soaring” than you used to.
He’s taking the three-point shot more than ever. I commend the modern math in it, but he’s leaning on the attempts.
Even Shannon Sharpe said, “James has never played this well, and not had it translate to winning.”
SO HOW GOOD IS HE, DAYS SHORT OF 2022?
Let’s look at his basic box score averages.
28.0 ppg, (52% fg, 78.1% ft ) 6.8 apg, 7.2 rpg, 1.7 spg, 1.1 bpg.
Have you noticed some of his blocks lately?
He started at center the other night and had 32/11/11.
For my money, KD and Giannis are the best players in the world.
Steph is playing D and looks like an MVP, and Jokic is getting better.
So how good is LeBron five years later?
Somewhere between the third and fifth best player on earth?
A talented lawyer could argue he’s number one.
That’s bitchin’ enough, to say I was wrong.
WHAT JAMES IS REALLY GETTING DONE RIGHT NOW
A buddy told me, “It’s all about winning for him at this point. That means he’s hanging on right now.”
Winning is the potent juice his fans desire and his critics fear. It’s not all about winning.
It’s even less about stats, which seem to enhance the Kings legacy by the week.
Let’s not underdo how much the following does matter.
HOW GOOD ARE YOU compared to your peers, at any given time?
Only 23 players have ever MADE IT to year 19.
James at that stage?
Over the last 6 contests, dude has produced point, rebound, and steals totals not seen since Michael Jordan in 1989. Playing 37 minutes a night. This is no goodbye tour.
That grip seems pretty tight.
Is LeBron old yet?
I think in three years his drop off in level will be obvious.
He will just be a plain old NBA All-Star.
My buddy thinks he’s out there getting semi meaningless stats.
I see him out there changing the game.
Jay C. Brandriet