LeBron James keeps impressing us every day after 20 seasons in the league, not only for his playing level, but also for his capacity to maintain it for so long. Since he turned 38 last December 30th, he averages 37 points, 9.7 rebounds and 8.6 assists.
The incentive for this year is clear. To surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the top scorer of all time in the regular season. At the pace he is showing, he will pull it off before the All-Stars weekend. He recently overcame the 38,000 points, a number that had already been reached by Kareem. Once he passes this quantity, we will go into an unknown scenario. Time will say where he sets up the record. These seem numbers impossible to overcome, until one day something impossible happens again.
Superfluous records have never been important for LeBron. Last season he did not seem excited with the possibility to win the ‘Scoring Champ’. The only thing that matters for him is to be in the Playoffs and compete. The hunt of rings is something crucial for him at the final stage of his career. You never know when is decline will start and so he is running out of time to add new championships. Kobe, Jordan or Abdul-Jabbar still have more rings than him. This is not superfluous at all.
The evolution and adaptation of his game has been a constant in his career. LeBron James is able to play in every position, as he have seen him making the most out of his physical in Miami and then his intelligence in his second time in Cleveland. Last season he showed off his three-point shooting accuracy, as he attempted eight per game. However, this season he has come closer to the ring in order to act as a power forward.
As far as he keeps his competitive spirit, the physical discipline will not be a problem. He has suffered more injuries in the last few seasons, which is something normal at his age, but that has not made his level on the court to decrease. He has already earned the battle to time, and so he must now beat history.
Lakers, lost in the West:
It is hard to predict how the Lakers’ season will end up. After a very poor start with a 2-10 record, then the team started to walk. Anthony Davis was at a great momentum before getting injured, Westbrook has assumed his sixth man role and he is contributing to his team coming in from the bench. Even though there are not enough pieces yet, they are starting to fit in.
The momentum of LeBron James is unbeatable at the age of 38 and the West is very opened. It would not be a surprise if they ended up making it to the Playoffs, nor if they do not. The All-Stars will be a turning point in the season. We will have to see how Ad returns from his injury and if LeBron keeps his current level towards the post-season once he passes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The decisions that the franchise might make signings wise will also make an impact in James’ predisposition for the next coming months. Recently, LeBron James said in an interview that his DNA is all about competing. This is a clear message for the Lakers’s board of directors. It is the moment to look for new additions in the market to make a more competitive roster.
The plan for Anthony Davis when he joined the Lakers was to make him a key player in the franchise so LeBron could save some of his efforts. He responded to the expectations in the 2020 ring, but injuries have not let him to return to that dominating version and so LeBron James keeps pushing to team. LeBron and Davis healthy make you to be candidates for the ring and not trying anything in the market will send a clear message. They think of a future without LeBron James.
It has been already 20 years since the guy from Akron started to pull down walls and he have seen him pulling down some that seemed indestructibles. With the uncertainty of how far he will set up his records, we can simply enjoy of his journey no mater how far it gets.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: @Lakers.