Heading into his 17th season in the league, there were plenty of questions about what type of player Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James would be. James has more than answered the bell behind him, helping guide the Lakers to an encouraging start to the 2019-20 campaign. Along the way, he has also set yet another impressive NBA mark that showcases he’s still arguably the best player in the NBA.
LeBron James proving he’s still at the top of his game
The first season with the Lakers didn’t go as planned for James as it was the most frustrating campaign of his illustrious career.
The star forward was plagued by injuries as he was forced to miss 17 straight contests due to a nagging groin ailment that played a part in him playing in only 55 total games. That marked the lowest total in his career, which was the first time he took the floor in less than 62 games.
James has bounced back in a significant way to start his 17th season as he’s putting up career-best numbers currently averaging 26.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and a career-high and league-best 11.1 assists per contest.
The 34-year-old’s stellar start to the year has helped lift him to reach another historic NBA mark after his performance against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.
LeBron James sets triple-double record
James has continued to pick up his play as the season has rolled as he has been on an absolute tear over the last three games during the Lakers’ six-game winning streak.
He helped guide the Lakers back from a 17-point deficit against the Bulls, which saw him notch his third consecutive triple-double. According to Justin Kubatko of Statmuse, James has surpassed future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd as the oldest player in NBA history to reach this feat.
James’ stellar string of games has also made him the first player in team history to record three straight since Hall of Famer Magic Johnson back in 1987, and tied his longest streak of such performances. It was the first triple-double by a Lakers player since Johnson to notch at least 30 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in a game dating back to 1990.
He is also the third player in NBA history to put up at least 30 30-point triple-double alongside former league MVP Russell Westbrook and Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson. James is just a couple of games removed from setting an NBA mark with a triple-double performance alongside Luka Doncic last Friday night.
Beyond his high level of production, James has helped guide the Lakers to one of the best marks in the league.
Lakers’ strong start to the season
Since falling in the season opener to the L.A. Clippers, the Lakers have continued to show steady improvement on the court pushing their way to the best mark in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles has had some bumps along the way on the court, but they have worked past some early injuries to Kyle Kuzma, Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo to grab six straight wins. They have shown that they can handle their business against competitive teams behind their league-best 4-1 mark facing opponents with .500 or better records.
Meanwhile, their defense, in which James has played a major part in setting the tone, has been quite promising, currently ranking as one of the best in the league. The pairing alongside Anthony Davis has also worked out remarkably well that has many hedging that the Lakers could be a legitimate title contender.
With James still playing some of his best basketball in his 17th season, while Davis has excelled from the start, it puts the Lakers in a spot where they could be quite a force to reckon with this season.