The Los Angeles Lakers‘ season may be over (technically, it’s not, but are we really expecting a title run?), but LeBron James’ year isn’t. Over the last few weeks, LBJ has had some wild games and put up crazy stats.
In fact, an argument can be made that the recent version of LeBron at age 37 may be close to the version of LeBron at age 27.
But that’s all it’s about for the rest of 2021-22. James is inching closer to the top of the career leaderboard in almost every major NBA statistical category.
The King has found a way to put the closing weeks of a disappointing season to good use.
LeBron and the Lakers have struggled through an dispiriting 2021-22 campaign
With 10 games left in the regular season, the Lakers sit at 31-41 and ninth in the Western Conference standings.
Worst case scenario, the Spurs and Pelicans both jump the Lakers, and the team misses out on the playoffs entirely.
At this point, nothing is out of the realm of possibility.
Before the season, LBJ and LA had the second-best odds to win the championship. Their win total was set at 52.5.
As of March 23, the Lakers have an 8.7% chance just to make the playoffs per ESPN’s BPI Playoff Odds. Their odds at winning the title are less than 0.1%.
But The King has found his own way to persevere.
LeBron James is at least putting up historical stats
Bron is on pace to win the scoring title at age 37. He’s averaging 30 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.3 assists on the year.
Since March 1, he’s scoring 33.9 points a night. In the Lakers’ four wins over the last three weeks (a depressing statement), that number jumps to 45 a night.
His championship chances are over. But he’s still playing almost 40 minutes a game in March.
To quiet the haters and pad the stats. (In all honesty, who can fault him for doing either?)
What’s at stake for LeBron over his next 10 games? Here are the numbers. He is currently:
- 247 games away from most career games played
- 5,388 minutes away from most career minutes
- 2,321 shots away from most field goals made
- In the neighborhood of finishing in the top three for most three-pointers made
Assuming James plays at a similar level for three more seasons, here’s where he would end up in those same categories (taking into account a slight decline due to age, but if anyone can put up these numbers at 40 years old it would be LeBron):
- About 75 games away from most career games played
- He would blow past the record for most career minutes and could approach 7,000
- He’ll pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time scoring record
- He’ll become the only player in NBA history with more than 40,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists
- He would finish within 500 shots of first on the all-time field-goals-made list
- He would finish with more than 2,500 career triples (his only competition for the top three in that category would be Damian Lillard, who’s only 13 ahead of him and won’t play the rest of this season)
If he decides to lace ’em up for one more run, he has a chance at breaking a few of those records as well.
Go for it, Bron.
LBJ may not pass Michael Jordan in rings, but he will in numbers
Every player from now until eternity will be measured by the number of championships they’ve won. We can all thank Michael Jordan for that one.
(Even though Bill Russell is the actual king in terms of titles.)
LeBron currently has four championships. It’s unlikely he matches MJ’s six. He may not even get five.
But he’ll damn sure try. And if he can’t do that, he’ll damn sure try to break every career record he can while he attempts it.
By the time it’s all said and done, LeBron James will not be the one left standing with the Championship Belt (literally in this case). But he will be the one left standing above everyone else in the NBA stat books.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.