Don’t let LeBron James fool you.
As the man who is in his 17th NBA season and refers to himself as the #WashedKing on Twitter, he is still striving for greatness and trying to add things on to his pantheon great resume at the back end of his career.
Currently the soon to be 35-year old James, is leading the NBA in assists by averaging 11 assists a game and is the only player in the league averaging double figures in the category. If you think that’s an accident think again, as James is keenly aware – adding his first NBA assist title to his resume will slightly help distinguish him from other pantheon greats like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Kobe Bryant who don’t have one on their Hall of Fame resumes.
The Lakers win Monday night over the San Antonio Spurs is a perfect example of how LeBron’s assist our necessary and not part of King James stat stuffing. With the game hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter, James assisted or scored on 21 straight Lakers points on his way to leading the team with the best record in the NBA to a 114-104 road victory over the Spurs.
“For me, it’s all about reading and reacting and trusting the game plan laid out by our coaches and the trusting my teammates who give me the trust to go out and execute,” James said during his postgame interview with the Lakers flagship station, Spectrum Sportsnet.
Even if you’re not an analytical guy like myself, one must look at these impressive numbers. Through 17 games, James has 341 “assist opportunities,” which includes any potential assist that wasn’t converted because of the receiving player missing a shot.
Despite being a high-risk passer on a nightly basis and attempting and pulling off passes which shouldn’t even be attempted from a general basketball sense, James has 59 total turnovers this year, but only 35 of them are classified as a passing mistake. When you take things a step further, the kid from Akron records 9.7 passes that lead directly to a shot attempt aka (potential assist).
That is really crazy considering James has the ball in his hands for the Lakers nearly every possession he’s on the court.
In the big picture, James ultimate goal is to add a fourth title to his resume, bring home the 17th title to the Lakers organization and finish his second season in LA holding the Larry O’Brien trophy with Anthony Davis in a parade off Figueroa Street in downtown LA. But if he can play around 76 games and stay on pace to have a career-high 814 assists by the end of the season, James will have that extra caveat for his die hard fans and basketball historians to reemerge his name back into the greatest of all-time conversation.