LeBron James is playing at an unprecedented level for a player in his 20th season because he has no choice. The LA Lakers are barely surviving amid a slew of injuries, most notably to superstar big man Anthony Davis.
Since turning 38 years old on December 30th, “King James” has been in great shape as he tries to keep the Lakers alive. Although he’s missed a few games here and there with a sore left ankle and foot, he’s been mind-boggling for the most part.
When asked about the burden he has to carry with Davis still trying to come back from injury, James had this to say:
“That’s my job description … it requires me to go out and be extraordinary at times. That’s what it is.”
LeBron James is averaging 34.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.3 assists in nine games since turning 38. He seems to be setting a record almost every game with the way he is playing.
Michael Jordan, by age barometer, averaged 24.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.5 steals in 49 games. James’ production would have to drop significantly over the next 40 games to come close to Jordan’s stats. Although this is unlikely to happen.
LeBron James is determined to get the Lakers at least a play-in spot after vowing not to miss the playoffs again last season. How much he has improved his game can be gauged by his scoring average.
The four-time NBA champion averaged 25.8 PPG in October and November. He played 14 games in December and increased his scoring output to 31.2 ppg. His 34.9 ppg this month is second only to Joel Embiid’s 35.1 ppg. Embiid is also 10 years younger than James.
“King James” told LA Lakers that “God gave me broad shoulders for a reason” after the death of legendary Kobe Bryant. That bravado and strength is needed to keep the franchise competitive for a postseason push.
The LA Lakers may finally pay the price for asking too much of the 38-year-old LeBron James.
LeBron James is averaging 36.3 minutes per game this season. Since turning 38, he is sporting 37.8 MPG. Darwin Hamm recently admitted that James’ minutes and usage are a concern but he can’t just cut both..
In last night’s surprise upset over the Memphis Grizzlies, James appeared to be gassed early in the third quarter. He played 37 minutes and finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks. It took 21 shots to get the scoring output.
The soon-to-be 19x All-Star also changed the dynamic of the Lakers with his playmaking, rebounding and even his presence alone. Maybe his shots aren’t falling as expected or maybe he’s starting to show the wear and tear of carrying his team.
Anthony Davis’ injury is reportedly more critical and dangerous than believed.. If he misses a lot of time or if he’s not 100% healthy, the Lakers could end up running LeBron James into the ground.
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