After averaging a staggering 30.3 points, 11 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game in an Eastern Conference Finals sweep of the Atlanta Hawks, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are gearing up to face-off against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, a series that is sure to be a chaotic war.
In the days leading up to the Finals, many experts have picked the Warriors to win the series and capture their first NBA championship in forty years, but others have taken more of apprehensive approach when selecting a winner due to the unpredictable nature of it all.
And while the outcome of this series is unforeseeable to some, one thing is irrefutable and almost universally accepted amongst not only basketball, but sports fans in every corner of the universe: the Cavaliers have the best player in the world on their team. James has been a dynamo this postseason, and was asked by reporters if this is the best basketball he’s played in his career. Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com was there to hear James’ response.
“I don’t know, I’ve had some great playoff runs before,” James said. “I don’t know if this is the top right now, we’ll see in less than a month.”
I think if you put it all together, yeah,” James said. “If you put everything together as far as my mind, my body, my game. If you put everything in one bottle, this is probably the best I’ve been.”
Under James’ tutelage, the Cavaliers have posted a 12-2 record this postseason in addition to boasting the number one ranked playoff defense. But for an all-time great like James, these things are insignificant. As he acknowledged in his answer, James’ success in this particular postseason will most likely be measured by the outcome of these Finals. It shouldn’t be that way, but unfortunately it’s a practice we know all too well in the world of sports.
From a statistical standpoint, James has been better in the postseason. He’s shooting 42.8% from the floor, and an abysmal 17% from behind the arc, but he’s taken Cleveland from lottery-dwellers to championship contenders, and has done so with a hobbled Kyrie Irving and a sidelined Kevin Love.
If LeBron trumps this scarily good Warriors team with this relatively thin Cavaliers roster, this may very well ascend to the top on the list of James’ best postseason outputs. Is it ludicrous to say a guy averaging 27.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game isn’t playing well? Sort of. That’s just how good LeBron is. He’s been dominant, but slightly off the mark. Cleveland certainly hopes King James saved his best for last, because if that is the case, their lengthy championship drought will finally be brought to an end.