LeBron James
LeBron James
36-Year-Old ForwardF
Los Angeles Lakers
2021 Fantasy Outlook
James' numbers during the 2020-21 campaign were mostly unchanged from the previous season, when he finished second in NBA MVP voting. Aside from a marked dip in assists per game (from 10.2 to a still-generous 7.8), the future Hall-of-Famer's per-game stats (25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 three-pointers) were near carbon copies of his regular-season production during the pandemic-shortened 2019-2020 season. What's more, James upped his field-goal percentage two ticks to 51.3 percent and improved his three-point efficiency from 34.8 percent to 36.5 percent. Yet fantasy managers who used an early draft pick to make James the centerpiece of their team last year largely regretted their selection due to the fact that the veteran played in only 45 of the Lakers' 72 regular-season contests. He tweaked his left ankle in a season-opening loss to the Clippers and played through late March despite never fully recovering, then suffered a right ankle sprain that sidelined him for much of the season's second half. A coinciding injury to co-star Anthony Davis and the Lakers' tumble down the Western Conference standings put the onus on James to return before fully healing, and he did so with mostly positive results down the stretch. While the 36-year-old has proven that age can't keep him from being an elite multi-category producer when healthy, the injury risk has to be a concern, especially since James expressed doubt that he'll "ever get back to 100 percent" following his return from the ankle issue. The good news for Lakers fans is that the team devoted the offseason to bringing in a number of reinforcements -- including Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony -- who will almost certainly help reduce James' workload next season. The presence of Westbrook, in particular, will likely cut into James' per-game production, perhaps knocking him into the second round in most fantasy drafts. The tradeoff may be worth it, however, if James is able to parlay the lesser burden into season-long good health. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a two-year, $85 million contract extension with the Lakers in December of 2020.
Personal Bio

LeBron Raymone James Sr. was born in Akron, Ohio, on Dec. 30, 1984, to Gloria Marie James. He led St. Vincent-St. Mary High School to three state championships and was named the 2003 National High School Player of the Year. James also played football in high school through his junior year but gave up the sport to concentrate on basketball. He launched the LeBron James Family Foundation (https://www.lebronjamesfamilyfoundation.org/) in 2004 with a mission to positively affect the lives of children and young adults "by providing them with the programs, support and mentors they need for success in school and beyond." In July 2018, in partnership with the Akron Public Schools, he opened the I Promise School, a public elementary school in his hometown of Akron, that is aimed at providing a quality education and other resources to at-risk children. He and his Foundation also work with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to renovate a local Boys and Girls Club in every All-Star host city each year. In January 2017, James received the NAACP Jackie Robinson Sports Award for his high achievement in athletics and contributions in the pursuit of social justice, civil rights and community involvement. He owns a production company, SpringHill Entertainment, that is named after the public housing complex where James grew up. James was elected vice president of the National Basketball Players Association on Feb. 13, 2015. He has co-authored a book titled Shooting Stars that tells the story of the St. Vincent-St. Mary High School team that overcame adversity to fulfill its dream. James hosted Saturday Night Live on Sept. 29, 2007, and co-hosted the 15th Annual ESPY Awards on July 11, 2007. Learn more by following James on Instagram (@kingjames) and on Twitter (@KingJames).

College/International Summary

James was a starter for four seasons at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. The team went undefeated in James' freshman season and the superstar provided 21.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest as the Fighting Irish won the Division III state title. The team won the state championship in James' sophomore season as well as he provided per-game averages of 25.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 3.8 steals. The school moved up to Division II for his junior season, but the team lost in the championship game. James performed well during the campaign, however, and won the Ohio Mr. Basketball award for the second straight season while becoming the first junior to be named Gatorade National Player of the Year. He petitioned the NBA to enter the 2002 Draft, but he was denied. During his senior season, the team traveled throughout the country as the hype train grew. James averaged 31.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.4 steals. He won the Gatorade National Player of the Year and Ohio Mr. Basketball awards for a second consecutive year. He then successfully applied for the 2003 NBA Draft and the Cleveland Cavaliers chose him with the first overall pick.

Logs first career first-round loss
FLos Angeles Lakers
June 4, 2021
James totaled 29 points (11-26 FG, 3-10 3Pt, 4-6 FT), nine rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocked shots over 41 minutes in Thursday's Game 6 playoff loss to Phoenix.
ANALYSIS
James was more assertive as a scorer in the contest than he had previously been in the series, taking 26 shots and finishing with his highest point total since March 18. However, he has outshined by Devin Booker -- who scored 47 points -- and couldn't carry Los Angeles on his own following the exit of fellow superstar Anthony Davis (groin) early in the first quarter. James finished the series with per-game averages of 23.3 points, 8.0 assists, 7.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals, but those numbers weren't enough to help him dodge the first first-round playoff loss of his storied career.
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Past Season Summaries
2020

James played in 45 games and averaged 25.0 points, 7.8 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals across 33.4 minutes per game during his third year with the Lakers. On the season, the 36-year-old shot 51.3 percent from the field, 36.5 percent from three and 69.8 percent from the free-throw line. During six first-round playoff games against the Suns, the four-time MVP logged 23.3 points, 8.0 assists, 7.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals across 37.3 minutes per game. James scored 30-plus points nine times, including a season-high 46 against the Cavaliers on Jan. 25. During the 115-108 win, he went 19-for-26 from the field and 7-for-11 from three en route to 46 points, while also notching eight rebounds, six assists, two blocks and two steals. The 6-foot-9 forward grabbed 10-plus rebounds 13 times, including a season-high 14 against the Thunder on Feb. 8. During the 119-112 win, James registered one of his six triple-doubles by totaling 28 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists, two steals and two blocks. The 17-year veteran dished out double-digit assists 14 times, including a season-high 13 against the Wizards on Feb. 22. During the contest, he narrowly missed a triple-double by totaling 31 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds across 43 minutes of action. Defensively, James notched multiple steals 18 times and three-plus steals four times, including a season-high four on two occasions. He also blocked at least one shot 22 times and at least two shots five times, including a season-high three against the Blazers on Feb. 26.

2019

Playing in his 16th NBA season, James once again established himself as one of the best players in league history. In 67 appearances, James averaged 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and a career-high 10.2 assists per game. James led the league in assists for the first time in his career, while also shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three. James scored in double-figures in all 88 games (including playoffs), topping out with a regular-season-best 40 points in a Feb. 25 win over the Pelicans. James had 46 games with double-digit assists (including playoffs), including seven games with 15 or more. Against Orlando on Jan. 15, James went for 19 points and 19 assists in 36 minutes. In a Nov. 1 win over Dallas, James had 39 points, 16 assists, 12 rebounds and four steals. He tied his season-high with six made three-pointers in a Feb. 4 win over the Spurs, finishing with 36 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and one steal. James' 13 triple-doubles were tied for the second-most in any season of his career, and his 94 career triple-doubles are good for fifth in NBA history. Against the 76ers on Jan. 25, James finished with 29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, passing Kobe Bryant for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list. In the postseason, James took his game to another level, averaging 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks on his way to his fourth NBA title and fourth Finals MVP. James shot 56 percent from the field for the playoffs, including 37 percent from three. He had seven games with at least 30 points, including a 40-point outburst in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Heat. James also notched five postseason triple-doubles, headlined by a 28-14-10 line in the clinching NBA Finals Game 6. To clinch the first-round series against Portland, James went for 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 5. In Game 5 against Denver in the Western Conference Finals, James posted 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. Playing in his tenth NBA Finals, and ninth in the last 10 years, James averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 1.2 steals during the Lakers' six-game victory over Miami. For the series, James shot 59.1 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three. James was named to the All-NBA First Team for the 13th time in his career. He set an NBA record with his 16th career All-NBA selection. James also finished second in MVP voting behind Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo. It was James' 14th top-five MVP finish and the 11th top-three finish of his career.

2018

James signed as a free agent with the Lakers over the summer of 2018, and the 16-year veteran turned in another stellar season with his new franchise. Behind a string of big nights from James -- highlighted by a 51-point effort in a win over Miami on Nov. 18 -- Los Angeles carried a 19-14 record into a Christmas Day showdown with the Warriors. Though the Lakers would go on to win that game, James slipped on a wet spot and suffered a groin strain -- the first major injury of his career -- that would subsequently sideline him for the next 17 contests. The Lakers struggled without the four-time MVP, going 6-11 in that span and dropping down the Western Conference standings in the process. James returned to action with 24 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists in a Jan. 31 win over the Clippers. However, with the team's playoff hopes fading, James was ultimately shut down for the season with six games to play. Despite appearing in a career-low 55 contests, James' per-game numbers -- 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.3 steals -- were among the best in the league. James also shot 51.0 percent from the field, marking the fourth straight season in which he converted over half of his shot attempts. James' overall play was rewarded with a selection to the All-NBA Third Team. He also racked up the most fan votes for the 2019 All-Star Game and scored 19 points in the contest, leading his squad to victory.

2017

James started all 82 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, leading the NBA in minutes per game at 36.9. He also averaged 27.5 points per contest, along with career-bests of 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists per contest. James finished third in the league in scoring, second in assists and 15th in rebounding. He would go on to notch 18 triple-doubles during the regular season. LeBron led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive campaign. James nearly averaged a triple-double in the playoffs, managing 34.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 9.0 assists. He even tallied four triple-doubles over 22 matchups. He also appeared in his eighth straight Finals. James scored 51 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and then accumulated a triple-double in Game 3. James would be named First Team All-NBA for the 11th-straight year. He also finished second in the MVP voting to James Harden.

2016

In his age-31 season, James continued his march to the Hall of Fame by posting the best all-around numbers of his career. As usual, he excelled as a scorer, averaging 26.4 points per contest while shooting 54.8 percent from the field. In the meantime, he found a way to improve the already-outstanding peripheral elements of his game as he averaged career highs in rebounds (8.6) and assists (8.7). That helped the Ohio native record the most double-doubles (42) and triple-doubles (13) of his career. James' numbers were again among the best in the league as he ranked eighth in scoring, 19th in rebounding and sixth in assists. Unsurprisingly, James' elite play resulted in his 13th All-Star nod. There were a host of other accolades as well, including James' 11th All-NBA First Team selection and the league's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award. Furthermore, his body of work in the regular season was recognized with a fourth-place finish in MVP voting. The 2013 first-overall draft pick once again excelled in the playoffs as James averaged 32.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists in 18 postseason contests. With James leading the way, Cleveland advanced to the NBA Finals to face the Golden State Warriors for the third straight season. Although the Cavaliers were unable to stop the mighty Warriors, James was a force in the five-game series, collecting a pair of triple-doubles and averaging 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists.

2015

The 2015-16 season was a special one for James as he led his hometown Cavaliers to their first NBA title. The veteran from Akron was his usual splendid self during the regular season, tallying per-game averages of 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists. He also picked up his shooting from the floor, making over half of his field goal attempts (52.0 percent) for the sixth time in his career and improving on his marks from the previous campaign in both eFG% (55.1 percent) and TS% (58.8 percent). James' brilliant campaign was acknowledged with his 12th selection to the NBA All-Star Game, three Eastern Conference Player of the Month awards and his 10th selection to the All-NBA First Team. Meanwhile, James finished behind Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard in voting for the regular-season MVP. His all-around talent led to the production of 28 double-doubles and three triple-doubles on the season, including a 33 point, 11-rebound, 11-assist effort in a win over Denver on March 21. James was at his offensive and defensive best in the playoffs, during which he averaged 26.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 2.3 assists and 1.3 blocks. He earned his third NBA Finals MVP award by helping Cleveland come back from a 3-1 deficit against Golden State to capture the franchise's first title. In that series, he averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks per contest. He was especially dominant over the final three games of the series -- all won by Cleveland -- as he averaged 36.3 points on 50.6 percent shooting to cement his name in Cleveland sports lore.

2014

After a four-year stay in Miami, James returned home to Cleveland for his 12th NBA season. The Ohio native put together another elite campaign, averaging 25.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.4 assists. Although James missed 13 games -- largely due to injuries to his knee and back -- he finished third in MVP voting and was named to the All-NBA First Team for the ninth time in his career. James also garnered two Eastern Conference Player of the Month awards during the regular season. The first came in February, when he averaged 24.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.3 assists in 10 contests. James followed that with a second consecutive award by averaging 24.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists in 15 games in March. Altogether, the 2013 first-overall draft pick tallied 14 double-doubles and three triple-doubles during the regular season. He collected three more triple-doubles in the playoffs and posted per-game averages of 30.1 points 11.3 rebounds and 8.4 assists in 20 postseason contests. James' contributions helped the Cavaliers advance to the NBA Finals, though they were ultimately eliminated by the Golden State Warriors. Despite the loss, James received four votes for the NBA Finals MVP award. In the six-game series, he averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists per contest.

2013

In his fourth season in Miami, James again proved to be one of the most dominant superstars in the history of the game. The 6-foot-8 forward ranked third in the NBA with a scoring average of 27.1 points per game while setting career highs with a 56.7 field-goal percentage and 64.9 true-shooting percentage. James also excelled on the boards and as a passer, posting per-game averages of 6.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists. He registered 12 double-doubles -- including one triple-double -- during the campaign and scored 40 or more points on three different occasions. In one of those games -- a March 3 victory over the Hornets -- James poured in a career-high 61 points while tying his top mark with eight three-pointers. As a result of his outstanding play, James finished second in NBA MVP voting and was voted in to his 10th straight All-Star Game. The Ohio native also garnered First Team All-NBA recognition for the eighth time in his career and was named to the All-NBA Defensive Second Team. In the postseason, James averaged 27.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists per contest. His strong play helped guide Miami to a third straight appearance in the NBA Finals. Despite falling to San Antonio in five games, James put together a strong series as he averaged 28.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest.

2012

The 2012-13 season was a triumphant one for James as he led Miami to its second straight NBA Championship. The Heat posted the league's best regular-season record (66-16) thanks in large part to James, who averaged 26.8 points, 7.3 assists and a career-high 8.0 rebounds per contest. The megastar also enjoyed his finest shooting season as a professional, registering career highs by making 56.5 percent of his field-goal attempts and 40.6 percent of his attempts from deep. James was rewarded for his stellar campaign by winning his fourth NBA MVP award in a near-unanimous vote. He was also named to the All-NBA First Team for the seventh time and to the All-NBA Defensive First Team for the fifth straight season. James continued his dominance in the playoffs, averaging 25.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.8 steals in 23 contests. He capped the season with a 37-point, 12-rebound, four-assist performance in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to secure a Heat victory and his second straight NBA Finals MVP award.

2011

In his ninth NBA season, James put a crown on his Hall of Fame credentials by winning his first NBA Championship. The Ohio native guided Miami to a 46-20 record in the lockout-shortened regular season by averaging 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per contest. For his all-around contributions, James was recognized with his third MVP award and his sixth selection to the All-NBA First Team. James also earned a spot on the All-NBA Defensive First Team for the fourth straight season and ranked fourth in the league with 1.9 steals per game. LBJ was even more dominant in the playoffs; in 23 contests, he posted per-game averages of 30.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists. He was unanimously named the NBA Finals MVP after leading the Heat to a five-game series win over Oklahoma City. In the Finals, James averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists. He notched a triple-double in the series-clinching Game 5 victory, tallying 26 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists.

2010

In one of the most anticipated decisions in sports history, James decided to take his talents to South Beach for the 2010-11 season. In first year in Miami, James continued to rank as one of the most dominant forces in league history. He posted per-game averages of 26.7 points (second in the NBA), 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per contest and shot a career-best 51.0 percent from the field. The 6-foot-8 forward finished third in MVP voting, was elected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team for the seventh straight season and made the All-NBA First Team for the fifth time in his career. James was also voted onto the All-NBA Defensive First Team for the third straight season due in part to averaging 1.6 steals per contest (12th best in the league). In the playoffs, James averaged 23.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists over 21 games as Miami fell just short of the NBA Championship.

2009

James played his seventh season with Cleveland in 2009-10 and led the Cavaliers to the franchise's first back-to-back 60-win seasons. He earned a second straight regular-season MVP award as well, thanks to per game averages of 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists. In addition to the MVP award, James was chosen for his sixth straight Eastern Conference All-Star team. In that contest, the Ohio native finished with 25 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals. Other accolades bestowed upon James for his brilliance included his fourth All-NBA First Team selection and his second spot on the All-NBA Defensive Second Team. With a 61-21 record, the Cavaliers took a No. 1 seed into the playoffs but were dispatched by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.

2008

Led by James, the Cavaliers finished the 2008-09 season with their best record in franchise history at 66-16. James continued his streak of All-Star and First Team All-NBA honors thanks to per game averages of 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists. He also captured his first regular-season MVP award. In addition to his excellence on the the offensive end, James racked up 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per contest to make the All-NBA Defensive First Team and finish second in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Cleveland made quick work of the Pistons and Hawks in two sweeps in the playoffs but were bounced by the Magic in six games during the Eastern Conference Finals. James put together his strongest playoff showing to date, averaging a league-high 35.3 points per game in 14 appearances and adding 9.1 rebounds and 7.3 assists per contest.

2007

After a disappointing sweep in the 2007 Finals, James returned for his fifth season with an aggressive mindset on offense. He captured his first scoring title by posting 30.0 points per game. The Ohio native also improved his rebound, assist and steal season totals and shot a career-high 48.4 percent from the field. James earned his fourth straight All-Star nod, garnered his second First Team All-NBA selection and won his second All-Star Game MVP award. He also finished fourth in voting for regular-season league MVP. The Cavaliers finished with a 45-37 record and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, where they lost to the Celtics. Despite the disappointing outcome, James did well in the postseason, averaging 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 13 games.

2006

James delivered huge stats yet again in his fourth NBA season. Over 78 regular-season games, The King delivered 27.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.3 three-pointers per contest, leading the Cavs to a second consecutive 50-win season. He delivered 33 games with 30-plus points, topping out with a 41-point effort against Detroit on Mar. 7. James double-doubled 16 times, most impressively a Mar. 17 game against Utah in which he scored 4 points with 17 rebounds and nine assists, just missing a triple-double. He'd already achieved that feat earlier in the season, though, as James posted a 30-point, 10-rebounds, 10-assist game against Denver on Jan. 19. Come postseason time, James was the driving force in Cleveland's run to the NBA Finals. In the process, he delivered one of the most iconic playoff performances in league history. With the Cavaliers down two games to none against Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals, James led the Cavaliers to two straight wins to knot the series at two games apiece. Then, in the crucial Game 5, James scored the final 25 points -- including a game-winning layup -- as part of a 48-point explosion that helped Cleveland gain a double-overtime win and a 3-2 series lead. The Cavaliers then won Game 6 and advanced to the NBA Finals, where they ultimately fell to the Spurs.

2005

James' third NBA season was marked by career milestones as the 2003 first-overall draft pick notched his first selection to the All-NBA First Team and won his first All-Star Game MVP award. The 6-foot-8 forward ranked third in the league with a scoring average of 31.4 points per contest and rounded out his stat line with per-game averages of 7.0 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.6 steals. James also shot a career-best 48.0 percent from the field while hitting 73.8 percent of his free throws. His brilliant season did not go unrecognized as James finished second in voting for the regular-season MVP award. The campaign was also significant for James because he led Cleveland to the playoffs for the first time in his young career. Although the Cavaliers were eliminated by Detroit in a tough second-round battle, James' all-around skills were on full display as he averaged 30.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.4 steals in 13 postseason contests.

2004

James boosted his numbers across the board in his sophomore season, finishing with per game averages of 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists. He also made strides on the defensive end of the court, ranking third in the league with 2.2 steals per contest. King James increased his 29.0 percent three-point shooting as a rookie to 35.1 percent in year two, raising his overall field goal percentage from 41.7 percent to 47.2 percent. James also led the NBA in minutes per game with 42.3. He put his scoring prowess on display with five games of at least 40 points, including a 56-point outburst against the Raptors on Mar. 20, and a 44-point effort eight days later against the Hornets. James garnered his first All-Star selection and his first All-NBA Second Team selection while leading the Cavaliers to a 42-40 record and piling up four triple-doubles along the way.

2003

James entered the league as one of the most highly touted No. 1 picks in NBA history thanks to an impressive high school career and plenty of national exposure. He opted out of playing college ball to enter the NBA at only 18 years of age. With the moniker "The Chosen One" already attached to his name, James made his NBA debut on opening night, Oct. 29, against the Kings. He had a huge game, finishing with 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals in 42 minutes in a 106-92 loss. James went on to have a very productive rookie campaign, averaging 20.9 points, 5.9 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals while playing 39.5 minutes per game. James comfortably won Rookie of the Year honors and was named to the All-NBA Rookie First Team. He also received the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award for each month of the season.

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2003
In his second season with the Lakers and his first with Anthony Davis as a teammate, James continued to be a great fantasy option. He led the league in assists per game (10.2), fueled partially by easy dimes to an excellent finisher in Davis, while also averaging 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.2 threes and 1.2 steals. While his free-throw percentage (69.3) continues to drag down James' value, he still ranked eighth on a per-game basis in eight-category fantasy leagues. He'll be turning 36 years old at the start of the 2020-21 campaign but continues to be durable, missing only four total games between the regular season and the Lakers' playoff run to an NBA title. While it's possible that James, as he gets older, will concede responsibilities to Davis, there were no true signs of his slowing down last year. The Lakers also re-tooled the surrounding roster, adding Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol -- which could make it easier for James to take nights off during the upcoming squeezed 72-game campaign. Fantasy managers shouldn't be surprised if more rest days are in store for James, which is something to keep in mind before drafting him. Still, it wouldn't be surprising if he remained a first-round fantasy value.
After 15 years of being one of the most consistently durable superstars in NBA history, James finally showed signs of wear in 2018-19. The 34-year-old missed a career-high 27 games -- most of which were due to a groin strain suffered on Christmas Day. While James was able to return before the end of January, it was too late to save the floundering Lakers, who struggled to a 6-12 record in his absence, falling out of playoff contention in the process. Back for Year 17 with renewed focus, and a revamped supporting cast headlined by Anthony Davis, James will seek to prove he's still arguably the best player in the NBA. When James was on the floor last season, his production -- 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 51% FG -- spoke for itself. But he'll need to stay healthy, and engaged, for the Lakers to reach their ceiling as one of several title contenders out West. The same goes for James' fantasy value, which remains elite but has tailed off slightly in recent years. The four-time MVP should be among the league leaders in counting stats once again this season, but he's taken a noticeable step back on the defensive end, while his free throw shooting reached new depths (66.5% FT) a year ago. Outside shooting is also somewhat of a concern for James, who's proven to be a dependable threat from downtown over the course of his career but hit less than 34 percent of his 5.9 three-point attempts per game last season. The addition of Davis should help breathe new life into James, and reports that he may end up serving as the Lakers' starting point guard will only boost his already-gaudy assists numbers. Overall, assuming he can stay healthy, James is an elite fantasy commodity who warrants first-round consideration in many leagues.
Last year, to cap off his second stint with Cleveland, LeBron led the league in minutes (3,026) and points (2,251) while playing all 82 games at 33 years old. He also set a career high in assists per game (9.1), which ranked second in the NBA, and matched his career-high 8.6 rebounds per game. The King also remained as efficient as ever, setting the third-highest true shooting percentage (62.1) of his career. Speculation about his potential departure from the Cavaliers for a second time began as a result of the team’s poor play, largely resulting from moves made to accomodate Kyrie Irving’s trade request. The Cavs finished fourth in the Eastern Conference and, despite getting swept in the Finals by Golden State, LeBron played his most playoff games in a single season since 2012-13. Opting for a change of scenery, LeBron agreed to a four-year, $153.31 million contract with the Lakers on July 1. While it shouldn't be banked on that he'll lead the league in minutes again, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where LeBron isn't worth a top-10, if not top-5, pick in the vast majority of Fantasy leagues this season.
James put together another spectacular year in 2016-17. Despite playing in his 14th season, he played a whopping 37.8 minutes per contest, while missing a total of just eight games. His averages of 26.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.7 assists, were up from 25.3, 7.4 and 6.8, respectively. He still got it done on the defensive side of the ball with 1.2 steals and showed some improvement as a three-point shooter with 1.7 per game, while shooting 36.3 percent from deep, which was a vast improvement from the 30.9 clip he shot a year prior. While nearly averaging a triple-double would likely put James into consideration for league MVP honors in previous seasons, he was actually left out of the final vote, with the likes of Kawhi Leonard, James Harden and Russell Westbrook securing the three finalist spots. Still, it was another season where James showed no signs of slowing down. James picked up his 13th straight All-Star appearance and earned his 11th total All-NBA First Team honors, while also leading the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals for the third straight season. Looking ahead to the 2017-18 season, the Cavaliers' lineup will look a bit different, as Kyrie Irving was traded to the Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic. Thomas should have the biggest impact on James, as he averaged 28.9 points per game last season in Boston, which was good enough for third in the league. While that could potentially take away a shot or two from James, he's still going to be the go-to player and it shouldn't result in much of a change in terms of his production. Heading into his 15th NBA season, the ageless James shouldn't have much of a drop-off in terms of his Fantasy value, making him a top-10 pick in the majority of leagues due to his stellar contributions across a plethora of categories.
James turned 31 last December, but that didn't stop him from putting together one of the most efficient seasons of his 13-year career. Playing in 76 games, James averaged 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 52 percent from the field. It was the sixth time in seven years that James has eclipsed the 50-percent shooting plateau, though his stroke from beyond the arc regressed significantly. After shooting 35.4 percent from distance in 2014-15, James converted only 30.9 percent of his long-range attempts last season, the second-lowest rate of his career. Still, James managed to navigate the Cavaliers through the Eastern Conference playoffs with ease before leading an improbable comeback from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Warriors in the NBA Finals. By winning his third ring, James exorcised perhaps his greatest demon: bringing a championship to Cleveland and achieving what he was unable to do during his first stint with the Cavaliers. James enjoyed one of the best Finals performances of all-time, averaging 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.9 steals and 2.3 blocks in nearly 42 minutes per game to claim MVP honors. After putting up 41 points in Games 5 and 6, James capped the legendary series with a 27-point, 11-assist, 11-rebound triple-double in a hard-fought Game 7 victory. James, who re-upped with the Cavaliers this offseason on a three-year max deal that will allow him to opt out after the second year, joined a number of other marquee players in skipping the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, so he'll enter the 2016-17 season well rested and without the burden of extreme expectations on his shoulders. There's been speculation that it could result in James coasting through the regular season, but even if that is the case, he'll still likely finish around the top 10 fantasy commodities in the league.
Although he fell two wins shy of his reason for returning to Cleveland, James' first season back as a Cavalier was largely successful. The three-time MVP was able to advance his team through the playoffs despite his All-Star cohorts, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, falling during the postseason. The regular season was not without its bumps and bruises for James because he missed a career-high 13 games, including a two-week sabbatical at the turn of the calendar. For the regular season, James' numbers were down a tic for the most part. He averaged 25.3 points on 49 percent from the field and 71 percent from the line with 1.7 three-pointers, 6.0 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.7 three-pointers, 1.6 steals, and 0.7 blocks. His assist average was highest since his last season in Cleveland. The 12-year veteran continued to log heavy minutes at 36 per game, and that number bumped up to 42 in the playoffs. The Cavaliers may need to monitor James' minutes in an effort to keep him somewhat fresh for the postseason. His playing time has been on a slow decrease over the past six seasons, but a dip below 35 minutes per game (and another mid-season break) would have a corresponding reduction in productivity.
LeBron James has returned to Cleveland after four years in Miami. While James gave up the position as the top ranked fantasy basketball player to Kevin Durant over the last couple seasons, he still put up excellent all-around numbers last season. Through 77 games, James averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.3 blocks (a career low) in 38 minutes. The four-time MVP hit a career-high 57 percent of his field goals, while hitting 38 percent of his three-pointers (1.5 three-pointers per game), and 75 percent of his free throws. His value should not change significantly in his return to his home state. Even with teammates like Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, James should be the focus of new coach David Blatt's Princeton-style offense. He should have the ball in his hands a great deal, and his counting numbers should remain excellent. The one concern is that James has played very heavy minutes through his 11-year career, and Blatt may want to manage his minutes in a Spurs style that utilizes a deep rotation to limit his players' minutes. James looked like he lost significant weight this offseason, which may allow the superstar to play more minutes, but he may also spend less time in the paint. After spending four years as the NBA's villain after The Decision, James should revel in the love of his well-received homecoming.
It's common knowledge that James is the best player in the league, and has been for several seasons, which makes it a little scary that he set career bests in rebounds (8.0 per game), field-goal percentage (57 percent) and three-point shooting percentage (41 percent) in 2012-13. His improvement in rebounding was marginal, but he took great leaps in his shooting efficiency, up from 53 percent from the floor and 36 percent from downtown in 2011-12. Considering he has basically never regressed, an optimist could expect further improvement this season, as crazy as those numbers would theoretically be. But it should also be noted that his counting stats are unlikely to increase, considering that the Heat will have no reason to play James as much as his talent dictates. Miami's 27-game winning streak required the stars to play more than they otherwise would have last season, and assuming the No. 1 seed will be all but in the bag at some point in the second half, coach Erik Spoelstra could start resting guys in a Popovich-esque manner. If the only knock on a guy is that his team might be too good, then we're clearly nit-picking, but it is worth noting that James only played in four of Miami's final 10 games last season, which could prove disastrous in weekly leagues if it happens again.
James played the most efficient basketball of his career last season, shooting 53 percent from the floor – easily a career high. By taking more shots in the post and shooting a career-low 2.4 three-pointers per game, the NBA’s three-time Most Valuable Player found a way to become even better. His counting stats are always gaudy, and last year he averaged a career-high 7.9 boards to go with 6.2 assists, 1.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. It was clear throughout the regular season, and especially in the postseason, that Miami is James’ team and Dwyane Wade has taken a back seat to the king. He proved last season that he is always trying to get better, and after helping the U.S. Olympic team win a gold medal in London, James will be back with the weight of having won his first NBA championship off his shoulders. In addition to always putting up incredible numbers, James has never missed more than seven games in a season, so his productivity comes with some assurance. He is certainly worthy of consideration for the No. 1 pick in fantasy.
James saw his numbers dip ever so slightly during his first season in Miami, but that should have been expected. Playing next to Dwyane Wade, James had to share the ball for the first time in his career, so there were fewer opportunities to dominate his team’s stats. James’ assists, points, and blocks regressed slightly last season, but with James just 26 years old entering next season, there’s reason to believe he could regroup to post career-best numbers in the future. The Heat overhauled their roster in free agency last season, and even though they finished with the second-best record in the East, they had their share of road bumps. With a full season under his belt to learn how to play with his teammates, and a devastating collapse in the NBA Finals to provide motivation, it’s a safe bet that James will have a chip on his shoulder this season. While Kevin Durant is considered the consensus top pick in fantasy – thanks in part to his superior free-throw shooting – there’s an argument to be made that James’ contributions in the assist department make him nearly as valuable.
There might be people who don't know their David Lee from their David Lee Roth, but LeBron James is an icon. Of course, the chances of his notoriety artificially inflating his draft position are low: he's likely the second-best player available right now, and isn't a crazy stretch at number one. In other news, there are reasonable questions to ask about how LeBron's Decision – and how being partnered alongside two regularly elite fantasy producers in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – will affect his numbers. The quick answer is: not much. The slightly longer answer is this: LeBron and his owners might see a small drop in his scoring. There's an equal likelihood that some other things will increase, like his assists and his field goal percentage (already pretty excellent last year at 50.3). Furthermore, those in 9-cat leagues might very well be happy with LeBron's move, which will likely help his turnover numbers, too. The thing likely keeping James from topping the fantasy charts in 2010-11 is the same thing that's depressed his fantasy value in the past –
James is coming off one of the most impressive individual seasons in recent memory, leading a less-than-stellar supporting cast to 66 wins with off-the-scale numbers in the advanced stats like PER and on-court/off-court plus-minus. But the Cavs lost earlier than expected in the playoffs. That’s a great thing for James’ fantasy owners this year because he will be playing with something to prove. James remains the most physically gifted player in the NBA, combining Karl Malone-like size (6-9, 260 pounds) with Allen Iverson-like foot speed. There is nothing that he can’t do on the basketball court, which means that he can (and does) fill every stat on the roto sheet as well as anyone. James was second in the NBA in scoring last season at 28.4 points per game while also notching well over seven boards and seven assists per. He also added almost three combined steals/blocks and 1.6 treys per game while shooting career-bests of 48.9 percent from the field and 78.0 percent from the line. The shooting percentages are key because James led the NBA in free throws made and finished third in field goals made – meaning his percentages yield high impact. And amazingly, despite being six years into the league, the 24 year-old James still has upside to his game. If he were to add a post-up game on offense any time soon he would be completely unguardable. Even failing that, James should continue to put up video game numbers and deserves consideration as the top pick in fantasy drafts.
This summer, James lost a game of H.O.R.S.E. to some guy who works in a warehouse. That’s the only indication we’ve seen in a while that King James is actually human. LeBron is an evolutionary version of Magic Johnson – a remarkable combination of speed, size and skill who would be equally effective at point guard or center. He’s coming off a season in which he led the NBA in scoring (30 ppg) while posting career-highs in boards (7.9) and assists (7.2). Those are “MJ in his prime” numbers. James also posted a career-best 48.4 shooting percentage from the floor. For a mere mortal, we’d call it a career year – but the King won’t see his 24th birthday until Christmas week, and still has plenty of room for improvement. He’s on the very short list for “top overall pick” in any fantasy NBA format… except Fantasy H.O.R.S.E. For that, type “the warehouse guy” and “LeBron” into your favorite search engine.
With James coming off a career season, you might wonder whether he can still get better. But James only shot 71 percent from the foul line and 31 percent from long range. These are the two main areas in which LeBron should improve significantly. If that were to happen, he'd be worthy of the number one overall pick – his scoring, rebounding and assist combination is totally unmatched. Keep in mind that if he doesn't improve at the charity stripe, his below average shooting hurts more than usual because he attempts more than 10 per game.
At the tender age of 21, LeBron established himself as the most complete player in fantasy basketball last year. He averaged 31.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.8 steals on 48.0% shooting from the field and he’s only going to get better. It’s scary to think what his ceiling could be when you look at last year’s numbers, but LeBron can do it all for your fantasy team. He was second in the league in minutes played last year (42.5 minutes per game), and despite averaging 41.5 minutes a game in his career, has only missed eight games in three years. At 6-8, 240 lbs., he has the three-point range (1.6 threes per game last year) to stretch the defense but can also get to the rim at will (average of 10.3 free throw attempts last year). LeBron is the best all-around fantasy player in the game and will be a perennial number one pick for years to come.
We're going to spend the next 10 years or so looking for new and better ways to say what's most simply put thus: King James. LeBron was arguably the best fantasy player in the game last year, only the fifth player in NBA history to average better than 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the same season. So where do his numbers go from here? James can seemingly score at will and vie for the league scoring crown, having improved greatly in shooting from the field and beyond the arc. But it's likely that a reinforced Cavs squad, with ball-hungry Larry Hughes on board, will take some touches and scoring chances away from the pass-first star. Scottie Pippen never stopped Michael Jordan from scoring, but Hughes is higher maintenance and in a less structured offense. The addition of spot-up three-point shooters like Donyell Marshall does bode well for a bump in assists. The one area in which James is below replacement level is his 75% free throw shooting. An improvement there alone could easily make him king of the fantasy ranks. That he's entering just his third year itself argues for further all-around development.
James answered all his critics last season and then some, claiming stake to the NBA Rookie of the Year award. James showed flashes of his much-hyped brilliance, tickling his owners with his uncanny ability to distribute the ball and score points. James will certainly be looked upon to up his points per game this season, as Cleveland management fumbled the ball with Carlos Boozer. The arrival of Eric Snow shouldn’t affect James’ assists totals too much, as James is an unselfish player who looks pass-first frequently. James will be even better in his sophomore campaign, as scary as that may be, and has the talent to play at a first round pace as soon as this year. James figures to be taken in the mid second round, but don’t be surprised if a team with a late first round pick snags him and banks on his seemingly unlimited potential.
After indicating that James would be the Cavs' starting point guard in 2003-04, coach Paul Silas backed off on that, fearing it would be too much for the rookie. James will now start the season as the shooting guard or small forward. He'll still receive plenty of touches and the offense will often run through him, so he still may be a source of assists. If the Cavs find a comfortable spot for James, he could blossom into their leading scorer, but will have to fight for shots with Ricky Davis. There will be lots of pressure on him, and he may be overhyped at your draft or auction.
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Scores 25 but commits six turnovers
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James delivered 25 points (10-21 FG, 1-7 3Pt, 4-7 FT), 12 rebounds, six assists and a steal across 38 minutes in Sunday's loss to the Suns. He also committed six turnovers.
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Scores 21 with seven turnovers
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James had 21 points (9-19 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 2-3 FT), nine assists and six rebounds in Thursday's Game 3 win over the Suns.
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Sniffs double-double
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James delivered 23 points (9-16 FG, 4-9 3Pt, 1-1 FT), nine assists, four rebounds and two steals across 39 minutes in Tuesday's win over the Suns.
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Playing in Game 2
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James (ankle) will play in Tuesday's Game 2 against the Suns, Kellan Olson of ArizonaSports.com reports.
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