Anthony Davis, at the ripe age of 30 having just signed a three-year, $186 million extension, is supposed to be the team’s best and most consistent player. Davis was supposed to be steering the Lakers’ ship, yet here we stand in late 2023 watching LeBron; dominate on another nearly 40-minute night. Davis has played well thus far into the season — James is clearly the more consistent bet to show up and play well on any given night.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham was also supposed to cut LeBron’s minutes as soon as last year, and the longer we wait the more responsibility seemingly is placed on his shoulders. And he’s stated prior that he’ll be able to play in this league until his mind is no longer sharp with the long-term goal of playing with his son, Bronny James.
We’re starting to become believers that not only will the all-time scoring leader make it those extra few years to form that duo — LeBron might still be good by then. Like asking for the ball as a 40-year-old starting small forward in the NBA. It’s barbaric.
How old is he?? Lol pic.twitter.com/s0lJ2VyaGm
— 4 4 4 (@SlimSleepr) November 20, 2023
We’ve all watched players go through the prime of their careers having fallen off a cliff around their age-34 season, and perhaps going out shooting like Kobe’s 60-point night on Utah in the final game of his career. Emptying the tank, running on fumes, one last dance…however you’d personally describe those experiences, LeBron has risen above that. He’s not waiting around for a big night where everyone’s watching to show he can still reach the gas pedal the way the majority of the NBA’s all-time greats have. James is pretending to care about that $500,000 in-season tournament prize and then pouncing on teams nightly. He’s just making up motivation as he goes the way Jordan did his entire career.
Minutes should be down, and more off-ball play deferring to playmakers like D’Angelo Russell or even Austin Reaves to run two-man games with Davis. Perhaps some family-man finger rolls after all those high-flying dunks he’s jammed since 2003? He’s playing straight through all those realistic assumptions everyone had for him and running straight through teams.
James is averaging 26.4 points on 56% shooting, 39.7% from three, and 1.7 steals per game.
No player in league history – in their 21st NBA season – has ever averaged more than 7.4 points per GAME.
LeBron is averaging 9.2 points per 4TH QUARTER.
Think about that for a second. https://t.co/Uxnpb9CJm0
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) November 20, 2023
Here at Hoops Wire, we try and make educated guesses as to what a player will do based on prior experiences to help us best judge their future. In this case, LeBron simply hasn’t shown us any signs of slowing down that we can point to. Occasionally he’ll look disinterested on the defensive end of the floor, but he did that during his prime in his early days with Cleveland and into those Miami Heatles years.
He chose a few moments to not be as involved and none of that had anything to do with what his body could manage on the floor. Most athletes at this age are being wrestled to the ground by father time and begging for a proper send-off the way Kobe Bryant properly accomplished in 2016. Paul Pierce was a sixth man in Washington for god’s sake in order to get the departure he craved. Meanwhile, LeBron is looking like he’ll walk away from this league as the NBA’s Tom Brady. An utterly psychotic level of determination that’s rewarded him with the everlasting ability to play basketball.
Until he’s ready to call it quits, we’ll sit back and enjoy the show because his exit from the league will be one expensive ticket. He’ll go out on his own.