Can LeBron James become the all-time scoring leader in the NBA?

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Photo: David Butler Ii/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Last Wednesday LeBron James passed Michael Jordan on the All-Time scoring list of the NBA (in the regular season) to move into fourth place. LeBron now has 32.311 point in his career only trailing Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

When Jabbar retired in 1989 it looked as if his point total of 38.387 was out of reach for every other player. But as LeBron is approaching at a fast pace it may not be as impossible as it looked 30 years ago.

LeBron needs about 6000 points to surpass Jabbar. So, is that possible?

Can he do it? Here are the pro’s and cons.

PRO’S

  1. LeBron is all about his health. He keeps his body in shape like nobody else. It is estimated LeBron spends 1.5 million dollar a season on his body. So it must not be a problem to play four or more years.
  2. LeBron signed a four year contract (player option in year four) with the Lakers last summer and he has every intention to fulfill that contract. He is even considering playing after his contract expires. So he has enough time to surpass Jabbar.
  3. Tim Duncan played 19 years in the NBA, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett both twenty, Vince Carter is still playing at the age of 42. So why shouldn’t LeBron play into his late thirties at a high level? It’s not he has to do something that hasn’t been done before. And, there’s nothing wrong with his motivation.
  4. He is one of the greatest scorers of all time. This season, at the age of 34, he is averaging 27 points a game. So if he will play 70 games a year, and averages 25 points, that will add up to 1750 points a season. So LeBron could pass Jabbar in season 2022-2023.
  5. LeBron has stopped playing for team USA. He will not play in the FIBA World Cup this summer in China, he will not participate during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. So he can rest as much as he wants during the upcoming summers.

CON’S

  1. He’s got to stay healthy. LeBron is in his 16th season in the NBA. In his first 15 seasons he never had a serious injury, but this year he missed 17 games in a row due to a groin strain. Is this the first of more to come?
  2. LeBron entered the NBA as an 18 year old. He is and was a very physical player. Sixteen years in the league must have been hard on his body. When will his body give in?
  3. The Lakers have every intention to add two stars to their roster for the upcoming season. Magic Johnson has created salary cap space to accomplish that wish. More stars means sharing the ball more, and lesser scoring opportunities for LeBron.
  4. Even LeBron must admit he is getting older. He is taking more jump shots the last few seasons and is not attacking the rim as often as he used to do to take less pounding on his body. But shooting from a distance more, will bring your field goal percentage down.
  5. His free throws are at an all-time low. LeBron is shooting only .662 this season. And if you want to break a scoring record you have to make the easy shots.

 

Photo: David Butler Ii/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Last Wednesday LeBron James passed Michael Jordan on the All-Time scoring list of the NBA (in the regular season) to move into fourth place. LeBron now has 32.311 point in his career only trailing Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

When Jabbar retired in 1989 it looked as if his point total of 38.387 was out of reach for every other player. But as LeBron is approaching at a fast pace it may not be as impossible as it looked 30 years ago.

LeBron needs about 6000 points to surpass Jabbar. So, is that possible?

Can he do it? Here are the pro’s and cons.

PRO’S

  1. LeBron is all about his health. He keeps his body in shape like nobody else. It is estimated LeBron spends 1.5 million dollar a season on his body. So it must not be a problem to play four or more years.
  2. LeBron signed a four year contract (player option in year four) with the Lakers last summer and he has every intention to fulfill that contract. He is even considering playing after his contract expires. So he has enough time to surpass Jabbar.
  3. Tim Duncan played 19 years in the NBA, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett both twenty, Vince Carter is still playing at the age of 42. So why shouldn’t LeBron play into his late thirties at a high level? It’s not he has to do something that hasn’t been done before. And, there’s nothing wrong with his motivation.
  4. He is one of the greatest scorers of all time. This season, at the age of 34, he is averaging 27 points a game. So if he will play 70 games a year, and averages 25 points, that will add up to 1750 points a season. So LeBron could pass Jabbar in season 2022-2023.
  5. LeBron has stopped playing for team USA. He will not play in the FIBA World Cup this summer in China, he will not participate during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. So he can rest as much as he wants during the upcoming summers.

CON’S

  1. He’s got to stay healthy. LeBron is in his 16th season in the NBA. In his first 15 seasons he never had a serious injury, but this year he missed 17 games in a row due to a groin strain. Is this the first of more to come?
  2. LeBron entered the NBA as an 18 year old. He is and was a very physical player. Sixteen years in the league must have been hard on his body. When will his body give in?
  3. The Lakers have every intention to add two stars to their roster for the upcoming season. Magic Johnson has created salary cap space to accomplish that wish. More stars means sharing the ball more, and lesser scoring opportunities for LeBron.
  4. Even LeBron must admit he is getting older. He is taking more jump shots the last few seasons and is not attacking the rim as often as he used to do to take less pounding on his body. But shooting from a distance more, will bring your field goal percentage down.
  5. His free throws are at an all-time low. LeBron is shooting only .662 this season. And if you want to break a scoring record you have to make the easy shots.

 

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