LeBron James: If He Can Do This, He'll Be an All-Time Great

Charles BennettSenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks to pass in the first quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 21, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Nate Archibald did it in the 1972-73 NBA season.  Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson did it, but in different seasons.

Michael Jordan never did.  Kobe never did it.  Really, nobody's gotten close in decades.

LeBron James could do it, and he could do it this season.

What is it? Leading the league in scoring and assists in the same season.

LeBron certainly has the scoring down.  He is the active leader in points per game; he won a scoring title in 2008 and has been in the top three in scoring seven of the last eight seasons.  To win a scoring title next season, all he'll have to do is score more points than Kevin Durant.

As for assists, LeBron is ninth among active players in assists per game, with a high assists-per-game total of 8.2 in his last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.  He has finished in the top 10 in assists in four different seasons, and also was one of the leaders in assists at the 2012 Olympics, when he had Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Love to dish to.  

This may be the season where LeBron has his best shot at an assist crown.  Chris Paul will be hurt in that department by Blake Griffin's injury, and Steve Nash and Jason Kidd are decrepit. 

Compared to Archibald, LeBron has better targets to dish to.  He has Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and now Ray Allen. Archibald only had Sam Lacey and Tom van Ardsdale.

When Robertson and Chamberlain won assist crowns, they had Jack Twyman, Jerry Lucas, Adrian Smith, Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham as targets.

LeBron also has a solid chance to do something Robertson, Chamberlain or Archibald never did in the seasons they won scoring or assist crowns: win an NBA title.  

It probably goes without saying that if LeBron wins the scoring and assists crowns, he'll also lock down his fourth MVP, joining only Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chamberlain and Bill Russell with that many.

Where would this place LeBron among the greatest ever? 

Even discounting the number of MVPs, winning a scoring and assist crown in the same season probably puts LeBron ahead of Oscar Robertson on the greatest list.  LeBron is a better scorer, better shooter, more efficient and a better defender than the Big O.  If he adds a second title, he will also have more rings than Robertson.

On most "10 Greatest" lists, Robertson is somewhere near No. 10.  Therefore, if LeBron is a better player than Robertson, he must be no lower than No. 10.

Bottom line: Winning a scoring and an assist crown in the same season would cement LeBron's legacy as one of the 10 greatest players of all time.