Yes, you saw that correctly, there is an asterisk next to his ranking. Typically, a player who is only in his sixth NBA season does not find himself on a top 10 all-time list, but LeBron James is not your typical player.
When his career is over, we will likely be talking about him as No. 1 or 2 on this list.
James has already made five All Star teams, winning the MVP award in those games twice. Additionally, he was NBA Rookie of the Year and has led the league in scoring twice.
He also has made the All NBA first or second team four times. His career marks of 27 points, seven boards, and six assists per game are remarkable. Furthermore, he appears to be getting better.
In this season, he has transformed himself to an even better player, and likely will win the NBA MVP award for his play. Additionally, he has yet to win a title, but there are very who believe he will not before his career is over.
So, given all that James has already accomplished, why is he ranked so far down on this list? For starters, James is not an elite defender.
He has the physical skills and intelligence to develop this aspect of his game, but he has yet to fully dedicate himself to this aspect of the game.
He has shown flashes of potential on the defensive side of the ball, but until he brings it every night like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant have, he will not get the respect on this end of the court that he is capable of.
Secondly, he has only been doing this for a short period of time. Knock on wood, but if James gets hurt tomorrow and has difficulty coming back, we could be talking about him like we talk about Grant Hill.
If a list like this game out 10 years ago, it would be hard to imagine Hill not being a part of this list, but his career statistics do not merit inclusion.
Lastly, James has not shown consistent touch shooting the ball from long range. Right now, James relies quite a bit on his athletic ability. Nobody in the league can match it, so why not?
Namely, his physical tools will deteriorate over time, forcing him to develop other aspects of his game. If Jordan had failed to develop his turnaround jumper, his career numbers would have suffered.
James needs to avoid this or else he could have a late career similar to Wilkins.
That all being said, barring injury, James will be a top three small forward before his career is over.