5 Predictions for LeBron James in 2013
He first went wire-to-wire as the league's MVP last season in triumphant fashion. James then followed that up by being the primary reason why his Miami Heat team won the NBA championship. In the process, he finished third in the NBA in scoring while also averaging the 13th-most assists; this season he's fourth and ninth, respectively, through Monday.
He's also opened the 2012-13 campaign by helping the Heat to an Eastern Conference-leading record of 21-8 as December concludes.
So what's left for LeBron James in 2013? Below, I've identified five predictions.
James will lead the Miami Heat in points, rebounds and assists for all of 2013
LeBron James led the Miami Heat in scoring, rebounding and assists last season.
He's since opened the 2012-13 campaign by doing the same through Monday.
While James might not finish with his '11-12 totals exactly, or the 26.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 7.0 assists he's averaging at the moment, he will do enough to lead Miami in each category for all of 2013.
Through 29 games this season, James is averaging 5.9 more points, 2.5 more assists and 0.6 more rebounds than his next-closest teammate.
LeBron will finish runner-up for the 2013 NBA MVP
LeBron won his third MVP award last season after shooting a career-high 53 percent from the field. So far this season he's shooting 54 percent. The 8.4 rebounds he's currently averaging are also good for a new career high in that category.
Fair or not, though, James will need to be statistically overwhelming in order to win the MVP in 2013.
While the current pace he's on is exceptional, it will not be enough for voters to hand him the NBA's most prestigious individual award for a fourth time.
James will win his second NBA championship in 2013
While he might not win the MVP, I do expect James to lead his Heat team back to a second NBA championship in 2013.
By October of this year he'll be trying on his second NBA title ring.
We can talk about the Heat's struggles in November and early December all we want. None of that will matter come playoff time. James is the best player on the planet. He's no longer carrying around that burden of having never won a championship and is now free to win as many as his talent will allow.
That will include at least one more in 2013.
LeBron James "the villain" will become distant memory
I'm from Cleveland. To an extent, it pains me to write this.
Regardless, I did walk past Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year issue in the grocery store with James on the cover yesterday and realized he's all the way back.
Everybody loves LeBron again.
At least way more people do now than they did back in 2010, when he was considered an "NBA villain."
If that whole villain thing isn't completely dead yet, it will be by the time 2013 concludes.
The "opt-out talk" will become very annoying as the year goes on
James will have the opportunity to opt out of his current contract in 2014. Those details are highlighted above via HoopsHype.com. In anticipation of that possibility, the "opt-out talk" will become deafening in 2013 surrounding James' decision.
The speculation won't be quite as loud as it was in 2010. But as 2013 continues, it will become very repetitive and annoying for fans all over the NBA.
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