NBA

Is LeBron James' Dominance of the NBA His New Norm?

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 10: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers guards LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat during a game  at American Airlines Arena on February 10, 2013 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Ethan Sherwood StraussNBA Lead WriterFebruary 14, 2013

The economist Herbert Stein had a law that is perhaps applicable in this situation: "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."

So no, LeBron will not keep scoring over 30 points while hitting over 60 percent of his shots. We're impressed by this statistical run precisely because it's so hard to attain, and thus, all the more difficult to sustain. 

It reminds one of Kobe Bryant's consecutive games streaks of more than 40 points. During the run, you could talk yourself into Bryant scoring with that ease and proficiency forever. But a cooler head would realize that eventually, Bryant's offense would level out.

The same goes for James, who may well average over 70 percent shooting and better than 30 points in the month of February, but who certainly won't manage that for a season.

Still, his ability to produce a month like this speaks to a dominance not seen since Michael Jordan.

Of those performances, his most staggering came against the Clippers and Bobcats. Over those two games, James scored a combined 61 points, with only three missed shots interspersed. 

You could perhaps dismiss the Charlotte performance as, "It was the Bobcats." The Clippers, however, are an elite team. 

LeBron is averaging nearly 69 percent from the field and 30.4 points in February.

This is when basketball reality feels like one long visual hoax. Somehow, this is happening, though in theory, nobody should be able to pull off this level of efficiency.

How is he doing it? With a newly developed post game that all of his critics have clamored for. 

My belief is that, during the span when pundits shouted, "LeBron should get a post game," he was doing just that.

To get a new skill at an elite level is not like pressing a button on "Create a Player." It's a process.

Even when a player develops certain skills in the gym, taking those abilities to the televised court is a whole other matter. We've seen flashes of most everything James is doing below the free-throw line these days. This is just the culmination.

This is LeBron at his most confident, clinical and analytical. He's shaved off his contested three-point attempts and now he's averaging over 40 percent from deep.

James is mostly shooting long twos when open, and it's helping to fuel a career-high in overall field-goal percentage. Not only that, but his experience and practice regimen has translated to better accuracy when he does hoist these contested shots.

The LeBron James who entered the NBA was an errant shooter. The thinking was that teams could win by sagging back and leaving him open (see: 2007 NBA Finals). 

This is no longer true. Leave LeBron open and that jumper's like a layup to him.

James has added or improved upon these abilities while maintaining his athleticism and remaining the same elite passer and rebounder he always was.

This is what it looks like when greatness gets even greater—when we see a man master the game better than anyone since Michael Jordan.

Comparing his championship resume to Jordan's is beside the point: We should just appreciate that someone is playing at Jordan's level of brilliance in the present day. 

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