Why LeBron James Is the Most Dominant NBA Star of the Last 10 Years

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Why LeBron James Is the Most Dominant NBA Star of the Last 10 Years
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Miami Heat's LeBron James

LeBron James is the most dominant NBA star of the last 10 years.

From a statistical standpoint, no player has impacted the game more in the time since James first broke into the league during the 2003-04 season. 

He's won three MVPs during the last decade as a result and is well on his way to a fourth this year as well.

But while James hasn't won as many NBA championships as Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs since '03 or Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers, he did nab that elusive title last season needed to qualify for this conversation. 

By the time the 2013 campaign concludes, his Miami Heat team could add even another title to James' NBA resume.

Regardless of that, however, his overall body of work has already cemented James' place as the league's most dominant star.

No player has been as consistently efficient as James over the last 10 seasons. No player has been as overwhelmingly versatile either, and these trends are only being further emphasized as the 2012-13 seasons continues.


LeBron James is the most consistently efficient player of the last 10 years

2012-13 Hollinger NBA Player Statistics (via ESPN.com)

LeBron James currently grades out at a 31.63 player efficiency rating this season. He is nearly three points better than Kevin Durant's next-best number of 28.91 as of Friday morning.

If James closes out the 2012-13 season with the NBA's best PER, it will mark the sixth straight year he's led the league in that category since 2007-08.

During the three prior years, from his second NBA season on, James finished sixth, second and sixth respectively in terms of PER.

None of his NBA colleagues come close to totaling those type of efficiency numbers over the last decade.  


James has efficiently remained among the league's top scorers throughout his career

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Miami Heat's LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant

While shooting a career-best 56.7 percent from the field this season, LeBron James is currently third in the NBA in scoring at 27.2 points per game.

During James' six seasons prior to this one, he finished the year with scoring averages good for third in the league overall, second, second, second, first and fourth, respectively.

In each of those six years—from the 2006-07 regular season through the close of the 2011-12 campaign—James improved his field-goal percentage each year from 47.6 percent to 53.1. 

For his career, he's shot 48.9 percent from the floor overall, while averaging 27.6 points.

As a comparison, Kobe Bryant has never shot higher than 46.9 percent in any season, while averaging 25.5 points for his NBA career.   


James has also led his team in assists for the last nine seasons

LeBron James sets up Dwyane Wade with assist.

LeBron James' overwhelming versatility is most clearly evident by his ability to also make plays for his teammates.

A quick stroll through Basketball-Reference.com reminds us that James has led his team in assists every season since his second year in the NBA. 

The seven assists he's currently averaging leads the Miami Heat in that category. It also has James tied for 10th in the league through Thursday.

In each of his previous nine seasons—while finishing no lower than 15th and as high as sixth—James' average rank among the NBA's assists leaders is 10.4


This season, James' overall dominance has been further emphasized

LeBron James shoots 13-of-14 from field for 31 points on 2/4/13.

With the burden of never having won an NBA championship lifted this year, James is posting career highs across the board.

In a February 4 matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats, James finished 13-of-14 from the field for 31 points. 

Besides that, though—and in addition to the career-high field-goal percentage he's shooting this season—James has also improved his three-point efficiency and rebounding numbers.

The 41.6 percent he's shooting from long range in 2012-13 is a marked improvement over his previous high of 36.2 percent last year. James is also leading his team in rebounding, while collecting a career-best 8.2 per night. 

His three-point percentage ranks 19th in the league, while his rebounding mark is currently tied for 25th.

Two additional reasons why James is well on his way to a fourth MVP award in five seasons.

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