Watch out Kevin McHale, here comes LeBron James.
King James is on pace to make NBA history, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. Again:
That @KingJames guy is averaging 24.9 ppg on .601 shooting. Only one player EVER has averaged 25 ppg while shooting 60+ %: KMcHale in '86-87— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 22, 2013
More impressively, LeBron is chasing McHale while averaging fewer minutes and shots per game than last season:
LeBron also averaging 35.3 mpg this season compared to 37.9 mpg last season ... and 15.1 FGA per game in 2013-14 compared to 17.8 in 2012-13— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 22, 2013
You're probably not surprised. If you are, you shouldn't be. Playing into the record books is routine for LeBron. Making history is on LeBron's list of formalities, right up there with posterizing unsuspecting rookies and arguing with Mario Chalmers.
That doesn't make his latest quest any less significant. It simply attests to his everyday dominance.
LeBron is averaging 24.9 points per game on 60.1 percent shooting, leaving him a tenth of point shy of McHale's incredible record—which is absurd.
Below you'll find how his 2013-14 campaign is on pace to stack up next to McHale's 1986-87 crusade:
|Player||MPG||FGM||FGA||FG%||3P%||PTS||USG%||Off. Rtg.||Win Shares|
To answer your question, yes, you should be more enraptured with LeBron (if he gets there) cutting himself a piece of this historical pie than McHale.
Not to take anything away from McHale, because his 1986-87 efforts were other worldly. But he was also a 6'10" power forward who operated almost exclusively inside the arc.
During McHale's 25-point, 60-percent shooting extravaganza, he attempted a total of four treys. And for his career, he hoisted up 157 combined, connecting on only 41.
Though LeBron isn't considered a perimeter checker, his points are coming from all over. Inside, outside, everywhere.
Roughly 53.2 percent of all his field-goal attempts are coming around the rim, so he's capitalizing off close looks. But nearly a fifth of all his shots come from beyond the arc, where he's shooting over 41 percent. That's jaw-dropping, drivel-inciting, air-kick-worthy fantastic.
LeBron has continued to redefine efficient potency. Just last season he became the first player in NBA history to average 25 or more points per game while connecting on at least 55 percent of his shots overall, and 40 percent of his deep balls (minimum 0.5 attempts a night). Now he could potentially do it again.
You don't need to look much further to find more records LeBron is chasing, either. Did I say "chasing?" Sorry, I meant "prepared to set."
If his current production totals hold, and he's able to crack 25 points per game, he'll become the first player in league history to average 25 points a night while shooting 60 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the rainbow, in addition to posting an offensive rating above 120.
Sounds confusing, but it's not. Nine other players have shot 60 and 40 percent or better for an entire season, respectively, with an offensive rating above 120. None of them have ever eclipsed the 25-point plateau.
It's also something we should've seen coming.
Shooting 60 percent from the field is a feat he discussed before this season.
"I don’t really set out goals as far as what I want to shoot from the field," he said, per The Miami Herald's Joseph Goodman. "I know I want to take good shots and I know I want to be in attack and if that results in [60 percent] then it will be great, but I want to get the best shot for myself and for our team every possession."
Mission accomplished. For now.
Will LeBron be able to match McHale's 1986-87 campaign?
Less than halfway through the season, LeBron still has a ways to go. Not only must he increase his scoring totals a bit, he also must maintain his largely unprecedented shooting percentages.
"Nothing surprises me about that guy," LeBron's teammate, Shane Battier, said over the offseason, via Goodman. "As long as he’s willing to take the punishment of trying to shoot 60 percent, which means a few more rim attacks a game, it’s possible."
Forget possible. This is LeBron we're talking about. Existing-only-to-shatter-records-and-exceed-even-the-wildest-of-expectations LeBron.
LeBron catching McHale isn't just possible—it's likely.
*All stats used com courtesy of Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.