Miami Heat: Will They Cost LeBron a Chance At NBA's All-Time Leading Scorer?

Justin EisenbandCorrespondent INovember 9, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 05:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in action during the game against the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on November 5, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

When the Miami Heat signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh this offseason, in addition to resigning Dwyane Wade, they had achieved in signing three of the most prolific scorers in the NBA. In fact, all three were included within the top nine in points per game during the 2009-10 NBA season.

Yet, all three of them have fallen drastically in their scoring averages this season. Of the three, only Wade remains in the top 10 in scoring. Chris Bosh, specifically, has seen enormous dips in his averages from a year ago. Bosh is averaging almost 10 points less per game and half of his 10.8 rebounds per game from last season.

Even the King himself has been affected by this statistical free fall. James is averaging career lows in both points and minutes. His field goal percentage is the lowest since his rookie campaign.

Certainly, one must consider the fact that the Miami Heat are still developing as a team. With the main core of the Miami Heat signed to multi-year contracts, Miami will have time to gel and build chemistry not only in this season, but in future seasons as well.

LeBron James was the fastest player in NBA history to reach 10,000 points. His current total of 15,396 puts him at 110th on the NBA all-time scoring list. Assuming that James will play for 12 more seasons at an average of 75 games a season, LeBron needs to average over 25 points a game for the remainder of his career to have a shot to catch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

While this calculation is merely based on assumptions about the length of LeBron James's career and his durability as well as the idea that Kobe Bryant will not surpass Abdul-Jabbar, it demonstrates that his current average of 20.7 points per game will simply not be enough.

To be fair, it has been only seven games. James could easily and most likely will improve his scoring average over the course of the season. However, it will not return to the level of his stint with the Cavaliers.

Several reasons could possibly account for James's decreased scoring averages besides the fact that the ball has to be shared with Dwyane Wade and Chis Bosh.

Due to the amount of blowouts the Heat have had, LeBron James has often sat on the bench for the majority of the fourth quarter for some games. He is averaging five minutes less than his career averages in minutes played per game.

Additionally, LeBron James has been charged with a lot of point guard and ball-handling duties which has emphasized his role as a distributor rather than as a primary scorer.

The last reason could just be nerves. LeBron had a tumultuous offseason and may still be getting used to being booed everywhere he goes. James is shooting 53.7 percent from the field at home and less than 43 percent on the road. Once he gets used to his role as "the villain," James should improve his numbers across the board

These reasons definitely have some validity behind them for LeBron's decreasing scoring numbers. The question is how much will improved team chemistry and James's maturation as a member of the Heat increase his potential scoring numbers.

LeBron still can do it, but perhaps the ultimate symbol of LeBron's sacrifice is his forgoing of the highest personal achievement for the opportunity to win multiple championships.

Justin Eisenband is a Miami Heat Featured Columnist and a Bleacher Report Writing Intern. To read more of his articles, visit his profile.