LeBron James: 10 Reasons Why the Miami Heat Star Is Still the Best in the NBA

Shane DePutronCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2011

LeBron James: 10 Reasons Why the Miami Heat Star Is Still the Best in the NBA

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    Miami Heat star LeBron James is the best player in the NBA.

    For the past few years, he had his one-man show Cleveland Cavaliers performing among the best teams in the league.

    However, he made headlines for all the wrong reasons last summer after spurning the Cleveland Cavaliers on national television to sign with the star-studded Heat.

    Consequently, LeBron has taken a ton of flak during the course of the 2010-11 NBA season.

    Nevertheless, James has responded, putting forth an outstanding effort on the court.

    So here are 10 reasons why LeBron James is still the best player in the NBA.

No. 1: NBA Career

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    During his rookie year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James led the team to one of the biggest single-season turnarounds in NBA history, with the franchise increasing their win total by 18.

    Moreover, during LeBron's seven-year run with the team, the Cavs had winning records six times, while making five playoff appearances. 

    They made the NBA Finals in 2007, and more recently, LeBron took home the past two NBA MVP awards—both during years when he propelled Cleveland to the best regular season record in the entire league.

    So given that he built up a team from nothing, culminating with being named the most valuable player on the best team during the last two seasons, LeBron James was obviously performing as the league's best player—if only for the last two years.

    And seeing as though James hasn't seen his level of play drop off due to age or injury, it's clear that he is the same player as he was then, and therefore, LeBron is still the best player in the league.

No. 2: The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers

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    The 2010-11 NBA season has been a nightmare for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    In the wake of LeBron James' departure, the team sits with a league-worst record of 13-56—a full four games behind the NBA's second-worst team.

    Additionally, the Cavs sport the NBA's least-efficient offense and defense, scoring a mere 98.5 points per 100 possessions, while giving up 109.8 points per 100 possessions. 

    Therefore, Cleveland went from the team with the best record to the team with the worst record, as well as the team with the fourth-best offense and seventh-best defense to the team with the worst offense and defense.

    And since the Cavs' only major transaction in the offseason was losing LeBron, it's pretty safe to assume that he is the best player in the league.

No. 3: Myth of a Decline

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    LeBron James has witnessed most of his per-game averages drop slightly since joining the Miami Heat this season.

    However, this is not because he is an inferior player to what he was before.

    Actually, James is logging fewer minutes per contest this season, which give him fewer opportunities to produce.

    What's more, when LeBron is on the court, he isn't featured as regularly as he had been by the Cleveland Cavaliers, as illustrated by a nearly two-percent drop in usage percentage this year.

    And when one considers that he still posts some of the best numbers in the NBA, it's clear that James should be considered to be among the league's best.

No. 4: 2010-11 Stats

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    In the 2010-11 season, LeBron James has proved his doubters wrong, posting an impressive stat line while playing alongside two other All-Stars.

    At this point, James is scoring 26.4 points per game—good for second in the league.

    Moreover, he has accomplished this while shooting a solid 50.1 percent from the field, making him one of only two players among the league's top eight scorers to convert on over half of their shots.

    But scoring isn't all that he has done, as James has also averaged 7.4 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

    Therefore, he is currently 31st in the league in rebounding, 13th in assists and 11th in steals.

    And by posting such gaudy stats with the Miami Heat, James is certainly making a case for being the NBA's best player.

No. 5: Efficiency

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    By a wide margin, LeBron James is the NBA leader in player efficiency rating—a stat which "sums up all a player's positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player's performance."

    So, simply put, he is the most efficient player in the NBA when on the court.

    Therefore, it's hard to argue against LeBron as the league's best player.

No. 6: Advanced Winning Statistics

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    There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to advanced winning statistics for individual players.

    However, the one constant between them is the success of LeBron James.

    For the 2010-11 season, LeBron is the leader in estimated wins added, which calculates how many wins he contributes to his team over a replacement player.

    And with 21.4 estimated wins added, James holds this title by a full game-and-a-half.

    Now when one looks at win shares, LeBron is not first, but he does earn a close second, at only 0.1 win share behind the league leader.

    Yet should he continue his current hot streak, that title could belong to him in the near future as well.

    And since LeBron is just about the best NBA player at contributing to wins, it certainly seems like he is the league's best player.

No. 7: Playing Alongside Other Stars Does Not Matter

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    When LeBron James joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat, the trio were harshly criticized as not being good enough to win a title by themselves.

    However, this is a silly claim, seeing as though no one has won alone in recent NBA history.

    The Los Angeles Lakers have Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol (as well as Lamar Odom), and before that they had Kobe and Shaquille O'Neal.

    The Boston Celtics have their big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, along with Rajon Rondo.

    The San Antonio Spurs have their trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

    The Heat had Wade and Shaq during their last title win.

    The Detroit Pistons had a balanced combination of Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace.

    And, despite what some may claim, the Chicago Bulls had more than just Michael Jordan.

    They also had Hall of Famer and seven-time All-Star Scottie Pippen, who led the Bulls to a 55-win season without Jordan and has somehow become one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

    Therefore, it seems that LeBron, like Jordan, has been able to be perform as the best player in the league, despite playing alongside other stars.

No. 8: The 2010-11 Miami Heat

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    Let's be honest. 

    The 2010-11 Miami Heat have not lived up to expectations.

    However, it's hard to blame that on LeBron James, especially given his high level of production on the year.

    Instead, the reason why the Heat have been underwhelming can largely be attributed to the team's underachieving bench—which has been one of the worst units in the league.

    Additionally, missing Mike Miller for the start of the year, while also playing without Udonis Haslem for most of the season, has not helped at all.

    And when one considers that his team, which also struggled initially with its newly constructed roster, has still managed to earn a 48-22 record—good for third place in the Eastern Conference—the contributions of LeBron are all the more apparent.

    Therefore, despite his team's lower-than-expected performance, LeBron is still the NBA's best player.

No. 9: Versatility

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    An individual has to be extremely talented to play in today's NBA, and they must be even more athletic and skilled to be able to play and excel at multiple positions.

    LeBron James is the epitome of such an individual.

    Standing 6'8" and likely close to 260 pounds, LeBron entered the league as a point guard, but due to his size and athleticism, he is the only player in the NBA who is currently capable of playing and succeeding at every single position on the court—both on offense and on defense.

    So when one combines this versatility with his impressive performances on the court, then LeBron must be considered to be one of the NBA's best.

No. 10: Who Else?

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    If LeBron James isn't the best player in the NBA, then who is?

    Derrick Rose is the most likely candidate to win this year's MVP award, however, it's hard to make a case for him being a better player than LeBron.

    On the season, James leads Rose in scoring by 1.4 points per game, while managing to shoot an impressive 6.1 percent higher from the field.

    Moreover, he out-rebounds Rose by a wide margin, as well as shooting a higher percentage from three, blocking more shots and grabbing more steals than Rose.

    The only area where Rose has really out-performed LeBron is at dishing out assists, where the Chicago Bull hasn't even managed to average one more assist than LeBron per game—despite playing as a full-time point guard.

    And when one adds in LeBron's superior efficiency ratings, it's clear that LeBron is better than Rose.

    Therefore, it appears that Rose is the MVP favorite because of his value to his team's success, not because he is the league's best player.