All the King's Records: Projecting LeBron's Career All-Star and All-NBA Honors

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterAugust 30, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: LeBron James #23 of Team LeBron pose for a portrait with the MVP award of the NBA All-Star 2018 game on February 18, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. 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.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Already near the top of the all-time leaderboards in numerous categories, LeBron James has passed some of the game's greatest players, and even more legends are about to be bumped down the rankings. Here's where the series stands:

Part I: James' total regular-season and postseason minutes

Part II: James' total blocks, steals and rebounds

Part III: James' total assists and turnovers

Part IV: James' advanced stats, including PER, win shares, VORP and box plus/minus

Part V: James' total three-pointers and free throws

Part VI: James' total points and field goals made

In Part VII of All the King's Records, we look at where James could finish his career in total All-Star games and All-NBA teams.

      

Career All-Star Game Projections

When predicting James' stats and awards both for this season and beyond, I've based his numbers on 71 games played per season, as that's the average number of games he's played over the past five years. That allows him to miss 11 contests per year for injury or rest.

His final career projections for all stats and awards came under the assumption he'll play five more years, meaning a retirement at age 39 following 21 total seasons.

James currently sits in a four-way tie for third in career All-Star games, joining Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal and Kevin Garnett with 15 total trips. James didn't get named an All-Star as a rookie in 2003-04—that remains his lone year without an All-Star nod—but he had the fourth-most votes among all East guards. The Cavs were just 20-33 at the break, but James' 20.4 points, 5.8 assists and 5.7 rebounds at the time were All-Star worthy. Despite not making the team, James did agree to play in the Rising Stars game, where he led all rookies with 33 points.

If James does play five more seasons, he'll need to be named an All-Star every year to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time record of 19 appearances. Kobe Bryant is the only other player ahead of James, with 18 selections in his 20 total seasons. The ever-popular Bryant was voted a starter in the 1998 All-Star Game despite coming off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers at the time, and he likely would have tied Abdul-Jabbar with 19 had the 1999 All-Star Game not been cancelled due to the lockout-shortened season.

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Eastern Conference laugh after a play in the first half during the NBA All-Star Game 2016 at the Air Ca
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The only time Abdul-Jabbar missed the All-Star Game was during the 1977-78 season, when he was sidelined for 20 games after he broke his hand punching an opposing player two minutes into the season opener. Abdul-Jabbar was fined a then-record $5,000 of his estimated $600,000 salary.

As long as the league doesn't have another lockout and James doesn't throw any punches, he'll have an advantage over the only two players he's still chasing.

From a productivity standpoint, James doesn't appear to be slowing down.

The 34-year-old forward averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 35.2 minutes per game last season, the 15th straight season he's averaged at least 25.3 points. As long as he's on the court, James will likely put up All-Star-worthy numbers over the next five years.

Even if his production plummets, James might land a starting spot due to fan votes like Bryant in 1998, or the coaches could vote him in as a reserve as a sign of respect. Although Abdul-Jabbar averaged only 10.1 points and 4.5 rebounds during his final season, he served as an All-Star replacement for an injured Magic Johnson in 1988-99.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver would almost certainly put James on an All-Star roster during his final season, much like he did with Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki this past year.

James should still be years away from getting any pity or nostalgia votes, as he remains arguably the best player in the league entering his 17th season. A significant early-season injury is the only thing that could keep him off an All-Star roster, which he's never had to deal with to date.

Be it by production, fan vote, coach's vote or commissioner appointment, James should be considered a lock on every All-Star team for the remainder of his career, barring injuries. With his five additional projected seasons, that means an all-time record of 20 All-Star nods.

James' Current Rank: No. 3 all time (tie)

Projected 2019-20 Rank: No. 3 all time

Projected Career Rank: No. 1 all time

 

Career All-NBA Team Projections

James needs to make only one more All-NBA team to hold the all-time record by himself.

He's currently in a four-way tie with Abdul-Jabbar, Bryant and Duncan for first with 15 selections, a combination of first-, second- and third-team honors. James could fall to the All-NBA third team like he did this past season and still seize an outright first place on the all-time leaderboard.

Like his All-Star appearances, James has made an All-NBA team every year since his sophomore season. His 12 first-team selections are already an NBA record, putting him one spot ahead of Bryant and Karl Malone.

Based on his recent level of production, James seems destined to make at least one more All-NBA team before he retires. Health will always be a factor, but James' 2018-19 numbers were so impressive he landed a spot on the third team despite missing a career-high 27 games.

A panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters from a wide variety of outlets and networks, none of whom are employed by an NBA organization, vote on the All-NBA teams. Players are given five points for a first-team vote, three for a second and one for a third. All-NBA teams are also divided up by position, with two guards, two forwards and one center on each team.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 01: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers is guraded by Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during the game at Staples Center on March 01, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

For James, putting up numbers won't be a problem, but he'll be battling with plenty of talented forwards. Paul George and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo received first-team honors last season, while Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard were named to the second team and Blake Griffin joined James on the third team.

Durant will likely miss the entire 2019-20 season while he rehabs from an Achilles injury, opening up one of the spots. Others challenging for All-NBA forward honors next season and for the remainder of James' career will include Anthony Davis (if he gets his wish of staying away from center), Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Love, Jayson Tatum, Pascal Siakam and even Zion Williamson. Young forwards like Marvin Bagley III and Jaren Jackson Jr. could make big jumps over the next five years as well.

Despite competing against all of that talent, James seems like a lock to be a top-six forward at least once more before he retires.

Don't be surprised to see James not only break the record of 15 All-NBA teams, but push his total close to 20 before he calls it a career.

James' Current Rank: No. 1 all time (tie)

Projected 2019-20 Rank: No. 1 all time

Projected Career Rank: No. 1 all time

Greg Swartz covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter. All stats via Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.

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