21 predictions for LeBron James’ 21st NBA season

LeBron James is entering his 21st NBA season. This in itself is quite ridiculous. He will become the seventh player in league history to play a minute in the 21st year.

But LeBron didn’t just survive this.

In 16 playoff games, he averaged 24.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals per game, eventually reaching the Western Conference Finals.

He’s proven he can contribute more, and Bleacher Report’s NBA staff will tell you what it is with the predictions below.

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LeBron has destroyed countless NBA standards. He did (and is still doing) things we could never imagine before.

For example, he averaged at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in 20 seasons with at least 500-plus minutes per game.

Needless to say, this is the record. Incredibly, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson are tied for second with 20-5-5 seasons, which includes… 10.

In the 2023-24 season, LeBron’s scoring will increase to 21 points.

Andy Bailey

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LeBron will turn 39 in December. That means the 39-year-old will have about four months of regular season time this season. Currently, Jamal Crawford is the only 39-year-old player in league history to score 50 points in a game. He scored 51 points against the Dallas Mavericks on April 9, 2019.

Last season, LeBron’s single-game scoring high was 48 points, but he will return to the half-century mark in the 2023-24 season. He would do it after his birthday.

Andy Bailey

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That’s thanks to the Lakers’ depth, but James is set to see a career low in minutes this season.

Los Angeles is having a strong summer, continuing a trend heading into the 2022-23 trade deadline. The Lakers have enough offensive and defensive firepower to allow James to pace himself.

He averaged 35.5 minutes per game last year (55 games), but he’ll drop to 31 or 32, down from his career low (33.4) in 2020-21.

Eric Pincus

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While James doesn’t have to average 29.6 points per game like he did the past two years to help the Lakers win, don’t expect the NBA’s all-time scoring leader to stop putting the ball in the basket.

The 25-point-per-game line seems important to James because he has surpassed that plateau over the past 19 years. While he’s come close to falling short a few times (averaging 25.3 points or less in four of the last nine years), James has never averaged less than 25 points per game since his rookie season.

Don’t expect this streak to end just yet.

Greg Swartz

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LeBron has been challenging his father’s time for years, but at some point there was at least some degree of decline. His assist average will be one of the areas to drop (even if slightly) in 2023-24.

He hasn’t averaged less than six points per game since his rookie season (when he averaged 5.9 points), but he’s averaged 6.5 points the past two years. His willingness to take direction from Austin Reeves during Los Angeles’ recent playoff run suggests others may get more playmaking opportunities this season.

——Andy Bailey

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James had the lowest three-point shooting percentage (31.2%) with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Whether it’s age or injury (foot issues), look for this to address some of the issues that have bounced back from deep this year.

James’ shooting percentage will be close to his career average of 34.5% (good, but not great). Keep in mind, last year wasn’t his worst — James shot 30.8 percent from the field in 2015-16 and jumped to 36.3 percent the following year.

Eric Pincus

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LeBron’s athleticism doesn’t look like it’s going to completely give up on him, but nature tells him that at some point, maybe (right?), it has to slip a little.

As he approaches 40, these mistakes may become more pronounced, which may mean he will rely more on his jump shot.

He may not quite reach his career high of 8.0 attempts per game, but surpassing last season’s 6.9 is promising.

Andy Bailey

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It’s not unusual for James to express his opinions at the trade deadline, it’s a time-honored tradition that happens over and over again.

Don’t expect this season to be any different.

James is fully aware of the Lakers’ trade assets, which include using a 2029 or 2030 first-round pick and young guards like Max Christie and rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino. New contracts for players such as D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura and Jared Vanderbilt could also be used to help piece together a trade package.

If the Lakers don’t meet expectations in February (or even if they do), expect James to put some healthy pressure on the front office as they chase a fifth championship.

Greg Swartz

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Playing fewer minutes per game will help James pace himself more successfully throughout the season.

James averaged 55.6 games in five seasons with the Lakers (just 72 games in 2020-21), but he will hit 60 games this year. Part of that will be the team adjusting to the NBA’s new rest policy, but a better team around him will help James stay healthier in the 2023-24 season.

Eric Pincus

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This one is very simple. Vince Carter set the scoring record with 562 points in his 21st season. Barring injury, LeBron will break this record.

Last season my total score was 1,590.

Andy Bailey

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This needs no more explanation than the scoring record in the 2021 season.

Carter totaled an all-time high 194 rebounds in his 21st season. The 457 yards LeBron gained last season suggests he will easily surpass that.

Andy Bailey

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You knew this was coming.

Carter is once again the current record holder with 87 points. LeBron had 375 points last season.

This record is also in decline.

Andy Bailey

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John Stockton had a lot of crazy plays in terms of assists. First, after he turned 39, he had at least 10 assists in 50 games. Steve Nash ranks second on this list with four such games.

LeBron will have five 10-assist games since his December birthday and rank second on this super-specific list.

Andy Bailey

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James already holds NBA playoff records for most games played, points scored and steals (second in assists and fourth in rebounds). He could crack the top 10 in another major category this year: blocks.

While the playoffs are led by legendary big men like Tim Duncan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwan, James could become the second non-American to finish in the top 10. Big man (Julius Erving).

270 career playoff rejections, ranking 11th. Currently, James only needs 12 blocks to surpass Kevin McHale and jump to 10th. Given that James is currently averaging 1.0 points per game in the playoffs, it is expected that James will join this team in the second round of the playoffs.

Greg Swartz

Wally Scully

Last season, James became the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. Now, he needs to make sure his records are safe forever.

He has 38,652 career regular-season points and is just 54 games shy of reaching 40,000 points (averaging 25 points per game). Since joining the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2018-19 season, James has averaged 55.6 games per game, which means he may not reach this milestone until the end of the regular season.

Considering that only 54 players in history have scored 20,000 points in their career, and only 8 have scored more than 30,000 points, James reaching 40,000 points may indeed be a hard number to break.

Greg Swartz

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For much of last season, the Lakers simply survived Russell Westbrook’s mismatch with LeBron and Anthony Davis. It was clear from the moment he was acquired that the trio wasn’t going to come together, but the front office wasn’t able to move him until last season’s trade deadline.

The current supporting cast is better suited to LeBron, AD and their skill set. And he’s better equipped to handle any absence from LeBron. Even in the crowded West, it was enough to win home-field advantage in the first round.

Andy Bailey

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James is no stranger to supporting family and friends as an off-court guest, dating back to his days attending University of Akron basketball games to cheer on high school teammates Romeo Travis and Drew Joyce III.

His oldest son, Bronny, is now a freshman at the University of Southern California. Plan to play James is expected to be on the sideline regularly supporting the Trojans this season after being hospitalized for a cardiac arrest over the summer, especially since Cypto.com Arena and the Galen Center are only about two miles apart.

Greg Swartz

Photo credit should be JOHN RUTHROFF/AFP via Getty Images

LeBron has become the all-time leader (regardless of age) in many categories, but there are still some categories to climb.

One of them is the career rankings of total three-pointers made during the regular season and playoffs. He currently ranks fifth, 159 strokes behind legendary outside shooter Reggie Miller.

He has scored 144 points in each of the past three years (including playoffs). In the 2023-24 season, his points will reach at least 160.

Andy Bailey

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There won’t be much suspense about LeBron’s next goal as he surpasses him on the all-time assists list.

He was only 44 points behind Magic Johnson. Even if his assists per game dropped to 5.0, he would surpass Magic and rank fourth all-time through the first nine games.

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As was the case with the 20-5-5 season, LeBron already owns that record and has a sizable buffer between him and second place.

He was selected to the All-NBA team 19 times, ranking first in history, behind Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

If early predictions of Los Angeles finishing in the top four prove to be correct, you can bet LeBron has a lot to do with it. That coupled with another 20-5-5 season and the recognition of arguably the best player ever would be enough to earn him a 20th All-NBA selection.

Andy Bailey

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Last season, James tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and was selected to the All-Star for the 19th time. His 20th game this season would finally make James the NBA record holder.

James has been selected to the All-Stars every season since the 2004-05 season. This is his second time in the NBA. Even if he misses some games, or his stats are down this year given the amount of talent around him, it’s important to remember that fan voting counts for 50% (the other 25% comes from players and 25% from the media) .

James is expected to be voted in again, joining a group that includes Michael Jordan, Abdul-Jabbar and Dirk Nowitzki (commissioner selection) as the only All-Stars in history aged 39 or older. player of.

Greg Swartz

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