Basketball Magazine

Sunday Morning Coffee: Could Lebron Average 40 Points a Game?

By Addisoncocoli @addisoncocoli

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game SixIF you would, flashback to Game 6 of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. The Miami Heat were on the brink of playoff elimination, and were facing a second consecutive season where they “failed”. Personally,  not winning a championship in professional sports doesn’t deem the word “failure” be attached. Winning a championship in any sport is extremely difficult, let alone the NBA, where, like most professional organizations, the talent gap is marginal at best.

Lebron James put on an absolute clinic, dominating in every single facet of the game. Saying he had 45 points (on 19-26 shooting), 15 rebounds, and 5 assists would suggest he had a monster game; watching it suggests more. Saying James was a man possessed doesn’t do it justice. He played like the exorcist on steroids; he was unstoppable. As I sit here with a French Roast in my UCSB mug (go Gauchos), I wonder, could Lebron average 40 points a game? Forget about what that entails every single night. Is Lebron James talented enough to score 40 points a game?

This season James is averaging 26.9 points per game, while shooting 56.9 % from the field. He also shoots a remarkable 42 % from beyond the arc.  Although we are discussing scoring, he dishes out nearly 7 assists a game while corralling 8.1 rebounds per contest. Another MVP award is in James’ grasp. Winning games and scoring tons of points don’t always go hand in hand (Kobe Bryant was not available for comment). This season, James is averaging 10.3 fg/game, on only 18.4 attempts. Additionally, he makes 1.4 3’s a game while only attempting 3.3. I’ll say it again, shooting 42 percent  from 3 point range is ridiculous, especially for a player who is as physically big as James. He also shoots 73.7 % from the foul line (4.9 FTM-6.6FTA/game).

Alright, so what do these statistics have to do with James averaging 40 a game? In 2007, Lebron averaged 30 points a game, these were his stats with regards to shooting.


30.0 10.6-21.9 (48.4%) 1.5-4.8 (31.5%) 7.3-10.3  (71.2) 7.2

James is shooting 6.6% better from the field in this current season, 10.5% better from long range, and 2.5% better from the foul line during the current 2012-2013 NBA season. He is averaging only 3.1 ppg less during this campaign, but all of his other statistics suggest that he could  be scoring at least 32-34 a game if he attempted only a couple of shots more. His assists per game differ only by 0.3 from his 2007 MVP season to this year. If Lebron wanted to, he could simply dominate offensively, I honestly don’t know of anyone who would dispute that. These statistics were simply a landmark for his improvements offensively in the wide world of numbers and quantitative data. Watching Lebron James play a game of basketball is like seeing an Albrecht Dürer woodcut for the first time. You don’t really know how he does it, but you know that it ‘s like nothing you have seen before.

Admittedly I was not a Lebron James fan growing up, not even really for the past couple of years. “The Decision” turned me off immensely. I didn’t care that he left Cleveland, “The Decision” just irked me, plain and simple. It’s like your boss broadcasting your firing on YouTube, it already hurts to get burned, but don’t televise my pain to the entire nation. Probably more so, however, is the fact that I was raised a Lakers fan and always saw Kobe Bryant as the top guy in the league. Even I knew Lebron would overtake him. Growing up these past couple of years and maturing has taught me to truly appreciate the gift that James has.

So I got off  point, whatever. Lebron has gotten far better, he can make jump shots that he couldn’t before. He finishes at the rim with ferocious tenacity. He initiates contact, something all great players do. This season he has a higher percentage in every shooting category,  sure he shoots less, but his shots are intelligent, and there is no reason that if he attempted more shots or free throws that these statistics would vary by much. This is the area of sports that is not about the box score or stat line. If Lebron James wanted to, he could average 40 points in an 82-game NBA season. If you don’t think so, ask yourself, in a game where Lebron just scored 30 points on only 11 field goal attempts, what is stopping him? Defenders? No, the only thing holding Lebron back from scoring more is the fact that he is on a championship team. Sharing the ball with Wade, Bosh, Allen, Chalmers is part of the game plan (hence is nearly 7 assists a game). James has been asked several times what he thinks about scoring more, his response clearly indicates that he knows, just like everyone else that he could score at will. Erik Spoelstra even commented that he could probably average 35 a game if he wanted to. Lets just call it 40, Erik, what’s 5 points when you’re the best basketball player on the planet?

Why does this even matter? His stats have the Heat atop the Eastern Conference as of now, and the Heat are looking to repeat as NBA champions. Everything is seemingly going according to plan, why change it? Heavens no, don’t change what works. Everyone ponders these potential gargantuan athletic achievements that would leave a human being breathless. Seeing someone average 40 a game is simply a selfish desire that probably would be a detriment to the Heat. James thrives off making his teammates better, him trying to get a little over 13 more points a game would require that he hold onto the ball, work for his shot more, and take away from the offensive prowess of Wade, Bosh, Allen, Chalmers, etc. The Heat are so dangerous because they have tons of weapons other than James. When the game is in the balance, give the ball to James. Remember when writers and commentators alike crucified James for not being “clutch”, can you find someone to make that argument now? No. Sports change with the times, athletes change, some get better and some fade into darkness. Some fans want to see tough, grind them out games (a la Big 10 basketball), others want to see offensive shootouts, I prefer the latter. I would love to see Lebron James score 40 points a game, just for the sheer fact of how impossible that achievement seems to be.

It probably won’t happen, but it would be a sight to see.

Enjoy your coffee, friends, and may your Sunday be filled with positive vibes.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog