LeBron James. People might disagree with me, but understand this, the greatest scorer, it’s consistency, it’s longevity, and it’s amounts.Richard Jefferson, The No Chill Podcast
LeBron has the consistency – in his 17th straight season, James is averaging over 25 points a game. The fact he’s still playing in his prime in year 18 tells you he has the longevity. And numbers-wise, LeBron also has the amounts – No.3 all-time in points (1,610 shy of Karl Malone for second place) and No. 1 all-time in playoff scoring (7,491 points).
He passed Michael Jordan in playoff scoring three seasons ago, and he’s going to add to that. So to pass LeBron in all-time playoff scoring records, somebody is going to have to average 30 points a game and go to like 13 NBA Finals. That sh*t’s not gonna be broken.Richard Jefferson, The No Chill Podcast
So why is it unconventional to say LeBron is the greatest scorer ever? He’s got the stats, both cumulatively and per game, on an all-time great efficiency. He’s got the consistency, and his longevity is almost unprecedented. But still, people don’t talk about James as the NBA’s greatest bucket-getter. The likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are always given the edge over LeBron. Why is that?
You don’t think of him as that, and he doesn’t approach the game as that. But when you look at the records, they are that.Richard Jefferson, The No Chill Podcast
It’s hard to argue against RJ within the framework he had established. Because judging by his parameters, people do underestimate LeBron when discussing the greatest scorers ever. But people also don’t solely go by that.
Three pillars of Jefferson’s argument – consistency, longevity, amounts – are all mutually conditioned. That’s why people tend to devaluate the impact they have on James’s case for the best scorer in basketball. In a vacuum, they are all impressive. But in reality, for most NBA fans, they don’t cover up the flaws in LeBron’s offensive resume.
What are the flaws? Only one scoring title – MJ has 10 (7 straight!), KD has 4, Kobe and Kareem have 2 – deficiencies from the free-throw line (a career 73.4% FT shooter), and compared to other all-time great bucket getters, a limited offensive repertoire.
Should all of these be overshadowed by numbers? Perhaps — RJ laid out a good argument for it. But for most NBA fans, they won’t be. Because when the eye test kicks in, it’s hard to say LeBron should be at the top of this list.