LeBron James is one of the greatest players of all time and we all know this. The man has made 10 NBA Finals appearances and is on his way to winning his 4th chip. 4 rings in 10 tries is not a bad return, and he clearly has everything a team needs in a superstar to get it done. LeBron James is simply a phenom and has the ability to make any team a title contender for what he brings to the table.
While this is true, LeBron James has also had some excellent teammates to help him during his career. James was lucky to play with at least 6 Hall of Fame talents over his career, guys who legitimately might be just as responsible for LeBron’s rings as LeBron himself. A team cannot win without help, and LeBron has taken it upon himself to surround himself with the best possible talent every season.
It is time to rank LeBron’s 10 greatest ever teammates.
10. JR Smith
Yes, we are all aware of the JR Smith Finals fiasco and the jokes that come with it. But Smith is one of the best teammates LeBron has ever had. It may sound crazy, but the Cavaliers do not win the NBA title in 2015 without JR Smith. His defense was simply sensational on the perimeter, and he made the Cavs very good on the defensive end. Smith was also a deadeye shooter who had the uncanny ability to take and make big shots.
Anytime you are LeBron’s teammate, you need to be fearless and let it fly because you will be open. Perhaps none of LeBron’s teammates had this confidence more than Smith, and he earned his way on the top 10 list.
9. Anderson Varejao
One of LeBron’s favorite teammates ever, Varejao was a guy that every team needs. Varejao did all the dirty work including setting good screens, fighting for rebounds, and playing tough defense.
Anderson Varejao put up 8.6 points and 7.6 rebounds a night during LeBron’s last year before he left for Miami, and was later picked up by the Warriors in 2015 to earn a ring. Varejao wasn’t an All-Star by any means but his production was valuable as a starting center who normally played harder than anyone else.
8. Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Big Z is often ignored for his impact alongside LeBron James. Ilgauskas was a unique center because he was so large yet able to hit the outside jumpers with regularity. When people think of LeBron’s first Championship team with the Cavaliers, they only seem to remember Mo Williams and LeBron James. But Ilgauskas was the big man who protected the paint and also made his shots, giving the Cavaliers another versatile offensive piece.
Ilgauskas averaged 11.9 PPG and 7.7 RPG to go along with 1.3 BPG in the 2006-2007 season where the Cavaliers made the NBA Finals. He also had a great Game 3 performance where he put up 12 points and 18 rebounds, but the Cavs, unfortunately, lost that game and also the series.
7. Mo Williams
Before joining the Heat in 2010, LeBron only played with one other player who had an All-Star season. That was Mo Williams in 2009 where he averaged 17.8 points a game and shot 43.6% from three.
Williams was actually a very effective point guard alongside LeBron James because he was a strong playmaker and a marksman from deep. Mo Williams doesn’t get enough credit for helping LeBron James in Cleveland because he was an above-average talent on a relatively average squad. Williams never won a ring with LeBron but he was effective in their time together.
6. Ray Allen
Ray Allen is the man who might have delivered Miami’s second NBA title on his lonesome. With 5.2 seconds left with the Heat down 3, Ray Allen hit a corner three after receiving the pass from Chris Bosh and saved the season for Miami. The Heat then went on to win in overtime and won the series in 7 games.
Beyond that incredible moment in Miami’s history, Allen was an amazing role player for LeBron as he could be trusted to drain threes on a consistent basis. Allen’s shooting and championship experience with Boston was invaluable, and his impact alongside LeBron James will never be forgotten.
5. Kevin Love
Love was truly a great third option with the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving got the bulk of the credit for the NBA Finals win in 2016, but Kevin Love was arguably just as crucial. His clutch defense on Stephen Curry in the game’s final moments was a legendary Finals moment, and Love truly did everything he could to win.
Love provides the court spacing and rebounding the team needed, and had to play a lesser role that was different than what he had in Minnesota. Love’s sacrifice on the court came a long way in him earning an NBA ring alongside LeBron James.
4. Chris Bosh
A versatile scorer and one of the best power forwards in the NBA at the time, Bosh was a perfect third option to LeBron and Wade. With LeBron, he would spot and shoot with his incredible mid-range game or go into the post where he was efficient and effective with his moves.
Chris Bosh took a lot of heat (no pun intended) for not putting up big numbers as often, but he was only the third option and got the job done when Miami needed him most. Chris Bosh was a clutch and a great competitor that helped guide Miami to 2 NBA titles alongside LeBron.
3. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving, the man who hit the biggest shot in the 2016 NBA Finals, is the 3rd best teammate LeBron James has ever had. Kyrie is not only the best ball handler of all time but a sensational scorer and the perfect sidekick to LeBron James. In every way.
James prefers to control the tempo of the game with his playmaking and passing, while Kyrie is a known gunner who loves to score the ball. The pair was incredible to watch, and if it wasn’t for the Golden State Warriors Dynasty, they probably would have won more together. Still, delivering Cleveland’s first NBA title is enough to place Kyrie in the top three.
2. Anthony Davis
In terms of pure skill and talent, Anthony Davis is probably number one. This is astonishing because he literally has been with James for one season, and they are already close to winning an NBA title. Davis is currently a top 5 player in the game and one of the most skilled big men ever, meaning LeBron has someone to throw the ball to and let him loose every time.
LeBron has never played with a dominant big man quite like Anthony Davis because AD is the number one option on offense unlike Chris Bosh was with the Heat or Kevin Love with the Cavs.
Davis is surreal on both ends of the floor, and it will be amazing if they can manage to win 2 or 3 titles before LeBron retires. In just the first season with LeBron, Davis averaged 26.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 3.2 APG while currently playing in the NBA Finals with a chance to win his first NBA Championship.
1. Dwyane Wade
Without question, Dwyane Wade was the greatest thing to ever happen to LeBron James. James was the face of the NBA since he got into the league and had the most pressure of any player in sports. LeBron was a great regular season player but could not get it done in the NBA Finals. He made it once with an average Cavaliers squad but was blown out in 4 games by the San Antonio Spurs. Quite simply, LeBron needed to learn how to block out noise and win a chip.
Dwyane Wade already won a chip in 2006 with the Miami Heat, putting forth legendary clutch performances to get it done. By pairing with a killer like Wade, LeBron learned how to tune out everything and focus on dominating the game. Which he did in spectacular fashion. LeBron ended up with his first 2 NBA rings with Miami and 2 Finals MVPs, along with 4 total Finals appearances.