LeBron James has long been regarded as the best player in the world, and for good reason. He has played at an MVP-level for a large portion of his career, and won a championship as recently as 2020, winning Finals MVP after leading the Lakers to a Finals win against the Miami Heat.
Since then though, things have not looked good for the Los Angeles Lakers. They were eliminated in the first round during the 2021 playoffs, and they have struggled this season, hovering close to a .500 record for a large portion of the season.
An article by Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report shared the words of an NBA Scout who claimed that LeBron James is no longer the best player in the world. The scout stated that "Father Time is showing" and added that LeBron James is "losing athleticism, speed, burst, explosion" as a result of him getting older.
"He's still elite, an All-Star and all that, but not the best player in the league anymore," one Western Conference scout who watched James play this past week told Bleacher Report. "He's still dominant, but Father Time is showing. He still can't be stopped, but he can't do it for long periods of time anymore."
"He's finding new ways to load-manage himself when he's on the court. He takes a lot of plays off for many reasons, either mad at his teammates or doesn't back down the floor. He'll attack the rim, fall down and take forever to get up wanting a foul call," the scout told B/R.
"I don't think it would benefit anyone if he was playing 40 minutes per night every night; he'll break down, which could be what we're seeing. He's losing athleticism, speed, burst, explosion, but that's all Father Time."
There is no question that LeBron James isn't necessarily in his prime anymore, but he is still playing at a very high level. He did spend some time out with injury this year, and that is part of the reason for the Lakers' struggles.
However, it seems as though things are looking up for LeBron, and perhaps he can prove this scout wrong. LeBron James revealed that he is starting to get "a lot healthier" recently, and perhaps that can help the Lakers go on a run and improve to being championship caliber.