Consistency is, perhaps, one of the most overlooked aspects of today's NBA.
All too often, we see players and teams have "breakout" seasons, only to be unable to make it last for an extended period of time. One could make the case that the truly great teams, the truly great players, are the ones who can be good over long periods of time and under different/changing circumstances.
Kobe Bryant, for example, is a player who embodies consistency. 20 seasons in the NBA, 18 All-Star appearances, 15 All-NBA selections, 5x NBA Champion, and a career 25-point per game scorer. He was able to dominate the league with Shaq, without Shaq, through drama, through injury, and even old age.
Similarly, LeBron James has been a model of consistency throughout the entirety of his 16-year career.
In his first few years in Cleveland, despite his limited NBA experience, he was posting MVP-like numbers, averaging 27.8 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks on .509 eFG% and .329% from beyond the arc.He was young, he was new, he was learning -- but he still found a way to dominate.
When he made his infamous move to Miami, people were expecting things to change. How could they not? In a new environment, with two new superstar teammates, James wasn't alone anymore and would actually have to share the spotlight.
As we know, the King definitely adapted his game, but he remained an MVP all the while. Though his years in Miami were relatively short-lived, he made history there alongside his partners in crime, bringing home back-to-back Championships in 2012 and 2013. He averaged 26.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.7 blocks on 57 and 36% shooting splits.
His homecoming was even more unexpected than his trip to Miami was. Considering how it all ended, nobody thought Bron would ever return to Cleveland. LeBron, though, wasn't afraid of the challenge. He signed with the Cavaliers in 2014 and played with All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving in their quest to win a Championship.
It took some time, but they accomplished their mission in 2016, coming back from down 3-1 in the Finals against the 73-win Warriors. Considering how much Bron had already done, there was nothing left for him to prove. Still, as you might have guessed, his streak of dominance continued in his second stint with the Cavs. He averaged 26.1 points, 8 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 0.7 blocks on 56% shooting and 35% shooting from downtown.
When he signed with the Lakers in the summer of 2018, people thought it would be Father Time that would finally take him out. Yet, somehow, James has appeared to postpone the effects of time itself. After a relatively rough first season as a Laker, Bron has rebounded in a huge way in the first few months of this campaign, averaging 27 points, 9 assists, 8.1 rebounds 1.3 steals, and 0.6 blocks on 55% shooting and 34% efficiency from the three.
He is well on his way to leading the Lakers to a long-postseason run -- at nearly 35-years-old.
So, what's the point of all of this? Sure, LeBron has done great, and is a great player, but what does it all mean?
Simply put, it means we shouldn't overlook what Bron has been doing. When talking about the measure of an All-Time great, consistency plays a huge role. And what player has been more consistent, despite all the overwhelming changes, than the King?
LeBron has not only done great in spite of these changes, but he has also done so while welcoming these changes. And that, my friends, is a truly rare experience to behold.