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Is LeBron James A Top-3 Player Right Now?

Is LeBron James A Top-3 Player Right Now?

LeBron James is a phenomenon and we have all grown accustomed to this. The King is constantly involved in GOAT debates, but he is widely considered a top-5 player of all time. By looking at his incredible resume, it is hard to argue against that. James has won 4 NBA titles with 3 teams, captured 4 Finals MVPs, 4 MVPs, and made a whopping 17 All-NBA Team appearances. Based on those achievements alone, LeBron is a first-ballot Hall of Famer who will forever be the greatest small forward who ever lived.

But for once since he became an NBA champion in 2012, there are doubts about whether LeBron James is a top-3 player in the game. After all, James has a ton of mileage on his body and has not been able to look inhuman every single game. Fans are finally seeing LeBron James lose a step on the court, even if that can look negligible on occasion. His numbers look standard, but his team record certainly doesn’t. The fact that LeBron is not able to overcome all the negatives around his team and lead the Lakers to a top-3 record in the West might be an indication that The King might be getting tired. After all, we have seen James carry worse teams to top-seeding in the conference throughout his career.

But is LeBron James no longer a top-3 player in the league? While many will claim that James was the best player in the NBA following his rookie season, there is no doubt that The King ruled the NBA from 2012 until the 2020 season. Last year, James played the lowest number of games in his career (45) so that year was an anomaly. Looking at the current landscape of the NBA, here are the top-5 players in the NBA at this current moment as we analyze LeBron’s ranking in the league.

5. Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic

The Serbian center is having an MVP-caliber season even if his team record does not reflect that. With Nikola Jokic injured, the Denver Nuggets endured a terrifying 6 game losing streak and looked like a lottery team on the court. Of course, Jamal Murray’s absence has hurt the team but Jokic is everything to Denver at this moment of time. After all, look at what Jokic is doing on the court. The big man is averaging 26.3 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 0.7 BPG while nailing 59.0% of his shots from the field. Clearly, these are MVP numbers that are indicative of a Hall of Fame player.

Thanks to Jokic, the Denver Nuggets are able to hold the 6th seed in the Western Conference with only 5 games away from the 3rd seed. The big man leads the team in PPG, RPG, APG, and BPG and has to carry his team to victory every night. Jokic does not get enough credit for what he does because he is not flashy and has a demure demeanor, but his impact is easily that of a top-5 player in the world right now. Jokic is also closing in on LeBron James’ place as the 4th best player and could crack the top-3 if he can keep leading the Nuggets to wins.

4. LeBron James

At almost 37 years old, LeBron James is the 4th best player on the planet. The King is having yet another sensational season by putting up 26.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 6.6 APG while nailing 51.0% of his shots from the field. LeBron has only appeared in 20 games, but he is already becoming the savior for a Lakers team that is struggling right now. Other than his missed time due to injury, LeBron deserves little to no blame for Lo Angeles’ slow start to the season. After all, his teammates Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis have not played well enough.

Despite his team’s struggles, James has looked like a tremendous talent on the floor. However, due to his age and the limited time he has been on the floor, there is no way James is a top-3 player anymore. The three superstars ahead of him are younger, more impactful, and are succeeding in the NBA more than LeBron has with the Lakers. Again, James is hurting from the lack of performances by his fellow stars, but there is no doubt that The King is finally starting to show some signs of age. LeBron is very capable of having MVP-caliber games to look like the best player in the world, but he cannot do it consistently like the top-3.

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo

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The Greek Freak is building an all-time great legacy at only 26 years old. His mentality and physical dominance might be second-to-none at this stage because he wants to dominate every aspect of the game and does not take a single play off. On offense, he is sensational by posting 27.0 PPG on 52.9% shooting from the field and also chipping in 5.8 APG. On defense, Giannis is having a monster season by averaging 11.6 RPG, 1.1 SPG, and 1.6 BPG. Since Shaquille O’Neal and a prime LeBron James, we have not seen a more dominant physical specimen like Giannis.

Of course, the reigning NBA champion and Finals MVP has to be included in the top-3 stars of the game. But his impact on the game is undeniably great because he can defend all 5 positions, handle the ball, and score inside whenever he wants. There is no stopping Giannis when he gets ahead of steam, and he is right behind two other superstars for the title of the best player in the universe.

2. Stephen Curry

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What Stephen Curry is doing has never been done in terms of shooting the ball. Finally, the Golden State Warriors superstar broke the 3-point record by shattering Ray Allen’s all-time record. It is safe to say that Steph will have a 3-point record that will stand the test of time because there isn’t a single player in today’s game that can shoot as Curry can. This season, the point guard is on his game once again by averaging 27.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 6.1 APG, and 1.6 SPG while shooting 39.8% from three. His field goal average seems low (43.0%), but the team record more than makes up for that.

The Golden State Warriors hold a 24-6 record, which is good for second in the Western Conference. Through 30 games, Curry and his team have played the best offense in the league without the presence of All-Star Klay Thompson. Curry is able to improve the players around him (Jordan Poole and Gary Payton II) and his leadership is unquestionably great. No player has made more headlines this season than Curry, because the point guard is shattering records and having the second-greatest impact on the court in the NBA. Only one player has managed to usurp Curry as the best player in the world, and his name is Kevin Durant.

1. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

A 4-time scoring champion and unstoppable offensive force, Kevin Durant has taken over the league with his scoring ability. The forward is averaging 29.7 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 5.9 APG on 52.3% shooting from the field and 38.2% from three. Durant has carried the Brooklyn Nets to the best record in the Eastern Conference despite the absence of Kyrie Irving and the on-court struggles of James Harden. The Nets roster is very top-heavy, and Durant has had the biggest task of all players this season.

Durant has been able to take care of business when away from home, averaging 31.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 6.2 APG for the Nets on the road. KD is literally taking over games by himself, and defenders are coming out to say how unstoppable the superstar is. Nikola Jokic is an unbelievable center, but he cannot handle the ball up the court with speed as Durant can. Giannis is a tremendous two-way superstar, but he cannot shoot like Durant.

LeBron is clearly not in his prime like Durant is, and Curry cannot affect the game with size like the former Oklahoma City Thunder man. It is very safe to say that Kevin Durant is the best player in the world because when it comes to big shot-making or taking over games, no one is doing it better. That means, finally, Kevin Durant can stamp his signature as a better player than LeBron James.

LeBron James Is Doing Amazing Things At Nearly Age 37, But He Is Not A Top-3 Player

LeBron James is doing the maximum he can do every night, and it has been amazing to watch. The King has clearly lost a step in his athleticism and also his ability to go 100 mp/h at every moment, but he is still a top-5 player in the league. His basketball IQ is second to none, his passing is extraordinary, and his leadership trait is perfection at this stage of his career. James has been in every situation in the NBA and simply knows how to make adjustments to win games when needed. But getting closer to age 37, he is no longer a top-3 player in the world.

Kevin Durant might be playing the best basketball of his career, taking over games and playing a heavy amount of minutes. KD is right in his prime so he will likely be a top-2 candidate for the MVP award all season long. Similarly, Stephen Curry is the best player on the best team right now, making him the MVP favorite as he continues to dazzle fans with his displays on the court. Breaking the all-time three-point record was an extraordinary achievement, and Curry is still in his prime. Finally, reigning NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo might be the best two-way player on the planet.

Giannis has taken the Bucks to a top-4 seed in the East as the team continues to climb the rankings. The Greek Freak has yet to hit his prime but is playing sensational basketball at only 26 years old. There is no way a 37-year-old LeBron James can compete with a superstar a decade younger than him, and that manifests itself on the player rankings right now. LeBron James, because of his leadership and basketball IQ, has a slight edge over Nikola Jokic. The Serbian big man might have been leading the MVP race before his injury, but is starting to climb back into the top-3 race once again.

The fact that LeBron is competing with 4 superstars in their prime for the title as the best player in the world is truly incredible, but it does not mean The King sits firmly on his throne as the best player in the world. Rather, those days are long gone and they might never return. 


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