LeBron James is one of the greats and we all know this. What he has accomplished on top of the league for 18 seasons has been special, and he continues to do it as he approaches his 19th year in the NBA. But what if we were to create a starting lineup of 5 versions of LeBron James?
That's right, this is the starting lineup of LeBron James featuring the 5 best versions of The King over his illustrious career. This team would probably be completely unstoppable because of the talent that LeBron brings on both areas of the floor. But would this lineup be good enough to win the title next year?
Point Guard: 2020 "Los Angeles Lakers" LeBron James
LeBron James in 2020 was a spectacular passer, and he might have been at his apex as a playmaker. At 35 years of age, The King led the NBA in assists at 10.2 APG which was also his career-high. LeBron was the smartest player in the league, which helped the Lakers win the NBA title.
While it is tempting to play the most athletic version of LeBron at point guard, having the smartest one is more important. James saw the floor better than ever and in terms of making adjustments, LeBron was near perfection in 2020.
Shooting Guard: 2006 "Cleveland Cavaliers" LeBron James
LeBron James has been a great scorer throughout his career, so it is easy to choose which version of LeBron should start at shooting guard. But if we want to choose the best scorer, we are going with the 2006 "Cleveland Cavaliers" LeBron James.
The King averaged 31.4 PPG in his 3rd season in the league, attempting a career-high 23.1 FGA and also a career-high 10.3 FTA. James was a scoring phenom in 2006 and he had the hunger to dominate the game with his offense. We want LeBron to be aggressive and more selfish at shooting guard, which is why the 2006 version is chosen.
Small Forward: 2013 "Miami Heat" LeBron James
LeBron's natural position is small forward, so we will choose the best all-around version of LeBron James. That is, the season we saw the most dominant and complete superstar in the world. In 2013, LeBron James was almost unplayable.
Far better than anyone else in the world, The King averaged 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 7.3 APG en route to his second championship. James turned on "villain mode" and embraced the opposing stadium's boos everywhere he went and was a scary force in all facets of the game.
Power Forward: 2014 "Miami Heat" LeBron James
At power forward, we are going with 2008 LeBron James. The King was spectacular defensively, averaging 1.6 SPG and 0.3 BPG along with his 27.1 PPG scoring average which led the NBA. James was still at his best physically, and given the modern style of play, he would be a perfect power forward.
James shot 37.9% from three in 2014, which would be the highest mark of his career following his 2013 season. LeBron was a special player when he played for the Heat, but his accurate three-point shooting allows his team to space the floor exceptionally well as a versatile stretch 4.
Center: 2018 "Cleveland Cavaliers" LeBron James
LeBron James is recognized as being able to defend all positions, because of his incredible size and athleticism at 6'9" and 250 lbs. At the center position, we are going with the 2018 version of The King. James tied his career-high with 8.6 RPG but played power forward for the majority of the season.
The fact that James was able to handle the power forward position exceptionally well makes him a perfect choice to play inside the paint. James was still extremely athletic at 33 years old, but having him focus on paint play could preserve his stamina rather than scoring the ball and setting up teammates.
Does The LeBron James Lineup Win The Championship Next Year?
Simply, yes. LeBron James, over his career, is one of the top-5 players to ever play the game. What he has accomplished on the floor is unprecedented, winning 4 titles and making 17 All-Star Teams in 18 seasons. The fact that The King was able to stay healthy for that long was truly incredible to witness.
Moving on to 2022, this lineup of 5 prime versions of LeBron James would win it all. The lineup is too big, too athletic, and too talented on both ends of the floor. The 5 players chosen also complement each other perfectly because a versatile LeBron James controls each position. This lineup would feature the best scorer, best playmaker, and best leader in the world at the same time.
If this lineup was to go up against the Brooklyn Nets, for example, the Nets would struggle to handle the raw physicality of this lineup. The "LeBron Lineup" has size advantages in every position over Brooklyn especially because traditional centers are becoming extinct. Even when playing the Bucks with a dominant big man in Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron's lineup is still bigger and more athletic along with being much smarter.
It is amazing to see how many versions of LeBron James we have gotten over the years, and each player had Hall of Fame qualities. By mixing the 5 best versions into one lineup, we can create the best team in the world and it isn't close.