Coming off a fantastic individual performance in Game 4 against the Indiana Pacers in which he scored 40 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and dished out eight assists, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James added to his already impressive playoff resume.
But how exactly does LBJ’s postseason numbers stack up against some of the NBA’s all-time great playoff performers?
In 101 career postseason games, covering his last seven NBA seasons, James is averaging a stout 28.1 points per game, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists, while shooting 46 percent from the floor.
James ranks fourth on the all-time scoring list, behind only the likes of Michael Jordan (33.5), Allen Iverson (29.7) and Jerry West (29.1). However, he is the only player in NBA Playoff history that can boast a 28, eight and six stat line.
Looking at other playoff greats, let’s look at the active players first.
Statistically LeBron is as dominant, if not more dominant, than any current player in NBA postseason history.
But looking at the likes of Kobe Bryant (25.6 PPG, ninth in NBA career playoff scoring), Tim Duncan (22.5, 28th), and even Dirk Nowitzki (26.0, seventh) and Dwyane Wade (25.5, 10th), the thing separating King James from the rest is that lack of winning a championship.
James has a 62-39 (.614) career postseason record, but while that’s impressive, his resume won’t be complete without a title.
Among active players that rank among the top 255 in career playoff scoring, only James, Tracy McGrady (25.2, 13th), Carmelo Anthony (24.9, 14th) and Amar’e Stoudemire (23.0, 24th) are still without a ring.
Expand that further and look historically, James has better individual numbers than the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird and the list goes on.
But it just goes to show how badly LeBron really needs that ring.
On paper, you can stack LBJ’s resume against any great in NBA history, but you really can’t win that argument until he wins a title. Otherwise he looks like a player that simply puts up big numbers but can’t win the big one.
To be a playoff great, he needs that title, but he’s not the only great that is missing that ring. Iverson, Baylor (27.0), Alex English (27.0 PPG), George Gervin (27.0 PPG), Dominique Wilkins (25.4 PPG), Patrick Ewing (20.0 PPG), John Stockton (1,839 playoff assists, second most all-time), Karl Malone (4,761 playoff points, fifth most all-time) and Charles Barkley (23.0 PPG) are just among a handful of greats that never won a championship.
Put everyone together, and the playoff resume of LeBron is just as impressive as any other great. Yet when you talk playoff greats, the players who never won a championship are rarely mentioned.
For now The King’s playoff resume looks very nice when compared to anyone else’s in NBA history. But it will look much better when he can add that championship to it.