Tuesday, October 29, 2013

LeBron James vs. the other active MVP's

Through 10 seasons, how does the career of LeBron James stack up against the other active MVP's? Here's a look at the year-by-year PER and minutes played for LeBron, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, and Derrick Rose. (Yes, I excluded Steve Nash. Trust me, he doesn't really compare well on a season-by-season basis to these dominant stars.)

Quick Takeaways:

- Good God, LeBron. The combination of dominance and durability is frightening. On a year-by-year basis, he "wins" 8 of his 10 seasons so far vs. all these other Hall-of-Famers. Even if he starts experiencing a dip within the next year or two and follows the same trendline as others have, he could still be pumping out 26+ PER seasons until at least his mid-30's. Those are MVP caliber seasons. Until his mid-30's. Or later.
- Dirk's peak 4 years were really, really great.
- KG's peak was even (ever so slightly) better.
- I'd argue that Kobe's biggest strength isn't his peak (his two best seasons are lower than LeBron's, Garnett's or Dirk's), but rather how well he's held up in years 12+. It really adds to his legacy when you compare his later years to the other older superstars.
- D-Rose's growth from year 1 to year 3 was unusually strong. Let's hope his (real) year 5 brings more of the same.

I'm going to run this visualization again later in two other ways: once to pit LeBron against current stars like Durant, Dwight and Wade, and then to pit him against all-timers like MJ, Bird, Magic and Hakeem. Let me know if there's anyone in particular you want to see on either of those visualizations.

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