Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James should make All-NBA, but just barely

(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images) /

With his first Los Angeles Lakers season coming to an end, should LeBron James make an All-NBA team?

Making any statement on All-NBA teams involving potential Los Angeles Lakers is fun because then random people on Twitter can call you obscenities over a list of basketball players. Making a statement on whether Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James belongs on this list is doubly fun, as the league’s biggest star may have the most complicated case out of anyone.

After his debut season with the Los Angeles Lakers went about as sideways as anyone could have imagined, we must seriously consider if one of the greatest to ever do it should be rewarded with All-NBA honors this year.

Ultimately, there appears seven players vying for the six forward spots: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and James. Of course, there are other candidates worth mentioning, like Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler, and even second-year man Pascal Siakam, but their arguments feel less serious than the others’.

All-NBA should be an annual meritocracy that looks to reward players for their single-season success rather than a grouping of the league’s most talented players. If talent were the only criteria, there is no debate. LeBron is clearly one of the association’s top-six forwards.

But does his performance this year warrant a space on one of the three teams?

I think it does, but just barely. He squeaks into my last spot on the Third Team, extending his streak of All-NBA berths to 15.

In making cases for where I placed my top NBA forwards for this season, I took into consideration a variety of factors, including games played, raw stats, efficiency, win shares, on-off numbers, player efficiency ratings (PER), and value over replacement player (VORP). Along with this, I also tried to determine how important each player was to his team’s identity and overall success.

To begin, let’s get the top three candidates out of the way.