History and LeBron James seem to go together. The Los Angeles Lakers star has been etching his name in the record books ever since he entered the league in 2003 and he made history once again in 2021-22.
James made the All-NBA third team this season, his 18th All-NBA selection, the most all-time. The four-time MVP is the first player to make an All-NBA team in his 19th season or later, per ESPN Stats & Info.
James averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists while shooting 52.4% from the field, 35.9% from beyond the arc and 75.6% from the free-throw line in 2021-22. He had a player efficiency rating of 26.2 and recorded 21 double-doubles and six triple-doubles.
However, despite James’ brilliance, the Lakers were a walking disaster.
The Lakers Were Awful Despite James’ Special Season
The Lakers won only 33 games in 2021-22. They finished in 11th place in the Western Conference standings, missing the playoffs despite having James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.
James only played in 56 games due to injuries and one suspension. The Lakers went 25-31 when the King played and finished with the 28th-ranked scoring defense. Los Angeles gave up 115.1 points per game.
James, who finished second in the league in scoring to Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid but was ineligible for the scoring title because he needed to play at least two more games to qualify, said during his exit interview that he had no intention of chasing the scoring title after the Lakers were eliminated from play-in contention.
“Once we were eliminated from playoff contention, then there was nothing to talk about, nothing to think about,” James said. “I’m not going to be out there just to be playing meaningless games to try to win the scoring title. That’s so beneath me and where I am in my career. For me, I’m 19 years in, and going after a scoring title when you’re not making the postseason is the most wackest thing ever.”
James will turn 38 in December 2022. The 2022-23 campaign will be LBJ’s 20th NBA season.
James Wants to Win More Rings
James is a four-time champion and four-time Finals MVP. The Akron Hammer, who can sign a two-year extension with the Lakers this summer, remains committed to winning another championship with the purple and gold.
“I came here to win a championship. And I want to win more. So I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, but I’m still hungry for more,” James said during his exit interview. “I’m confident that this organization wants the same. That’s what this organization has always been about. … So I’ve done that. We’ve done that. But I want to do it again.”
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, James is considering playing out his present contract. The future Hall of Famer would become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2023 if he didn’t sign an extension this offseason.
James signed a four-year, $153.5 million deal with the Lakers in the summer of 2018 as an unrestricted free agent. After guiding Los Angeles to its 17th championship in 2020, the Chosen One signed a two-year, $85.7 million extension in December 2020.