James' 2005-06 season was more extraordinary than most people realize. In fact, since 1979-80 (the first season for Magic Johnson and Larry Bird), James had the best Player Efficiency Rating for any non-center age 18 to 22, posting a 28.1 PER at age 21. In other words, during those 27 years, only Shaquille O'Neal put up a better statistical season by age 22."Still really good" isn't a complete rebuttal of "should be better," but it would be churlish not to admit that he's still quite useful, despite teammates who could charitably be described by my friend Retz as "blowing donk".
Naturally, now we expect more from James. It comes with the territory.
Instead, James has tailed off.That doesn't mean he's having a bad season -- far from it. He just turned 22, and his current PER of 23.7 would be the 10th best (since 1979-80) for players age 18 to 22. (emphasis mine)
And while I'm speaking of ludicrous expectations, we may need to hold an intervention for Simmons:
Anyway, when Chad Ford wrote that Oden had more upside than Durant last week, we had a lively e-mail exchange about it, with my basic point being, "Look, Oden has a chance to be one of the best five centers ever ... Durant has a chance to be one of the best FIVE PLAYERS ever" and Chad qualifying his point by discussing overall impact on a team (if you draft Oden, you're more likely to win a title because franchise centers invariably win titles … well, unless they're Patrick Ewing). We could go round and round on this, and over the next few months, we probably will. All I know is that MJ was the last guy since Wilt to crack 37 a game in the pros … and Kevin Durant will be joining him in 5-6 years if he stays healthy. That's not even hyperbole. I don't see anyone stopping him. But will his rebounding/shotblocking catch up to the rest of his game? And will his teams ultimately win? Those are the looming questions.When someone describes something as not even hyperbole, the chances of the statement in question being hyperbole approach 164%. And that's not even...But pedantry aside, what? I've been on the Durant bandwagon for a while yet (he was the most impressive player, by a mile, in the McDonald's game last year), but 37 per game? In today's NBA? If someone was going to do it, wouldn't it have been Kobe, last year?
Simmons is setting himself up for a big fall here. There's really no way this ends well for him. Either the Celtics get the #1 pick, take Oden (like they should), and he's bitter that they didn't take Durant, who wins RoY going away; or, they get the #2 pick, take Durant, and he doesn't live up to Simba's advance billing; or between the gleeful espousal of fantanking and his glorification of Oden/Durant over everyone else, they get the #3 pick, just to prove that Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish are not walking through that door.