LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, a first ballot Hall of Famer and one of the most talented players to ever lace them up, but next season we could see a few players who could have a better season than him.
King James has been so dominant and -over all things- consistent, that he’s a free ticket ride to the NBA Finals as the man (and the team) to beat in the Eastern Conference, but even legendary players sometimes have to step aside and watch young blood take the scene.
Over the course of the last couple of seasons, we’ve seen some players overplay LeBron, at least on a statistic level, while he has been taking some precautions during the regular season to stay fresh for the playoffs.
And our prediction for this upcoming campaign is that trend will happen again, and we believe that there will be at least 4 players that might as well have a better season than LeBron’.
4. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant took his game to a whole new level and was the missing piece in a Golden State Warriors team that was already incredibly impressive, helping in both ends of the court as one of the most prolific two-way players in the Association.
So, considering points, boards and field goal percentage have never been an issue for Durant, and now that he’s even grown to be one of the best rim protectors in the league, we expect him to maintain his 27+ PER of this upcoming season.
3. Russell Westbrook
Talking about PER, Russell Westbrook actually had the highest in the whole league at 30.7, during one of the most impressive, historic and outstanding campaigns any single player has ever had since the very first day this game was created.
Now, Westbrook will have to share touches and offensive duties with standout small forward Paul George, but he’s still likely to average nearly a triple double for the season in yet another Oklahoma City Thunder Championship run.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo led his team in every single stat line this prior campaign, and considering how much work he’s put in the gym during the offseason, we should expect an even bigger season from one of our early MVP candidates.
The Greek Freak has improved in every aspect of his game since entering the league and there’s absolutely no way to stop him now that he’s worked on his shot, and that 26.31 PER from the past season is incredibly impressive for a 22-year-old entering his 5th NBA season.
1. Kawhi Leonard
And last but not least, we get the guy that also leads our MVP candidate list: Kawhi Leonard. Leonard was having a monster season averaging almost 26 points, almost 6 boards and over 3 dimes per game with a 27.2 PER, third in the league among qualified players.
Thing is, Kawhi is another guy that’s improved on a yearly basis, and his thirsty to come back after falling down with an injury against the Golden State Warriors in game 1 of the Western Conference finals, and he already knows how to overplay LeBron, completely locking him down on defense and then posterizing him on the other end of the court.