LeBron James having 30-point games on a nightly basis in his 18th NBA season is becoming commonplace. However, what is not commonplace is his performance helping the Lakers to win. This changed on Tuesday night as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Brooklyn Nets 106-96 on road. What did not change (and probably never will) was the opinion of one Skip Bayless as he was least interested in Lakers beating Nets. He was onto his favorite pastime and that is criticizing LeBron.
LeBron James had an impressive all-round performance in the game. He put up 33 points to go with six assists and seven rebounds. He blocked two shots and picked the Nets’ pockets three times. Two of these steals included him deflecting the passes and speeding up to the rim for dunks on two consecutive Nets possessions. The last four 30-point games from LeBron have ended in a loss for the Lakers, but that streak ended on Tuesday.
But even after a good performance and a win, Skip Bayless took to Twitter to say – “LeBron continues chasing Kareem on a team that is now 24-24. He’s turned into a Westbrick – a solo act of a stat machine. Defense optional. He’s still an often sorry 3-pt shooter who takes way too many. But leading the league in scoring and passing Kareem are the priorities.”
The 4x MVP recently in a post-game interview said that he is not trying to chase Kareem’s record, quoting – “I’ve never chased a record in my life, I’ve never said, ‘OK, let me see if I can get this record, let me see if I can get that record.’” Skip Bayless has been calling LeBron a stat-chaser ever since he had the last-minute layup in the already-lost game against the Indiana Pacers recently. That layup by James took him to 30 points in the night.
Is Skip Bayless right about LeBron James? Here are some stats for better judgement
However, Skip Bayless might be right about LeBron James’ defense as this season he has been seen sleeping on defense. He has a defensive rating of 107.5 (46th in the league). It is also the 4th worst defensive rating of his career after 109.0 (2017-18), 108.4 (2016-17), and 107.9 (2018-19). However, he has been doing well on the rim-protection front, averaging 1.1 blocks per game (highest since 2008-09 season) and 1.6 steals per game (highest since 2014-15 season).
Bayless also called out James for his three-point shooting. But, this season, he is shooting a decent 35% on a career-high 7.9 attempts per game. Also, his true shooting for this season is 61.9%, which is the 4th best of his entire career. LeBron James’ 61.9% true shooting is also the highest in the league this season for anyone taking 18+ shots. So, apart from the defense argument, Skip has got everything else wrong.