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Sports Illustrated ranks Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James as NBA's best player

LeBron James, you might have heard, is good at basketball.

Jamie Sabau

LeBron James is good at basketball. He's been to the NBA Finals four seasons in a row. The two years before that, his teams won 60+ games. We highlighted the Sports Illustrated projections of the top 100 players in the NBA for this upcoming season yesterday when Kyrie Irving found his place at 21.

Today, James is ranked first overall. Ben Golliver did the write-up, and he makes a few interesting points:

There were certainly victories along the way. He dumped a career-high 61 points on Charlotte, punked Lance Stephenson, and put together a glorious Game 2 in San Antonio. Perhaps most impressive is the ribbon that James tied on his 20s. Get this: the four-time MVP, who turns 30 in December, averaged at least 26 points, six rebounds and six assists in each of the last 10 years. That’s correct: from age 20 through 29, James never once slipped from that threshold. Guess how many other players matched those statistical marks over the last decade? Zero. Guess how many other players matched those marks in the decade before James entered the NBA? Zero. In fact, the last player to hit 26/6/6 for a season was Michael Jordan in 1992.

So that's pretty insane. Golliver notes that LeBron isn't coming off of his best year, but sees a bit of rejuvenation for LeBron. It makes sense. He didn't play with Team USA at the World Championships and had some downtime this summer. Hopefully coming back to Cleveland energizes him. Either way, even if Kevin Durant can win another MVP award, James is clearly in the top two of the league.