Zero executives picked him as the best player in the NBA prior to the 2021-22 season. The Athletic wrote that he “just isn’t That Guy” anymore. But LeBron James has, once again, proved all those haters and doubters wrong, because the NBA just named the Lakers star as the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Dec. 6 to Dec. 12.
OK, so maybe I’m being slightly facetious, but this week did prove that any reports of James’ demise have been greatly exaggerated. On any given night, he can still be a force to be reckoned with, best player in the league or not.
And, for at least one week, he was at the very least the best player in the Western Conference. Whether you have him over Domantas Sabonis for the entire league is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Indiana Pacers forward/center Domantas Sabonis have been named the NBA Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for Week 8 of the 2021-22 season (Dec. 6 - 12). pic.twitter.com/EQhB2pqXPF— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) December 13, 2021
Lebron is the Western Conference player of the week. In the weekly reset newsletter, I highlighted a stat that is truly incredible: The Lakers outscored opponents by 53 points in LeBron’s 146 minutes — and that includes a game they lost by double digits. pic.twitter.com/YZ4mYy3qRN— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 13, 2021
The week that was saw James average 28.3 points on 60.8% shooting while knocking down 41.7% of his threes to go along with 8 assists, 7.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.8 blocks while helping the Lakers go 3-1.
The Lakers rounded up a few more impressive stats — including James’ extension of a few of his own NBA records — in their press release announcing the honor:
James finished with 30 points (13-19 FG), four rebounds and five assists on December 7 to lead the Lakers to a 15-point win over the Celtics. On December 9, James became the fifth player in NBA history to record 100 career triple-doubles as he finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, four steals and two blocks against the Grizzlies. He recorded 33 points (13-20 FG), five rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks in a 21-point win over Oklahoma City. James closed out the week with his second triple-double of the season, tallying 30 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and a season-best three blocks in a win over Orlando.
James has extended his NBA-record double-digit scoring streak to 1,056 games and is averaging a team-best 26.3 points in his 19th season. The 17-time NBA All-Star owns an NBA-record 65 career weekly awards, including four weekly honors since joining the Lakers.
In short: James was really good for the last four games. And while he might not be THIS good for the whole rest of the season, he still showed the Lakers that he has quite a bit of gas left in the tank when he needs it. And during a season that has offered few signs of hope, James’ past four games that have left him feeling “healthier and healthier” has provided a genuine reason for optimism.
Take that, anonymous NBA GMs.