LeBron James is averaging 27.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.0 assists with a 59.6 true shooting percentage (TS%) for the Los Angeles Lakers. Even five years ago, that would've felt like a no-brainer first-team All-NBA line.
Actually, it would've felt like that during most seasons.
But 2018-19 hasn't been most seasons. Not only is LeBron's streak of 11 consecutive first-team selections in jeopardy, but second-team honors don't feel like a lock, especially now that the Lakers have put him on a minutes restriction.
If ESPN's real plus-minus (RPM) made the decisions, he'd be the first forward on the second team. He's sixth overall and behind just Paul George (No. 1 overall) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (No. 5) among forwards once we rule out Anthony Davis, who's played 96 percent of his minutes at center. Jacob Goldstein's player impact plus-minus (PIPM) has LeBron all the way down at 13th overall, behind Giannis (No. 1), Kevin Durant (No. 2) and George (No. 3).
If you sort every player with at least 250 minutes by the average of their ranks in 10 catch-all metrics (RPM, PIPM, box plus-minus, win shares per minute and game score per Minute, plus the cumulative variations), LeBron checks in at No. 13 overall and No. 4 among forwards. Again, he trails Giannis (No. 1 overall), George (No. 5) and Durant (No. 6).
And in that exercise, Kawhi Leonard (No. 16), Blake Griffin (No. 18) and Pascal Siakam (No. 19) are all hot on his heels.
Every forward named thus far plays on a squad with a better win percentage than the lottery-bound Lakers.
But this isn't how All-NBA teams get selected. Some voters may still give weight to LeBron's legacy and his near-triple-double averages.
Even that might not be enough. Take NBA.com's John Schuhmann as an example and note the other four roundtable members agreed LeBron's first-team streak would end:
"As things stand now, I would have four forwards—Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard—ahead of James on my All-NBA ballot. And it seems doubtful that James, with the Lakers playing out the string and the other four forwards all contributing (on both ends of the floor) to much better teams, can replace any of them in the final month of the season."
For the first time in over a decade, LeBron doesn't have the numbers, narrative or team success to claim status as one of the NBA's top two forwards.
Giannis is the betting favorite for MVP, per OddsShark. Basketball Reference's NBA MVP Award Tracker gives him a 52 percent chance to secure the honor (James Harden is second at 20.7 percent). He's an absolute lock for the first team with averages of 27.0 points, 12.6 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals on a Milwaukee Bucks outfit cruising to the league's best record.