In terms of the game’s hallowed numbers, it doesn’t quite resonate like, let’s say, 50.4 — Wilt Chamberlain’s historic scoring average in 1961-62 — or Oscar Robertson’s 30-12-11 triple-double that same season. But it has become a hot topic around the NBA this season.
That 31.89 mark is Michael Jordan’s PER (player efficiency rating) from the 1987-88 season. The PER rating was created by ESPN Insider writer John Hollinger and is believed by many to be the single best statistical measurement of a players contribution to their team. In John’s words, “The PER sums up all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance”.
For almost 25 years Jordan’s 31.89 PER has seemed as untouchable as Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game. It has stood the test of time and for almost 25 years has it has been lauded as the greatest single statistical season ever… Until now.
Lebron James may have a lot to prove to the world in June, but right now he has played better over 40 games then anyone in NBA history. After a disappointing defeat couretesy of the Dallas Mavericks in last year’s NBA Finals, Lebron has modified his game more then any NBA player this season. He is spending more time in the post, which allows him to better use his size and strength to his advantage. He is shooting a career-high 54.7 percent from the field, the sixth-highest percentage in the league and he is doing it with or without Dwayne Wade who has spent a considerable amount of the season on the injury list so far.
Should this mean Lebron is this year’s MVP hands down?
Kevin Durant appears to be his strongest competition for the award, but is he really any competition at all when a guy is having the greatest statistical season of All-Time, doing it with or without the second best statistical player in the league beside him and by being on one of the tpo 3 teams in the NBA?
Do the MVP voters still hate Lebron for last year’s ‘Decision’ or will they give the award to the guy who deserves it?
By Dan Boyce
Dan Boyce is a die-hard Sydney Kings fan who grew up in Melbourne during the roaring 90’s of Australian Basketball and spent far too much time collecting Futera NBL Basketball cards.