The LeBron Effect

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Bucketz_McGee
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The LeBron Effect 

Post#1 » by Bucketz_McGee » Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:21 pm

The LeBron Effect
By: Bucketz McGee

This is a statistical analysis of the effect of elite superstar players have on their teammates, primarily focusing on the negative effect created by LeBron James.

It is important to remember when comparing players, the numbers never lie. While it is true that some players have an impact on the game that cannot be numerically represented; by a very large margin, the numbers tell the truth. I am going to focus on the traditional stats.
We have all hear the comparisons between Lebron vs Kobe and M.J. And we all have our own theory. Well, my own theory wasn’t enough. I dug deeper and what I found was amazing.
One of the biggest conversation pieces I run into is “Lebron is better than <INSERT NAME> because Lebron makes his teammates better”. That is a fair analysis of simply watching games and the eyeball test. Lebron took the 2007 Cavaliers to the Finals and it appears he can take any team to the finals (at least in the East as this is the only evidence we have). But does this mean he makes he teammates better?
Taking a look at his teammates stats the first thing I noticed the lack of double double (DD) averages. Carlos Boozer averaged 15.5 points & 11.4 rebounds during the 2003-2004 season. This was Lebron’s rookie season. 1 other player has done that to date while playing with Lebron, Kevin Love. However, several players were averaging a DD the season prior to joining Lebron. In fact, some of these players had the best averages of their entire career the season before teaming up with Lebron.
In the 2009-2010 season, Chris Bosh averaged 24 points & 10.8 rebounds per game. The best numbers of his entire career. But in the 2010-2011 season, Bosh’s averaged dropped to 18.7 points & 8.3 rebounds. Numbers he hadn’t seen since his sophomore year in the league. His PPG (points per game) fell 22% and RPG (rebounds per game) fell 28% (percentages are based on his averages the season prior to joining Lebron). The season before Lebron left to Cleveland again, Bosh’s averages were 16.2 PPG & 6.6 RPG which were career lows; not accounting for his rookie season. And significantly enough, the season after Lebron’s departure, Bosh’s averages were 21.1 PPG & 7 RPG. His best PPG, RPG, APG, FT%, and 3pt FG% were attained while not playing with Lebron.
During the 09-10 season, Dwyane 26.6 PPG & 6.5 APG (assists per game). After 4 years playing with Lebron, Wade’s stats were 19 PPG & 4.7 APG. His PPG fell 29% and APG fell 28%. And the season after Lebron’s departure, Wade averaged 21.5 PPG & 4.8 APG. Every stat except FT% and RPG were career bests while not playing with Lebron.
Mario Chalmers was averaging 7.1 PPG & 3.4 APG prior to Lebron. The first season with Lebron, he averaged 6.4 PPG & 2.5 APG. He PPG fell 10% and his APG fell 26%.
Eric Snow averaged 10.3 PPG & 6.9 APG prior to playing with Lebron. The first season playing with Lebron he averaged 4 PPG & 4 APG. His PPG fell 61% and his APG fell 42%. It might seem Snow was at end of his career but the previous season his averages were 13 and 12 PPG with 6.6 APG. He was playing at the highest level he ever had before teaming up with Lebron. There is a clear negative impact on his game while playing with Lebron.
Anderson Varejao played his best seasons statistically after Lebron left. He averaged a double double for 2 consecutive seasons. 10.8 PPG & 11.5 RPG during the ‘11-‘12 season and 14.1 PPG and 14.4 RPG during the ’12-’13 season.
Ben Wallace played only 2 seasons with Lebron and still was affected. Season prior to Lebron he averaged 5.1 PPG & 8.8 RPG. Last season with Lebron he averaged 2.9 PPG and 6.6 RPG. The season after playing with Lebron he averaged 5.5 PPG & 8.7 RPG.
Kevin Love averaged 26.1 PPG & 12.5 RPG during the 13-14 season. During the 14-15 season, his 1st season with Lebron, he averaged 16.4 PPG & 9.7 RPG. PPG fell 37% and RPB fell 22%. Love is currently averaging 19.0 PPG & 11.1 RPG. The only time a player on Lebron’s team averaged a DD after Lebron’s rookie season. Apart from FT%, every other stat was a career best while not playing with Lebron.
Not even Žydrūnas Ilgauskas averaged a DD. Prior to Lebron, Big Z averaged 17.2 PPG & 7.5 RPG. First season with Lebron, 15.3 PPG & 8.1 RPG. And Big Z followed Lebron to Miami where he averaged 5 PPG & 4 RPG. He never averaged more points per game then prior to Lebron.
Players like Juwan Howard, Eddie House, and Mike Miller joined Lebron at the very end of their careers, so their statistics aren’t as telling as their best years statistically were behind them.

These significant changes in averages especially in respect to RPG and APG are very telling signs of this effect. When playing with Lebron, players pass less because the ball is in his hands more often than not. Lebron is 5th in the NBA in touches per game (ToPG) this season. It is difficult to find these stats for earlier seasons (before the 13-14 season) as they were not as prevalent then. But since the ’13-’14 season, Lebron has been in the Top 15 in the NBA in this category.
Lebron plays out of his position and it is detrimental to his teammates. Players who were averaging a DD prior to Lebron are no longer averaging that because Lebron is playing out of his position. Players average less APG because Lebron plays out of his position.

Now out of the fairness, I will analysis the same statistics for Kobe and his teammates over the years.
Lamar Odom’s first season with Kobe he averaged 15.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG. He even injured his left shoulder causing him to miss the end of the season. Then again in ’07-’08 season with 14.2 PPG & 10.2 RPG. While statistically, his best PPG average was with the Clippers. His only 2 seasons where he averaged a DD were with Kobe. He even won 6th man of the year for the ’10-’11 season. Odom had his best Field Goal % (FG%) and 3-Point FG % with Kobe.
Pau Gasol averaged a DD for 3 consecutive seasons approx. 18 PPG and 11 RPG. It was the first time he ever averaged a DD for a season. Pau also had statically better averages on the Grizzles, but his FG% and Free Throw % (FT%) were highest while playing with Kobe.
Shaq averaged a DD every single season while playing with Kobe. 6 out of 8 season with Kobe, Shaq lead the NBA in FG%. He had his best FT% while playing with Kobe (which admittedly isn’t all that important or impressive). He won the NBA regular season MVP while playing with Kobe.
I was going to include Andrew Bynum but due to the fact he started in the league on Kobe’s team, prior stats do not exist. But the only seasons he averaged a DD were with Kobe.
Again out fairness, I will analysis MJ and his teammates.
Scottie Pippen does not have stats prior to MJ but he does have stats post MJ. Pippen had his best FT%, 3P%, FG%, SPG (Steals per game), and BPG (blocks per game) while playing with MJ. His best PPG and RPG came between the 3 peats when MJ retired but there were less than 1 point statistically better.
Dennis Rodman was never an offensive producer, so those numbers aren’t not impressive. He only averaged 10+ PPG once his whole career, his sophomore year in the league. Every season he played with MJ, he led the league in RPG (also did so the 4 season prior). His RPG did fall as much as 22% from his best average during his time with MJ.
Horace Grant started the league playing with MJ but he does have post MJ stats. Grant averaged a DD for 1 season while playing with MJ. During the ’91-’92 season he averaged14.2 PPG & 10 RPG. He best PPG, RPG, and APG statistically were achieved during MJ 1st retirement but like Pippen, less than 1 point statistically better.

Playing with a superstar caliber player like Kobe, MJ, or Lebron, it is difficult to perform at optimal level as players like these are so polarizing in the game. But a much larger negative impact is created by Lebron than MJ or Kobe. This is not an indictment of Lebron’s talent as we can all agree that he is a once in a life time player at his size and physicality. But his impact on his players is clearly not positive, it is negative.
"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring". :meditate:
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Re: The LeBron Effect 

Post#2 » by nolang1 » Thu Mar 1, 2018 1:43 pm

This may come as a shock to you, but most players improve until they are in their mid twenties and then start getting worse after the age of 28 or so.
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Re: The LeBron Effect 

Post#3 » by Bucketz_McGee » Tue Mar 6, 2018 4:37 pm

nolang1 wrote:This may come as a shock to you, but most players improve until they are in their mid twenties and then start getting worse after the age of 28 or so.


I understand that completely. But the increase of stats after Lebron leaves, even with late career players like Eric Snow, is indicative of this effect. Everyone I listed had a significant increase in stats when no longer playing with Lebron. That cannot be attributed to old age.
"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring". :meditate:
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Re: The LeBron Effect 

Post#4 » by nolang1 » Tue Mar 6, 2018 10:05 pm

Bucketz_McGee wrote:
nolang1 wrote:This may come as a shock to you, but most players improve until they are in their mid twenties and then start getting worse after the age of 28 or so.


I understand that completely. But the increase of stats after Lebron leaves, even with late career players like Eric Snow, is indicative of this effect. Everyone I listed had a significant increase in stats when no longer playing with Lebron. That cannot be attributed to old age.


No, you're just cherry-picking random players and fixating on stupid things like a "double double average." Not adjusting for something as simple as minutes played makes this an insult to the term statistical analysis.
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Re: The LeBron Effect 

Post#5 » by Boarder Patrol » Wed Mar 7, 2018 8:29 pm

Wade and Bosh went from the undisputed #1s on their team to parts of a big 3. Why on earth wouldn't their raw #s go down?
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Re: The LeBron Effect 

Post#6 » by Arman_tanzarian » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:56 pm

Your understanding of stats, application of stats and role changes needs work. Bosh went from averaging 17.6 to 20/7? I mean what do you think happens when you switch from option 3 to 1 or vice versa? Kyrie Irving leaves and Love starts having his best raw statistical season as a Cavs player, basically averaging 20/10 in under 29 mins a game. You would think he went from a 3rd option to a 2nd option almost overnight.
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Re: The LeBron Effect 

Post#7 » by Bucketz_McGee » Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:22 pm

nolang1 wrote:
Bucketz_McGee wrote:
nolang1 wrote:This may come as a shock to you, but most players improve until they are in their mid twenties and then start getting worse after the age of 28 or so.


I understand that completely. But the increase of stats after Lebron leaves, even with late career players like Eric Snow, is indicative of this effect. Everyone I listed had a significant increase in stats when no longer playing with Lebron. That cannot be attributed to old age.


No, you're just cherry-picking random players and fixating on stupid things like a "double double average." Not adjusting for something as simple as minutes played makes this an insult to the term statistical analysis.


Please correct me if I am mistaken but the mark of any decent PF or C is the ability to score and pull in rebounds (passing is tertiary for these positions). Would you draft, sign or trade for a PF or C who does not produce in those categories over one who can? I would think not. My analysis was to show that Lebron has had teammstes who are more than capable that achieving the standards for their given position but failed to do so due because of Lebron. And to show that other players of the same caliber do not have such a negative effect on the on production of their teammates.

I believe it is exactly the definition of statistical analysis. With a little extrapolation and inferences thrown in.
"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring". :meditate:
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Re: The LeBron Effect 

Post#8 » by Bucketz_McGee » Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:25 pm

Arman_tanzarian wrote:Your understanding of stats, application of stats and role changes needs work. Bosh went from averaging 17.6 to 20/7? I mean what do you think happens when you switch from option 3 to 1 or vice versa? Kyrie Irving leaves and Love starts having his best raw statistical season as a Cavs player, basically averaging 20/10 in under 29 mins a game. You would think he went from a 3rd option to a 2nd option almost overnight.


I am fairly new to the world of stats so I appreciate your constructive criticism. I simply saw a pattern in the numbers I was looking at wanted to see how far this rabbit hole went.
"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring". :meditate:
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Re: The LeBron Effect 

Post#9 » by triple_threat » Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:23 am

Stopped reading at analyzing bosh’s rebounding decline upon becoming lebrons teammate
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Re: The LeBron Effect 

Post#10 » by PistolPeteJR » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:42 pm

So what you're saying is one player's (not simply a guy that looks to score a la Kobe/MJ but that does it all) higher usage rate results in teammates' taking a hit in PPG, RPG, and APG?

Big surprise.

To call that negative is ignorant, though.

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