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LeBron James, James Harden named to ESPN’s 20 most dominant athletes

LeBon James, James Harden, Lakers, Rockets

ESPN released their list of the 20 most dominant athletes of 2018, and Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden and Los Angeles Lakers small forward LeBron James were the only NBA players to make the list.

ESPN used a different methodology to come up with their list than most rankings do, emphasizing that they graded athletes “by the strongest performance measures available in their sport over their most recently completed season (except F1 numbers, which are through Nov. 11, and NFL numbers, which are through Nov. 26).”

“Then, to put those achievements into historical perspective, we compared the top athletes in a sport to the best in their field each year since 1998 and adjusted the results to put those athletes onto one common baseline, yielding our ratings,” the report said.

James Harden ended up No. 19 on the list, while LeBron James is at No. 13.

As the ESPN report noted, Harden’s offensive dominance can’t be ignored. The Rockets star led the league in scoring last season, averaging 30.4 points per game.

Here was the Rockets’ game plan in 2017-18: Give the ball to Harden and get out of his way. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Harden became the fourth player to average at least 30.0 points — he led the league at 30.4 — on a team with at least 65 wins. The others? Stephen Curry, Michael Jordan (twice) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. To do so, Harden topped the NBA in average free throws made (8.7) and attempted (10.1), shot 37 percent on 10 3-pointers per game and dished 8.8 assists (third in the league) on one of the most efficient offenses in NBA history. And he still found time to groom that beard.

Meanwhile, it should be remembered that LeBron led the Cleveland Cavaliers last season to a fourth straight NBA Finals appearance. The King led the league in minutes played and field goals scored last campaign before taking his talents to Tinseltown to join the Lakers.

Even more remarkable, LeBron played in all 82 games with the Cavs last year for the first time in his career.

Consider James’ 2017-18 season. He played all 82 regular-season games for the first time in his career, leading the league in minutes. His team made the NBA Finals for an eighth straight year, and with his regular-season averages of 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists, he became the first player in NBA history to reach such high marks in an age-33 season. Oh, and then there’s this: Following his departure from Cleveland for L.A., the Cavaliers went from four-time NBA Finalists to … the worst record in the NBA (through Nov. 19). Sometimes dominance is most visible in its absence

The post LeBron James, James Harden named to ESPN’s 20 most dominant athletes appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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