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Will LeBron James Own Every Playoff Record by the Time He’s Done?

Ryan Murphy

by Ryan Murphy in NBA Basketball

May 22, 2018 · 3:56 PM PDT

LeBron James goes in for a layup.
LeBron James faces a virtual must-win in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Photo by Leah Klafczynski/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire
  • LeBron James surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time playoff field goals leader on Monday evening (May 21st)
  • Will LeBron play enough games to surpass Bill Russell as the all-time leader in playoff rebounds?
  • Does LeBron have enough gas in the tank to leapfrog Michael Jordan in playoff scoring average?

LeBron James added another notch on his belt on Monday night when he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in playoff field goals made. It was just the latest milestone for a player who seems hellbent on owning every single postseason record by the time he hangs up his size 15 Nikes.

We’ve taken a look at five of the most intriguing playoff marks that LeBron has yet to claim and have set the odds on whether he’ll eventually reach and surpass them.

Most Career Playoff Games

Player Career Playoff Games
Derek Fisher 259
Tim Duncan 251
Robert Horry 244
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 237
LeBron James 232

Derek Fisher is still the top dog when it comes to career playoff games, but that could change soon. LeBron is just 27 games behind Fisher and, barring injury, is guaranteed to play at least two more games in the Eastern Conference Finals.

In the event that the Cavs advance, he’ll then play a minimum of four more games in the NBA Finals. That would reduce his magic number to a far more manageable 21.

21 is a significant number since LeBron has played 20 games or more in the playoffs seven times. Assuming he stays healthy and continues to be among the league’s best players, LeBron should smash Fisher’s record some time in 2019.

Odds LeBron becomes the NBA leader in career playoff games: 1-4

Most Three-Point Field Goals Made in the NBA Playoffs

Player Career Three-Point Field Goals Made in the Playoffs
Ray Allen 385
LeBron James 355
Steph Curry 336
Manu Ginobili 324
Reggie Miller 320

LeBron may not come to mind when you think of legendary three-point snipers, but this record is likely to have his name all over it within a year or two. The four-time MVP needs just 31 threes to surpass Ray Allen and should get there in another 20 games at his current rate of 1.5 three-pointers per contest.

LeBron needs just 31 threes to surpass Ray Allen and should get there in another 20 games at his current rate of 1.5 three-pointers per contest.

The bigger question is just how long LeBron will hold onto the record. Steph Curry is close behind King James with 336 treys, and the three-point shot is a far bigger part of his game. He’s led the NBA in three-point field goals made and attempted in five of the last six seasons, and has averaged 4.1 threes over 82 career playoff games.

LeBron will own this record soon, but it will eventually belong to Curry.

Odds LeBron becomes the NBA leader in three-point field goals made in the playoffs: 1-3

Most Career Playoff Assists

Player Career Playoff Assists
Magic Johnson 2,346
John Stockton 1,839
LeBron James 1,624
Jason Kidd 1,263
Tony Parker 1,143

LeBron is 723 assists shy of surpassing Magic Johnson’s all-time record for playoff dimes, and would need to average nine assists per game for 80 games to equal that mark.

LeBron is 723 assists shy of surpassing Magic Johnson’s all-time record for playoff dimes, and would need to continue to average nine assists per game for 80 games to equal that mark.

That isn’t unfathomable, but it is asking a lot for LeBron to continue to perform at his current super human level for four more years. It’s far more likely James will average eight assists over the next two years before Father Time catches up to him. Hey, even Dorian Gray had to start ageing at some point.

Odds LeBron becomes the NBA leader in career playoff assists: 12-1

Most Career Playoff Rebounds

Player Career Playoff Rebounds
Bill Russell 4,104
Wilt Chamberlain 3,913
Tim Duncan 2,859
Shaquille O’Neal 2,508
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 2,481

As great as LeBron has been, this is one record that is likely out of his (and everyone else’s) reach. Bill Russell’s total of 4,104 playoff rebounds is twice as much as James’ current total, meaning he would need to continue to average 8.8 boards per game for another 232 games just to equal his mark.

If that sounds impossible, it’s because it is. LeBron has never averaged more than 8.6 rebounds in a season, and it’s unlikely he’s going to suddenly transform into Dennis Rodman as his career winds down. James will probably leapfrog over Karl Malone and Kareem within another three years, but Russell’s record is safe.

Odds LeBron becomes the NBA leader in playoff rebounds: 1000-1

Highest Scoring Average in the NBA Playoffs

Player Career Playoff Scoring Average
Michael Jordan 33.45
Allen Iverson 29.73
Jerry West 29.13
Kevin Durant 28.81
LeBron James 28.74

LeBron is the all-time leader in playoff field goals made, minutes played, total points, total free throws, total steals, most 20-point games, and win-shares, but the Michael Jordan vs LeBron James debate tends to fall apart when it comes to per game scoring.

Jordan’s career playoff average is 4.71 points higher than LeBron’s thanks to his killer scoring instinct and the fact that he was the unquestioned number one option on every team he played on.

Jordan’s career playoff average is 4.71 points higher than LeBron’s thanks to his killer scoring instinct and the fact that he was the unquestioned number one option on every team he played on.

It’s still uncertain where LeBron will end up next year, but if he joins an NBA super team he’ll almost certainly have to cede some touches. His scoring average would go down considerably in Houston, where James Harden would demand the ball, and it would likely plummet in Philly if he played alongside Joel Embiid.

LeBron will still continue to put the ball in the hoop, but he won’t be prolific enough in the coming years to catch his Airness.

Odds LeBron becomes the NBA leader in highest scoring average in the playoffs: 50-1

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