25 Years Ago Today, The Cleveland Cavaliers Ended Larry Bird’s NBA Career





David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

Regular-Season TPA: 733.72

Postseason TPA: 189.28

Per-Game Stats: 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.1 blocks

Awards: All-Star, MVP, All-Defensive First Team, All-NBA First Team

Large as the gap between Larry Bird and Kevin Durant may have been, the yawning chasm between LeBron James and the man who preceded him as the greatest small forward in league history is even wider. And yet, that's not even the most impressive statistic we can dig up pertaining to his placement. 

This season from James ranks No. 3 regardless of position, trailing only 1988-89 Michael Jordan and (a metric-breaking) 2016-17 Russell Westbrook. But this future Hall of Famer also has two more seasons in the top 10, as well as another two in the top 20. 

His third-best score (2009-10) would still lead the position with room to spare. 

Better still, he's put together jaw-dropping campaigns that rank within the overall top 20 during all three portions of his NBA career.

The best of the best came when the Cleveland Cavaliers were still a one-man show, allowing James to compete for scoring titles while coming fairly close to tripe-double averages. But he's also worked his way into that upper echelon as a member of the Miami Heat's Big Three, as well as after returning to Northeast Ohio and teaming up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. 

No matter how he's been asked to play, he's done so better than almost anyone in NBA history. And that was never more true than in 2008-09, when he refused to turn the ball over, shouldered a monumental load and didn't slow down until Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic took advantage of his limited supporting cast in the Eastern Conference Finals. 

             

Adam Fromal covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @fromal09.

Unless otherwise indicated, all stats from Basketball Reference, NBA.com, NBA Math or ESPN.com.

Source : http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2733434-metrics-101-greatest-small-forward-seasons-in-modern-nba-history

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