LeBron James has never had more fun than playing with this version of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This group may not end up with more victories than the 2008-09 team that won 66 games or the 2012-13 Miami Heat that won the same. It may not end up winning James his fourth ring. But after 14 years of stumbles, hard lessons and a long separation, the Cavs have finally built the team of James’ dreams.
Loaded with shooters who give him an array of options, stocked with veterans who have learned the nuances of sharing the floor with him and playing alongside what looks like a future Hall of Famer entering his prime, James is reveling in it. It can all be encapsulated in one line: James is averaging the fewest shots (17.2) and the most assists (9.7) per game in his career.
This is how he has always wanted to play. He has had flashes of it in the past. But never has he had a roster that so suits his talents and desires, which is to be a conductor, not a solo act.
For the first time in his career, he’s not leading his team in scoring. Kyrie Irvingis averaging about a point more than him, Kevin Love is averaging just two points less.
James has 37 assists in just the past three games; 22 of them set up 3-pointers and 13 of them set up layups or dunks. In none of the three games has James led the team in scoring. He has three triple-doubles in 14 games this season, the same number he had in 76 games last season.