The Bernstein Brief: We’re Still Underestimating LeBron James

By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) We did it again this season, somehow taking for granted one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports. LeBron James budgeted his energy for seven months, doing what he felt he needed to do at any given time and waiting for the games that mattered before increasing his minutes and his influence.

The Cavaliers have now won all eight of their playoff games, finishing off the Raptors in the minimum after dusting the Pacers in the opening round. James has now led 11 such postseason sweeps, the most in the history of the NBA.

He’s averaging 34.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks in the postseason, while playing 42.4 minutes per game. James is shooting 55.7 percent from the floor, including a playoff career-best 46.8 percent from 3-point range.

At age 32, it’s clear that James prioritized the spring over the fall and winter and is now showing us how and why. Numbers don’t tell the entire story, either, as it takes a basketball eye to appreciate how keenly he is both facilitating offense and defending both his man and the rim, seeing plays on each end of the floor multiple actions ahead of everyone else.

We spent half a year watching Russell Westbrook do astonishing things, expending all his seemingly boundless energy in a record-setting regular season. Now Westbrook is watching James, too.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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