What should have gone differently in LeBron James’ career for him to be widely considered the GOAT?


He should have been drafted by a team with a good organization, which in 2003 would have been the Spurs, Heat or Lakers. These organizations knew how to draft players and surround their superstars with talent. If Lebron had a good organization behind him, he would have never needed to leave to create a ‘superteam’ like he did.

Have a great coach during his career. Lebron during his career had Mike Brown (just an ok coach but not good or great), Erik Spo (during the Big 3 Heat era he was not very experienced, but now is a very good coach), David Blatt (a good coach just not for the NBA), Ty Lue (a good coach but not all time great), Luke Walton (not a good coach), and Frank Vogel (a very good coach for defensive teams, which the 2020 Lakers were and 2022 Lakers were not). He didn’t have the luxury of having a Pat Riley or Popovich or Phil Jackson during his career. This whole ‘Bron fires coaches’ thing is partly because none of his coaches were really that great. Spo was his best coach but he was only a good coach during Bron’s time in Miami, not the very good one that he became now.

Teammates that were more in their primes and healthy. He only got 2 years of Wades’ prime, did get 3 years of Kyrie’s prime (but one year was a throwaway because he got injured in the Finals), 1 year of healthy AD. And that’s really it. Jordan got ALL of Pippen’s prime. Kobe got ALL of Shaq and Gasol’s prime. Bird got ALL of McHale’s prime. Magic got 5 years of Kareem’s prime. Lebron’s teammates have always been a mishmash of health, fit and primes. The fact that he reached 10 Finals and won 4 while having this constant instability around him is nothing short of remarkable.

Faced weaker opponents in the Finals. Lebron’s weakest opponent in the Finals was the 2020 Heat, who he easily dispatched. Amongst the Finals opponents he lost to however, only the 2011 Mavs could be considered a relatively ‘weak’ team (although that’s not really true considering how the 2011 Mavs demolished their stronger conference). the 2007 Spurs he was vastly outmatched, 2014 Spurs he was again vastly outmatched since Wade/Bosh were shells of themselves at that point, 2015 Warriors he was a again vastly outmatched since he was missing Kyrie/Love, 2017/2018 Warriors were straight up unfair matches, he was facing arguably the greatest starting 5 this side of the 1986 Celtics. He was facing teams with 4 Hall of famers on them. So I’d say if he had weaker Finals opponents say the 2001 76ers or 2002 Nets or 1991 Lakers with an injured Worthy he’d have a much better Finals record.

Focused more on scoring since apparently scoring titles matter alot. Jordan has 10, and Lebron has 1. Lebron could lead the league in scoring at any time if he wanted to, as he demonstrated this year with the Lakers, but he knew that’s not playing winning basketball. But hey if it convinces the casuals that player A is better than B because of scoring titles, then maybe he should have led the league in scoring more.