LeBron’s Team Looks Totally Different Now. But It’s A Lot More Like His Finals Teams.

Over the course of his 16-year NBA career, there are several characteristics that have come to define LeBron James-led teams.

The first is the constant presence of James himself: LeBron played in at least 84 percent of his team’s games each season, from his debut in 2003 through 2018, the final year of his second go-round with Cleveland in which he played all 82 games for the first time ever. The second is elite offense: Between 2008-09 and 2017-18, James’s teams ranked inside the top six in offensive rating every season, per NBA.com. The third is controlling pace: Between 2007 and 2017, James’s teams played every season at a pace that was slower than the league average, and for the most part played even slower during the playoffs.

And of course, his teams almost always had elite results. In every season between 2008-09 and 2017-18, James’s teams won at least 50 games1 and ranked inside the top seven in per-possession scoring differential. James’s teams went to the playoffs every year between 2005-06 and 2017-18, winning the Eastern Conference and advancing to the NBA Finals every year between 2011 and 2018.