The 2010s were undoubtedly the decade of Lebron James. He was by far the most dominant player of the decade, averaging 26.5 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, and 7.7 assists per game with 3 championships, winning Finals MVP in each, 2 MVPs, 9 All-star appearances, and 9 All-NBA team selections.
Now going into the 2020s, a new player appears poised to become the most dominant player of the new decade: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Lebron James won his first MVP during his age 24 season in 2009 just as Giannis won his first MVP during his age 24 season in 2019. There are more parallels as both players led their teams to dominant regular seasons, but came up short of a title. So, let’s compare Lebron James’ and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s age 25 seasons and see if Giannis’s first season in the new decade is up to par with Lebron’s first season of the 2010s.
Before we do that, let’s look at the two players’ paths to superstardom. Lebron came into the league with expectations to be the next great player in the NBA. He was chosen with the number one overall pick in the 2003 draft and in his first season averaged 20.9 points, 5.9 assists and 5.5 rebounds in 39.5 minutes per game. Giannis, on the other hand, was a little known raw prospect from Greece and was selected with just the 15th pick in the 2013 draft. In his first season with the Bucks, he averaged just 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 24.6 minutes per game. Giannis then developed at an unprecedented rate and became the league’s MVP at the age of 24.
Now, this season, in Giannis’ age 25 season, so far he is averaging 30.4 points, 5.5 assists, and 12.8 rebounds in just 30.9 minutes a night. Lebron averaged 29.7 points, 8.6 assists, and 7.3 rebounds in 39.0 minutes per game in his age 25 season in 2010. As you can see Giannis is outproducing Lebron in a few areas despite playing over 8 fewer minutes per game. However, one thing to note is that in the 2009-10 NBA season, teams averaged 92.7 possessions per 48 minutes, however, that number is up to 100.8 possessions per 48 minutes in the 2019-2020 NBA season. The game is faster now, which means that Giannis has more opportunities to get his numbers each game than Lebron did. The two are both efficient with Giannis having a 61.7% true shooting percentage and Lebron having a 60.4% true shooting percentage.
All in all, Giannis is producing numbers in his age 25 season that are very similar to what Lebron produced in his age 25 season. This indicates that Giannis is following in Lebron’s footsteps and is on track to become the player of the next decade.