LeBron James: Reigning MVP Redefining Scorer's Role with Epic Season

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2013

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 08:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at American Airlines Arena on February 8, 2013 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

We all know that LeBron James can play: He has three MVP trophies and a championship ring with the Miami Heat.

However, James has taken on a leadership role this season that has completely redefined the duties of a top scorer. Instead of just putting points on the board, James is doing a great job on defense while also creating plays for his teammates.

Through 47 games, James is averaging 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He is also shooting a career-best 56 percent from the field and 42 percent from long range. Not only is he making himself a better player, but he is making his team better as well.

Instead of just making baskets, he and some of his contemporaries have shown the importance of a versatile game.

James is the rare player who simply does it all. He scores, rebounds, distributes and is just a great all-around player. If he toned down his scoring just a little bit, he could probably average a triple-double on the season.

For those wondering, the only player to do that was Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, who posted 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists for the Cincinnati Royals in 1961-62.

James is not the only player who has helped redefine a scorer's role. In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant was one of the game's top scorers, leading the league in that category each of the past three seasons.

He's leading the league in scoring again this season, but he has shown vast improvement. Not only is Durant picking his shots more conservatively, but he has shown a new commitment to on-ball defense, refusing to let his man get past him.

In New York, Carmelo Anthony has become more than just a scorer who likes to create off of the dribble. His low-post game has improved tremendously, and his ability to create mismatches has turned the Knicks back into an Eastern Conference powerhouse.

James is having the best overall season of his career, and his playing style has changed the landscape of the rest of the league. It has made the NBA better and redefined what makes a great player.

Years from now, when people ask who the greatest player in basketball history was, it's going to be hard not to mention James' name first.