LeBron James: Ranking the King’s 10 best teammates ever

Mary Raleigh
06/10/2023

LeBron James has been in the NBA for two decades now and has had countless talented teammates. But who among them is the best?

LeBron James has had the privilege of playing alongside some of the most talented players in basketball history throughout his 20-year NBA career. Of course, those guys can be found during the King’s stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers.

Having said that, we now take a look below which of those players LeBron has played alongside with that stand out among the rest.

10. Shaquille O’Neal

In his 17th NBA season, Shaquille O’Neal found himself playing for Cleveland. Instead of the dominant big man he once was, though, the 15-time All-Star was a shell of his former self when he teamed up with James during the 2009-10 season.

Even if that’s the case, O’Neal still averaged 12.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 23.4 minutes per game. Not bad for a 37-year-old backup center way past his prime, especially for someone playing alongside the King in a Cavaliers team devoid of star power.

9. Udonis Haslem

Few individuals have displayed as much of an impact even when not putting out ridiculous numbers on the court. Sure enough, one of those rare breeds of players is Udonis Haslem, who also had a 20-year career in the NBA.

Throughout that whole period of playing for the Heat, the three-time NBA champion averaged 7.5 points and 6.6 rebounds. More importantly, his time playing with the Big 3 of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh imbued Haslem with intangible qualities of leadership and grit.

In effect, he became the living embodiment of Heat Culture after the All-Star trio left Miami. This makes him among the chosen few who stood out as one of James’ most notable teammates through the years.

8. Žydrūnas Ilgauskas

Back when James first played for Cleveland from 2003 to 2010, there was a visible lack of help as the King improved each year. One of the few who can be counted on during that time was Žydrūnas Ilgauskas. From the time James entered the league to his last season as a Cavalier, Ilgauskas played his role well, giving the King a reliable big man in Cleveland.

During that seven-year span, the 7-foot-3 and two-time All-Star center averaged 13.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game. Along with those numbers, Ilgauskas did the dirty work of setting screens for James and defending the rim, ensuring the league’s leading scorer handled the team’s offense without any hitch back then.

7. J.R. Smith

Setting aside his big blunder during the 2018 NBA Finals, J.R. Smith was actually a pretty solid teammate for James during their time together in Cleveland. When everyone dismissed the 6-foot-6 shooting guard after playing without any direction for the New Orleans Hornets, Denver Nuggets, and New York Knicks, Smith leveled up as a Cavalier.

In the four-and-a-half seasons Smith played in Cleveland, he averaged 10.3 points on 38% shooting from three, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Thanks to providing a three-and-D option for James against the Golden State Warriors, the King was able to deliver on his promise to bring Cleveland a ring. Smith and James also teamed up with the Lakers to claim another championship in the Orlando Bubble in 2020.

6. Ray Allen

While most of James’ more prominent teammates, such as Kyrie Irving and Dwyane Wade, are talented scorers, Ray Allen is a different kind of offensive player who still gets the job done right. Even if he was past his prime, the 10-time All-Star is still considered one of the King’s best teammates during their time together in Miami.

Even though he only averaged 10.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists as a backup guard for the Heat, it’s his 40% shooting from deep during the 2013 Playoffs that placed Allen on this list. Most notable, of course, is his game-tying three-point shot in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals against the San Antonio Spurs that helped James gain his second ring. That feat alone catapults Allen to the sixth place on this list.

5. Kevin Love

After getting two rings in Miami, James went back on his promise to deliver a ring to the city of Cleveland. Along with the King, the Cavaliers made it a point to strengthen the roster by trading for Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

While the 6-foot-8 power forward initially struggled playing James and Irving, Love would improve in his second year as a Cavalier, averaging 16 points on 36% shooting from deep, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. His ability to space the floor and grab rebounds allowed LeBron to focus on running the offense with Irving. His contribution ultimately helped Cleveland clinch its first championship in 2016.

4. Chris Bosh

Before the Golden State Warriors’ Death Lineup used small ball lineups to win championships, the Heat did so during the time of their Big 3. Manning the center spot and spacing the floor back then for James and Wade was Chris Bosh.

During the Heat’s two playoff runs that resulted in championships, Bosh averaged 12.8 points on 44% shooting from beyond the arc, 7.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.4 blocks. Those numbers translate to an effective showing on both ends of the court, allowing James to secure the first two rings of his career.

3. Anthony Davis

When comparing Bosh and Anthony Davis, it’s only fitting to consider the former as the far more talented player. This claim is best backed up by the Brow’s postseason averages of 27.7 points on 38% shooting from three, 9.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game during the 2020 Playoffs inside the Bubble.

Thanks to those impressive stats, James was able to lift the L.A. Lakers back up to relevance by winning the franchise’s 17th ring. Of course, that wouldn’t be possible without Davis’ brilliant two-way game backing up LeBron.

Anthony Davis & LeBron James – L.A Lakers Statistics

Anthony Davis (2019-Present)

LeBron James (2018-Present)

2. Kyrie Irving

Although his first two rings in Miami are great, it’s his sole championship in Cleveland that stands out in James’ resume. Making that possible is Kyrie Irving, the starting point guard for most of James’ second stint with the Cavs.

Throughout the three seasons they played together, Irving shined as the second option next to James by averaging 22.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. That kind of offensive output lightened the overall load James had to carry for the Cavaliers, which resulted in three consecutive Finals appearances and a single ring.

1. Dwyane Wade

Right on top of this list is no other than Dwyane Wade, undoubtedly the best player to ever play for the Heat. During that period, the Flash posted averages of 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.

What sets Wade apart from others on this list is he already led Miami to a championship back in 2006. His skills meshed perfectly with James, and their partnership on the court produced a pair of championships for the Heat and James.

With the King’s career entering its 21st year, there’s still a chance for new names to be included in this list. Until then, be on the lookout for the Lakers’ upcoming games to see how James’ current crop of teammates will work out for him.

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