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Kerr: LeBron raising bar, even for superstars

His un-LeBronlike performance on Christmas Day against the Warriors in a 99-92 loss not withstanding (20 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists would be considered a great night for most players), James, now in his 15th NBA season continues to amaze pretty much everyone across the league.

Including Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

"I was thinking about it on the drive in -- how many players are better in Year 15 than in Year 10?" Kerr told reporters before Monday's game against James and the Cavaliers. "And then especially when you’re talking about superstars."

Kerr, who won three NBA championships as a player with Michael Jordan and the Bulls and two with Tim Duncan & Co. with the San Antonio Spurs, as well another pair of rings in the last three seasons as coach of the Warriors, continues to marvel at what the soon-to-be 33-year-old James is doing this season.

"Go down the list," Kerr said. "Anyone can do their own rankings, where LeBron ranks among the all-time greats," Kerr, who also played four with the Cavaliers (1989-90 through 1992-93), said. "Go down the list:

"Michael, Bird, Magic, Wilt, Kareem, Bill Russell. A lot of them didn’t even get to 15 years. Were any of them better in Year 15 than in Year 10? I can’t imagine."

James, a four-time MVP, entered the game Monday averaging 37.3 minutes, 28.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 9.2 assists, while shooting 57 percent from the floor, 41 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

To Kerr's point, here's what the aforementioned six players -- all Hall of Famers -- did in their Year 15 seasons, if they played that long:

* Jordan -- As a 39-year-old with the Washington Wizards in 2002-03, he averaged 37.0 minutes, 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in Year 15. Jordan sat out one season to play minor-league baseball (1993-94), then retired after the 1997-98 campaign with the Bulls, only to return as a Wizard in 2001-02.

* Bird -- The Celtics great did not make it to 15 seasons, a bad back forcing him into retirement after the 1991-92 season, his 13th, in which he averaged 36.9 minutes, 20.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists a game at age 35. His last game was at the Richfield Coliseum, a 122-104 Game 7 loss to the Cavaliers in the an Eastern Conference semifinal series.

* Johnson -- Magic didn't make it to Year 15, either. He was forced into retirement after 12 seasons with the Lakers at age 31 after the 1990-91 season after contracting the HIV virus. He came out of retirement as a 36-year-old in the 1995-96 season, his 13th, averaging 29.9 minutes, 14.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game.

* Chamberlain -- Wilt didn't make it to Year 15, either, though he all but assuredly could've, retiring after 14 seasons at age 36. In his final campaign, he averaged a exhausting (for mere mortals) 43.2 minutes per game, along with 13.2 points, a remarkable 18.6 boards and 4.5 dimes per game. It should be noted, blocked shots were not an official statistic at the time.

* Abdul-Jabbar -- Kareem did make it to Year 15... and then some. He played for two decades, six seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and then 14 with the Lakers. In his Year 15 in the 1983-84 season, Jabbar averaged 32.8 minutes, 21.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.8 blocks per game as a 36-year-old.

* Russell -- Like Bird, Magic and Wilt, Russell did not play 15 seasons. In his final season, his 13th, he averaged 42.7 minutes, 15.1 points, a staggering 19.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists a game for the Celtics. As was the case with Wilt, Russell's blocked-shot average would've been off the charts, but the stat wasn't officially kept. He walked off the floor after that season -- the 1968-69 campaign -- as player-coach, having succeeding Hall of Famer Red Auerbach, and led Boston to its 11th NBA championship in his 13 seasons with the organization.

All of which simply backs up Kerr's point -- what LeBron is doing this season is typical for him -- it's not typical, perhaps never having been done before.

"So, what he has done with his game is just incredible," Kerr said. "He’s always been the dominant, physical force from Year 1. But the skill at this point is better than it’s ever been. So you always have to contend with him in many ways.

"It feels like you have to contend with him in even more ways now."