Chris Broussard: This is the best LeBron’s ever been mentally

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Chris Broussard joins Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe and Joy Taylor on Undisputed to discuss LeBron James' 39-point performance in Cleveland's win against the Denver Nuggets.

- --that LeBron is playing at an all-time high?

- I'm going to say no. I understand why--

- No?

- Yeah. I would say no.


- Because there's two sides of the ball. We know, offensively, what he's doing. He's matching his career average in points, career high in assists, second best all-time rebound. The most amazing thing, offensively, is his field goal percentage. Usually, every player-- Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-- everybody's field goal percentage usually drops the longer you go in your career-- you know, 10th 11th, 12th year.

For his to be at 54% and he's a career 50% shooter, that's one of the most incredible things. I think, offensively-- we know three-point shooting, this is among the best of his career-- third best, I think, ever. He moves better without the basketball. He doesn't dominate the ball as much.

So I think, offensively, he's playing tremendously. I understand where LeBron's saying this. Because mentally, this is-- he's probably-- I think he's the best he's ever been mentally. And I used to always feel like, when he left Cleveland and went to Miami, I thought he sold himself short.

Because I thought, physically, and he had the game, he could have led that group of role players-- Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao, all those guys. I felt he was good enough to lead them to a title, pass the big three in Boston, pass the Kobe-Gasol Lakers. But he wasn't mentally ready. And we saw that when he got to Miami.

Now, he is mentally ready. And he has been, obviously, for several years. But I think-- when he's on the court, I think there's times where he's experimenting. He's, like, seeing, OK, what combinations with players work? Can I get away with this? Can I do this?

Even-- it may even cost him a game here or there. But I think he's at that level where he's kind of-- he's in such control, he can do that sort of thing. I think we've seen him-- I don't know how you feel about it, Skip. We've seen him hit several clutch baskets, you know, recently, I think. So I think, mentally--

- I saw one.

- Don't do that, Skip!

- I saw one.

- The one-- Minnesota, right? But last night, I don't know if you-- I guess that's not clutch. But last night, he was huge.

So I think, mentally, he's better than ever. Where he's not where he used to be is the defensive end. And that's the issue.

- But what wing guy in year 15 were?

- None! But that's my point. I mean, it's phenomenal what he's doing for year 15. But we're not judging it by year 15. We're judging it against his earlier career. I think in Miami--

SHANNON SHARPE: But you just said Michael Jordan--

- --Miami, he was a much--

- I'm not-- I'm talking about LeBron James compared to himself.

- OK. But you just said, Michael Jordan, as great as he was, his field goal percentage was slipping-- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. So are you comparing him in year 15 or you comparing him to when they were younger? I'm just curious.

- I don't even get what that meant.

- You said, was it maybe--

- LeBron is comparing himself to himself [INAUDIBLE] Michael Jordan.

- No, I'm saying-- you said--

- And I'm saying, on the defensive end, he is not what he used to be.

- And I'm--

- In Cleveland, the first go 'round, in Miami. He was a phenomenal defender. And if he-- he is ranked-- of the 326 players who've played 500 minutes or more, he's ranked 311th in defensive rating.

- And you said-- the question-- and you said, what's amazing to you is that when he's in year 15, and his field goal percentage is at 54% when he's a career 50%. You said Michael, you said Kareem dipped. So I'm just saying, are you comparing them to them younger selves?

- Yes.

- OK, then. So by that standard, LeBron James is at an all-time high, because he's shooting--

- To himself? I'm comparing LeBron James right now in his 15th year to LeBron James in year 10 or 11. And defensively, he's not what he was.

- Let's compare LeBron 33 to Michael at 35. Just do that and I'm good. Go ahead. Fire away.

- Oh, are we going to take--

- Fire away.

- Are we going to--

- You can have it.

- Hold up. Are we going to give--

- Run with it.

- Are we going to give LeBron two years off?

- Mm-mm.

- OK.

- No.

- Go ahead. You'll go.

- Are we going to make Michael not go to college and play for three years? Is that what we're doing?

SHANNON SHARPE: If he was good enough to do that, he could have.

- He was playing. He was playing.

- I don't think that you could-- you couldn't during that time, yeah.

- Well, he could have went one year.

- He couldn't go straight from high school.

- He could have went one year. He could've went two years.

- Oh, he was a late bloomer.

- OK. OK. So y'all punishing LeBron for that.

- But what's the-- no!

- Wait, did he bloom?

- I ain't punishing LeBron at all! You-- I was bringing up defense and you brought up field goal percentage.

- No, no, no. I'm just saying, I asked you a question. What guy in year 15 played defense--

- That's not the-- the question LeBron James was asked is, are you playing better than ever?


SHANNON SHARPE: He says he's playing at--

- And he's saying he thinks he's playing better than ever. I'm saying I think he's playing phenomenally, but I think he was better in Miami and toward the end of Cleveland.

- Who's his Bosh and who's his Wade right now?

- There is none.

- OK. Go ahead, Skip.

- But independent--


- You think he's-- nah! Since you on this, defensively explain--

- No, he isn't-- no.

- OK. Then that's what is! Basketball isn't just shooting jump shots!

- He's asked to do more now. He can't sit in that chair for 30 minutes.

- He's asked to do a little less than he was his first go 'round in Cleveland. That year, he led Cleveland to the finals in '07, he was-- I don't think this LeBron-- mentally, this LeBron is better. But physically, that LeBron was ridiculous.

- Chris, Chris, [INAUDIBLE] Chris.