LeBron James has had 132 different teammates during his 14 NBA seasons thus far. He is the best basketball player on the planet right now. Some will even make the argument that he is the best ever. He has dominated the NBA for the past 15 years and has made the finals the past six years. Love him or hate him, that is unreal. LeBron has become more than just a superstar on the court, as he is constantly working with communities off of it.
James, a three-time NBA champion, is often criticized for always having a great supporting cast around him. He was hated by many when he "took his talents to Miami", joining with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, two All-Star-caliber players. Since then, teams league-wide are trying to put together their own "Big Three" – or even four now as the case in Golden State with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant.
While it is clear that James has played with some of the best players in the league, let us not forget his early years in Cleveland, or some of the not-so-big names to land in Miami during his time there. For all the stars LeBron has been teammates with, he has also played with his fair share of duds. Have Google handy because I am sure some of these names will be the first time you will encounter them. Let us check out the eight worst and seven best players LeBron has played with in his career.
15 Worst: Jamario Moon
Moon will be remembered mostly for his ability to jump out of the gym. The problem with that is it does not always correlate to success in the league.
He attended a community college for one year and averaged 20.8 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. He decided to enter the draft in 2001, but went undrafted. He then spent the next six years on countless D-League rosters and commercial teams across the world.
He finally landed on an NBA roster when the Raptors signed him to a two-year deal. Moon would find himself traded to the Miami Heat before eventually landing on the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he teamed up with LeBron for a single season. Moon barely registered on the radar, averaging less than five points a game while playing with James.
14 Best: Mo Williams
Let's get one thing settled here first. I am talking about 2008-11 Mo Williams, not his 2015-17 version.
The younger fans may only recognize Williams as the old dude who, in his most recent stint, would occasionally come in for the Cavaliers when they are already up by 50. However, Williams was actually a key player in the late 2000s Cavaliers. He even appeared at the 2009 All-Star Game after taking the place of Chris Bosh.
In the 2008-09 season, Williams and LeBron led the Cavs to the league-best standing of 66-16, including a home record of 39-2. He would not be remembered as much as some of the other names to land on this list, but he definitely deserves some recognition. In those two seasons with James, Mo averaged 16.9 points and 4.6 assists.
13 Worst: Kendrick Perkins
Once upon a time, Perkins was the premier big man of a very good Boston Celtics team. He won a championship with the Celtics in 2008. He would eventually be traded along with Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstić. His play would decline over the next four years in OKC, where he would never average more than five points a game.
Perkins was then traded to the Utah Jazz, but was eventually waived just two days later. He would find himself joining the Cavaliers around the middle of the 2014-15 season. It is difficult to think of one moment that stood out during his stint with LeBron though, as the Cleveland came up short against the Golden State Warriors in the finals.
12 Best: Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Ilgauskas was drafted 20th overall by the Cavaliers in 1996. After a few years of nagging injuries, he averaged 17.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in 2002-03. That landed him at the All-Star Game, but Cleveland would end the year with an abysmal 17-65 record. That would be a blessing in disguise, however, because a kid named LeBron James would be drafted first overall the following year in 2003. The rest is history.
Ilgauskas and LeBron would carry the Cavaliers for the next seven years. "Big Z" got to play at the All-Star Game in 2005 and with that, signed an extension with the team. Together, they reached the finals in 2007 and conference finals in 2009. He would also be a teammate of James' in Miami after the Heat signed the 7'3" Lithuanian in 2010. The Heat made it to the championship round in 2011, but lost to the Dallas Mavericks.
Anyone who has a jersey number retired with the Cavs is clearly one of LeBron's best teammates.
11 Worst: Ira Newble
Newble played on a plethora of overseas teams before finally being signed by the San Antonio Spurs in 2000. He played in 27 games that season, averaging two points and 1.3 rebounds.
He would eventually be signed by the Cavaliers in 2003, just in time for the arrival of King James. Ira played a career high 74 games in 2004-05, but still only averaged 5.9 points and three rebounds a game. He battled injuries over the next few years and never appeared in more than 41 games in a season. It is crazy to realize he spent five years in Cleveland. While his struggle to get to the NBA is a good story, his time there was not all that spectacular, which was disappointing.
10 Best: Ray Allen
Future Hall of Famer Ray Allen is one of the best shooters the game has ever seen. Players like him thrive in a system with LeBron because they are able to get many open looks due to the attention he attracts. What better shooter to pair with James than Allen?
After being a part of the "Big Three" in Boston with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Allen went to the Heat in 2012 where a "Big Three" was already in place. He was a large part of the Heat's success. In fact, if not for his game-tying three-pointer on Game 6 of the 2013 Finals, the Heat would not have won back-to-back titles. I think hitting a shot and helping LeBron capture his second title deserves a spot on the best side of things here.
9 Worst: Mike Wilks
Mike Wilks is an NBA champion. You read that correctly.
Not many people will remember Wilks due to the fact that he played for eight different teams in a seven-season span. Obviously, he served as nothing but a backup point guard in the league. He won a title in San Antonio in 2004-05 where he played in a career high 48 games. What happens when teams win a championship? Players on said team are sought after more because clearly they did something right.
Unfortunately, often times these players do not pan out in other situations. Cleveland signed Wilks the next season to pair with LeBron, but the results never showed up. He played in just one season with the Cavaliers averaging a measly 1.1 points per contest.
8 Best: Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh spent the first half of his career with the Toronto Raptors, where he established himself as one of the top players in the game. However, the Raptors never made any noise in his time there. In 2010, Bosh signed with the Miami Heat to join LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and form the best three-way punch at the NBA at that time.
Bosh got off to a rough start, trying to find his place playing next to two superstars. He would eventually settle in though, and help the Heat reach the finals in their first year together, but would lose to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. Miami then would win back-to-back championships with Bosh being a huge part of both. During those two championship runs, Bosh averaged 17.2 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.
7 Worst: Dexter Pittman
The Miami Heat drafted Pittman in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft. He was viewed as having immense talent, but weight issues were always a thing during his college days at Texas.
Being a second round pick, the thought is that he could come in and be a decent backup at first while learning the game to eventually evolve and become a starter. He had glimpses of hope during the 2011-12 season where he appeared in 35 games.
Unfortunately for Pittman and the Heat, that would be his best efforts in the league. He would find himself spending most of his time at the D-League, and never quite being the guy they thought he could be. It's too bad he couldn't last longer, considering the Heat won back-to-back titles.
6 Best: Kevin Love
Remember when the Cavaliers acquired Kevin Love in a blockbuster trade and everyone just counted down the days until they would eventually be NBA champions?
This trade formed another "Big Three" featuring LeBron, this time in Cleveland. At first, there were some questions if Kevin Love would fit in the system because of some early struggles. Love went from being the guy in Minnesota to somewhat of a supporting role with the Cavaliers.
If you have watched a Cavs game recently, you can clearly see the kinks have been ironed out. Love has become a key part of the squad and is thriving in the system coach Tyronn Lue has in place. In three years with LeBron, Love has not averaged less than 16 points and nine rebounds a game.
5 Worst: Eddy Curry
Early in his career with the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks, Curry flashed some potential. Some believed he could become one of the game's top big men.
The problem with Curry, as with many big men, was getting too big. He put on a ton of weight during his time with the Knicks, which served as the catalyst that would get him off the team. In 2011, Curry was a part of the blockbuster deal that would bring Carmelo Anthony to New York. Eddy ended up in Minnesota, where his contract was bought out.
Ring chasing is a thing at the NBA, isn't it? We mentioned this because Curry signed with the Miami Heat in 2012, merely playing for 83 minutes in 14 games for the eventual champions. With that being said, I am sure I am not alone when I say I cannot remember a single bucket of his in Miami.
4 Best: Kyrie Irving
Irving was selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers at the 2011 NBA Draft. He has quickly become one of the most exciting young players to watch in the league, and is definitely the best point guard to play alongside LeBron James.
Cleveland's first run at a title may have ended differently if Kyrie was not injured at the 2015 Finals against the Warriors. That argument was put on full display the following season when the Cavaliers met Golden State again at the 2016 Finals. Being down 1-3, the Cavs came back to force a Game Seven and it was Irving, not LeBron, that hit the shot over Stephen Curry that we will all remember forever. Granted, LeBron's chasedown block on Andre Iguodala set up the shot, but this list is about his teammates, not him. The scary part is that Irving is only getting started.
3 Worst: Greg Oden
This one is for you Trail Blazers fans. (Sorry)
Greg Oden was the most dominant center in college basketball back when he was with the Ohio State Buckeyes. That is why he was picked first overall over Kevin Durant by Portland at the 2007 NBA Draft.
We all know what happened next to Oden. He suffered terrible injury after terrible injury and never scratched the surface of his potential. He was not able to finish a single season in Portland and even missed three seasons entirely. In 2013, however, Oden wound up with the Miami Heat on a one-year deal.
If there is any player who would help you resurrect your career, it is LeBron James. Unfortunately, the injury bug bit Oden and did not let go. He appeared in just 23 games for the Heat that season, averaging three points and two boards. That would be the last time that Oden set foot at the NBA.
2 Best: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade is a future Hall of Famer and the best teammate LeBron James has had in his career. They are still close even now after both have left Miami.
Wade was the face of the Heat prior to LeBron signing. The beginning of their time together was a little tough because it was not clear who was the number one option on the team. If Miami is down two with one shot left, who should be taking it?
Well, the Heat figured things out quickly and became a dominating force in the league. Wade and James were on highlight reels everywhere. They looked like they had been playing together forever. Wade helped LeBron capture his first title that everyone criticized him of not having. The Heat would go on winning back-to-back titles, and Wade ended up with his third ring.
1 Worst: Luke Jackson
Just a year after landing with LeBron James in the draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Luke Jackson tenth overall in 2004. He was a standout athlete in high school and eventually attended the University of Oregon. He was supposed to be the guy to pair next to James and put Cleveland into contention. Well, that did not quite work out.
Jackson appeared in only 46 games spread to two seasons. He averaged 2.9 points his rookie year and 2.7 the next. The Cavaliers ended up trading him to the Boston Celtics. The combination of disappointment and performance makes Jackson the worst teammate of LeBron's ever. No wonder Cleveland wasn't able to win a championship in LeBron's first stint with the team. It ended up being a one-man team.