The 3 Best Seasons of LeBron James' NBA Career

We don't talk about him in the same way anymore. Maybe it's because we're used to it.

Depending on who you ask, the NBA's Most Valuable Player Award is up for grabs this year. Sure, Russell Westbrook and James Harden lead the conversation, but there are many others who have thrown their hat in the ring as well. We got Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, and before his injury, Chris Paul was having a ridiculous start to the season in his own right.

Do you notice who's missing? Yeah, that guy named LeBron James.

For whatever reason -- his age, the rise of Kyrie Irving, the triple-double hype around Westbrook and Harden, or a combination of the three -- we're overlooking The King of the NBA. It's possible James' sustained success is playing a negative role in his run for his fifth regular season MVP.

Over the years, LeBron's production has been both elite and consistent. With averages of 25.6 points, 8.1 assists and 7.8 rebounds over 37 minutes per game, this year has been no different. In fact, LeBron's hitting a career-high 1.8 threes per game on 37.5% shooting from beyond the arc.

His 6.2 nERD -- our in-house metric that measures a player's total contribution over the course of a season, based on efficiency -- ranks 15th in the league, so maybe that is an explanation for the lack of respect toward James as far as the MVP conversation goes. Considering that James, outside of his rookie season (-4.4 nERD), has never had a year lower than 9.1 nERD, it's understandable.

But knowing that, how much better has LeBron been in previous years? What are his high standards? In other words, what are his best three seasons, according to nERD?

Let's check it out.