LeBron James: 5 Biggest Questions Facing King James Next Season
LeBron James has finally silenced the critics.
He won his third NBA MVP in four years in 2012, and played even better in the playoffs. His dominance secured his first NBA Finals victory, and along with it the Finals MVP.
LeBron was already considered by many to be the best player in the NBA. His 2012 performance confirmed that belief while answering many questions NBA analysts put forth regarding his ability to perform on the game's biggest stage.
With those questions answered, new ones have surfaced.
The following are my five biggest questions surrounding LeBron in the 2012-2013 season.
(All stats credit to www.basketball-reference.com)
How Much Will His Post Game Improve?
LeBron has the perfect makeup for a great post player. He’s big, strong, ambidextrous, a great passer, extremely smart and very quick for his size. Plus, playing down low allows him to unleash more of his spectacular rebounding ability.
It wasn’t until last summer that LeBron finally decided to learn a post game from one of the greatest post players ever, Hakeem Olajuwon.
It immediately made a noticeable difference. Anytime his jump shot wasn’t falling, LeBron could just go down into the post to generate an easier shot. It also helped open up the floor more so he could dish to wide-open three-point shooters.
His post game should only improve in the second year. It’s hard to imagine it significantly elevating his overall play considering how good he already is, but it will be interesting to see how far a strong post game can take him.
Will Fatigue Catch Up with Him?
LeBron will turn 28 this December. That’s certainly not an old age by any means, but he’s no longer an ageless fountain of energy, either.
He hinted at fatigue various times throughout the season, like when he said Miami wasn’t a young team or when he admitted playing against David West in the playoffs was physically taxing.
Enduring a condensed 66-game schedule didn’t help, nor did playing 42.7 minutes per game in the grueling playoffs.
And he didn’t get a summer to rest, either. He was too busy helping Team USA win gold at the 2012 Olympics in London.
He’s got a window just short of two months between the end of the Olympics and the beginning of preseason. We’ll see if that’s enough time to fully recover for a full 82-game slate.
What Role Will the 3-Pointer Play in His Game?
LeBron is a decent three-point shooter, but he shouldn’t be jacking up four every game, which is his career average.
He seemed to realize that at the beginning of the season last year. He only shot five total in his first 10 games combined. He played much closer to the rim, and he shot 57 percent from the floor in those games as a result.
In his final 52 games of the season, LeBron began to drift back outside. He shot 2.8 threes per game, and his field-goal percentage dropped to 52 percent.
In the playoffs, he put up 3.7 three-pointers per game, and his field-goal percentage fell yet again, this time to 50 percent.
Shooting 50 percent is a great mark for any non-center, but considering LeBron could be scoring at a much higher rater, he needs to back off the trey. Two per game is ideal, but three or more is just too much.
How Satisfied Was He in the Offseason?
As we saw with Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in 2012, some appetites are satisfied after one championship.
Dallas partied the whole offseason in celebration, and their play suffered because of it. The team started out 1-4 and finished with the seventh seed in the Western Conference. They were then swept by Oklahoma City in the first round of the playoffs.
The truly great players are never satisfied with only one ring. It’s their competitiveness and desire that put them over the top.
Will LeBron be too distracted this offseason to put together another historical year?
My guess would be no, mainly because of the Olympics. Instead of partying, he had to get right back into the groove of basketball both physically and mentally.
Will the Boofest Continue?
No one has ever heard as many “boos" in a two-year span than LeBron has since joining the Miami Heat. Every game he plays outside of Miami, the hate is poured mercilessly upon him.
But with his playoff performance last year, he solidified his title of “greatest player in the world” and proved he is a once-in-a-generation type of athlete.
I’m sure Cleveland will forever boo and cheer against him no matter what he does, but I’ve got to think other cities will eventually realize how special he is and stop booing, if not at least provide an appreciatory applause.
I’m not sure how soon that will come, but it may start as early as this year.
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