When you are unanimously considered to be the best NBA player in the world, the worst thing you could be is complacent. Fortunately for LeBron James, he has learned from past mistakes and begun to develop into a much more well-rounded scorer.
In other words, he's approaching the status of legitimately unstoppable—as if what he already had been was something to frown upon.
Aside from his inconsistent jump shot, the most common criticism of James' repertoire is his lack of a low-post game. Despite his extraordinary size and athleticism, LeBron had proven incapable of scoring with his back to the basket.
With the development of a sky hook, that is about to change.
Why Wasn't It There Already?
James stands at 6'8" and 260 pounds, with a 7'1" wingspan. With those measurables taken into account, it is virtually impossible to justify his lack of a low-post scoring attack.
With that type of long and bruising size, LeBron should have been doing this from day one. As it stands, a 6'6" and nimble Kobe Bryant has been schooling him on how to get the job done from this area.
All chides aside, Kobe happens to be one of the best low-post scorers in NBA history, and James is looking to find his name in the same company as Bryant when all is said and done.
If LeBron hopes to reach that plateau, however, then he must develop. Otherwise, he will be just another great individual who couldn't attain the level of success that Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Larry Bird were all able to reach.
Bias ignored, that is fact when we weigh the golden standard.
As we evaluate James' individual brilliance, however, the addition of a sky hook can only inspire confidence in his growth. James is a few years away from the point where athleticism will not be enough, which makes his development of the fundamentals of the utmost importance for sustainable success.
With this back-to-the-basket attack, the first step has been taken.
Often at the 4
LeBron was consistently utilized at the 4 during the 2012 postseason. Although he is not a true power forward, he must develop an interior scoring game if he is to bang with the best of them down low.
Otherwise, he remains a defensive nightmare that will be delegated to driving from the perimeter. As the Dallas Mavericks displayed in 2011, that is not impossible to defend.
As the Heat continue to utilize Shane Battier for a high volume of minutes, James will continue to play power forward. With the development of this ambidextrous sky hook, that means that he will be able to diversify his interior scoring.
Or just add something at all, aside from turning baseline for a ferocious dunk.
Should James' sky hook become a consistent threat, it will be something that teams will take into account when game-planning. Unlike his jump shot, this will create a consistent fear for his ability to score the basketball.
No longer will teams assume he's turning for an inconsistent fadeaway or passing out of the post. Instead, they must take every possibility into account.
With this level of unpredictability established, James' other forms of creating offense will improve in efficiency. Although his status as a one-trick pony has yet to hold him back, driving the basketball can be prevented.
A well-rounded attack, however, can not be. If this sky hook is legitimate, it may be time that we welcome King James to the upper echelon of the basketball greats.