LeBron James is most productive as a basketball player when surrounded by teammates capable of knocking down three-point field goals consistently. Which is why the Miami Heat went out this summer and acquired Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.
The Heat's improved three-point shooting as a team this season specifically will benefit James in multiple ways.
LeBron will now have more room to attack the basket. He will also be able to use this spacing to create additional scoring opportunities for teammates. His assist totals will increase as a result while at the same time decreasing his overall burden to facilitate offense on every possession.
Heat's improved three-point shooting will open up more driving lanes for LeBron this season
This play begins with four Heat players, including James, spaced out across the three-point arc. As Norris Cole attacks the basket from the corner, Ray Allen's defender is initially hesitant to leave Allen open.
The help on the drive comes late as a result. By the time the defense does converge on Cole, LeBron is still out on the perimeter. Cole finds James with the pass, who then finishes the drive down the lane with ease and emphasis.
This spacing increases LeBron's opportunity to create for his teammates
LeBron will also be able to use this spacing to create for his teammates. If you pause this play against the Denver Nuggets earlier this season at the six-second mark, all five Heat players are positioned along the three-point arc.
Included amongst this group are Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade and Mike Miller. The lane is wide open when Chris Bosh sets the pick on LeBron's man at the top of the key. There are no defenders in the painted area to stop Bosh's roll off that screen and LeBron is able to find him for the easy basket.
The Heat's improved three-point shooting will decrease the burden on James to facilitate offense on every possession
The defense on this play is paying specific attention to James with good reason. As he cuts across the lane, all five defenders step towards LeBron. With the defense focused on LeBron, Ray Allen is able to slip down into the corner.
Norris Cole finds him wide open, spaced opposite James on the floor, and Allen knocks down the three-point field goal. LeBron never touches the basketball and the Heat come away with a three-point trip down the floor.
LeBron's assist totals will improve with more three-point threats surrounding him
The biggest three-pointer the Miami converted this season so far came on a LeBron James assist. The play was as simple as it was spectacular. James attacked the defense from the top of the key before passing the ball over to Ray Allen on the left wing. Allen knocked down the field goal, got fouled, and the Heat won the game.
This type of assist counts the same statistically as all of the high-flying dimes LeBron has ever connected on during his NBA career. There will be more of these opportunities for James to increase his numbers in that department this season than ever before.
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