Miami Heat: Analyzing LeBron James' Development as a Scorer
The biggest story over the past few weeks, aside from the NBA Trade Deadline, has been LeBron James' historic scoring streak. He has his name jotted in the Miami Heat record books for the most consecutive 30-point games, and became the sole player in NBA history to score 30 or more shooting 60 percent or better in consecutive games with six.
What has gone mostly unnoticed, however, is LeBron's monumental all-around improvement as a scorer.
James' game is arguably error-free, yet a lack of a jump shot and a post game have always been two asterisks next to his name. According to Synergy Sports, LeBron is shooting 46.3 percent from the post. Two fantastic post players like Kevin Garnett and Al Jefferson shoot 45.7 and 42.8 percent from the same play respectively, thus James' criticism here should deservedly fade.
As well as improvement from the post, LeBron has increased his accuracy in the paint. While it isn't a great method of analysis, as James is there for almost half the game on offense, there remains a trend to use as a sample.
Last year, James converted on 43 percent from in the paint. This doesn't reflect dunks or lay-ups, but rather shots taken from above the restricted area. This season he has improved that number to 52 percent; a clear indication of his new array of post-up moves.
Similarly as he has added a post-up game, LeBron has developed a reliable and quite accurate jump shot.
James is converting on 56.7 percent from the field, which dwarfs his previous career-best of 53.1 last season. He's also knocking down 41.6 percent of his three-point attempts, again besting a personal-high of 36.2 in the 2011-'12 season.
Has LeBron's improvements made him the best offensive player in the league?
A closer statistical inspection reveals much more than his percentage does though. As a spot-up shooter from beyond the arc, LeBron is making an astounding 50.7 percent. Compare that to renowned marksman Kevin Durant's 53.5, and James' advancement in this facet of the game is remarkable.
In basketball, there are two types of three-point shot: the corner three and the above-the-break three. Last season, we saw James shoot 32 and 37 percent respectively from these two areas. He has bumped that up to 53 and 39 percent thus far.
In addition to this, LeBron has upped his shot distribution from beyond the arc. After taking the three-point shot 12.7 percent of the time last season, James is now a more regular shooter this season with 18.7 percent on shots from deep.
A sure-fire MVP candidate for this season, many would be surprised to not see it in LeBron's hands. While his improved offensive game only adds to an already stellar case of 27.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.0 assists, it remains a testament to James' continued drive to improve.
He has always been considered the best all-around player in the league. LeBron's ability to do just about everything on the court has only ever been hindered by two things: the lack of an accurate jump shot and no post-up game. James has showcased both on multiple occasions this season, and there is no doubt he continues to rule the league.
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