LeBron James: An Analysis Of The Cavaliers' Small Foward

Jeremy KaufmanSenior Analyst IJune 15, 2008

Here is my analysis of LeBron James, the small forward of the Cleveland Cavaliers:

1) Inside Scoring: A

There may be no one better in the NBA at getting to the basket and scoring on the inside than Lebron James, at least among non—big men. Between his size, speed, quickness, and agility, he can be nearly unstoppable once he finds himself near a basket.

2) Three-Point Shooting: B-

Three-point shooting is the one area in which LeBron James still needs to show some significant improvement. He has shown the ability to hit some big time three’s, although his consistency certainly needs to get better.

3) Dunking: A+

LeBron may very well be the best dunker currently in the NBA. Unfortunately, LeBron has previously refused to participate in the slam-dunk contest, thereby disallowing many fans to recognize just how talented of a dunker he is. The fact is however, that LeBron can slam the ball through a hoop better than almost anyone in the NBA.

4) Passing: B+

There is no question that LeBron is currently the best passing non-point guard in basketball. In fact, LeBron played point guard for a long period of time his first year in the league, which is a testament to his passing ability.

Now, as a small forward, LeBron has continued to show incredible precision passing ability, an attribute that may eventually leave him in the history books as one of the greatest to ever play the game.

5) Offensive Rebounding: B-

LeBron has the physical ability and desire to grab balls off the rebound on offensive possessions. However, I will have to see an even greater production from him in this area before I can assign him a grade representative and equivalent to that of the elite big men in the NBA.

6) Defensive Rebounding: B

Typically averaging around eight rebounds per game, LeBron is a very solid rebounder for a small forward.

7) Ball Handling: A-

LeBron has great handles on the ball, whether he is crossing over a defender before a shot or driving past him to the net.

In addition, as a player with point guard experience, ball handling has always been a premium skill area for him. It’s no surprise then, that LeBron handles the ball better than any other small forward in the NBA.

8) Stealing: B+

LeBron has clearly shown the ability to jump a lane or strip the ball from an opponent. Offensive skills can make a player good, but it will always be defense that makes them great.

9) Blocking: B-

LeBron certainly has the ability to block shots. However, he needs to show the desire to do it all of the time in order to earn a higher grade.


10) Defensive Pressure: B

LeBron's defensive pressure has certainly improved in the NBA. However, defense is one area that can always get better.


11) Free Throw Shooting: C+

A career free throw percentage of 73 percent doesn't cut it for a superstar caliber player, especially for one who does not play a big man position. If LeBron ever hopes to be recognized as being of the same caliber as Jordan, he must show drastic improvement in this area.

Overall Grade: A