LeBron takes too many jumpers in crunch time

Yes, he posted a never-before-seen 43-13-15 last night, but he still jacks way too many jump shots. Case in point: Check out this series of shots by LeBron over the last nine minutes of last night’s 118-116 loss to the Nuggets.

3:50 94-95 LeBron James makes free throw 1 of 2
3:50 94-96 LeBron James makes free throw 2 of 2

3:10 96-96 LeBron James misses 17-foot jumper
2:39 98-98 LeBron James makes two point shot
2:39 98-99 LeBron James makes free throw 1 of 1
1:59 100-102 LeBron James makes driving layup

1:23 102-102 LeBron James misses 24-foot three point jumper
1:12 104-103 LeBron James makes free throw 1 of 2
1:12 104-103 LeBron James misses free throw 2 of 2
0:48 106-106 LeBron James makes 25-foot three point jumper
0:00 106-106 LeBron James misses three point jumper (full court shot)

3:19 109-110 LeBron James makes 12-foot jumper
2:16 111-110 LeBron James misses 25-foot three point jumper
1:50 113-110 LeBron James misses free throw 1 of 2
1:50 113-111 LeBron James makes free throw 2 of 2
0:48 116-113 LeBron James misses 24-foot three point jumper
0:36 116-113 LeBron James misses 26-foot three point jumper
0:23 116-115 LeBron James makes 9-foot running jumper
0:23 116-116 LeBron James makes free throw 1 of 1

0:00 118-116 LeBron James misses 28-foot three point jumper

So, if we don’t count his desperation heave at the end of regulation, LeBron was 1-7 from 17-feet and beyond, and scored in some fashion virtually every time he went to the basket. He was 15-33 on the night and 1-9 from long range, so he was 14-24 on two-pointers and shot 17 free throws. In short, he was very successful when he attacked the rim, so he shouldn’t be settling for jumpers when the game is on the line.

LeBron has worked hard on his three-point shot and is shooting a career-high 35.3% from deep this season. But he still doesn’t have a pure stroke, and probably never will. His elbow is cocked out and he often fades away. This is not how you shoot consistently from long range. To complicate matters, LeBron often has the ball in his hands so he’s not able to spot up like most pure shooters do. He has to dribble his way into position and take a contested shot — two more reasons why he should attack the basket.

Just look at his game-by-game stats from the last month and a half. He made 30-49% of his threes just three times in 21 games. He shot 29% or lower twelve times and 50% or better six times. That is the definition of a streaky shooter. When he has it, he really has it, and when he doesn’t have it…well…last night was a great example. When his shot isn’t falling, he has to go to the hole, especially when the game is on the line.

For all the talk last night about how Carmelo Anthony was guarding LeBron, let’s get real — Carmelo can’t guard LeBron off the dribble. No one can. The only one that can stop LeBron is LeBron.

I’m not saying he should stop taking threes altogether, but if his shot isn’t falling, he has to attack the rim.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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