Tuesday, February 12, 2013

LeBron James: Good at Basketball

 By Jeremy Conlin

In case you haven’t noticed, LeBron is pretty [expletive deleted] good.

Over his last five games, he’s averaging 31 points and shooting 71% from the floor, including 60% from three. That’s 79.3% true shooting. He’s taken 77 shots, and 44 of them have been at the rim. He’s made 37 of those shots. That’s 84.1%.

Tom Haberstroh of ESPN wrote about this over the weekend, starting LeBron’s hot streak early in the 4th quarter against Toronto (after which he’s shot 49-for-65). Haberstroh mentioning the following, regarding those 65 shots:
  • James is 32-of-36 (88.9 percent) on shots inside 15 feet.
  • Twenty-nine of his 65 shots have come from 15-plus feet. He is 17-of-29 (58.6 percent) on such shots.
  • His longest made shot was 27 feet away from the rim against the Clippers. His longest miss was the same distance (27 feet) against the Rockets.
  • The average shot distance of his 65 shots is 11.2 feet.
  • He is 21-of-23 on layups inside two feet.
  • He has made every one of his 11 shots from five to 15 feet.

He then went to Twitter and piled on a few more tidbits that didn’t make the piece:

  • LeBron is shooting 71.4 FG% over his last five games. Michael Jordan's best FG% over five games? 69.6 FG% back in 1988.
  • LeBron has shot at least 50 pct in 17 of his 19 games in 2013. Carmelo has shot 50+ pct in just 16 games this season.
  • In the past two decades, only two players have shot 56+ pct from the floor on 18+ attempts per game: Shaq and LeBron.
  • List of players who can match LeBron in assists per game and 3FG% this season: Steve Nash and Jose Calderon. That's it.
  • LeBron is currently shooting 56 pct from the floor and 42 pct on 100+ threes. No one's ever done that.

Okay, here’s the real crazy part, though:

I’m not surprised that he’s doing this.

When this streak started happening, and when I’ve gone and looked at the numbers after each game, there hasn’t been any moment of incredulity or life-altering shock. My primary reaction has been, “Yeah, this is the type of stuff that LeBron does now.”

I’m not saying that this type of performance isn’t a big deal or noteworthy, because by the original, true definition of the word, LeBron has been awesome. Not the commonplace slang adjective that gets used to describe blue jeans and potato chips, I mean the word that Neil DeGrasse Tyson uses to describe the universe. LeBron has been AWESOME. He’s pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and he’s doing it before our very eyes.

My point is this – the true moment of genuine amazement isn’t coming from what LeBron is doing on a nightly basis, it’s coming from the fact that I’m not surprised that he’s doing it. It’s gotten to the point where he could have a game where he posts a 37/9/8 on 78% shooting, followed by a game of 22/6/5 on 50% shooting, and I’d be more surprised by the second game. We’re reaching a point where the list of things LeBron CAN’T do will only consist of things like playing blindfolded, shooting 50% from half-court, and dunking from the three-point line through traffic. And I say again, I’m not surprised by ANY of this.

I for one welcome our new basketball overlord.