Last week, I took a look at the number of three-pointers that LeBron has attempted this year. CliffsNotes version: Too many. He's 5th in the league in most 3's attempted and 77th in % made. Also, he's LeBron, and getting to the paint is kind of what he does best.
Today, Kelly Dwyer expounded on the analysis over at Ball Don't Lie, noting that LeBron is taking too many jumpshots, period, be they 3's or long-range 2's. Definitely head over to read the full thing. Here's a snippet, though:
Making 35 percent of your 5.2 three-pointers a game means you're creating just a little over one point per possession. This year, 312 points for every 298 possessions. That's not what you want. The Detroit Pistons, the NBA's 25th-worst offense, score at about the same rate: 103.7 points per 100 possessions. Even as an aside, five possessions per game amongst the dozens that LeBron uses up, this still hurts the overall picture.
Because you only get so many looks per game. The Cavs average 91 possessions per contest, and while five out of 91 might not seem like much (especially considering that that he does right for a huge chunk of those other possessions), it's still enough to hurt. And that's not even considering the scads of long two-pointers LeBron takes.
About 5.2 a game, same as the three-pointers, at about the success rate you'd imagine (exactly 40 percent). Considering how infrequent it is that LeBron would get fouled in a long-two situation, that's about four points scored per every five possessions. That's ... that's not good.
There's much more, obviously, so click over and read on.
I'll take jumpers from LeBron if it's in the flow of the offense, I'd prefer to see them come with James working off the ball (incidentally, Chris Jent told me his field goal % will go up the more he does this), and I'll live with them when LeBron's in heat check mode, but watching him hoist 18 footers when no one else has touched the ball in the possession (or, at most, one) is insufferable to watch. It happened twice in the 4th quarter yesterday (from 22 and 25 feet), and both times in the stretch when the Cavs went from up 85-80 to down 86-85 and never to see the lead again. And both times there was little to no offense run.
Back to the original piece for a second.
Jacob Rosen over at WFNY also used my analysis as a jumping off point by looking at which teams have the most three-point attempts and highest percentages made.
In fact, among the top 20 teams in three point shooting percentage, they have an average winning percentage of .567. The rest of the NBA has only a .366 winning percentage. Among the top 20 teams in three point attempts per game, they have an average winning percentage of .546 while the rest of the NBA is only at .406.
Just take a look here at the top five teams in the NBA in three point shooting percentage as well as the bottom five teams: 1) Cavaliers, 2) Suns, 3) Nuggets, 4) Raptors, 5) Spurs, 26) Bulls, 27) Pacers, 28) Clippers, 29) Nets and 30) Pistons. It is obvious in all of these reflections that the three ball is crucial to teams winning games in the 2009-2010 season.
While I agree that teams that are shooting the three well are probably going to be in a better position to win more games, I think Jacob misses my point. I'm all for efficient offense and possessions that end with a three being launched a) Within the scheme of the offense, and b) By someone who shoots threes well. LeBron's 35% average from behind the arc doesn't merit the number of attempts he takes, and that's simply scratching the surface.
As I wrote, when you're talking about a guy who is deadly effective in getting into the paint for easy buckets (while, oftentimes, drawing fouls and putting the opponent's defense into trouble), when you're talking about a guy who is routinely compared to Magic Johnson in his passing abilities, and when you're talking about a Cavs offense that already struggles through pronounced and sometimes prolonged difficulties on the offensive end, it's not practical or advisable for 5.2 possessions a game to end with a LeBron three-pointer. (Keep in mind, there's plenty of games where he's hoisting 7, 9, 11 threes.)
The Cavs are a good three-point shooting team. That's partially due to LeBron's improved % from long range, but, more so, it's due to Anthony Parker, Mo Williams, and Boobie Gibson being among the league's best. Their success, in addition to sheer skill, is due to being wide open and being found within the offensive flow.
Too many of LeBron's threes come outside of the framework of anything that could be remotely considered offense.
Follow me on Twitter: @vincethepolack.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.