A breakdown into why LeBron James never got his due as a top scorer, the four-time champion is on his way to eclipsing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leader in scoring.
In his 19th season, LeBron James continues to break records and is on the verge of becoming the oldest player to earn the scoring title. The 37-year old superstar is currently averaging 29.7 PPG on 52.3% shooting from the field. The Lakers superstar is attempting above 20 shots per game this season.
However, scrutiny and criticism continue to chase him, whether it’s his poor free-throw shooting or inability to remain clutch. There can never be a unanimous opinion on James. Despite having a career PPG of 27.1, the superstar is not considered amongst the elite scorers in the league.
A physical specimen, James is known more for his playmaking and leadership skills. In a career spanning over 19-year, the Lakers superstar has only won the scoring title once, a classic example of how statistics can be misleading.
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An in-depth analysis into why LeBron James is not considered an all-time scorer.
Though many believe James should get his due as one of the greatest scorers, there are a host of reasons why he misses the mark. Listing down some key points that are a roadblock in James’ way of earning the title of an elite scorer.
James doesn’t have the best jumper.
A freak of nature, the four-time champion has based most of his scoring on driving towards the rim, dunks, and fadeaway shots. In his 19 seasons so far, James has attempted only 19.3% of his shots from 16-feet away from the basket, having an efficiency of 38.6%.
Most of his shots have come 3-feet away from the basket. Though there has been a significant improvement in his jump shots over the years, the four-time Finals MVP continues to rely heavily on his fadeaway shots. His free throw shooting is one of the top examples of why he prefers driving towards the rim.
The Lakers superstar is currently 43.0% from mid-range this season.
Having the edge in physicality over most players in the NBA.
Standing at 6″9′ and weighing 250 lb, Bron is nothing but muscle. It’s hard to defend against a player who not only has the above physical characteristics but is also quick and agile. Thus the eighteen-time All-Star can really dominate in the paint.
Considering his Finals history, in all the championships he won, James had the likes of Andre Iguodala, Thabo Sefolosha, Jimmy Butler, and Andrew Bogut. Taking nothing away from these players, James clearly had the edge in the physical aspects of things.
Nonetheless, we all know what Kawhi Leonard did to James, especially in the 2014 NBA Finals.
3-point and free-throw shooting.
Though James has his streaks of 3-point shooting, his consistency has always been an issue. The former Cavs player started the trend of shooting from the logo. However, efficiency remained a constant concern for the four-time Finals MVP.
A career 34.6% from the 3-point line and 73.4% from the free-throw line.
James doesn’t have a wide array of shots in his arsenal.
When we talk about the current scorers in the league, 3-pointers, mid-range jumper, catch and shoot are some of the things you expect. Unfortunately, James doesn’t find much success in these parts of his shot-making.
Some of the elite scorers in the league today like Curry, Durant, Irving, and James Harden, have a variety of shot-making abilities.
In the current era of the NBA, a scorer is known for the finesse in his shots. The biggest reason why guards are remembered more often than big men in the scoring department.