by Tony Manfred
LeBron James is on one of the greatest hot streaks in NBA history right now.
He had 39 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists last night against Oklahoma City. It was his seventh-straight game with at least 30 points while shooting 58% or better.
We are watching LeBron reach his peak, and all week commentators (and even LeBron himself) have been playing up the Michael Jordan-LeBron James comparisons.
Related: The Fabulous Life of LeBron James
But according to Jordan, LeBron still has one obvious flaw in his game still – he has a tendency to shoot jumpers when he goes left, and drive to the basket when he goes right.
Here’s the key passage from ESPN’s Wright Thompson’s article on Michael Jordan today:
“It has to do with his mechanics and how he loads the ball for release. ‘So if I have to guard him,’ Jordan says, ‘I’m gonna push him left so nine times out of 10, he’s gonna shoot a jump shot. If he goes right, he’s going to the hole and I can’t stop him. So I ain’t letting him go right.’
“For the rest of the game, when LeBron gets the ball and starts his move, Jordan will call out some variation of ‘drive’ or ‘shoot.’ … He’s answering texts, buried in his phone, when the play-by-play guy announces a LeBron jump shot. Without looking up, Jordan says, ‘Left?'”
There’s some evidence that Jordan is actually right.
Here’s LeBron’s shot chart for 2013. He has taken 175 two-point jump shots from the left side of the court, and only 87 two-point jumpers from the right side of the court.
This indicates that LeBron is typically getting to the rim more often when he goes right than when he goes left.
It’s not “90%” like MJ said, but it’s significant.
LeBron shoots 73% when he gets to the rim, and 40% when he takes a two-pointer from the left side of the court. So you absolutely want him to take jump shots.
There isn’t much to complain about with LeBron’s game. But MJ, always the perfectionist, has found something legitimate.