Training Day With Lebron
Because the world is full of cynics I’m sure there are a few people still out there who believe Lebron spends his offseason sipping Mai-Tais, counting his cash, and tugging Jay-Z’s sleeve like some little brother. But hopefully the series of graphs below educates those ignorant few that remain. Lebron works at his craft. I can’t say if he puts in as many hours as Jordan, Bird, Magic or whoever people want to romanticize about, but I do know it’s clear that he improves his game each year. And here is visual proof. Below is a series of Lebron’s shooting chart for each season he has been in the NBA. The colors are simple enough. Red means he shot below the league average in that area. Yellow means he was around the league average, and green means he is above it. Obviously the percentages you see are what he shot for that area. The six areas are Restricted Area, In The Paint, Mid-Range, Left Corner 3, Right Corner 3, and 3 Point Shots Above The Break (Where the 3 point line begins to arc). I’ll also include his free throw shooting for that season below each chart. Hopefully this will help illustrate how he has become the most brutally efficient scorer in the NBA.
Free Throw Percentage: 75.4%
Free Throw Percentage: 75%
Free Throw Percentage: 73.8%
Free Throw Percentage: 69.8%
Free Throw Percentage: 71.2%
Free Throw Percentage: 78%
Free Throw Percentage: 76.7%
Free Throw Percentage: 75.9%
Free Throw Percentage: 77.1%
Free Throw Percentage: 75.3%
Free Throw Percentage: 80.5%
He doesn’t have a whole lot of territory left to conquer on the court. Lebron is on the verge of winning NBA Shot Chart Risk. He’s got the mid-range game boxed in like the poor bastard who is hanging onto Ukraine at the end of the game. Still only 28 years old at the moment means Lebron has more time to get better, which has to be a demoralizing thought for other NBA teams not in Miami. Admittedly Lebron is discussed constantly, but I couldn’t recall anyone having done this before so I put it out there. If it’s all over the internet my bad.
Best New Nickname
So far the best new nickname in the NBA I have to begrudgingly give to Boston Celtic big man, Vitor Faverani. The Brazilian rookie’s nickname, El Hombre Indestructible. Credit my good friend Pete Vitt with the assist on sharing the nickname with me.
Dueling Bad Backcourts
One of the worst forms of entertainment has to be when the two pianists at a dueling piano bar are just awful. The scene is always suspect to begin with, thanks to the unexplainable amount of bachelorette parties there at all times. That goes for any city in the United States. 40% of their income is thanks to girls in sashes and penis crowns. I can’t confirm this, but I know the Wall Street Journal will back me up soon enough. Anyway it’s a terrible experience when they are bad, “Call Me Al” is butchered into a bloody musical mess and they can actually cause me to temporarily hate “Tiny Dancer.” But because of the $ 15 dollar cover you paid at the door you feel obligated to stay for at least 45 minutes to an hour. This year in the NBA we have not one but TWO teams whose backcourts are the equivalent of pathetic dueling pianos. The Knicks starting backcourt of J.R. “Diddley” Smith and Raymond “Fat Sacks” Felton along with the Bobcats Kemba “Peanuts” Walker and Gerald “Snakehips” Henderson are testing their fans’ resilience to watching bad basketball this season. I’m going start with the Knicks so I can delay shining light on Episcopal alum, Gerald Henderson’s game in 2013.
Random Chicago promotion, if you want to guarantee hearing excellent dueling Jazz bands the only place to go is Kingston Minds. I love you Lincoln Park.
Now for the Knicks since both Smith and Felton have missed time this year they don’t currently qualify for being included in the league leaders of FG%, so instead the numbers are filtered out to all players scoring at least 10 points or more per game. Of the 139 players that currently get 10 or more a game J.R. Smith ranks dead last in FG% at a no-adjective-harsh-enough 32.8%. Next closest is poor D. Rose at a slightly more respectable 35.4%. Smith’s horror show offense doesn’t end there though. Smith is averaging 6.3 shots behind the 3 point line and is watching 1.8 of them go in. That comes out to a 28.6% on 3FG. Unfortunately his pathetic shooting hasn’t dissuaded Smith from heaving up more shots as he is second on the team in shot attempts (13.1) trailing only Melo (22.3). And just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for J.R. it does, he is shooting a career worst 59.1% from the free throw line. Smith’s rebounds (4.6), assists (1.9), and steals (1.2) are all down from last season too. He is however averaging 1/10th less turnovers per game at 1.6. Including this season Smith has four years left on his contract to iron things out though, so Knicks fans have to be psyched about that.
As for Smith’s running mate, Raymond Felton, things are only marginally better. Of those same 139 players averaging at least 10 points per game Felton is 14 spots ahead of Smith! That’s 124 out of 139. His current slash line is 38.6/23.8/85.7. His free throw shooting is superb, but he’s only getting to the line 1.3 times per game. As a distributor things are generally bas as well. Felton is getting only 5.5 assists per game which puts him at 22rd in the league. Not great for a starting point guard who doesn’t double as a major scoring threat. One positive though is that he is only averaging 2.5 turnovers per game. The Knicks are 3-12, aren’t going have any cap room till 2015, and don’t have a first round pick in 2014. James. Fucking. Dolan.
As far as backcourts and team executives go, the only place outside of New York where things could be worse is down in Charlotte. Jordan has proved to be a marginal owner and bad talent evaluator at best. The Bobcats are at least going back to their old colors and name next season, so that’s a positive for Jordan. For now though his team is fielding maybe the worst backcourt in the NBA. Both Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson qualify to be counted among the league leaders in FG%. According to NBA.com Kemba is ranked 124th shooting a robust 37% and Henderson is ranked 121st at 38.3%. Oh and did I mention there are currently only 125 players that qualify?
Henderson has done his best to stretch the definition of the term shooting guard as he is only shooting 31.8% behind the arc. Kemba is looking to do the same with the point guard position as he leads the team in FGA per game at 15.6, ignoring his duties as a distributor and creator. He’s second on the team in assists per game at 4, behind Josh McRoberts. Not only is Walker behind McRoberts, but he’s tallying more dimes while on the floor 6.8 minutes less than Walker per game.
Not only do the Charlotte fans have to endure watching this offense, they now have to be concerned with a new interactive portion of the Walker-Henderson show. Apparently the woman is doing alright, and to Henderson’s credit he took to Twitter as soon as he could to apologize. That’s that excellent Episcopal education right there.
Either of these duos could be coming to an arena near you soon, so if a friend asks if you want tickets make sure you have other plans in place. And if you are stuck paying for 8 dollar Miller Lites and diving out of the way from high speed basketballs don’t say you weren’t warned.