I intended to write this after Game 2 but life as a freshly minted college graduate sort of got in the way, but in comes Game 5 and here's the perfect time to drop this piece before LeBron James presumably blows it into oblivion in Game ...
I intended to write this after Game 2 but life as a freshly minted college graduate sort of got in the way, but in comes Game 5 and here's the perfect time to drop this piece before LeBron James presumably blows it into oblivion in Game 6.
As someone, like all of you, that's watched most of every LeBron James postseason game, there's been one thing noticeably lacking in his otherwise impenetrable game. No, it's not the "killer instinct" or "lack of aggression" that experts might lazily point out in their attempts to perpetuate their hate. It's something that's simultaneously his best and worst asset; his brain. Without a doubt (unless Chris Paul is playing), when he steps foot on the court, he's the smartest player on the floor. Aggression shouldn't be termed in a dull statistic like shot attempts, instead, James often is aggressive in finding his players shots, especially open ones. In many ways, Mike Miller, Shane Battier and Ray Allen are much better fits in the offense than a Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole.
However, the San Antonio Spurs have done everything in their power to make him do what he loves to do, instead of allowing him to capture a rhythm he's been rolling with for the past two years. His jump shot, while noticeably improved (40.7 percent on threes), is still inconsistent when he doesn't shoot it in the flow of an offensive play. Isolation basketball just isn't his calling card, for better or better. Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green or even Boris FREAKING Diaw is guarding a Jose Altuve (baseball joke) length away, daring him to shoot the moment he walks past halfcourt.
According to Synergy Sports, James shoots 43.9 percent from distance spotting up, 33.9 percent on a pick-and-roll and 34.4 percent on isolations. Sample size? Just remember James' best three-point shooting season is this one so i hasn't gotten better than this. It is a respectable number but something I'm sure Gregg Popovich will allow especially when it throws the the Heat out of their spread-movement offense.
In comes Stephen Curry, our beloved point guard—with an actual hairline!—who shoots about 125 percent from spot up, isolation, off dribble, off one leg, and from full court. In all seriousness, Curry shoots 52.1 percent on spot-ups, 43.6 percent on a pick-and-roll and 37.6 percent on isolations threes.
With this dream scenario comes a single caveat: the players' playing style have to match up. For example, we can't or shouldn't mesh Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony together and act like we immediately have the greatest offensive basketball player alive. The thought of a post-up and long-range shooting genius is intoxicating but the defense is still lacking and Durant's mindset resembles more of LeBron in the playmaking area while Carmelo is more Kobe Bryant in his penchant to jack up shots from anywhere at anytime.
Curry's abilities complement James' like the last piece of a Tetris puzzle because not only will James now be able to shoot from anywhere with total confidence but both players are great playmakers that look to get teammates involved throughout the game. Often, we see Curry pass a last shot up because it's the open one—see Kobe Bryant's Achilles game when Curry passed to Carl Landry who proceeded to miss the wide-open jumper in the waning seconds. Given the opportunity, LeBron would have done the exact same thing.
All this is just me fantasizing. There's no way a seemingly perfect basketball player like LeBron James could get better, right? Right?
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Who's your perfect basketball player? Comment away!