- Marc Stein, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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There was really only one hiccup for LeBron James on this week's ballyhooed trip to Cleveland.
Stuffed amid another routine win over the Cavs, swatting away the latest round of questions about his willingness to re-sign with them in free agency next summer and the Thanksgiving extravaganza he hosted for the whole team at his home in Akron, James did see his epic shooting percentage from the field dip slightly.
Which we were compelled to point out because epic is actually underselling it.
By shooting 9-for-19 from the floor against the Cavs, LeBron's field-goal percentage through 15 games dropped from an unfathomable ridiculous .609 to a still-rather-insane .598.
Early as it might seem to be talking about this stuff, LeBron has established a historic Month 1 pace with his uber-efficient shooting. Through a little digging in conjunction with my ESPN Stats & Info pals Paul Phillips and Steven Martinez, we found that only 10 players in league history with a listed height of 6-foot-9 or shorter have managed to take at least 500 shots in a season and convert at least 59 percent of them.
And only one player on that list -- Charles Barkley in 1989-90 -- has been that deadly accurate while hoisting at least 1,000 shots for the season like LeBron always does.
The 10 before LeBron:
BEST SHOOTERS EVER 6-9 AND UNDER
You'll note that only Barkley and McGee, of the players listed, had anything resembling LeBron's ability to score from all over the floor. My beloved Bernard King came close while with Golden State in 1980-81, but even he topped out at a success rate of. 588 with the Warriors that season.
The early season chatter, when it comes to LeBron's shooting, has been focused on his free-throw jump from 75.3 percent to 80.5 entering Friday's play. Maybe it's just me, but I find the field goal stuff to be even more fascinating, since the dramatic spikes we're seeing aren't merely a matter of conquering whatever mental demons that limited his success at the line up to now.
It's a reasonably safe bet James will tie a record that, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, belongs to Lenny Wilkens by improving his shooting percentage for the seventh successive season. But can he actually do what he's essentially done for the month of November and shoot 60 percent from the floor for an entire season?
It's one of the more interesting questions to ponder for a team and star that isn't supposed to serve up much regular-season intrigue.
There was really only one hiccup for LeBron James on this week's ballyhooed trip to Cleveland.Stuffed amid another routine win over the Cavs, swatting away the latest round of questions about his willingness to re-sign with them in free agency next summer and the Thanksgiving extravaganza he hosted for the whole team at his home in Akron, James did see his epic shooting percentage from the field dip slightly.