More post-ups = more success for LeBron
October, 15, 2013
By Ryan Feldman
ESPN Stats & Information
ESPN Stats & Information
Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesLeBron James has posted up much more often over the last two seasons.In ESPN the Magazine's NBA preview issue, which will be released on Friday, LeBron James commented on how he has plenty of room for improvement in his post-up game.
"I know I still have room for improvement. I feel I can improve on my shooting, on my ballhandling, on my low-post game. Since I started playing ball, I've only been in the low post for two years now, playing with my back to the basket. So that still needs a lot of improvement to catch up with the rest of my game."
LeBron has changed his game drastically over the last two seasons, becoming much more of a low-post threat.
Over the last two seasons -- the time in which LeBron said he has been playing in the low post -- 13 percent of his plays have been post-up plays and 11 percent of his points have come from the post.
In the previous five seasons, only six percent of his plays and six percent of his points came from post-up plays.
His post-up plays per game and post-up points per game have increased by more than 80 percent over the last two seasons compared to his previous five seasons.
Posting up more often has led to higher percentage shot attempts by LeBron. His average shot distance in his first eight seasons was 12.5 feet from the basket. In the last two seasons, it's 11.4 feet.
With an improved post-up game, LeBron hasn't had to rely on jump shots quite as much. After shooting 10.1 jump shots per game in his first eight seasons, he has attempted 7.5 jumpers per game over the last two seasons. That includes just 2.9 3-point attempts per game over the last two seasons compared to 4.2 3-point attempts per game in his first eight seasons.
With an average shot attempt distance of more than a foot closer to the basket, naturally LeBron's field goal percentage has improved. After shooting 47 percent during his first eight seasons, he has shot 55 percent over his last two seasons, including a career-high 57 percent last season.
LeBron relied on his post-up game even more in the 2013 postseason. He averaged more than four post-up plays per game, accounting for 16 percent of his total plays en route to the Heat's second straight NBA title.
Whether or not finding a post-up game was the key aspect that led to LeBron finally breaking through and winning back-to-back championships is up for debate. But the stats don't lie. LeBron has posted up more often, has settled for jump shots less often, and on average has attempted closer shots to the basket.
All of that has resulted in a more efficient, more successful LeBron James.