Basketball

Reviewing LeBron James’ Great 18th Season so far

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When reviewing LeBron James’ season so far, it’s no wonder he has been placed in the early MVP conversation, but just how good has the four-time MVP been?

Upon reviewing LeBron James’ season, the most praiseworthy aspects are his improved shooting, moving from primary ball-handler, and how clutch he has been.

He’s averaging 25.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game. Last year he finished second in the MVP race to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Some thought James deserved to win as he averaged 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 10.2 assists.

Improved shooting

If you are reviewing LeBron James’ season, you have to look at how well he has shot the ball. James continues to improve his turnaround-jumper. It is proving to be a very effective shot James is comfortable with and can hit throughout a game.

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LeBron James ices out game in Cleveland with tough turnaround jumper

The biggest difference is his 3-point shot. Last year, he shot 34.8% from distance. This year, he’s currently shooting 41.7% from three. If he maintains this rate, it would be the best he’s ever shot from three in his career.

We’ve seen James go off in games with his much-improved shot this season already. For example, James went 7-11 from beyond the arc against his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, on January 25. James dropped 46 points whilst going 73% from the field.

Another night, we saw James catch fire against the Milwaukee Bucks. He shot 6-10 from beyond the arc in a Lakers 113-106 victory.

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James going off from beyond the arc, started 4-4 against the Detroit Pistons

James is playing off-ball more

Also when reviewing LeBron James’ season so far, it is noticeable that his assists have declined from last year. However, that’s understandable considering James has been relieved of his duties as the primary ball-handler.

The introduction of Dennis Schroder as the starting point guard has allowed James to play off-ball a lot more.

Furthermore, the introduction of Marc Gasol means James can also get more open looks by cutting, which he excels at.

James can now enjoy cutting to the basket a lot more than last season

Now that James has been relieved of having to run the offense as much as he did before, he’s got more energy to give on defense.

Although the Lakers did have Rajon Rondo run the offense as well last season, Rondo didn’t start with James, he came off the bench. James’ usage as a point guard was evident from him leading the league in assists for the first time in his career.

James has also proven that he takes his game to a new level for the playoffs. He’s currently averaging 33.1 minutes per game, the lowest in his career. This is not only to do with the Lakers strengthening their roster but also with the fact that he doesn’t need to run the offense as much.

Playing fewer minutes will only benefit him and the Lakers, giving him more rest for the postseason.

Reviewing LeBron James’ season: How clutch has he been so far?

Another big thing we’ve got to applaud when reviewing LeBron James’ season is his performances in close games. Around some NBA fans, there is a false perception that James isn’t clutch. This season we’ve seen him finish several close games already.

In the Lakers’ second game against the San Antonio Spurs, we saw him close the game. Lakers were up 105-103. With 34 seconds left, James posted up Derrick White and got to the basket for the bank shot, securing the Lakers’ win.

We saw James close again in the Lakers’ second game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers were up by three after a dunk from Brandon Clarke. James then hit a turnaround jumper, fading from the top of the key, putting Lakers up five with a minute left.

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James clutch turnaround jumper at Memphis

In the Lakers’ first game against the Chicago Bulls, James made the most important play of the game in what was a tough quarter for the Lakers. James attacked the rim as he does so well, finishing with his right to put the Lakers up four with 46.5 seconds left.

Against the Milwaukee Bucks with a minute left, Lakers up five, the Bucks needed a stop. With the shot clock expiring, James got the ball from Anthony Davis and it looked like the Bucks may get the stop. Instead, James just pulled up from deep with Brook Lopez on him, hitting the dagger.

James clutch three against the Bucks

Most recently against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the game saw him drop 21 points in the fourth quarter after starting the quarter down by two. He completely took over the game and put away the Cavs. Anthony Davis even said that James “carried us to the win tonight.”

Lakers’ are currently 14-6, good for third in the Western Conference and favourites to win the Championship again. James has continued to show that his age isn’t slowing him down.

Before the season started, Phoenix Suns point guard and James’ close friend Chris Paul spoke on his on JJ Reddick’s podcast about how people speculate “is this the year [LeBron] gonna such and such, y’all got a long time before that.”

In conclusion, when reviewing LeBron James’ season, it has to be noted as one that shows signs of a possible push for MVP. He’s playing fewer minutes, shooting the ball better than he ever has, closing out game after game, and leading one of the best teams in the NBA.

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