Dec. 06, 2017
The King is refining his outside shot
The Cleveland Cavaliers have won five in a row and have hit a positive stride for the first time this young season. They have yet to reach full health, but the shaky start seems to be behind them. The flip has been somewhat switched as veterans have stepped up. Not to mention they have a guy by the name of LeBron James that is stirring the ship in the right direction.
James is playing in his 15th season as a pro and is still the best player in the game today. One of the questions entering the year was whether or not James would switch his playing style following the departure of Kyrie Irving to Boston. We might be getting a glimpse of that, especially considering the last four games as a sample size.
While his powerful tomahawk jams are thrilling to see, the reality is James is no longer the young 18-year-old high school prodigy. Longevity has to come to mind as he is a seasoned veteran who will turn 33 at the end of December. His game has matured and we now see him settling a lot more for outside shots. Down the stretch we find him isolated in the post and he has added the fadeaway to his assortment of shots.
One of the overshadowed facets about his 56 point outburst versus Washington on Nov. 3rd was the fashion James scored his buckets. In the 4th quarter we saw James featured in post ups on the baseline and on the block. An array of midrange fadeaways were displayed, as James looks the most comfortable he has ever been sinking the outside jumper. He is currently shooting a career best 41 percent from three and in his last five games shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc as well as 53 percent from the field.
These aren't casual shots either, in Madison Square Garden James hit a huge three that capped a 23 point comeback victory for the Cavs on Nov. 13th. He squared up and knocked down a contested left wing three over the 7'3" frame of Kristaps Porzingis. This three gave Cleveland the lead for good and stunned the Garden crowd.
Down the stretch against the LA Clippers on Nov. 17th, James hit back-to-back threes to help send the contest into overtime in which the Cavs won 118-113. In the extra period, James knocked down a tough midrange jumper over Austin Rivers with 30.7 seconds left to seal the deal. You can see James exchanging words with injured guard Pat Beverly following his clutch shot.
For James, there is no doubt he is out for revenge this season after the Finals lost to Golden State last June. This year means a little bit more for him obviously with the messy media driven breakup with Kyrie Irving. While his Celtics have won 15 in a row and look like the team to beat in the east, we must remember that once late April comes around a teams regular season record is meaningless.
The Cavaliers are beginning to look like the team we all expected to see, but the consistency level relatively remains unknown. With main pieces of the rotation Derrick Rose, Tristan Thompson, and Isaiah Thomas currently still out we have yet to see them in complete form. There is one thing for sure, LeBron is still proving night after night he possess an MVP level skill set that won't be going away for awhile.
As the league shifts to a leaner, more perimeter dominated game, James has once again proven he can alter his game to roll with the punches. His shooting form was also changed in the off season due to an elbow injury he suffered late last year. Although it is only 17 games into a young season, The King has already demonstrated he is a willing jumpshooter, which is scary for the rest of the league.