Ok guys this is my first post and I've always enjoyed going on this website, but never actually got around to making an account lol. Anyways I recently just wrote an evaluation paper on LeBron James, and I wanted to share it with people who may enjoy it. Enjoy :)
The Chosen One
Since the early 2000’s LeBron James has been hailed by as “The Chosen One”, and has even graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. He has been under the scrutiny and admiration of the social media at since he was just a teenager. These pressures could negatively affect a basketball player, however for LeBron that would not be the case. If one wanted to be complete player three criteria must be met, their physical attributes, overall basketball skills, such as shooting, rebounding, and defense, and to round it all out a high basketball IQ. James effectively blends all of these elements into his game, becoming arguably one of the most versatile players the world has ever seen.
For basketball players, their physical attributes plays one of the most important features. From a common fan of basketball the most immediate thing noticed about any basketball player is their physical attributes, and for good reason, the average height of an NBA player from the years 1985-2007 is 6’6.98 and an average weight of 221.00 pounds. (NBA.com) Athleticism is defined as “the ability to execute athletic movements at optimum speed with precision, style and grace in the context of the sport of activity” (Gambetta). The height and athleticism plays an important role because it helps to determine their position, but more importantly players with that with a smaller body and less athletic ability than another can severely limit their effectiveness. Lebron James stands at 6’8 with an official weight of 250 pounds, with a 7’0 wingspan, and a 6.7 percent body fat recorded in his pre-draft measurements, truly making him a physical specimen. (draftexpress) His physical stature in most cases would place Lebron as a standard NBA power forward, who can range between the heights of 6’8-7’0 with a weight of 240-260 pounds. James however in addition to powerfully built frame has the explosiveness and foot speed to excel as wing in the NBA.
“What makes James truly great, however, is how he’s maximized his athleticism to become the most versatile player in the game as well. This on-court versatility is exemplified by the way James plays transition defense, finishes in traffic, hangs in the air to create for others and closes out defensively in the half court.”(Bowers)
In this article Bowers notes that Lebron is able to do simply things that few others in the world are able to do just because of his athleticism. It goes on to show plays of Lebron’s play that reflect his athletic ability in all facets of the game, including his play making ability, and his defensive capabilities. Because Lebron is so physically imposing, and talented athletically it also impacts his versatility, and can be considered a truly position less player. He is effectively able to defend all positions on the court, and has often times been asked to guard the best players of rival teams. One would only have to look to the 2012 NBA post season to look at who Lebron has been asked to guard, such as Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics point guard, Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder small forward, and Roy Hibbert the center for the Indiana Pacers (ESPN). Those players were considered the best players of their respective team, but more importantly they were all completely different heights, ranging from 6’1 to 7’3. Each respective player also brought a unique challenge to Lebron from an athletic stand point, simply because on any given night he could be guarding a lighting fast point guard or a lengthy small forward, or even a bruising low post force. LeBron’s size and athleticism is something that few others in the world have, and unique combination of the two only elevates his game, and by all means fulfills everything a basketball player would need from a physical standpoint.
James is more than just a world class athlete; he also has one of the most complete basketball skillsets on both sides of the court. A basic way to breakdown skills would be to look at separate aspects of basketball itself that would include shooting, dribbling, rebounding, and passing, on ball defense and help defense. The importance of being a fundamentally sound player plays a large role in a player being viewed as an actually basketball player, or just an athlete. No one skill is of larger importance than another, rather they all play just as significant parts on a team as another. One such way to see if a player has a strong all around skill set is to simply look at their stats. From a statistical stand point for the most part Lebron has a complete game; however the only true flaw in his game was his shooting from the free throw line in which he has a career average of 74.6%, which is below the average for small forwards.(ESPN) It has also been noted that another weakness in his game would be his 3 point shooting percentage, however if one takes a look at all of his percentages it can be noted that he has had an increase in shooting each season, with the 2011-2012 season being his first he shot above the league average of 35 percent, that season he shot 36.2 percent.(ESPN)
Despite some of his deficiencies as a mediocre shooter for his career, Lebron more than makes up for it by making impacts in other areas of the game. Lebron is not only a versatile defender; he’s able to do so at an elite level that few can match. Statistics in blocks and steals do not necessarily tell the whole story of player’s defensive abilities, rather often times the only true way to determine if a player is a good defender is simply by watching him. However a few awards are recognized for player’s overall impact on the defensive side of the court is recognized. For instance from 2009-2012 James has been named to the All-Defensive 1st team. (ESPN) This team is selected by a panel. He is deserving of his spot due to not only his ability defend all positions, but he does so at an elite ability. Regardless of LeBron’s shortcomings as a shooter, although he has shown gradual improvement his entire career, his ability to impact a game with his defensive ability, and playmaking ability more than make up for it, and is fulfills the criteria as a player with a complete basketball skillset.
Perhaps one of the most under looked facets of basketball is a player’s mental approach to basketball. This is an important factor for basketball considering how fast pace and nonstop the game can be, one mental lapse can be the difference between a win and a loss in a game. The mental side of basketball has to deal several factors such as being able to break out of a slump, offensive or defensive awareness, and emotional stability. Lebron has had a usage rate as high as 32.7, meaning it is the number of possessions a player uses per 40 minutes in a game. This high usage rate from a player can lead to a high turnover ratio; however Lebron has only averaged 3.3 turnovers per game. (ESPN) This is a low amount when considered how often he has the ball in hands, and could indicate that although he has the ball in his hands often James makes the correct play that can lead to an open look for teammates. Even if James makes the right plays, from time to time he has been known to “choke” under pressure. For instance in the 2010-2011 NBA finals in game 4 of the finals Lebron had only scored four points in the final quarter of play, and deferred to his teammates to score. Lebron was quoted to saying “ Definitely didn’t play great offensively, I’ve got to do a better job of being more assertive offensively, not staying out of rhythm offensively the whole game.”(Sneed) This in a nutshell reflects his 2010-2011 NBA finals playoff performances. James was playing passively and often times deferred to his fellow star teammate specifically, Dwayne Wade, for a bailout. It exposed his lack of a killer instinct, and even led to questions regarding his will to win. However in the summer of 2012 at the Olympics Lebron played with a winner’s mentality to help shake his label as a choker. “Down 82-80, James rallied his 11 teammates, demanding the ball and cutting through the pressure to see the US to a 99-94 victory to remain 4-0 in the Olympic Games.” (Gigliotti) this showed to the world that Lebron seized control of his teammates, and wanted the pressure of performing at the highest level. Lebron for the has for the most part performed well at a high level, while consistently making the correct plays, however has not quite proven himself as a player with the mentality to win games for his team.
Lebron James is one of the most known athletes on a global scale. With his unique blend of size, skill, athleticism, and basketball IQ making him one of the most complete and versatile players to have ever played the game. Because of his great size and athletic ability LeBron can defend and play any position that he or his coaches choose to put him in at. His impact in any given game can be made without scoring a single basket because of the few flaws that he has, specifically shooting, is for the most part covered up. Although Lebron may be known to have mental lapses in crunch times, for the most part he makes the correct play on a consistent basis, and has even shown that he is capable of handling the late game pressure. If Lebron can correct his small and very fixable parts of his game, the only question left if he can be the greatest player of all time.
"2003 Pre Draft Measurements." Draftexpress.com. N.p., n.d. Web.
"Average Height of NBA Player." NBA.com. N.p., 21 Nov. 2007. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
Bowers, Brendan. "Miami Heat." Bleacher Report. N.p., 07 Nov. 2012. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
Espn.com. N.p., n.d. Web.
Gambetta, Vern. "Athleticism." Performbetter.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
Gigliotti, Dan. "Olympics." Bleacher Report. N.p., 26 Aug. 2012. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
"NBA.com: Prospect Profile: LeBron James." NBA.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
Sneed, Earl K. "Inside Report: NBA Finals Game 4 Recap - Miami Heat (2-2) at Dallas Mavericks (2-2) | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE DALLAS MAVERICKS."THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE DALLAS MAVERICKS. N.p., 07 June 2011.
Hope it wasn't too long lol.