Hey all, I’m getting dressed up to go catch Cavs-Clippers over at Staples and don’t have a ton of time, but did just see this on NBA.com (Found Via TrueHoop). It’s a (very good) interview with game-charter and guru Harvey Pollack, who at one point mentions the following tidbit:
He said, ‘I watch it.’
So, during the height of Michael’s career, I got the play-by-play of the first 20 Bulls games and I checked the distance of every shot Jordan took during the season and sure enough, he was shooting under 40 percent from 15 feet back.
Then Wilt said, ‘Jordan doesn’t take any shots from seven feet in, all of those shots are drives to the basket. He doesn’t take five or six footers. He goes right to the hoop.’
I tried 20 more games and ended up looking at the entire season and got the same results. Wilt’s analysis held up.
This is interesting for a simple reason, particularly on the under 7-foot shots: LeBron is the same way. One of these days I’m going to get around to writing a full-on opus on whether or not LeBron James is really a bad shooter or if shot selection is his issue, but one of the interesting things is that while he’s competent from long range and midrange, the one area where he’s absolutely awful are the “chippy” areas: He’s 24-114 from the shortest jump shot zones on the floor.
If you watch, you know this is because LeBron doesn’t have a mini-pull up move when he drives: when he gets his shoulder down, he always goes at full speed and either gets to the rim, draws the foul, or fires a full-speed slop shot. I think that not having a move from that area is one of his major problems, especially against elite teams, but it’s interesting to know that the most egregious Achilles’ heel in his perimeter game is one he has in common with the GOAT. As I said, nothing behind this analysis, just a brain dump as I try to remember where I keep my polo shirts.