LeBron James is making 26 percent of his threes this season. That’s the worst percentage of his career from behind the arc. After missing all five of his attempts from long range in a 104-103 loss to the Celtics on Friday night, James was asked about his waning percentage, and was clearly annoyed by it:
“I could care less about what I shoot from the 3,” James snapped. “It’s not my game.”
“Like I tell you guys at the end of my career they’re not going to say LeBron was a great 3-point shooter,” he said. “I’m going to continue to take them. I work on them. If they go in, fine, if not I’ll live in the paint. So I’m not a 3-point shooter, I never will be a 3-point shooter. If I shoot it well, cool, but that doesn’t define my game, shooting 3s.”
LeBron hasn’t made a three since Jan. 25.
When LeBron does make threes, it’s simply a luxury to his game. He does everything else supremely well (shooting 50 percent from the field this season) and most of the time doesn’t even need to shoot the three. But as I said in my column on LeBron last year, when he is hitting the three, or jump shots in general, that’s when the commentator on hand says something along the lines of, “when he’s hitting that, there’s really no stopping him”.
As he said himself, LeBron is not a three-point shooter. That’s never been his game and never will be. Yet he understands the reality that you have to take them to make them. His confidence in shooting the three is definitely impacted by the fact that he can bully his way into the paint whenever he so pleases. LeBron would rather be efficient than trigger-happy.
If LeBron was a consistent three-point threat, he might be the best player ever already. His scoring average would be higher and he’d be more of a consummate offensive threat. That being said, he’s still an all-time great without being a three-point shooter, and much like Shaq used to say about his free throws, LeBron will continue to look to make the shot when his team needs him to.