Thursday, July 1, 2010

Point LeBron? It may be his best position.

Lost in all the talk about where LeBron James may wind up is one other pertinent question. What position does he play?

I’m sure you are like, “Duh. Small Forward, dude.” 

Not so fast Spicoli. 

LeBron has spent the majority of his career as a SF but in a routine check of his birthdate on his NBA.com player profile I noticed something. King James’ three point percentage for his career is just .329 (the last two seasons he knocked in .344 and .333 of his deep shots). Why is that news or noteworthy? We have long believed over here that a crucial element to offensive balance in the NBA is having a THREE man (SF) that can stretch the defense with accurate three-point shooting. Our “rule” is that, among other criteria, an effective SF should shoot 33% from long range at minimum. LeBron is clearly right on that borderline—hitting the 33% exactly this last season, but being slightly below the cut off point for his career. 

We humbly suggest that perhaps LeBron would be more useful to the overall balance of a team if he were playing Point Guard. Why? The absence of James at SF would allow his team to plop a legit, NBA accurate, three-point shooter on the floor. Suddenly - whatever team James is on has a stretched floor that would allow him more room to operate off-the dribble, where he is most dangerous. Overall team size would increase - which would almost certainly lead to a higher rebounding percentage. 

Skeptical of LeBron as a Point Guard? Check the data. LeBron is so skilled that his assist-to-turnover ratio was 2.49 to 1. That is a higher and better ratio than what was posted in the regular season by Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups, Ty Lawson, Earl Watson, and a slough of other players known as pure Point Guards.  Defensively -  James would overmatch 99.9% of his opponents. I believe even the quickest little PG’s would not bother LeBron that much. He is an elite athlete himself, and even he if was beaten—we all know that he recovers faster and more strongly than any defender in the NBA. 

Obviously - LeBron James playing ANY position on a basketball team would benefit a squad. But we are talking about the NBA, where history has proven that  “inches, fractions and angles matter”. Perhaps those “inches” are a significant factor in why the NBA’s most talented player is still looking for his first championship ring. 

I don’t see a downside to LeBron James being a Point Guard full time. Not only do I not see a downside. I actually think it may be the his best chance to win it all.

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