In case you needed an additional reminder of how awesome LeBron James is, here’s a little something to put what we’re seeing from him this season into historical context.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
The final tally for LeBron’s ridiculously accurate shooting in the month of February was 139 makes in 217 attempts from the field for a success rate of 64.1 percent. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the highest field goal percentage by a player in a calendar month featuring at least 200 shots since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shot 158-for-243 (.650) for the Lakers in March 1983.
To translate, James just finished the best individual shooting month by any NBA player in the last 30 years.
Even more amazing is the high percentage of shots James made from areas on the floor that aren’t typically recommended spots for players to be taking their shots from — namely, those classified as “long twos.”
Take a look at LeBron’s shot chart for the month of February:
In the zones just inside the three-point line, beginning about 18 feet from the basket, James made 27 of his 45 attempts, good for a mark of 60 percent.
It’s an insanely high number, and even more maddening is the fact that those are the shots opposing coaches would love to see James take more regularly. Why? Because even the most rudimentary forms of advanced statistics will tell you that from a percentage and risk-reward standpoint, those are the worst shots in basketball.
Not for LeBron, though — at least not in February. On the season, James is shooting a much more reasonable 43.7 percent from the same areas — which is still pretty nuts, considering that’s Jamal Crawford’s exact shooting percentage for the entire season, and it’s higher than Russell Westbrook’s mark of 43.4 percent.
And again, he’s hitting that percentage on what are traditionally the game’s toughest shots.
We’re witnessing one of the all-time greats play the game in his prime, while giving us rare, historical feats to add to his legacy and list of accomplishments as his seasons go by. It’s worth being reminded of, and we’re all incredibly fortunate to be here to watch.