LeBron James draws fouls.
It’s part of his skill as a basketball player — he’s quick enough to get to the rim, strong enough to finish through contact. LeBron averages 7.3 free throw attempts a game (eighth highest in the league) and has a very healthy free throw rate of .42 (percentage of free throw attempts per field goal attempts).
But LeBron has now gone back-to-back games without getting a free throw attempt, something very rare and pointed out by Royce Young at Eye on Basketball.
The game Sunday was the first time since 2009 LeBron hadn’t attempted a free throw in a game. But now with it happening two straight times, this is the first time it’s happened consecutively since 2003, LeBron’s rookie season.
“Very surprised,” James told reporters about it.
There’s a logical reason for this (as Young notes) — LeBron has ditched the mask covering his broken nose, apparently feeling it bothered his shot. But without the mask he is shying away from contact (he is still getting to the rim, 9 of his 15 shots against Washington Monday were in the restricted area).
Next up for the Heat are the Nets on Wednesday. I’d be shocked if LeBron doesn’t have a free throw attempt in that game.