Ever since the inception of the Big 3 in 2010, LeBron James’ shot attempts per game have steadily declined. In the past four seasons as Miami Heat player he has averaged 18.8, 18.9, 17.8 and 16.5 field goal attempts per game, thus putting him on pace for a new career low in 2013-14. In turn, that’s also meant his scoring has taken a slight hit as he is averaging 26.7 points per game so far in his four seasons in a Heat uniform compared to 28.85 points in his last four as a Cleveland Cavalier.
Nonetheless, even though his chances are limited and his scoring is down somewhat, his shooting has only skyrocketed while he has been in South Florida, including an unprecedented 58 percent conversion rate this year, which is on pace to set a new career high. However, and no doubt more importantly, his team has appeared in the last three NBA Finals, winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.
Individually, LeBron James has picked up the last two regular season and Finals Most Valuable Player awards and he is widely thought of to be the best player on the planet.
Yet the King is still green with envy.
“I get jealous sometimes when I look over at [Kevin Durant] and he’s like 16-for-32 (from the field) and then 14-for-34,” James told ESPN.com’s Tom Haberstroh.” There are games where I have it going, and then at the end of the game, I’m like, damn, I shot just 12-for-16? Why don’t I get up at least six or seven more?
“First of all, you have to have an unbelievable mindset to get up 30 shots. I always think about it, though. If I get up high-20s, 30 shots a game, what could I do today, with the way I’m playing?”
It’s understandable for LeBron to see his counterpart put up big numbers and feel motivated to put in an even better performance himself, after all competition is what drives players to get better. But for him to say he is “jealous” of Durant, especially when you consider that LeBron has won near enough every award and the only thing Kevin Durant has for show is a few scoring titles, that’s when the head scratching begins.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 15, 2014
Kevin Durant may be in blistering form right now after scoring no less than 29 points in all but three of his last 16 contests and at least 36 points in eight, all while taking at least 20 shots in half of those games. Then again that’s because he has to, with the absence of Russell Westbrook and no other player stepping up.
The only players to give any sort of aid to Durant this season have been Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson. However Ibaka reached the 20 point mark just four times in the last 16 games and although Jackson has lessened the blow of losing Westbrook, he is nowhere near the same threat the All-Star point guard was.
Can anyone blame James for being curious as to what would happen if he were to be a high volume shooter? Nope, especially when you consider the fact that he has a ridiculous shooting percentage. However, for that to happen, he would have to tap into his “Cavalier James” reserve i.e. go one on five or score 25 straight points. This Miami Heat squad is simply too good for that and him being selfish and putting on an immaculate individual performance wouldn’t be in the best interest of the team overall.