LeBron James has entered the 2020-21 season with a different offensive approach for the Los Angeles Lakers. Likely in an effort to preserve his body for the postseason, James is averaging a career high in both makes and attempts per game from the 3-point line.
This has led to him shooting the second-highest 3-point percentage of his career, at 38.2% on 6.4 attempts per game.
Following a blowout win against the New Orleans Pelicans — the Lakers’ fourth double-digit victory in a row — James was informed that Lakers head coach Frank Vogel had referred to him as the best shooter on the team.
While there are plenty of players who shoot a higher percentage for L.A., no one is doing it with the volume of James, who averages 1.8 attempts more per game from 3 higher the next highest player on the roster.
“I mean, we’ve got a lot of great shooters on the team, man,” James said. “KCP is a great shooter, Wes Matthews is a great shooter, Kuz can shoot the heck out of the ball, Dennis the Menace can shoot the ball, A.D. can shoot the ball as well. We’ve got a lot of great knockdown shooters.
“Now obviously if someone says bet, you guys know I’m going to take myself. That’s just the competitive nature in me and the work ethic I put into my shot. I feel real good with my shot right now, both from the free throw line and also the 3-point line. I want to continue to give defenses different styles of my play.
“Playing pick-and-roll basketball, playing in the midrange, playing in the post, getting out on the break where I’ve always been pretty good. Continuing to keep the defense off balance will help our team in the long run.”
Anthony Davis had a different answer for the best shooter on the team, giving the crown to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope while also acknowledging James’ marksmanship. “He’s up there. ‘Bron has been shooting the ball extremely well this year,” Davis began.
“Obviously Kenny has been shooting the ball; congrats to him for moving up to ninth on the Lakers’ list. I would have to say Kenny is always our guy who we look to for shots. Wes is still struggling to find a consistent 3, but I still put Wes up there. He’s a sniper. Kenny and Wes, I put ‘Bron third just because this year he’s been able to shoot the ball extremely well, Marc is up there.
“Then I’ll put myself. You’ve got Dudz, A.C. Honestly, all our guy are able to make shots and we have been making shots this year. It’s tough. I’ll have to look at the percentages. ‘Bron is always going to be up there just because he shoots a ton of them, especially when he gets hot. He starts shooting from halfcourt and things like that. I don’t think Coach would allow Kenny to do that (laughs).”
Among players who shoot at least one three per game, Alex Caruso surprisingly leads the team in 3-point percentage, making an absurd 58.3% of his attempts. James ranks fifth in percentage on the Lakers while Davis ranks seventh.
Davis “comfortable” with 3-point shooting
Vogel and the Lakers coaching staff went into the 2020-21 season with a goal in mind that Davis would shoot at least five 3s per game. He has not yet achieved that number, but he has looked very comfortable from range.
“I work on it all the time with Mike P., just constantly putting in reps and then getting in the game, letting it fly and being comfortable with everything I do in drills and applying it to the game,” Davis recently said.
“Coach wants me to average at least five a game this year. I have a lot of good looks that sometimes I pass up for a better shoot, but I’ve just got to shoot them. Any time I shoot a high volume I usually shoot pretty well from the field.”
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