You know Cleveland Cavaliers do-it-all star LeBron James is having a good season when the only component of his game people can criticize are his struggles from the free throw line. With just 13 games to go in the regular season, the King is shooting a dismal 67.6 percent from the free-throw stripe, by far the worst of his career. The only other season he shot less than 70 percent was in 2006-07, when he shot 69.8 percent.
While the reasons for his struggles at the free-throw line are not known, James has taken it upon himself to improve that mark once the postseason begins. In a video taken by cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon, the 32-year-old admitted that he hasn’t been himself in terms of making free throws so far this season but knows that he can turn it around when he is needed most: Playoff time. He even said that he will shoot at least 80 percent from the free-throw stripe come the postseason.
Presently, James is producing 4.76 points per game from the stripe. If he does in fact take that up to 80 percent, that mark becomes 5.68 points per game. Jumping from 67 to 80 percent may not seem like too much when considering the fact that James averages 7.1 free throws per game so far this season, but when it comes to the playoffs, a one- or two-point difference could not only change a game, but change an entire series.
When your the best basketball player in the world, it could be hard to realize some of your flaws, especially trying to admit them to the public, but throughout his career, James has done just that. Every flaw in his game that he has ever had, he has worked to make better. Whether it’s his shooting, ball handling, defense, or any other part of his game, No. 23 has morphed himself into one of the best players to ever dribble a basketball.
He is on pace to set career highs in rebounds (8.4 per game) and has the third-best shooting percentage (54.3 percent) and second-best three-point percentage (38.5 percent) of his career. While it may seem too hard to just “flip a switch” and automatically get better at the free-throw line come playoff time, don’t ever count out James or say that he can’t do something. James has shot better than 80 percent from the free-throw line in the postseason just once in his career (80.6 percent in 2014), while shooting a dismal (and career-low 66.1 percent during the Cavs’ championship run in 2016. But, remember: It’s unwise to bet against The King.