LeBron James has never been a great free throw shooter, and likely never will be. Following his woeful 3-of-11 showing from the stripe in his team’s loss to the Houston Rockets last weekend, though, the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar has made a subtle adjustment to his stroke in efforts to curb the possibility of those awful struggles going forward.
Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group initially turned our attention to James’ subtle adjustment. Instead of bouncing on his toes and bringing the ball up to shoot in one fluid motion, LeBron has begun setting it at his chest for a beat and rising to shoot from there.
The video below gives a good look at the difference – the first clip is taken from Sunday’s game versus Houston, and second via Cleveland’s win over the Toronto Raptors three days later.
The King has utilized the more deliberate approach in the Cavaliers’ past two games. He went 3-of-3 from the line against the Boston Celtics and followed it up by making 8-of-13 versus the Raptors, good for a percentage of 68.8. And though that’s below his underwhelming season long mark of 71.5 percent, it seems like James will continue trying his new motion out for the foreseeable future.
LeBron says that being receptive to change is crucial even as he’s so far into his storied career. Here’s Haynes of NEOMG:
“I’m a guy that doesn’t mind being coached,” James told Northeast Ohio Media Group after producing game highs of 29 points and 14 assists. “I’m coachable. If someone sees something and they think it could help me, I don’t mind looking into it. Even at this stage in my career.”
“I’ve got to have a growth mindset, man,” James said. “That’s what it’s about, me still trying to improve even at 30 and 12 years in the league.”
James has a chance to atone for his labors versus Houston in another marque matchup on Friday night. The Cavaliers and East-leading Atlanta Hawks tip-off from Philipps Arena at 7:30 EST.
Should LeBron head to the line with the game in the balance, pay special attention to his shot release. Will the growth mindset win out? Or will he revert back to what’s been mostly successful for so many years? Here’s hoping we get the chance to find out.