Summer shot changes prompted by sore elbow could position James for fifth MVP award

Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal on

Published in Basketball

"My man has worked his way into being a real shooter," Korver said then. "Like, for real. His fundamentals, he has worked on it in this last year. You can tell he thinks about it, he studies the game, he studies his own mechanics, he puts in a ton of time and he's confident shooting that shot. It looks really, really great to me and I watch these things."

Korver agreed with the suggestion that it could be as simple as the changes James made because of the elbow. James said that once the elbow swelling started going down in late September, he stuck with the adjustments.

"That helped me with my shot, too, when I had an elbow injury," Korver said on Nov. 22. "If you shoot it just a little bit wrong, it hurts. So you've got to shoot it perfect for it not to hurt.

"You've got to retrain your mind to think, 'This is the right way to shoot it.' A lot of it is attention to detail. If you're going to be great at something, details really matter."

This is only the second season of James' career in which he's shot over .400 from 3-point range. The other was 2012-13 with the Heat, when he shot .406. That was the sixth consecutive season he'd raised his field-goal percentage and second in a row when he'd improved his long-range number.

James said the offseason improvement was necessary because "shooting the ball is what this league has kind of turned into."


Teammates and opponents have noticed.

"He's shooting with a lot of confidence, not thinking about it. He's really working on it in practice. He's really, really shooting it well. Probably the best since I've been around him, day in and day out," Kevin Love said.

"As Kyle said, he's a shooter now. He's for real. He's legit," Wade said. "Every time he shoots it we expect it to go in, but it's going in. We know there's going to be a time where maybe one or two don't go in, but we're living with it every time."

Opposing coaches are just as amazed.


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