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One more amazing thing LeBron James has done

Apr 18, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat

In NBA history, just two players have won a slam-dunk contest and also participated in a 3-point shootout: Michael Jordan and Brent Barry.

Jordan obviously gets his just due as the greatest player of all time, but I always thought Barry was overlooked. It’s obviously rare players have both the athletic skills to dunk incredibly and the finesse skills to shoot incredibly, and Barry did. I appreciate the dichotomy.

Here’s another way to measure that inside-outside duplicity of talent – and, spoiler, LeBron James laps the field.

Players have attempted at least 250 3-pointers in a season 1,122 times in NBA history. Just two of those times involved a player shooting better than 60 percent inside the arc: LeBron last season and LeBron this season.

Here are the top 50 2-point percentage seasons among players with at least 250 3-point attempts:


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As you can see, LeBron also has three other seasons on the list, giving him five total. Nobody else has even four. (Five players – Reggie Miller, Kevin Durant, Steve Nash, Dale Ellis and the overlooked shooter/dunker Brent Barry – have three.)

LeBron’s 3-point shooting does not gain volume by inefficient chucking. He shot 40.6 percent beyond the arc last season and 37.9 percent this season, both solidly above league average.

Inside the arc, he generates high-efficiency shots at the rim through drives and post-ups. A solid mid-range game bolsters his effectiveness.

Inside and out, LeBron dominates. There’s no one quite like him.

Never has been.

  1. bucrightoff - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    The chart is pretty interesting. It’s basically a 50/50 split between great/HOF players and average players, and obviously is heavily slanted towards recent years as the 3 point shot has become increasingly used.

  2. prareedoggin - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    The thirst is real…

  3. fordmandalay - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    And LeBron has done it all while playing against absolutely no competition!

    • ProBasketballPundit - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      Eff off, troll.

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      Um, no.

  4. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    Can we talk about Josh Smith’s incredible efficiency? Or lack thereof. He shot 265 3’s this year and made 26% of them. Pretty sure that’s never been done.

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 18, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      In the 1999 – 2000 season, Antoine Walker shot 285 three point shots and only made .256% of them…

      So Walker’s .256% was less than Smith’s .265% and Walker took 20 more 3 pt attempts than Smith did this past season…

      • ProBasketballPundit - Apr 18, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        “Why do you shoot so many 3’s?” -reporter

        “Because there’s no 4-point line.” -Antoine Walker

      • money2long - Apr 19, 2014 at 2:14 AM

        U know the quote. But I guess you weren’t pretty sure after all

  5. ditkasausagebears - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    ive never seen a grown man be so open about loving another man

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      Your screen name includes “Ditka” and “sausage”….pot meet kettle.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:13 PM

        Daaaaa Bears!

    • jcmeyer10 - Apr 18, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      Lol, this rings a bell.

  6. kb2408 - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Blah, blah, blah….another attempt to put LBJ on the same level as MJ. When LBJ and the Heat dominate the competiton in the Finals like MJ and the Bulls did, then maybe stats like these will mean something. LBJ is playing with just as much talent, if not more, than MJ had in a less talented era of basketball and his team still doesn’t dominate like the Bulls team did. MJ and the Bulls never lost a Finals and never even went 7 games in the Finals. LBJ is 2-2 in the Finals and very easily could be 1-3. I can’t wait to see how you spend it this season when the Heat fail to win the title. And, no, I don’t expect this comment to get posted.

    • kb2408 - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:23 AM


      • paleihe - Apr 18, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        There’s nothing to spin if they Heat don’t win this year. Whether they win or lose this year doesn’t matter. Getting to the finals three years in a row is extremely impressive. Getting to the finals four years in a row is something I’ve never witnessed in my entire life, which is what would happen if they make it this year.

        Dont try to downplay winning two straight championships, it’s a pretty ridiculous position to take.

    • ringjames - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      Actually, if you think about it. Game 7’s are much tougher than game 6’s.
      I think when it comes down to legacy, LeBron’s will be he was unstoppable in game 7s, when seasons were on the line. That’s more extraordinary than winning every Finals in 6 games. Jordan never had real competition, go back and look at his FInals Opponents. He was going against all star Center, PF’s and PG’s. All are out of position.

    • Kevin S. - Apr 18, 2014 at 1:09 PM

      You realize that if the Heat win either this year or next we get to see Shaq kiss Spo’s feet on “Fear Factor” – with cheese whiz? Maybe it’s time for just a little respect for what they’ve accomplished.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:12 PM

        Some guys get no respect!”

        The great Rodney Dangerfield

    • toycannoni - Apr 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      lol….don’t be mad brah

      you knew someone would come along sooner or later to over take mj as the g.o.a.t.

      the king is the most efficient, all around player, the nba has ever seen

      hard to say how many more rings he’ll get, but he’s got 7-9 more good years ahead of him

      i’ll say he ends up with 8, and that will be a lot more impressive than bill russell and his 11

      gotta remember there were only 10 teams back then

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 18, 2014 at 4:00 PM

        LeBron is the closest to MJ but he is not MJ just yet…

    • antistratfordian - Apr 18, 2014 at 2:28 PM

      MJ barely had any competition in the finals. The 90’s had become watered down because of expansion. Until Karl Malone and Stockton, Jordan had only faced teams with 1 hall of famer vs him and Pippen (and later Rodman).

      Lakers – 1 hall of famer – Magic (Worthy, ankle injury from WCF, tried to play through but had to miss game 5)
      Blazers – 1 hall of famer – Drexler
      Suns – 1 hall of famer – Barkley
      Sonics – 1 hall of famer – Payton
      Jazz – 2 hall of famers – Malone and Stockton

      Same applies to most of his non-finals opponents:

      Knicks – 1 hall of famer – Ewing 
      Sixers – 1 hall of famer – Barkley 
      Pacers – 1 hall of famer – Miller
      Magic – 1 hall of famer – Shaq

      The team that consistently had the most hall of famers on it all throughout the 90s was the Chicago Bulls! What a surprise.

      The Miami Heat had to get through a Boston team that had 4 hall of famers all by themselves. The 2012 Thunder could potentially have 3 hall of famers – we’ll have to see. And last year LeBron beat a Spurs team that has 3 hall of famers on it + Pop – all who were previously undefeated in the finals, 4-0.

      Jordan never had to go through so much talent to get his rings. He had to wait until the league expanded and was watered down, and for Kareem to retire, for Bird and Isiah to get hurt and for Magic to get HIV.

      • money2long - Apr 19, 2014 at 2:17 AM

        Thumb up if you knew this post would get anti all excited and would thus evoke a novel type comment from him

  7. cantonbound13 - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:44 AM


    • jimeejohnson - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:06 PM

      I appreciate LeBron but he couldn’t hold Michael’s jockstrap. Anyone not old enough to have seen Michael from college to the bitter end of his great, great career should shut the f+ck up. Even the great Larry Bird says MJ’s the best, EVAH!

  8. lj312chicago - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Now let’s compare lebrons numbers in the finals to jordAn who went 6 for 6 in the finals and averaged 30 points a game in the finals….lebrons not even close.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:05 PM

      I appreciate LeBron but he couldn’t hold Michael’s jockstrap. Anyone not old enough to have seen Michael from college to the bitter end of his great, great career should shut the f+ck up. Even the great Larry Bird says MJ’s the best, EVAH!

  9. phillyrox - Apr 18, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    So honestly is Lebron the most efficient player in NBA history?

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 18, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      NO, LeBron is in 2nd place all time on the list of NBA player efficiency ratings..

      MJ is 1st at 27.91

      LeBron is 2nd at 27.79

      With LeBron’s age, he should pass MJ as early as this next season on this list. It depends on how long he plays into his 30’s at a slightly lower efficiency rating each yr as to whether he’ll fall back below MJ.

      MJ lead the league in player efficiency rating for 7 straight seasons (his 3rd thru 9th seasons).

      LeBron, coming into this season had lead the NBA in efficiency rating for the past 6 seasons but Kevin Durant lead the league this yr as LBJ was “only” second.

      LeBron now will not be able to equal MJ’s 7 straight yrs of leading the league in player efficiency rating. MJ’s 7 seasons were his 3rd thru 9th seasons.

      LBJ’s 6 in a row were his 5th thru 10th seasons…

      Also, after leading the league for 7 straight seasons, MJ never lead the league again and his efficiency ratings dropped off a good bit.

      We’ll see what happens to LBJ in the next few seasons…

      If I were betting, my money is on LBJ retiring with the highest player efficiency rating ever and he should pass MJ this coming season.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 19, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        Even John Hollinger would tell you that Player Efficiency Rating is not an absolute statistic. It’s not definitive, and it doesn’t take defense into account at all. I personally think PER puts too much of an emphasis on scoring and not enough on assists. But there is a margin of error regardless, and LeBron is only 0.12 below Jordan, so he’s obviously within any margin of error.

        And how do you statistically account for the advantage a coach has with a player like LeBron that can play all 5 positions? It’s such an advantage for a team, but you can’t see it in a box score and would only know about it if you hang around other coaches.

        I’ve always felt that Magic Johnson’s PER was oddly low, and that always bothered me about this statistic because on his career Magic actually averaged more points a game via scoring and assists than Jordan (41.9 vs 40.7). But If you went just by PER you’d think Magic was just an average great player, instead of the guy everyone thought was probably the greatest player of all time.

      • Kurt Helin - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        I’ve always said PER is a nice snapshot stat — if a guy’s PER has a big leap or fall, or is higher than you expect, then delve into other numbers and video to see what he is doing better/differently. I don’t use it for anything beyond that, personally.

      • adamsjohn714 - Apr 19, 2014 at 2:20 AM

        PER has little to do with efficiency….

    • ProBasketballPundit - Apr 18, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      He’s second behind MJ

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:06 PM

        I appreciate LeBron but he couldn’t hold Michael’s jockstrap. Anyone not old enough to have seen Michael from college to the bitter end of his great, great career should shut the f+ck up. Even the great Larry Bird says MJ’s the best, EVAH!

  10. antistratfordian - Apr 18, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    LeBron easily has the highest field goal percentage of any player in history who had made 100 threes. He’s been trailblazing in 2014. Setting new standards. Doing things previously thought impossible.

    Another fascinating thing about LeBron this year: He was a better three point shooter than Ray Allen.

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 18, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      Agreed. Which makes me peeved that Durant will win so handily.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 18, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        Nothing to really be peeved about. We could see this coming when Westbrook went down. I said then that this would be Durant’s best chance to Malone an MVP – so I’m not surprised.

        But we know that the voters don’t always get the MVP race right. LeBron has been through this before, Jordan used to have to put up with it. Voters are only human. And these things have a way of working themselves out in the playoffs.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Apr 18, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      Trailblazing in 2014? I guess you don’t watch when Miami is on defense.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 18, 2014 at 7:09 PM

        Yes. LeBron is opening up a whole new world of possibilities as far as a prolific three point shooter and elite scorer being able to shoot almost 60% from the field. That’s completely new to the game.

        And Miami’s defense is fine. Since when is allowing 97 points a game a bad thing? That’s 5th in the league.

  11. 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 18, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Saw something ridiculous on last nights 30 for 30. Some bs about Michael Jordan losing in the playoffs year after year after year. That he wasn’t mentally tough. That he needed “help” to get over the hump.

    I know, right!? ESPN should lose their broadcasting license! Everybody knows Michael never lost ANYTHING! It’s true! Undefeated for life. Never missed a shot. Never turned the ball over. Never knocked up a groupie.

    ESPN, ESPshmen

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:08 PM

      LeBron being second to the greatest player ever doesn’t suck. You must be old enough to have seen MJ in his prime do things that no other human will EVAH do again on a basketball court.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:30 PM

        I’m just a little younger than MJ. Watched him since Carolina. He was the best I ever saw. I loved MJ. Feared MJ. When older guys argued that Magic or Larry were better because the had more rings, I called them morons.

        I was at the Heat’s 1st home playoff game in 92 against The Bulls. Michael had 2 pts after 1. Finished with 56. He was incredible. He killed tbe Heat throughout the 90s. Didn’t matter if we (yes, we) got past the Knicks. We weren’t getting past the Bulls. No chance.

        So I say this with the absolute respect, idolation, and love that MJ deserves and then some. LeBron is better.

  12. gmfw7 - Apr 18, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    matt barnes is on that list 3 times as well…pretty surprising

    • duhwighthoward - Apr 18, 2014 at 5:11 PM

      That’s the real story here! Matt Barnes!

      Of course LeBron is on the list. He has the ball in his hands every possession and either bowls guys over on his way to the hoop or they leave him open for three because they’re standing back, bracing themselves for contact.

      But Matt Barnes? He’s built like a twig and never takes guys one-on-one. Just shoots when he’s open and cuts hard to the hoop. Also doesn’t get away with travelling, double-dribbling and flopping like LeBron.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:10 PM

        Would have agreed with you but Barnes is a very valuable team guy. He’s got your back, something intangible but extremely important when battling for a championship, but not so much if you’re a second rate team.

  13. newyorkball82 - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    MJ played in a way more physical era, wasn’t close to the size of Lebron physically. Watch the 30 for 30 special with the Detroit “bad boys” and see the era MJ started in. The calls that players get nowadays are sometimes funny compared to what used to be. This is an offensive heavy league now and is catered to players scoring and being able to shoot freely.

  14. danmarinos1stlovechild - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:19 AM

    LeBron is a BEAST!

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