Blogtable: Can LeBron Get Any Better?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


A Better LeBron? | Is the MVP Race Already Over? | Shaking Up The Finals Format


LeBron James says he’s better than he was last season. What could he possibly have worked on? What does he have left to work on?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: This really is like griping that the driver’s seat of your Bentley doesn’t have built-in massage. But I’ll play along with two things: contact reactions and blocked shots. I know his superhero physique takes more uncalled hits than anyone since Shaq, but LBJ can be a little bit of a drama king when he gets bumped into hard or his headband gets knocked a-kilter. That emboldens foes and especially road crowds, where he needs to just stay in Grim Reaper mode. The second is strictly for friendly competition with his buddy Dwyane Wade, who — despite his smaller size — has a 667-649 edge in career swats through 10 seasons. What’s up with that, LeBron?

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Hoo boy, we’re getting picky, picky here.  What’s next, beauty tips for Kate Upton? OK, if we must, after 10 years James is a career 74.7 percent shooter from the free-throw line. If he could bump that up to a Kevin Durant (88.3)-Dirk Nowitzki (87.7 level), new commissioner Adam Silver could shut down the league on his first day on the job in February and we could all just play video games and eat Buffalo wings.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: I love that LeBron put the league on notice that, “Hey, you thought I was impossible to guard before, just wait until now.” In summers past LeBron went to work on his post game and we saw the results. Maybe he focused on his mid-range jumper after seeing the Spurs in The Finals take away the paint and dare him to shoot. Perhaps he’s tired of shooting 74.7 percent from the free-throw line for his career (75.3 percent last season). It’s the one category he needs to improve to accomplish the one thing he hasn’t done that Kevin Durant has — reach the rare air of shooting: 50-40-90. Who knows? Maybe he wants to finish in the top 10 in steals and be No. 1 among forwards. He was 13th overall last season and second among forwards behind Thaddeus Young. Just be sure, come midseason, we’ll be talking about that one area in which LeBron improved.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.comWinning more jump balls? Taking quicker post-game showers to avoid wasting water? Players can always get better, and most of the greats find their game evolves over time, but LeBron is already dominant in so many areas. Maybe it will be more a shift in focus — he can place less emphasis on scoring and decide to average double-digit assists, for example. Maybe keep an eye on 3-point shooting. His percentage has jumped three seasons in a row, and breaking the 40-percent barrier last season is impressive. Staying there consistently, after beginning 2013-14 at 33.7 percent for his career, would be that kind of improvement he mentioned.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comThe obvious answer is free throws. He shot 75.3 percent from the line last year, which was exactly the league average. He ranks near the top of the league in free-throw attempts and could be a little more efficient if he could shoot 80-85 percent. He was above average on mid-range jumpers, but struggled to knock them down at times in The Finals and can still improve a few percentage points there. And his post game can certainly use some more polish. I guess that’s enough nits to pick.

Sekou Smith, NBA.comAs great as he’s been the past few years, LeBron still has plenty of work to do on his game. Sure, he’s at the peak of his physical powers and in the prime of what is an all-time top-five career in the NBA. But who can’t stand to shoot better, both from the floor and from the free-throw line? LeBron’s post game has improved over the past couple of seasons but he hasn’t mastered that part of the game by any stretch. So, yes, there is plenty of work to do, even for the greatest player of his generation. LeBron’s an ambitious sort. He wants to make sure he goes down as the greatest player of all-time. And to accomplish that, LeBron has to maintain the work ethic that got him here — head and shoulders above the rest of the league.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: What can LeBron work on? Umm… his headband placement? Accessorizing his off-court outfits? Making sure his shirt stays tucked in better? Rejecting more shots per game? Realistically, on the court he’s pretty close to unstoppable — this is a guy who FOR HIS CAREER is averaging almost 28 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists per game. He’s a four-time MVP. And he’s not even 29. Maybe — MAYBE — he could look to score a bit more or assert himself a bit more offensively, but that’s really cutting it close. I’m honestly not sure how he can get better. If LeBron really has improved from last season, I can’t wait to see it.

Marc-Oliver Robbers, NBA Deutschland: Definitely his free-throw-shooting. His career average is only on 74.7 percent. That is, in my opinion, way too little for a guy who shot 56.5 from the field last year and 40,6 percent from beyond the arc. With his athleticism and power you can often only stop him on his way to the basket by fouling him. Last season he got 535 attempts from the line, and if you compare him with other superstars like Kevin Durant (90 percent), Dirk Nowitzki (86 percent) or Carmelo Anthony (83 percent) there is plenty of space to the top. That’s his single weakness, but a weakness that you can turn into yet another strength with work.

Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: There is always room for perfection, even if we talk about LeBron James. Last season he showcased his post-up arsenal. So what is he up to next? The one thing that he is missing in offense is the “in-between” game, as he either tends up to shoot or go all the way to the rim. He is unstoppable when he drives to the basket and has improved his jump shot after one dribble. Pulling up for a “J” (at his speed) and polishing his mid-range game is what he lacks toward becoming the most perfect offensive weapon in sports history.

68 Comments

  1. sports fan says:

    LeBron needs to improve his free throws more than anything else.
    The next thing he could improve is his post game.
    He should stop flopping in order to erase that black mark on his resume.
    He also should aim to get a quadruple double since he’s very capable.
    And if there’s anyone to be the first to get a quintuple double it’s LeBron.

  2. Fuergrissa says:

    all he has to do is continue to blow stern and the rings will keep cumming….

  3. Arizon says:

    He is a phenomenal player, humble, decent and I strongly believe he will be the GOAT

  4. Kenny Hicks says:

    Labron can add a long distance set shot like Magic Johnson added. He can improve on free throw shooting. He can develop a pull up jumper with the left hand. He

  5. AJ Ward says:

    Yes he can get better by taking the ball to the rim and putting other teams in foul trouble early.

  6. LBJ_Bob_Squarepants says:

    LeBron will be the first to “four-peat” since Bill Russell (8 in a row)

  7. sanjay says:

    most of the folks here are right! lebron can improve on many areas and he has to average 30 points both in regular and playoffs!
    plenty of areas to improve upon for lebron:
    –post game( as chicago and indianna and even spurs have posters)
    –his one one dribble and cut( very important but due to his speed no double team really has been able to trap him!)
    –3 point jumpers more consistent. He cant brick open looks like in spurs game( he bricked one but thank god made another before allen went to work!)
    –improving free throws could help!
    –his rebounding during play offs is much better than regular so no need to go crazy over there. save those knees!
    –keep working on mid range like fade away, do not just dribble and shoot( like those video games, I hate that straight angle shot! Even jordan used to do but he was a better mid range shooter!)

    All are minor tweaks and there is no major concern anywhere in lebron now!

    Come to think of it it is time lebron do 30,10,10!!!
    It is nice to be the king! 3 peat heat on the cards here ladies and gentleman!

  8. J says:

    get your free throw up to 90% lebron!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    or like a lot of the legendary players in the past lebron might have developed a post fade or hook

  9. NBAfan says:

    Just when I was starting to truly respect Lebron James, cause he stopped talking/tweeting, and just did his thing on the court…

    Things to improve on….well, all the potential title contender’s stars can continue to get injured (Rose, Westbrook, Rondo, Granger), or get old (Duncan, Ginobili, Garnett, Pierce), or both (Kobe).

    You can surround yourself with a couple more (ex) big name players while the contenders’ key players move to other teams (Harden, Dwight) but not necessarily make title contenders of their own.

    Pacers and Warriors, very exciting young teams done “right” hit by injuries…

  10. Karlo Garcia says:

    James worked on his 3-p shooting & fadeaway jumpshot. Being consistent is what he has to get better at.

  11. iamwoodward says:

    As skilled as Lebron is and physically dominant I think he needs to keep developing his game in order to keep killing into his early to mid thirties. Like Jordan did.

  12. Erik says:

    I think that if LeBron had worked more on his jump shots, he could be outstanding and could be a legend in a few years.

  13. Bob M says:

    I think he can improve on his aggressiveness. For some reason, they have to many game 7′s and being dominant. Yes, Heat fans, that is true. Another thing, MJ made sure everyone played their role consistently. Being positive and philosophical (or stating the popular cliches) is one thing, but on Bulls championship teams, MJ figured out how to get the best of his other teammates. Jordan was the psychological master. Aside from talent, having the psychological edge is the most important factor in basketball.

  14. fin420 says:

    why did bulls need scottie pippen? to defend for jordan to look good lolol

    Lebrons defense >>> Jordans

    Defense wins rings

    Not taking fadeaways and hoping.

    • Wow... says:

      well, 9x All nba first team 1988-1993, 1996-1998. Nba defensive player of the year 1988. And you’re saying MJ didnt play defense when he won his 6 championships?? Man, you need to learn to respect your greats.

  15. lol says:

    he gotta improve his scoring average. he gotta get to 35 ppg while staying efficient.

  16. bigboy11 says:

    i think LEBRON needs to work on his leadership skills

  17. Mark says:

    Since the comparison is inevitable, here’s LeBron vs MJ in their first 10 seasons

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=jamesle01&y1=2013&p2=jordami01&y2=1995

    Areas he can work on – FG%, FT%, ORB, BLK, STL, TOV, PTS. LeBron is ahead on AST (which are easy to come by in Miami), DRB and 3P%.

  18. ObamaChrist says:

    LMFAOO at all these Lebron haters.. He keeps winning, and y’all still hatin. Sit down and shut your mouth while Lebron keeps getting rings/MVPs. KING23

  19. Trebla says:

    By improving his freethrow percentage from 75 to 80-85%, his scoring average will definitely follow by around 2-3 points

  20. jimbo says:

    If LBJ perfects his fade away jumper (ala Karl Malone) and reaches 80% FTs he could be the deadliest offensive player to ever step on the court… Now if one is not a Miami fan that just isn’t fair !!

  21. Beast says:

    LBJ is great. He should get his free throws to 80 percent or more, have his shot a little more consistant and work on his post a little more. Already top 10 player in my book. #LBJGREATNESS

  22. Romeo Aguirre says:

    I dont like Lebron but he is a good player I like watching him he has improved in his jump shot and kinda on his 3 point shot I don’t think he’s best player in the league it’s fun watching him play against KD and Carmelo those are fun match ups I don’t think he can guard Melo or KD all that well but the MVP this year will be Deron Williams IF the nets get the best record in the league

  23. installerx says:

    Jordan’s fade away jumper…imagine LBJ perfecting that shot. Post up at the elbow, do the windshield wiper move and fade either from left to right.

  24. ene be a says:

    He will be the greates sportman in a few years………. I see it when michael jordan talks , hey mj u sound like “damn” lebronis wayyy better than me. When u say stupid things about him and prefers kobe than him, let me tell tha kobe is not better than james . Jordan still #1 but not for long sweet america…not for long.Oh no.

    • Romeo Aguirre says:

      Your stupid lebron is not and will not be better than Kobe ever especially not better than MJ you watch to much sports center

      • Witness says:

        Nah we watch real life games and any idiot monkey could see how much betterl LBJ was is and always will be than KB. Sorry.

  25. bodjee says:

    Maybe focusing on and understanding the scheme that are being design to counter his natural skills! Take a look at the players that were recompensed during the summer for doing a decent job of guarding him and find options that can limit their success.

  26. juggernaut584 says:

    Outside of free throws, and jumpshooting as everyone else has mentioned; the only things I think that Lebron needs to work on is improving the balance between looking for his own offense, as opposed to looking to make plays for his teammates. Some games, it looks like Lebron is actually trying to get a triple double, rather than aggressively looking for his own offense. Being that there is probably not any player in the league that can guard him one on one; I think he lets his opponents off the hook sometimes by not being as aggressive going to the basket, drawing fouls, and generally applying more pressure to interior defenses by getting opposing teams’ bigs in foul trouble. I would also like to see him make quicker moves off the catch instead of always backing up to the 3pt line and trying to break opponents down with the dribble. Other than that, he is head and shoulders above the rest of the top players playing today, and his time is now.

  27. ism says:

    Freethrows are an area worth improving.
    Not a lot room for improvement elsewhere.
    But he is good in so many areas, if he can add a notch here and there, it might make the difference.
    Another, more exotic thought would be adding a floater, a sky hook or some fade away moves to his arsenal.
    Wade’s edge in blocks over 10 years is not a testament to a weakness of LeBron but to Wade being incredibly good with rebounds and blocks due to his smart timing and athleticism, although he’s not tall.
    I agree that LeBron could dominate even more if he decided to emphasize his “Magic”-role and facilitate even more.
    His jumper could improve but people forget how good it is, if he had a leaner body, his jumper would look perfect, it’s just the girth of his arms that make the otherwise great technique look different.

    However, I do not think that he will make a deliberate effort to change his game, just add a little here and there and, of course, freethrows.

  28. Joshua Jarvis says:

    Free throws, post moves, no hesitation on mid range shots, less drama when he gets fouled, no flopping when he doesn’t get fouled, blocked shots, and persuing rebounds the entire game not just half the time.

  29. Bruce says:

    Surely the far more interesting blog topic would have been: LeBron says he’s improved his game, do you believe him? Or do you think 2013-14 will be the year his game begins the inevitable decline?

  30. Flaimeee says:

    Post offense, jumper and freethrows. He is not perfect, he just can do all the things that you need to win basketball games quite well. That is why he is the best at the moment.

  31. amitpal says:

    These writers r a joke. Seriously u guys don’t see a thing wrong with him. Look lebron is not ungaurdable. Spurs proved that lebron can be guarded with the right scheme. First thing lebron has to keep working on is his jumper. It tends to vanish sometimes. Next up is free throw shooting. A superstar like him should be in 80 to 85 range. And last but not least is closing games. I’m not saying he still chokes in big moments anymore but he could be better. I would to see a similar season to the one kobe had a few years ago with like 8 game winners in one season at some point in lebron career. Doesnt have to be this season but at some point.

    • one problem says:

      although i agree with the reasoning, the only problem with your premise is that i seriously doubt he will have a season where there will be 8 or more buzzer beating situations. the heat will probably win around 45-50 by double digits. same goes for the playoffs – from 2013 i don’t recall any buzzer beating opportunities other than game 1 in indiana series, which was executed perfectly. but ultimately yes – he needs to improve during clutch situations to be in the same page as mj or kobe. he has been impoving steadily and with more maturity and experience he will probably get to that level pretty soon.

    • 0_o? says:

      you two are idiots. clutch situations rarely comes to heat since they usually win by double digits. idiots

      • Witness says:

        AND hes an idiot because the clutch stats have been out for a while now PROVING LBJ is a BETTER CLUTCH SHOOTER THAN KB. Period.

      • Wow... says:

        @witness. You probably have never even watched Kobe Bryant play if you’re saying that. How foolish.

  32. OmgSTUDY says:

    Do people even realize he was top5 in mid-range jump-shots last season? He had a higher procenage from 16 to 23 ft then CURRY. He doesn’t get any credit for his jumpshot, yes it failed him in the finals until he needed it the most but the KING can shoot it like very few in the league. (And no, i’m not saying he is a better shooter then curry)

    • Vijay says:

      I’m sure no one will disrespect Curry the way James was disrespected in the Finals. Curry’s jump shot is RESPECTED period, whether he is 5ft or 35ft from the basket. We all saw in the finals that for all the wonderful stats surrounding James jumper in the regular season, what the Spurs thought of it. I have never seen an MVP be disrespected in such a fashion.

    • CAVS!!!! says:

      That may be true, but then again, we are talking about LeBron James. There are very few aspects about his game that we can criticize. In my opinion, his jump shot could improve when he’s in finals’ pressure. Other than that, probably his free throws could improve.

  33. OKAY, I'M UPSET says:

    I’m upset with Aschburner, again, his way of saying I don’t like LeBron James is way too deceiving…
    Man, take it easy, it’s just another player in the league, don’t blame him for playing the game at his own way.

  34. jimi says:

    Free throw shooting is the mans weak point. Mid range shooting and catching and shooting as this was said preiviously in another comment.

  35. Tom says:

    He might become be a better shooter A-Duh. And if he is then the Heat are 2014 Champions right now. The day Lebron gets that jumpshot more together it’s over for the rest of the league.

  36. FACE THE FACTS says:

    Fade away jumper

  37. I think it is about the rhythm. I think he will improve if he can solidify certain shots in specific areas in the court.
    He is improvising a little bit yet.
    To me his better weapon is when he drive to the basket and he goes for the layup or rather find out an open team mate like Nash used to do it.
    Another issue about his game is ,maybe, he has to try more “in your face” dunks. I think he is avoiding a little bit that kind of plays.

  38. roy says:

    Looking at him without any bias is hard to do since he demands so much respect with what he does, if I had to tell him what he needed to do to improve I would say keep refining his catch and shoot jumpshot and 3 point and to play closer to the rim to rebound heavier (for his size he should be averaging 8-9 rebounds not 6-7, I mean come on KD is averaging more and he’s scrawny lol).

    • Marcleen says:

      dude next time do some researc lebron was averagin 8 rebounds a game while kd was not far behind at 7.9 rebounds

    • Jordan says:

      KD most certainly does not avg more rebounds buddy.

    • Know What You Speak says:

      Check the stats guy..LeBron is at 7.9 and KD was 8.0 and KD is damn near 7 ft tall…go sit down somewhere fool

      • Adam Morrison says:

        Marcleen nd Jordan put some ice on it because you two just got burned!

      • Trebla says:

        Right. In the regular season, Lebron had 8.1 boards and 8.4 in the playoffs. KD had 7.9 in the regular season and 9 in the playoffs. That’s why I thought KD averaged more in the regular season, I was wrong, just checked.

    • Erlo says:

      Lebron avgs more rebounds … even last season… Why are people saying Druant did. Just look at the stats

    • kek says:

      KD is 7ft tall he should rebound better than james, but still he doesent, james is a better rebounder than durant, if james decides that the heat needs rebounding more, he rebounds, simple as that. its a reason you see all those triple doubles and double doubles,

  39. Olegre10 says:

    his mid-range jumper, that’s for sure. no way he should hesitate if given a 5-foot cushion at 18-foot distance. I can’t imagine him shooting less than 4 out 7 here. free throws – definitely he’ll be around 80%. But I really hope that still will not be enough to beat the Pacers.

  40. mee(a)t says:

    His flops has gotten more graceful lol
    Jokes aside, he should work on his free throws