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Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 at 5:05 pm  |  58 responses

LeBron James Disagrees With Michael Jordan’s Scouting Report on Him


Three months ago, Michael Jordan famously told the world that the only way to slow down LeBron James is to force him left and hope he shoots a jumpshot. The Indiana Pacers tried this strategy last night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and well, things didn’t quite work out for them. James says MJ has it wrong, and the numbers back LeBron up. Per ESPN: “So if I have to guard him,’ Jordan said. ‘I’m gonna push him left so nine times out of 10, he’s gonna shoot a jump shot. If he goes right, he’s going to the hole and I can’t stop him. So I ain’t letting him go right.’ That reached James’ ears and, simply, he doesn’t agree. Within days of the story coming out, James won a game by driving to his left and getting to the rim with 3.2 seconds left to beat the Orlando Magic for what then was then the Miami Heat’s 16th consecutive victory. James did it again Wednesday night, when he drove left as Indiana Pacers guard Paul George seemed to follow the Jordan scouting report to defend James from going right. This time, James got to the rim just ahead of the buzzer to deliver the game-winner with his left hand and put the Heat up 1-0 in the Eastern Conference finals. ‘That theory is wrong, I guess,’ James said of the Jordan report. James plays basketball right-handed but writes left-handed. Over the years he’s gotten better going left, though at one time it was indeed considered one of the weaker parts of his game. According to Synergy Sports, when James went left on isolations this season he shot 56.3 percent (63-for-112) from the floor. When he went right, he shot 48.5 percent (47-for-97). Among the 52 players with at least 50 isolation drives going left, James had the best efficiency in the league. The data shows James drives left 51 percent and goes right 49 percent.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    After one buzzer beating layup going left in the Conference Finals with your team down by one against one of the better defenders in the league and one of the best defensive teams? Yes, LeBron. You need to be forced to your left. Paul George closed out on your right because if you took it right, they wouldn’t stand a chance stopping you from getting to the rack. He just closed out too tight, giving you enough room to blow by him. Its more on George, but it was a great play. It just doesn’t change the fact that your shot tendency when going left is still a jumper, and forcing you into a jumper is the best way to contain you. Work on that, and then you’ll get into GOAT conversations, maybe even ending it.

  • http://twitter.com/trueballer4lif1 Melvin flynt

    LBJ 2 THE WORLD!!– 4 TIME MVP DOES IT AGAIN

  • Dagger

    1. Lebron is not reading your post.
    2. You didn’t read past the headline to get into the quantitative stuff at the end, did you?

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    No, no he didn’t.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LeBron James writes with his left hand. Doing things with his left comes naturally.
    .
    And contrary to what Jordan said, LeBron is more likely to pull up for a jumper when going right then he is when going left.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    holy crap this is astonishing. did you think this was right when you wrote it? or were you just guessing?

  • roscoe

    poor Bron bron being played like a pawn in MJ’s game of marketing chess…

    MJ scores again & didn’t even lace’em up

  • Junior Taylor

    Actually, he is more likely to pull up for jumpshot going to his left than he is going right.

  • Ed

    MJ obviously didn’t read the article til the end either

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    where are you coming up with this? You think he shoots 56.3% shooting jump shots off the dribble, and 48.5% going to the rack?
    .
    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/55431/was-jordan-right-about-defending-lebron

  • Lil_Stratboy

    lol once again stats prove MJ is wrong. first the number of rings which would make Chalmers(1 ring) better than D Rose, Paul, Westbrook…(with no ring) and the the scouting report. No wonder the Bobcats can’t even make the playoffs.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “He drives on 62 percent of his isolations, favoring the left over the right side. He takes an early jumper on 38 percent of his isolations. ”

    .
    .
    Nah, you are wrong. I don’t know why you even thought this.

  • chyea

    The data doesn’t account for the times when LeBron makes his first move to the right then spins or crosses over and goes left. So it doesn’t tell the whole story – it does tell though that LeBron goes left more often.
    People who watch the game knows that LeBron invariably goes left a lot more than he goes right. He seldom pulls up going right and he pulls up for the J far better when going left. He’s also better at finishing around the rim when going to his left than going to his right.

  • Dymez

    What did people expect? This is what great players do; turn weaknesses into strengths. MJ said what he said, Kobe (who heard about that comment) actually put it on display in the all-star game, LeBron realized that’s something he needed to change. So of course it’s not going to work now. LeBron has attacked the basket at a rate that he has never done so before. The real difference is, LeBron isn’t letting defenses off the hook anymore with jumpshots, whether going left or right, he’s taking it all the way home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    I am not a fan of LeBron obviously so I don’t really give a sheep if he reads this. I respect his game enough to not deny that he’s the best player in the planet right now though, and probably for the foreseeable future.

    Oh, and I flunk math. Kidding. I’m Asian. Not related. Anyway, stats say that he makes shots at a higher percentage when he drives left and he drives left about half of the time. LeBron is an efficient player, and he knows how to get good shots. He hits shots going left at a higher clip, but that doesn’t mean he always gets to the rim. He shoots jumpers going left, and if you’re defending him you gotta be happy wih that. He’s still gonna knock a lot of them down but that’s okai. He’s easier to defend that way. But of course, he’s always looking for the best play available, that’s why you’ll rarely see him take 30-40 shots a game and him racking up assists. He’s as smart with the ball as he is strong. That’s what makes him one of the best to ever play.

    Now for that GOAT statement, I just wanted to say that he needs a consistently reliable jumper to really challenge MJ for that title, simply because he’s he only one who has the capability to do so.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “The data doesn’t account for the times when LeBron makes his first move to the right then spins or crosses over and goes left”

    - And how do you know what the data does or does not include?

    . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJPwuOqb4PE

    .

    Watch the video. More of those jumpers off the dribble are coming from going right than going left.

    .

    Personally, i know it is much easier to shoot going right when you are right handed than going left. It’s easier to square your hips. It’s easier to square your shoulders. It’s much better to shoot balanced because of the leg that takes the load of most of your weight (left). Also, I am ambidextrous and I teach shooting, i write left handed, i shoot a basketball right handed. Which is exactly the same as LeBron lol. I mean, common sense says he drives more then he shoots going left just because defenders are accustomed to guarding right handed players, and give more of a lane to that side. It’s the same reason James Harden and Manu Ginobili have such an extremely high success rate getting to the hoop compared to anyone else.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he shoots less jumpers going left than he does going right. and everyone forces him left. at this point, he’s more comfortable going that way. Which is why he led the entire league in scoring going left. Which includes left handed players.

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    He’s ambidextrous, but most players really favor driving right when they want to get to the rim, because few defenders move well to their left. He’s LeBron. He knows the right plays and when to play them. Sag off of him, he’ll shoot or pass. Play him tight, even worse, he’ll drive by you, left or right, doesn’t matter. He’ll look for the best play, every play.

  • LakeShow

    Gospel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    By the way, which part did I seem guessing on?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    This is bundled with ignorance.
    .
    Most players are accustomed to guarding players that are right handed.
    .
    It’s the same reason Manu Ginobili and James Harden have such an extreme amount of success getting to the hoop even though everyone knows exactly what they are going to do.
    .
    Defensive Habits are the bane of all perimeter defenders existence once they play a guy who prefers to go left.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    ” You need to be forced to your left.” – that’s a guess

    “if you took it right, they wouldn’t stand a chance stopping you from getting to the rack” – that’s a guess

    “. It just doesn’t change the fact that your shot tendency when going left is still a jumper, ” – that’s a blatant guess

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    Point taken. I see where that post went wrong. But I think I’m pretty spot on with the first one though. Id definitely force any player who isnt left handed to his left. It gives me a better chance of slowing him down or even stopping him completely.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah but LeBron isn’t right handed! he just shoots with his right hand. – and i literally relate to this conversation, because i am ambidextrous. Growing up kids were so bad at guarding my left i got in a horrible habit of driving left, and pulling up going right. I know that’s a very different situation, but it speaks to the habits of basketball players.

  • Snoop

    best comment ever.

  • Junior Taylor

    I guess what my eyes tell me are different from what the stats say. So I guess you’re right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    Manu and Harden play very similarly based on my observation, and they do make use of their being southpaws. They make moves that augment that, taking advantage of the fact that players are accustomed to defending right handed players. That euro-step is predictable but very hard to stop once performed by a southpaw. LeBron’s case however, is very different. He’s not naturally left handed but he goes to his left often because the defense minimizes his right because that’s the observed truth during his career. LeBron is much more lethal going to his right, that’s why they are forcing him left.

  • lil hill

    what in the world are you talking a bout he did not prove anything he just looks like a hater that can’t stand the fact that some people are starting to think someone else is better than him so he make up some fake flaw in the Lebrons game and makes him so look stupid in the process

  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    I assume when you pull up going right, you plant your left foot first on the spot where you take off?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Yeah, fundamentally speaking that’s correct

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  • http://www.facebook.com/starkpwnsyou Joshua Maria Peter Bautista

    Aaand you usually take your first step with your left foot?

  • playa

    Is it me or Bron got extremely sensitive lately? To the point where you becomes less impressed by his competitiveness etc. and more irritated/annoyed by his non stop feedback to anything&everything anyone ever say about him.

  • Spam Stopper

    Stop spamming

  • robb

    thanks for the tip MJ

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    not going right

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    no. LeBron is much much more dangerous going left. why teams force him that way has already been covered. they do it out of habit. watch manu and harden, when switches happen, guys still shade them left
    o

  • roscoe

    u know u make such a great point… i think i’ll encourage you to keep going left, because you will beat me going right.

    keep it up young fella.

  • roscoe

    you make such a great point… i will encourage you to keep going left, because if you go right you will definitely score.

    keep it up young fella

  • Phillyfanatic

    Lets be real here. It’s not like lebron went back to work on his left after Jordan made those comments. Anyone self respecting basketball fan whom has actually watched lebron play knows that he is ambidextrous. He has been a great left handed finisher since he entered the nba.

    Jordan was just being a hater and I doubt he watches lebron play very often. Mike can’t stand that his time is over and some people believe Lerbon is better. Scottie pippen even said that lebron is better than mike. If thats not a trusted source I just don’t know what is.

  • Drig

    He wasn’t a great left handed finisher when he entered the L. He’s improved a lot since his first year though.

  • a

    So he’s not supposed to answer when he’s asked a question? You think he holds press conferences and gives the media a list of questions he wants them to ask?

  • Najee Fareed

    Either way Kobe or Mike in their primes will expose Lebron as a fraud.

  • Najee Fareed

    Besides that was the worst decision in playoffs history to not play Hibbert which won that game for him other than Isiah Thomas turning over the ball to Larry Bird. You cannot stop stephen hawking from going left with how weak that Indiana defense was in that last 2.2 seconds.

  • Phillyfanatic

    His whole game has improved but he never had a weakness driving or finishing with his left hand. You don’t start at point guard in the nba as a rookie out of highschool with a weak left.

  • Para

    Did you really keep count? He went left more than double the times he went right. I think it’s obvious that LeBron prefers going left more than he does right, especially when he’s pulling up for the J.

  • JB

    MJ is the GOAT player. He is obviously one of the worst owners and scouts. Adam Morrison, Kwame Brown…need I say more?

  • http://www.facebook.com/shooting.guard.319 Shooting Guard

    he’s unstopable

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    He prefers going left in general. He does not pull up for a jumper on a higher % of drives going left then he does going right.
    .
    And are you just looking at what hand he’s dribbling with and counting that as a drive? Lol look at the shots that are actually relevant.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Well no. Tyreke Evans had no left whatsoever and won ROY. But you are right aside from that last point.

  • easy

    I guess that’s why Kobe won against Lebron so often whenever they played each other…Oh wait, he didn’t. In fact, Kobe has only legitimately outplayed Lebron once, during a meaningless all-star game. Let’s not pretend that Kobe was some old washed up bum when Lebron came into the league. Up until 2 seasons ago dude was still in his prime.

  • polo83

    He doesnt mean he shouldnt respond, but the way. He responds in a way, je ne sais pas, annoyed and then really calm disinteres almost for the question.

  • Kadavour

    no, it is easier to shoot off the dribble going left if you’re right handed (and vice versa). no way you could have this mistaken, you must of have reversed your rationale in writing. it happens.

  • bike

    “LeBron can go to the left and the right. Lebron is amphibious”.

    Chris Washburn

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Try and explain why you think that. I would love to hear it.

  • Norv

    He was wide ass open! If Paul George played him straight up things may have been different. Its not that Lebron can’t go left, it’s the fact that he’s not as dominant(as he is going right) on that side of the basket against half court defenses! lebron is not as explosive going left, he doesn’t get as high. MJ was just saying what would give him the best chance against Lebron.. If you shade Lebron to his left IN THE HALF COURT, and give him space you give yourself the best chance. If lebron is hitting his jumpshots..ITS OVER! You Lose!

  • Ty

    just saw espn 1st take with dontay jones on and he said basically everything u said so i definately cosign this

  • Ty

    every tru bball fan knows that pippen always been jealous of jordan so his comments isn’t a trusted source phil is tho and dontay jones just revealed on 1st take that the scouting report for lebron before was to push him to his left and he will shoot jumpers but then said he is a different animal now so your wrong sorry

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