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

by May 23, 2013
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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.”