Free throw shooting is the only average part of LeBron James’ game. He shoots, drives, passes, rebounds, and defends five positions, but he’s still just a 74% free throw shooter, and has barely improved that number since he came into the league.
In order to bump that percentage in the 80s, LeBron has started working with teammate and all-time 89% free-throw shooter Ray Allen. As Couper Moorhead of Heat.com points out, LBJ has even gone so far as to emulate his pre-shot routine.
Moorhead made this great video to show how he has changed.
The first shot is LeBron’s original routine, from the first round of the playoffs. The second shot is LeBron’s new routine, from Game 1 against the Bulls. Then there’s a side-by-side of Allen and James:
The biggest difference is that James has stopped bending over at the waist and knees before he releases the shot.
LeBron has a slight, Allen-esque knee bend now, instead of the severe crouch:
Allen told Moorhead, “That’s what we’ve been working on, trying not to get him to dip. That dip is what puts the ball in a weird position. It’s interesting because his mechanics, if you watch them when he misses – I’ve studied him shooting them a lot – that dip puts him in a bad position to where he starts trying to move the ball in different places and he ends up missing in different places.”
LeBron is only shooting 65% since making the change, so we’ll see if he sticks to it:
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