For all of LeBron James’ many, many strengths as a basketball player, he’s never been the greatest free throw shooter, shooting just 74 percent for his career. And in 2016-17, he got even worse, converting only 67.4 percent of his shots from the charity stripe.
So… in stepped Kyle Korver, LeBron’s new teammate and a career 88 percent free throw shooter.
According to The Athletic, Korver began giving James tips, and now The King is working them into his postseason form.
James has been working with Kyle Korver, who spotted a couple of things in his form. Now James is staggered at the line, with his left foot behind the right. He also doesn’t dip as low at the waist as he did while shooting during the season. In short, his new form closer resembles his normal shooting form.
“I never shoot like this,” James told The Athletic with his feet on a parallel line. “I’m always shooting off the hip. I like it. I’m sticking with it.”
Via Uproxx, here’s a before and after photo from Monday’s Game 2 broadcast.
As you can see, LeBron has taken his left foot off the line and begun to stand up straighter. His new form is a bit unconventional but looks more natural, like a regular jump shot.
Asked about LeBron’s free throw form, Korver talked about “taking unnecessary things out of your shot” and commended his teammate for being willing to adjust on the advice of another player.
It seems a bit weird that LeBron would be finicking with his shot during the most important games of the season, but if improved form can help him shoot even a tick better later in the playoffs, it will have been worth it.
Early returns? Not great. James is 9-for-15 (60 percent) in two games against the Pacers, though it hasn’t really mattered yet, as Cleveland leads the series 2-0.