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  • Writer's pictureBen Ballard

Like Fine Wine: LeBron James' Three-Pointers Get Better with Age

LeBron James, in year 21 of his career, is still finding ways to add to his game. His all-around game has always been praised, but if had a weakness early in his career — it would be his three point shooting. Overtime, he’s improved his efficiency from three. And the 2023 season is shaping up to be a special one even by his special standards.

The chart below shows Lebron Lebron’s three pointer and broader career shooting percentages by year. I like this view because it shows how hot of a start he’s had in 2023, and these starts are as of Dec 7th, so there are 23 games on the books. His Field Goal percentage has also taken a pretty large jump from last season as well.

To take a deeper look at his shooting percentages, I created histograms of each category of shooting, Field Goal Percentage, Three-Point Percentage, and Free Throw Percentage. I like this view because it shows variable some categories of shooting are. Lebron is very consistent with Field Goal Percentage. But Three Point Percentage and Free Throw Percentage are much more variable. That can also be due to taking less of those shots during the game. Where as, as long as LeBron is in the game, he will be getting to the rim.

To zoom into Lebron’s 3-point shooting for the 2023–24 season, I created two plots. The histogram on the left shows the distribution of Lebron’s 3 Point % during a game for his career except the 2023–24 Season. Yes, there are a lot of zeros. The plot on the right shows the 2023–24 Season, 23 games in. What’s noticable is Lebron has had a lot more games around 50% than was typical for him.

Finally, I like this view which shows that not only is he shooting at a high percentage, his volume of makes is high compared to all most of his seasons. This would be top 5 in threes made all while having the best percentage of his career.

LeBron James’ 2023–24 season is a showcase of a legend who continues to adapt. His career-best three-point shooting is a reminder of his greatness and a relentless pursuit of improvement. As the season progresses, other teams may key-in on LeBron, not just as a scorer or distributor, but as a sharpshooter.

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