In Eleven Rings Phil Jackson praised Michael Jordan’s career Field Goal Percentage (49.7 percent) which he called “extraordinary” and boasted about how it was sometimes in the 53 and 54 percent range.
Well I wonder what he thinks about what LeBron has done recently.
James has somehow achieved a whole load of remarkable things related to scoring accuracy that I couldn’t even imagine him doing 6 years ago:
- He increased his Field Goal Percentage to an astronomical 56.7 percent.
- He increased his Field Goal Percentage to an astronomical 56.7 percent while still making over 100 threes.
- He increased his Field Goal Percentage from 56.5 percent last season to 56.7 percent this season, even though he attempted 52 more threes (306 3PA from 254).
- He increased his Field Goal Percentage every year for the last 7 seasons.
King James and Lenny Wilkens are the only players to increase their Field Goal Percentage in seven consecutive seasons. The difference, though, is that Wilkens’ highest shooting percentage over that time was 44.0 percent, LeBron’s is 56.7 percent.
The difficulty level of what LeBron has done is really through the roof.
Now, before you go off thinking that LeBron was only able to shoot 56.7 percent because he plays more Power Forward now, understand that James made over 100 threes in both seasons where he shot over 56 percent – the only player in the history of the game to make 100 threes and shoot 56 percent.
And he’s done it twice.
Search Basketball-Reference for all of the players who have shot .56 from the field while making 100 threes and only one name comes up:
Even if you lower the FG% requirement down to .55 he is still the only player in history to do that:
But here’s where I think the comparison really gets scintillating:
- When Michael Jordan shot his highest percentage (.539) he only made 29 threes.
- The best Field Goal Percentage Michael Jordan could manage while making over 100 threes was 49.5 percent.
That pales in comparison to the heights LeBron James has reached.
Have a look:
Highest Field Goal Percentages While Making 100 Threes
Michael Jordan 1996: 49.5 percent. 111 threes.
Michael Jordan 1997: 48.6 percent. 111 threes.
LeBron James 2014: 56.7 percent. 116 threes.
LeBron James 2013: 56.5 percent. 103 threes.
LeBron James 2010: 50.3 percent. 129 threes.
LeBron James 2009: 48.9 percent. 132 threes.
LeBron James 2008: 48.4 percent. 113 threes.
LeBron James 2006: 48.0 percent. 127 threes.
LeBron James 2005: 47.2 percent. 108 threes.
Yes, MJ only converted over 100 triples in two seasons.
And the kicker: The three point line was 21 inches closer in 1996 and 1997.
To sum all of this up: