It’s onerous to search out an excessive amount of fault with the way in which Dillon Brooks defended LeBron James on Friday. The four-time MVP shot simply 8-of-21 from the ground and completed with 23 factors, his lowest complete since Dec. 9. James had been averaging 34.1 factors per recreation on over 55 p.c taking pictures since Anthony Davis went down, so within the grand scheme of issues, it could possibly be argued that Brooks defended James higher than anybody else has since then.
But when Brooks was requested about his efficiency on Friday, he provided an attention-grabbing clarification. “He would not wish to go left,” Brooks advised reporters. “I used to be simply making him go left all recreation. He would settle or he would go the ball.” Statistically talking, there’s so much to dissect right here.
First of all, James actually wasn’t settling. He took 9 photographs within the restricted space and 13 complete within the paint in opposition to Memphis. For the season, he averages 8.9 restricted space photographs per recreation and 12 complete within the paint, so he was proper in keeping with his typical taking pictures line. He shoots extra jumpers now, in his twentieth season, than he did at his peak, however the issue in opposition to the Grizzlies had much less to do along with his shot choice and extra to do with execution. James shot 2-of-12 exterior of the restricted space. Sometimes the photographs do not fall, although, clearly, Brooks performed a component in that.
The extra attention-grabbing query right here is whether or not or not James needs to go left. The numbers recommend that he is completely comfy in both course. Synergy Sports tracks the variety of possessions that finish with a James drive, they usually really recommend that he is extra comfy driving left at this level in his profession than he’s driving proper. He’s been a extra environment friendly driver going left in every of the previous two seasons, and he went left extra typically than he went proper final season.
Left drives factors per possession
Right drives factors per possession
None of this must be particularly stunning as a result of, regardless of his right-handed shot, James is of course left-handed. “I do not know how I turned a right-handed basketball participant,” James stated in 2017. “I feel possibly it was due to Michael Jordan, Penny Hardaway, guys that I seemed as much as rising up. Seeing these guys shoot righty, I assume I’ll shoot righty. I’m just about a left-hand man.”
James had a poor recreation in opposition to Memphis on Friday. Brooks was largely chargeable for that, although the presence of Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr. did not assist him both. But any hope the remainder of the league may’ve had about copying Brooks’ formulation ought to in all probability be laid to relaxation. James is completely joyful going left, and it confirmed in a 122-121 Lakers victory.