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Studying LeBron James’ free throws

LeBron James has been missing woefully short at the charity stripe with the Lakers. I studied the tape and came up with three reasons why.

LeBron James is on pace for one of the best years to his career in his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers. James is tallying a career low in minutes per game, yet tracking very closely to his career averages in almost every category.

However, if James has had one glaring issue this year, it’s been his free throw shooting. His percentage recently dipped to 68.8%, which would be a career low. Obviously the season is still relatively young (we don’t even have Sunday ABC games yet) so there’s plenty of time for that percentage to jump back up.

That being said, after a recent flurry of misses, I said to myself “Brar, don’t get angry, get analytical.” I let the frontal lobe, the brain’s executive decision-maker, take back control of my life and inhibit the emotional limbic lobe (aka Twitter).

I took a look at film of LeBron’s free throws throughout the season, and it confirmed an inkling I had — he was missing woefully short on many of his attempts from the charity stripe. Based on that film and using my understanding of sports science — specifically biomechanics and energy transfer as it pertains to a set shot in this case — I picked out three key things (or indicators as I like to call them) that are contributing to LeBron’s inconsistencies at the line.

I even made a video about it! Check it out:

So to recap: Ivica Zubac, Bryce Harper’s hair, and steel-cut oats are to blame for LeBron coming up short at the line. No, not really. Just watch the video.

Dr. Rajpal Brar has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for 1.5 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), and analyzes the Lakers from a medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll.

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