NBA shooting coach says LeBron has made a change to his 3-point form, sparking a ‘huge difference’

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime NBA shooting coach Dave Hopla cited one adjustment that LeBron James has made in his shooting form that has paid dividends for the 39-year-old.

Hopla has never worked with James, but that hasn’t stopped him from observing the future Hall of Famer from a distance.

“I always felt LeBron leaned to the left when he shot from outside,” Hopla told ESPN. “Now he’s lining up a little straighter, and it’s making a huge difference.”

Arguably no stat is more indicative of James’ growth as an outside shooter than his 3-point percentage in the 2023-24 regular season. He is shooting a career-high 41.3 percent from 3-point range across 68 appearances with the Lakers in the current campaign.

Plus, since the end of the All-Star break, James has found nylon on a remarkable 46.6 percent of his attempts from deep.

Recently, the forward tied his career-high for 3s made in a single game when he knocked down nine treys in a win over the Brooklyn Nets on March 31.

James has shot 40.0 percent or better from deep in just one other season during his career in the NBA. In his third season playing alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat, the 2012-13 season, he shot 40.6 percent from 3-point range.

But James attempted just 3.3 treys per contest back in the 2012-13 campaign compared to 5.2 this season.

James’ torrid shooting from 3-point range in his 21st season has been a positive development for a Lakers team that isn’t exactly replete with 3-point shooters to complement the star forward. Los Angeles averages just 11.8 made 3s per contest, which ranks 24th in the NBA.

The Lakers rank even worse when it comes to 3-point attempts, as they average the second-fewest in the association at 31.3, which is ahead of only the Denver Nuggets.

James will hope to have a hot shooting night when the Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors — who are led by arguably the best 3-point shooter in NBA history in Stephen Curry — on Tuesday night. That matchup could have playoff ramifications, as the Warriors are 1.5 games back of the Lakers for the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference.

If James can parlay his efficient 3-point shooting from the 2023-24 regular season into the playoffs, that should make the Lakers a tough out in the first round if they are able to reach that stage.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.