|Does LeBron trust his jumper? (Getty Images)|
George Karl has been around a while. Drafted in '73, played in the ABA with the Spurs, a coach for 24 years, Karl is a legend in the business. He understands the game as well as anyone, has seen his fair share of buzzer-beaters and ice cold performances. And he has an opinion on what gives LeBron James the yips at the end of the game.
Karl was on with Jim Rome on "The Jim Rome Show" Monday and talked about the issue with LeBron at the end of games. Instead of talking about his mental makeup or having the will to win or some other nonsense, Karl actually had a pretty valid opinion. James doesn't trust his jumper.
And he is not a natural jump-shooter. He's kind of a self-made jump shooter. He makes the ball go in, the ball goes in, but it's not pretty, his balance isn't perfect. It's not going to look like Kevin Durant or Ray Allen. It goes in but at the end of the game that extra extra special player... Sometimes I don't know if he trusts his jumpshot. He needs to get to the rim. If you take away the rim, he's probably going to pass the ball more often than not.
It's been a trend with James that he simultaneously badly wants to emulate Michael Jordan, who made the jumpshot his lasting legacy, and yet is far better suited to using his brute strength and athleticism to wreak havoc inside. We saw it with the missed fadeaway vs. Rajon Rondo in Game 3, and we saw it again in the pass to Udonis Haslem (though that was just the right play). James is a hyper-cerebral player even as he's likely the least self-aware superstar in the league in terms of his image. His ability to hit the jumper and the streakiness is there in the back of his mind.
Indeed one thing that is a constant with James is a sense of hesitation in these moments as he tries to solve the defense as if it's a chess board. But those moments call for instinctual, sometimes nearly reckless play, and that goes against his very design.
The reality is that, as Karl notes, he may simply be able to live up to the ideal of what he's supposed to be. He was born an athletic freak of nature. But he was not born to do what everyone wants from him, to shoot jumpshots.
"Rome" with Jim Rome airs weekenights at 6 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.