Play Nice Michael Jordan vs LeBron James

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TheBrownDog
May 5, 2006
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I'm not offended. It's difficult to take you seriously.

The eye test is enough to know LeBron is not elite defensively.
LeBron is tall, quick, strong and reads the game well. He's elite defensively from the perspective that you aren't just going to take him one one one and get an easy layup or open jump shot. He's a tough match up for a LOT of current players.

He was all defensive first team 5 times, he's not James Harden. Where he falls down (in the context of a GOAT debate, off the top of my head only CP3 and Dwight have 6 selections of current players) is that his last all defensive team (2nd, 2014) selection was 6 years ago at age 30. Part of his amazing longevity is that he doesn't prioritise defence the way Jordan did. Jordan was all defensive first team from 1988-1999 (minus 94 & 95 obviously). When he retired in 98 he was the best player in the game and that meant being elite at both ends. He was a single minded freak, if he was playing now he'd want to guard a Curry or Harden or whoever and shut them down.

During the Bulls 8 year run the DPOY was won by Rodman, Robinson, Olajuwon, Mutombo and Payton. Some of those 90s all defensive teams were outrageous. And MJ was in all of them.
 

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BEaston

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LeBron has Jordan slightly covered for advanced defensive metrics for their playoff careers. Considering one is a clear GOAT level defender and the other can't defend that's pretty surprising :oops:
 

peternorth

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1st team records

Kobe Bryant (RIP) 9
KG 9
MJ 9
Payton 9
Duncan, Pippen 8

But of course we need to inspect the era and competition for spots. Look at Hakeem, 5 times....Robinson 4. oh man, one spot only available between these two, and throw in Dikembe. serious D prowess.
 

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TheBrownDog
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What about Luka???
Luka is great, but he's more Magic than MJ. I accept that some people think LeBron is better than MJ (and that's OK, they are allowed to be wrong) but there's no denying both are phenomenal athletes. MJ floated in the air like gravity didn't apply to him, LeBron is the same size as Karl Malone and plays point guard or power forward depending on the day.

Luka is one of my favourite players, but he's no freak athlete. Can the GOAT basketballer really be a slightly pudgy white guy who doesn't have a 40 inch vertical leap?

Right now he's a bit of a James Harden. Is he that good, or does he just score a lot because of his usage rate? Suspect defensively, average FG%, below average 3P%, turns the ball over a lot. But he's also 21 and we don't know how high his ceiling will be. His output is already elite, if he can improve his efficiency and defence he has MVP potential.

But hey, if we are here in 10 years time and Luka has a bunch of rings and FMVPs... KOZA!
 

fidstar

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I don't think that the GOAT has to be athletic. It obviously makes it a lot harder. But if someone came into the league and shot 80% from 3s, he's going to have a lot of GOAT equity.
 

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TheBrownDog
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I don't think that the GOAT has to be athletic. It obviously makes it a lot harder. But if someone came into the league and shot 80% from 3s, he's going to have a lot of GOAT equity.
They would be the GOAT shooter, but Steph Curry lays a reasonable claim to that already and he's nobody's GOAT player.

Basketball is an athletic game and being 5 a side is conducive to isolated plays. You could argue that Wayne Carey or Gary Ablett Jr are the GOAT footballer but they play different positions and even if their careers overlapped they wouldn't have gone head to head. Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't be any more different physically but are the two best strikers of their generation in soccer. But I've heard plenty of people say Jordan would beat LeBron 1 on 1 and vice versa. That sort of comparison means nothing in most sports.

James Harden isn't particularly athletic and while he's a 3 time scoring champion he doesn't shoot at a high percentage and he's not a great defender. And he's never won a title. GOAT he is not. JJ Redick shot 45% from 3 this year but is still a short white guy with suspect defence. Etc.

Maybe if someone like Harden or Steve Nash or even Curry comes along that doesn't fit the mould and dominates the game that much they will enter the debate, but I don't see it personally. I hope I am wrong but the sport just lends itself to tall, athletic dudes If anything if another Jordan ever comes along he will probably be a Giannis that can shoot 40% from 3.
 

fidstar

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If Steph shot 50%+ from 3s, he'd be in the GOAT discussions (He's probably 15 to 20 at the moment). I mean Warriors probably just won 5 straight (with or without Durant), and Curry probably has 3 or 4 MVPs.
 

jod23

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You cant be in GOAT conversations though if you cant play both sides of the ball. Even if Steph shot 50% from deep, he's just be considered the greatest shooter of all time (which he already is anyways) but he's a very average defender.

Gotta play both sides of the ball.
 

fidstar

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You cant be in GOAT conversations though if you cant play both sides of the ball. Even if Steph shot 50% from deep, he's just be considered the greatest shooter of all time (which he already is anyways) but he's a very average defender.

Gotta play both sides of the ball.
Nope, it's about winning.

That's what basketball is played for. Winning.

Generally to win, it's about being good on both sides of the ball. Because (generally) you can only add so much value to a team one end of the court.

But, if someone is so ridiculously good on the offensive end, it doesn't matter if he's average on the defensive end.

So, let's say Steph shot 60% from 3. Any half decent team he was on would be winning the Championship, and he would be winning the MVP. He would (by himself) be adding 20+ points per game on the offensive end. Would you rather a guy who helps you by 7.9ppg on the offensive end, and 2.3ppg on the defensive end (Jordan's numbers), or a guy who helped you 20ppg on the offensive and and was net neutral on the defensive end?
 

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TheBrownDog
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Steph shooting 60% from 3 would take his playoffs record from scoring 32 points a game on 6 of 10 3 point shooting rather than 26 on 4 from 10. Not sure that's the difference maker that leads to 5 from 5 for Golden State. For Steph to be that good on the offensive end he'd need to score 40+ a game whether it's at 40%, 45% or some unattainable higher efficiency. Up 3-1 against the Cavs the Warriors lost Draymond to suspension and Bogut got injured in the first quarter. Lebron hit 41 with 16 boards and 7 assists. No little sharpshooter is stopping that.

More realistically, Steph is already capable of being a 60% 3 point shooter. If you leave him alone. Ever seen a warm up? Clint Steindl hits better than 60%. Curry's practice record is 77 in a row and 94 out of 100. I don't see any 6'3'' guy being capable of shooting better than 45-50% from 3 when regularly defended by guys like MJ, Kobe and LeBron who are great defenders and have both athleticism and a longer reach. How well would Curry go up against 6'10'' Ben Simmons in a 7 game series?
 

fidstar

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I didn't say he could, it was more of a hypothetical.

You're forgetting the flow on effect of someone being able to shoot 60% from 3s. He's probably going to be shooting 95%+ from the line, 70%+ on mid range, he'd shoot more and if you think Steph has gravity now, then imagine what it would be like if he shot 60%.
 

jod23

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Nope, it's about winning.

That's what basketball is played for. Winning.

Generally to win, it's about being good on both sides of the ball. Because (generally) you can only add so much value to a team one end of the court.

But, if someone is so ridiculously good on the offensive end, it doesn't matter if he's average on the defensive end.

So, let's say Steph shot 60% from 3. Any half decent team he was on would be winning the Championship, and he would be winning the MVP. He would (by himself) be adding 20+ points per game on the offensive end. Would you rather a guy who helps you by 7.9ppg on the offensive end, and 2.3ppg on the defensive end (Jordan's numbers), or a guy who helped you 20ppg on the offensive and and was net neutral on the defensive end?
Well fair enough but Steph doesn't shoot 60% so its just a what if.

Also the GOAT isn't only about winning otherwise we'd all agree it's Bill Russell. Winning is a massive part of course but there are many more factors to consider IMO.
 

fidstar

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Well fair enough but Steph doesn't shoot 60% so its just a what if.

Also the GOAT isn't only about winning otherwise we'd all agree it's Bill Russell. Winning is a massive part of course but there are many more factors to consider IMO.
Only reason Russell isn't in the GOAT conversation is era.

If he played today and his team won 11 championships in 13 seasons he'd be in the GOAT discussion even with his low scoring output.
 

jod23

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Only reason Russell isn't in the GOAT conversation is era.

If he played today and his team won 11 championships in 13 seasons he'd be in the GOAT discussion even with his low scoring output.
If Russell played today and won 11 Championships.

If Steph shot 60%

All if's and but's.
 

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