Play Nice Michael Jordan vs LeBron James

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Scotland

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That is what makes Curry better than someone like Lillard. Curry puts fear into defences that Lillard doesn’t and his off ball movement creates so many easy looks for others. The efficiency difference is quite big. The Warriors entire offence since 2015 has revolved around Curry and movement. The type of player he is generates so much great offence that the Blazers would have gone to another level offensively with Steph at the helm.
Is that Curry or is that Steve Kerr? Steph's off ball movement is fantastic, but it's not like Klay and co just stand around looking at each other. Off ball movement is a team thing, hence Chris Paul got frustrated with James Harden in Houston. Klay is a career 3 of 7 3 point shooter, he has definitely sacrificed his game for the team also. If he put up 10 3s a game like the top guys each year he would still be a 40%+ shooter and would regularly score 30+.

I think you are underestimating how much Dame carries the Blazers' offence and how much attention he attracts. They finished today's game on an 18-2 run and he scored or assisted every point. Last year the Blazers had Dame putting up 30 points and 8 assists and shooting 40% from 3 and they finished at 35-39 and lost 4-1 to the Lakers who swamped Lillard in the playoffs. Curry is the better player, but he's not taking CJ, Melo, Wenyen Gabriel and an unfit Nurkic past LA.

Anyway, happy 58th birthday to GOAT Jordan. Somewhere Skip Bayless is probably arguing that he could still play in the NBA today.
 

fidstar

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No one plays off the ball like Steph. No little guy sacrifices his body for him team bouncing around with the big men with no personal reward. He would average 5+ screen assists a night.

Steph obviously makes Portland better. You could argue whether they win a title with him or not. I think 2019 is a good chance, being that they would have at least made the Finals.
 

jod23

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Every great player has needed great players around them to win titles. Even LeBron and Jordan. So I’m not sure why that’s an argument against Steph?

Yes you are right that right now his team isn’t as good and he’s carrying the load and it’s not great for success. But I’m not sure what you’re trying to argue there? I was simply saying the myth that Curry relies on great players to get his offence can be put to bed. He’s putting up 2016 numbers with a pretty bad roster around him and offensively with him they are a top 6 offence and league worst without him. He has that much of an impact. And this is while he cops defences no other player in the league sees.

You give Steph a half decent roster and he’s going deep in the playoffs. The defence thing is completely overblown. He’s not an all NBA defender but he has never been the scrub people make him out to be. He does what’s needed out of a point guard really. Magic Johnson wasn’t a great defender and that hasn’t stopped him from being discussed as guy that would transform a team with his ability. It’s the exact same with Steph. What he does offensively is adds an enormous amount of impact. Defensively he isn’t a negative so his impact overall on a game is enormous.

That is what makes Curry better than someone like Lillard. Curry puts fear into defences that Lillard doesn’t and his off ball movement creates so many easy looks for others. The efficiency difference is quite big. The Warriors entire offence since 2015 has revolved around Curry and movement. The type of player he is generates so much great offence that the Blazers would have gone to another level offensively with Steph at the helm.

Curry isn’t top 10 right now but the Warriors could very well do a Spurs with older Duncan and compete again. Another title or two with another 4-5 years of elite play would put him over a few in the top 10 in my opinion.
The Magic thing doesnt really fly as Magic was 6'9 so you couldnt take advantage of him defensively. Magic like Steph is a good defender but one is 6'9. Neither are great defenders though. Holds Steph back from top 10 arguments and holds Magic back in GOAT arguments.
 

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BigBreakfast

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The Magic thing doesnt really fly as Magic was 6'9 so you couldnt take advantage of him defensively. Magic like Steph is a good defender but one is 6'9. Neither are great defenders though. Holds Steph back from top 10 arguments and holds Magic back in GOAT arguments.
Magic was a great team/system defender and relied upon Scott to defend the best back court player and bigs like Kareem, McAdoo, Thompson, Green etc to provide a huge wall at the basket. Steph is a bit the same with Bogut, Zaza, Green, McGee to defend the rim while Thompson took the opponent’s best offensive player. Lots of people abused both Magic and Steph straight up but they are both very smart defenders who know where to be to impact defensively.

Anyway Jordan is the GOAT and Bron is not very far behind.
 

Scotland

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Steph is always going to attract 'bad defender' criticism because of his size. In order to be called a good defender as a smaller guard you need to be very, very good. Someone comparably good that is 6'6/6'7 is always going to be rated higher. It's not that Steph is a liability, he's just not amazing nor does he have great length or size. He's a better defender than Harden most of the time, but you'd feel more comfortable with Harden if he got in a mismatch with a 3/4 guy. Size is no guarantee of being a good defender, though. Case in point: Zion Williamson. 6'6, strong and can jump 40-50 inches and is an awful defender.

Jordan and Kobe being better defenders than LeBron is mostly down to mindset. If there was a hypothetical prime Jordan vs prime Kobe finals match up you know both would want the ball in their hands and the responsibility of guarding the other. I don't think you can teach that.
 

fidstar

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Also in Golden States Golden Years, teams had to choose in going at Steph, Klay, Iggy, Durant or Green. Obviously Curry is the worse of the lot. That doesn't mean he's bad, it just means the others are very good defenders.
 

Scotland

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Swings and roundabouts. Play with great offensive players you get an easier ride. Play with great defensive players and any shortcomings you have can be masked but teams may look to target you 1 on 1.
 

randyzany

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Even though me and Lebron at around the same age (80s child), I even bought his first signature shoes back in 2004 which I came to regret because they were stiff as fudge and he didn't develop a game that I could support and respect, I cannot lie that a player born several decades earlier than both of us is clearly the superior basketball player.

I get the feeling that many ( I realise that he has older fans besides those in their 20s or younger) that support LeBrone suffer from that Golden Age bias that people have about things that they first experience in their teenage years, in this instance namely those born in the 90s particularly those born in the mid/late 90s onwards. Jordan might as well have played in Ancient Egypt for all they care, they cannot fathom that someone who played while they did not exist could be better then the best player in their teenage/formative years.

Heck I've even heard thinly disguised self serving arguments (today's player are better just because I'm alive today and therefore they automatically cannot be worse than previous champions) that today's professional athletes are vastly superior physical specimen and by that logic that's why LeBron is better because he's had to contend with superior physical opponents, going completely against accepted evolutionary theory. Humans cannot improve physical performance all that much in just a 20 year period (1 generation, is a like a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things) you need hundreds, if not thousands of years, to note a significant improvement in physical performance in the human population overall. Like I said, laughable.

My main problem with LeBron is that when all is said and done, he's not a pure scorer and relies heavily on having teammates that can provide spacing for him, for him to succeed. He's got a very primitive basic scoring game that relies heavily on using his incredible height, speed and athleticism (he gets away with pushing off defenders a lot) to get near the basket and either dunk the ball or lay it in. Unfortunately for him those gimmies dry up significantly in the NBA finals against quality team and one-on-one defenders and the fact that the refs swallow their whistle and only want to call blatant fouls on the big stage.

He's got it backwards as true greats make life easier for their less talented teammates, not the other way around but that's all he talks about (we meaning 'I' need more help). He wants fellow All Stars to sacrifice their game in order for him to look good.

Whereas Kareem, Jordan, Olajuwon, Wilt, etc.. could take it upon themselves to score efficiently and reliably in a myriad of ways and were not afraid of being fouled and going to the free throw line in a close game, or taking a buzzer beater in the NBA finals against opponents of equal stature. No, the joke that the deRozan raps were while LeBron was in the east, don't count.
 
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fidstar

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Jordan's GOAT, but most of that post is terrible.

Athletes have improved in the last 20 years. The easiest way of measuring it is in athletics. I mean the world record for 100m was 10 seconds in 1982. 10 seconds is now broken all the time and Bolt is down around 9.5 seconds. He'd beat the Lewis by 5 meters.

LeBron has a history of making his team mates better. He's probably a better floor raiser than MJ.

And lol at the scoring. He's 6th all time in the regular season for PPG and 5th in the playoffs. Hardly a slouch. Fun fact - he averages 5ppg more than Olajuwon.

All players thrive is spacing, but he hardly struggled with some terrible Cleveland teams.

He's second GOAT and I think there's daylight to third.
 

jod23

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Yeah I didnt agree with a lot of that either.

Jordan is GOAT.

Daylight.

LeBron probably two but I do still believe he needs more championships to really set himself apart from particularly Kareem Abdul Jabbar who is so often under represented in GOAT talks.
 

Benno355

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The Thinking Bastketball - Greatest Peaks series on Youtube is amazing for going into the differences between the two (Eye test, and statistical backup).
It only looks at a snapshot of their careers (the strongest stretch). It looks at the best performance run of 10 players (since 1977).
Spoiler: Lebron/MJ come out in the first two spots. The direct comparison between the two in the final episode is very hard to argue with.
Its got to be one of the most independant reviews ive seen on the whole LBJ vs MJ debate.
 

jod23

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Yeah I watched a lot of that series. It's great viewing.

He said something that resonated with me at the end of the video...

"Jordan fits with more teams whereas LeBron really has to be engine with spacers around him to exert that mega value"

That's a really great point. I feel LeBron needs his teams to be very much catered around what he brings to be successful. Which is why you see so many players eating on LeBron's watch. Championships for Duncan, Kawhi, Steph and Klay, Durant, Dirk... etc etc. Sometimes organisations dont get it right with LeBron's teams to maximise his value. So he comes up short, but he's still so great that he always gets his teams close, losing in the Finals etc.

With Jordan, you just felt once he figured it out. Once he climbed the mountain, nobody was ever removing him from there. Nobody ate. He had to retire twice for someone else to win. It didnt matter as much as it does with LeBron as to who was playing with Jordan, it's just that you had Jordan.

It's always been that way. Who can we put around LeBron to win. Kyrie and Love, Wade and Bosh, AD. Whereas it was never really we need more stars to pair with Jordan. It was just, well... we've got Jordan.

And yeah of course Pippen was there but he wasnt an active pursuit as a player that would help Jordan, he was a speculative draft pick which turned out amazing. A bit different than Pippen already being a two way All Star and trading for him or getting him in Free Agency to get Jordan over the hump.

Anyways, that resonated with me.

Also interesting that he didnt have Kobe in the top 10 and neither did the fan vote.
 

Freomaniac

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MJ also has 0 titles as a one man band.
Gets Pippen, Rodman, Kukoc. Come on.
No one superstar can do it alone. Perhaps Kobe himself? But he still had solid help in Gasol, Fisher and defensive man with Artest.
The bulls 1991-93 team was solid. Had Guys like Pippen, Horace grant, Bill Cartwright, Bj Armstrong and John Paxson.
 

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The Cryptkeeper

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Others who changed the game and ruling of it:

1. Kareem, Alcindor at the time saw college basketball outlaw the dunk and in the pros every team needed a big centre which saw Bowie drafted before Jordan
2. Michael Jordan saw an illegal offence rule entrenched
3. Barkley saw the inclusion of a 5 second post up rule.

I wonder who the next game changer will be?
Magic Johnson changed the game. Immensely.

I think he was the first successful 6’9 point guard in history and probably the most creative passer of all time.

He also won a finals MVP as a rookie covering for Kareem at centre if I recall correctly.
 

BigBreakfast

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Magic Johnson changed the game. Immensely.

I think he was the first successful 6’9 point guard in history and probably the most creative passer of all time.

He also won a finals MVP as a rookie covering for Kareem at centre if I recall correctly.
He did but he didn't alter rules. As a long time Laker fan, I love Magic. The original conversation was about players who changed the game by forcing rule changes to negate effectiveness.
 

Scotland

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Bird is like Jokic, fantastic player but unremarkable athlete. Has similar attributes to LeBron but was never likely to explode down the lane and throw down a tomahawk dunk.
 

BJK#5

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Yeah I watched a lot of that series. It's great viewing.

He said something that resonated with me at the end of the video...

"Jordan fits with more teams whereas LeBron really has to be engine with spacers around him to exert that mega value"

That's a really great point. I feel LeBron needs his teams to be very much catered around what he brings to be successful. Which is why you see so many players eating on LeBron's watch. Championships for Duncan, Kawhi, Steph and Klay, Durant, Dirk... etc etc. Sometimes organisations dont get it right with LeBron's teams to maximise his value. So he comes up short, but he's still so great that he always gets his teams close, losing in the Finals etc.

With Jordan, you just felt once he figured it out. Once he climbed the mountain, nobody was ever removing him from there. Nobody ate. He had to retire twice for someone else to win. It didnt matter as much as it does with LeBron as to who was playing with Jordan, it's just that you had Jordan.

It's always been that way. Who can we put around LeBron to win. Kyrie and Love, Wade and Bosh, AD. Whereas it was never really we need more stars to pair with Jordan. It was just, well... we've got Jordan.

And yeah of course Pippen was there but he wasnt an active pursuit as a player that would help Jordan, he was a speculative draft pick which turned out amazing. A bit different than Pippen already being a two way All Star and trading for him or getting him in Free Agency to get Jordan over the hump.

Anyways, that resonated with me.

Also interesting that he didnt have Kobe in the top 10 and neither did the fan vote.
Not sure i agree

Jordan played 15 years and won 6 chips, so other teams did eat on his watch. People just don't criticize him the same way modern athletes are.

For some reason he is just given a pass on years before his first title because he was young and didn't have the team around him

He is given a pass on the years after he retired and came back because i guess he was past his best?

As well as being given a pass on the year he came back between the two three peats because he was not playing fit?

People can pick and choose who they feel is the GOAT it doesn't really bother me and think Jordan has as good a case as any but if he played today he would be knit picked the same way all modern athletes are.
 

fidstar

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There's no doubt that players today deal with more pressure/nit picking.

Steph's gone from terrible to all time great so many times this season it's been a rollercoaster.
 

Scotland

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Granted I wasn't following in the 80s but in the 90s I remember Jordan being hailed for his greatness because he was doing great things.

LeBron, Kobe and anyone else into the 2000s and beyond are reported by a different kind of media. LeBron was the chosen one before he even played a game. There is an insatiable appetite for bold predictions and tabloid style journalism. Doncic is only 22 and people are already talking about how many titles he might when and if he'll leave Dallas after 7 years etc. Same goes for Zion who 'might land in NY'. He is in his second year FFS.

I'm glad Steph is pretty widely regarded as the best shooter ever because he just is. He's got 18,000 points and isn't far off being a career 50-40-90 player. But when the next Steph come along (not Trae, he's not even close) and has a 20ppg rookie season shooting 40% from 3 you know the calls for GOAT shooter will already start. Patrick Mahomes in the NFL is in GOAT debates on ESPN and has played 3 seasons and 1 game.
 

Scotland

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Not sure i agree

Jordan played 15 years and won 6 chips, so other teams did eat on his watch. People just don't criticize him the same way modern athletes are.

For some reason he is just given a pass on years before his first title because he was young and didn't have the team around him

He is given a pass on the years after he retired and came back because i guess he was past his best?

As well as being given a pass on the year he came back between the two three peats because he was not playing fit?

People can pick and choose who they feel is the GOAT it doesn't really bother me and think Jordan has as good a case as any but if he played today he would be knit picked the same way all modern athletes are.
A big part of the Jordan mystique is the 6/6 with 6 FMVPs thing.

Personally I give Jordan a pass pre 1990 and LeBron a pass pre 2010 when he joined the Heat. Both players carried average teams in the first few years.

Where LeBron falls down is that there are finals losses and finals/playoffs series where he wasn't the best player on the court. Even when Jordan was losing to the Celtics and Pistons, he was the best player on the court. 2007 Spurs >>> 2007 Cavs, but LeBron wasn't the best player in the 2007 finals. 2017 Cavs lost 4-1 with Kyrie and Love, 2018 Cavs lost 4-0 (no Kyrie). The super team Warriors were down 3-2 against the Rockets in 2018 WCF before winning 4-3 and sweeping the Cavs. The 2011 super team Heat lost to the Mavs, the 2013 version were lucky not to lose to the Spurs and the 2014 version did. Etc.
 

jod23

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Not sure i agree

Jordan played 15 years and won 6 chips, so other teams did eat on his watch. People just don't criticize him the same way modern athletes are.

For some reason he is just given a pass on years before his first title because he was young and didn't have the team around him

He is given a pass on the years after he retired and came back because i guess he was past his best?

As well as being given a pass on the year he came back between the two three peats because he was not playing fit?

People can pick and choose who they feel is the GOAT it doesn't really bother me and think Jordan has as good a case as any but if he played today he would be knit picked the same way all modern athletes are.
Eating on someone's watch doesnt mean when they joined the league. It means once you got to the top. That's when your watch starts. When you're the champ, can anyone bump you off, can anyone eat on your watch now. With Jordan, nobody could. Lebron, well everyone has.
 

BJK#5

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Eating on someone's watch doesnt mean when they joined the league. It means once you got to the top. That's when your watch starts. When you're the champ, can anyone bump you off, can anyone eat on your watch now. With Jordan, nobody could. Lebron, well everyone has.
Well that is just silly, Jordan won the MVP in 88 and didn't win the chip. Surely 'his watch' starts when he is the best player in the league? If so people definitely ate in 88 and 89. They also did in 94 and 95 (you don't just get to take a break) and they also did in 01-03.

It is just such a flawed argument though because it is different competition they faced. It is impossible to prove but i don't think Jordan is doing any better against those Frankenstein Warriors teams.
 

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