LeBron will end up with the longevity edge I think. He'll have some tremendous totals by the end of his career. And with his peak and prime that may be a deciding factor going his way.
I believe MJ was a bit more consistent. When he failed to perform by his standards, I believe he didn't fall as much as sometimes LBJ does. And that's what keeps MJ ahead for me, right now. (don't get me wrong, LeBron is a great playoff performer and very consistent, but I'd give the edge to MJ here).
As for their game:
- MJ was a better scorer. His mid range game and FT% definitely gives him a edge over LeBron. ts% is not that diferent, but Jordan's raw point production definitely puts him ahead;
- LeBron is a better playmaker. I believe his assists and playmaking are more valuable than Jordan's;
- LeBron is a better rebounder;
- They're diferent defenders. They both rotate fast. But Jordan was much more of a gambler than LeBron. And a great gambler. Jordan got a ton of steals and blocks trough that gambling and it worked out for him. LeBron keeps more in front of his player and contests.
- I think LeBron has the edge in open court situations;
- MJ was a better post up player and exploited his mismatches better to score;
- LeBron is more versatile and his 2012/13 championships are something special. Those teams had rebounding issues and no rim protector. LeBron became their rim protector and doing that was something really special. Not many perimeter players could do that for their teams, and I don't believe LeBron can be replaced for any perimeter player in the Heat while that resulting in better results.
For me the consistency of MJ still puts him ahead. However, if LeBron crushes MJ longevity wise I'd have no problem giving him the GOAT spot. But the longevity edge has to be with quality seasons, not only putting up career totals.
Do you feel with the right longevity LeBron can be the GOAT? Or what else does he have to do to surpass Michael Jordan?