Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list?

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Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list?

1
45
26%
2
58
34%
3
38
22%
4
7
4%
5
9
5%
outside the top 5
13
8%
 
Total votes: 170

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LKN
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#141 » by LKN » Tue May 12, 2020 1:38 pm

RCM88x wrote:
Spoiler:
LKN wrote:
RCM88x wrote:
The funny part about all these numbers is, if you posted them a few months ago Lebron would have had the lead in a lot of these cases, especially in DBPM.

Take a look at this: https://web.archive.org/web/20200206154123/https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jamesle01.html

vs. this: https://web.archive.org/web/20200212084547/https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html

So which is right? Ehh probably neither lmao.


Yeah - they just did a big recalc. To be fair - MJ has always led in OBPM - which is the better metric (and generally has good correlation)

BPM and DBPM are more dubious.

But definitely fair to point out that it's only one metric. I do think it tells us that MJ and LeBron are the 2 best offensive players ever. The gap is large enough that I feel pretty confident that is correct.


Perhaps, I do think Magic and Nash deserve to be in that argument too. BPM just favors box scores and certainly scoring so alas it arrives at this conclusion.


That's fair - esp for Magic (although it's not like Magic has a poor OBPM - he's #6 all time for reg season and playoffs). IIRC Magic's teams had more #1 ORTG seasons (7) than MJ (4) and Lebron (0) combined so one could probably make an argument starting there.
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#142 » by SNPA » Tue May 12, 2020 2:44 pm

Bergmaniac wrote:
SNPA wrote:
bledredwine wrote:
Man, I feel similarly. There’s so much potential to be great, but I wish that he was more of a competitive mindset in terms of winning instead of trying to put up great seasons and stats for individual placement on all-time lists, teaming up, giving up when tough and so on. That was a huge turnoff after being a huge fan for seven years.

I also wish that he had done more work on the footwork and intricacies of the game. Having trouble shooting? That I can understand as if it’s very hard to learn. Lebron probably should have reached out to some of the other greats to learn from them (Hakeem, Jordan, whomever). That seems to go a long way for talented players like Lebron (like Kobe and even Melo).


Going back to this, I think LeBron is hurt on an all time ranking because he isn’t a natural basketball player, major parts of the game aren’t instinctual to him. Take his passing, he starts and spends years as a mainly drive and kick player. He was a great one, and yes there was a bit more, but mainly that was his passing acumen. I give him great credit for improving over time and now he can stand out top and pick teams apart. However, that just goes to prove the point that it is a learned skill for him. Other greats like Bird and Magic didn’t have to learn to have great floor vision and creation, they are natural players and could always do it. To them it is innate, not learned. (Lol at the post saying LeBron is a top three passer)

Another example is shooting. LeBron is a learned shooter. His form gives it away. The disrespect the Spurs showed him in the finals with young KL shows that. Pop flat out didn’t respect his jumper. Yes, better than letting him drive but still, just daring the best player in the league to take open shots is a sign and not a positive one for LeBron. Doug Christie has pointed out how LeBron looks down at his feet before shooting some threes (generally when he has the ball in iso). That glance down is a learned trigger allowing him to lineup the shot and his mechanics. Bird didn’t look down. He was a natural shooter.

LeBron is first and foremost a top flight athlete with a high BBIQ. Players like Bird or Magic are instinctual basketball players first. There is a difference and not a small one here. It doesn’t mean LeBron can’t surpass them (he is above Magic IMO because of defense).

However, to be GOAT one should be a supreme natural basketball player that has the key elements of the game come intuitively, a basketball savant able to play any style in any era at the top level of the game. LeBron to me isn’t that guy to me. He needs to play a certain style to be an all time great. Some will say this is a nonsense differentiation, I think at the GOAT level an athlete who plays basketball (learned) vs basketball player (innate) can be a separator.

This is a weird post. Nobody is born knowing how to shoot or pass a basketball. Nobody has instincts for playing basketball.


Really? You think everyone is born with equal basketball instincts?

How about music or math? Equal natural affinity too?
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#143 » by bledredwine » Tue May 12, 2020 2:54 pm

SNPA wrote:
bledredwine wrote:
Man, I feel similarly. There’s so much potential to be great, but I wish that he was more of a competitive mindset in terms of winning instead of trying to put up great seasons and stats for individual placement on all-time lists, teaming up, giving up when tough and so on. That was a huge turnoff after being a huge fan for seven years.

I also wish that he had done more work on the footwork and intricacies of the game. Having trouble shooting? That I can understand as if it’s very hard to learn. Lebron probably should have reached out to some of the other greats to learn from them (Hakeem, Jordan, whomever). That seems to go a long way for talented players like Lebron (like Kobe and even Melo).


Going back to this, I think LeBron is hurt on an all time ranking because he isn’t a natural basketball player, major parts of the game aren’t instinctual to him. Take his passing, he starts and spends years as a mainly drive and kick player. He was a great one, and yes there was a bit more, but mainly that was his passing acumen. I give him great credit for improving over time and now he can stand out top and pick teams apart. However, that just goes to prove the point that it is a learned skill for him. Other greats like Bird and Magic didn’t have to learn to have great floor vision and creation, they are natural players and could always do it. To them it is innate, not learned. (Lol at the post saying LeBron is a top three passer)

Another example is shooting. LeBron is a learned shooter. His form gives it away. The disrespect the Spurs showed him in the finals with young KL shows that. Pop flat out didn’t respect his jumper. Yes, better than letting him drive but still, just daring the best player in the league to take open shots is a sign and not a positive one for LeBron. Doug Christie has pointed out how LeBron looks down at his feet before shooting some threes (generally when he has the ball in iso). That glance down is a learned trigger allowing him to lineup the shot and his mechanics. Bird didn’t look down. He was a natural shooter.

LeBron is first and foremost a top flight athlete with a high BBIQ. Players like Bird or Magic are instinctual basketball players first. There is a difference and not a small one here. It doesn’t mean LeBron can’t surpass them (he is above Magic IMO because of defense).

However, to be GOAT one should be a supreme natural basketball player that has the key elements of the game come intuitively, a basketball savant able to play any style in any era at the top level of the game. LeBron to me isn’t that guy to me. He needs to play a certain style to be an all time great. Some will say this is a nonsense differentiation, I think at the GOAT level an athlete who plays basketball (learned) vs basketball player (innate) can be a separator.


Yeah. I know exactly what you mean. That’s why many fans were bogus to Lebron for the longest time, saying he barreled to the rim, didn’t have a fourth quarter, etc. Lebron’s definitely a learned shooter and doesn’t have the nicest touch either. Take Jordan and Bird for example, who’s instinctual feel for the game led them to make correct decisions nearly all of the time. They also rarely turned over the ball and could use all sorts of English near the rim. That could be said about Hakeem as well. Lebron is in more of the Shaq category.

It was much more apparent when he was young since he’s put in so much work into improving, but there’s always a feeling of vulnerability and inconsistency, especially in close games against tough competition.

Lebron definitely came into the league at the right time- where his prime was matched up with none of the other GOATs and he could dish to the perimeter after slashing in the open court. Though he’d be great in any era, I think he’d have a brutal time with the size and paint defense of the 80s and even 90s. He would also have to play within a system.

Those guys also came out of college at age 21, more developed, so you had men/vets in the starting lineups instead of boys and few year players.

I went on a tangent there, but it’s related.
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dice wrote:James Harden is currently in the same league as Michael Jordan as a scorer.



Playoffs- to age 27
MJ 35.4 PPG
JH 20.6 PPG

LBJ 27% in the clutch in the Finals: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1651184
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#144 » by nolang1 » Tue May 12, 2020 2:55 pm

LKN wrote:
RCM88x wrote:
LKN wrote:
That's really not true - MJ has a decided edge in consistently elite postseason play IMO.

Career postseason BPM: MJ - 11.1, Lebron - 10.2
Career postseason OBPM: MJ - 8.8, Lebron - 7.6

Those are not small gaps (ex for OBPM - The gap between MJ and LBJ is about the same as the gap between LBJ and Curry).

While Lebron's absolutely peak runs definitely rival MJs - MJ has more super elite seasons.

Lebron has the highest BPM season (2009) at 17.5, but after that MJ dominates the high level runs.

Runs over 12 BPM: MJ - 5 (6 if you count his 11.9 run), LBJ - 2
Runs over 11 BPM: MJ - 7, LBJ - 4
Runs over 10 BPM: MJ - 8 (10 if you count his 2 9.9 runs), LBJ 8

OBPM is generally a better metric than BPM:

2009 is again the best season for either at 12.8 (freakish run really... kudos to LBJ)

Runs over 10 OBPM: MJ - 3 (4 if you count a 9.9 run), LBJ - 2
Runs over 9 OPBM: MJ - 6, LBJ -2
Runs over 8 OBPM: MJ - 11, LBJ - 6

We can stop there since that's 11/13 MJ seasons.

It's very fair to point out that this is only one metric (well more like 1.5 but whatever) and people can totally dismiss it if they want, but it's telling that MJ is just consistently better.

It's also fair to point out that LBJ shouldn't be knocked here... his numbers are dominant and #3 is far from him.


The funny part about all these numbers is, if you posted them a few months ago Lebron would have had the lead in a lot of these cases, especially in DBPM.

Take a look at this: https://web.archive.org/web/20200206154123/https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jamesle01.html

vs. this: https://web.archive.org/web/20200212084547/https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html

So which is right? Ehh probably neither lmao.


Yeah - they just did a big recalc. To be fair - MJ has always led in OBPM - which is the better metric (and generally has good correlation)

BPM and DBPM are more dubious.

But definitely fair to point out that it's only one metric. I do think it tells us that MJ and LeBron are the 2 best offensive players ever. The gap is large enough that I feel pretty confident that is correct.


Yeah I was speaking more about RAPM type of metrics than arbitrarily weighted box score ones. In years like ‘09, ‘14, ‘17, and ‘18 MJ could not have dragged those teams to a championship either. I think pure box score stuff underrates LeBron compared to MJ because his major edges are passing and being bigger and thus more versatile on defense. In other words, not only does LeBron generate more assists but those assists are more valuable on average because a higher proportion of them are going for threes. If your response to that is that the game is different and LeBron plays with more shooters, you have to acknowledge that it’s easier to put an extra shooter on the court with LeBron because not only is he better at finding shooters and getting the most out of them in the first place, but he can also function as a big on defense so a smaller player can more easily hide on that end and stay on the court.

Like if someone has Michael as 1a and LeBron as 1b I totally understand that, but when you extrapolate into the future it seems like if Lebron is a top 5-10 player for a few more seasons the volume is undeniable. Like if he ends up the all-time leading scorer and top five in assists, I don’t see how someone looking at it in the future would consider it particularly close. MJ just had the perfect story and happened to play in that sweet spot where business was booming in America yet celebrities didn’t have that 24/7 kind of coverage that they do today.
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#145 » by LKN » Tue May 12, 2020 3:07 pm

nolang1 wrote:
LKN wrote:
RCM88x wrote:
The funny part about all these numbers is, if you posted them a few months ago Lebron would have had the lead in a lot of these cases, especially in DBPM.

Take a look at this: https://web.archive.org/web/20200206154123/https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jamesle01.html

vs. this: https://web.archive.org/web/20200212084547/https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html

So which is right? Ehh probably neither lmao.


Yeah - they just did a big recalc. To be fair - MJ has always led in OBPM - which is the better metric (and generally has good correlation)

BPM and DBPM are more dubious.

But definitely fair to point out that it's only one metric. I do think it tells us that MJ and LeBron are the 2 best offensive players ever. The gap is large enough that I feel pretty confident that is correct.


Yeah I was speaking more about RAPM type of metrics than arbitrarily weighted box score ones. In years like ‘09, ‘14, ‘17, and ‘18 MJ could not have dragged those teams to a championship either. I think pure box score stuff underrates LeBron compared to MJ because his major edges are passing and being bigger and thus more versatile on defense. In other words, not only does LeBron generate more assists but those assists are more valuable on average because a higher proportion of them are going for threes. If your response to that is that the game is different and LeBron plays with more shooters, you have to acknowledge that it’s easier to put an extra shooter on the court with LeBron because not only is he better at finding shooters and getting the most out of them in the first place, but he can also function as a big on defense so a smaller player can more easily hide on that end and stay on the court.

Like if someone has Michael as 1a and LeBron as 1b I totally understand that, but when you extrapolate into the future it seems like if Lebron is a top 5-10 player for a few more seasons the volume is undeniable. Like if he ends up the all-time leading scorer and top five in assists, I don’t see how someone looking at it in the future would consider it particularly close. MJ just had the perfect story and happened to play in that sweet spot where business was booming in America yet celebrities didn’t have that 24/7 kind of coverage that they do today.


WTF are you talking about? There's no arbitrary weighting going on. FFS, a major component of the regression is a giant RAPM data set.

https://www.basketball-reference.com/about/bpm2.html

OPBM does tend to capture impact more accurately than BPM to be fair (as is stated in the above link).

BPM/OBPM are nothing like PER (which is IMO at least somewhat arbitrarily weighted).
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#146 » by bledredwine » Tue May 12, 2020 3:16 pm

NbaAllDay wrote:
LKN wrote:
nolang1 wrote:
Yeah and even then if you put LeBron’s 4, 5, 6, whatever best postseasons against Jordan’s there’s basically no difference. You could say Jordan had a more sustained peak of regular season dominance that came at the cost of burning himself out and not having as much longevity. The game is simply contested at a much higher level overall these days that LeBron or a clone of Jordan or any other human is going to have to have some games off or play reduced minutes if they want to be dominant in the postseason.


That's really not true - MJ has a decided edge in consistently elite postseason play IMO.

Career postseason BPM: MJ - 11.1, Lebron - 10.2
Career postseason OBPM: MJ - 8.8, Lebron - 7.6

Those are not small gaps (ex for OBPM - The gap between MJ and LBJ is about the same as the gap between LBJ and Curry).

While Lebron's absolutely peak runs definitely rival MJs - MJ has more super elite seasons.

Lebron has the highest BPM season (2009) at 17.5, but after that MJ dominates the high level runs.

Runs over 12 BPM: MJ - 5 (6 if you count his 11.9 run), LBJ - 2
Runs over 11 BPM: MJ - 7, LBJ - 4
Runs over 10 BPM: MJ - 8 (10 if you count his 2 9.9 runs), LBJ 8

OBPM is generally a better metric than BPM:

2009 is again the best season for either at 12.8 (freakish run really... kudos to LBJ)

Runs over 10 OBPM: MJ - 3 (4 if you count a 9.9 run), LBJ - 2
Runs over 9 OPBM: MJ - 6, LBJ -2
Runs over 8 OBPM: MJ - 11, LBJ - 6

We can stop there since that's 11/13 MJ seasons.

It's very fair to point out that this is only one metric (well more like 1.5 but whatever) and people can totally dismiss it if they want, but it's telling that MJ is just consistently better.

It's also fair to point out that LBJ shouldn't be knocked here... his numbers are dominant and #3 is far from him.


That's for supplying data. And like you said it's never definitive with just 1 or 2 sets of data but it can tell a story. I wonder if some of the data is screwed a bit due to Lebron reaching the playoffs at a younger age and not being able to perform at there GOAT levels. As you've pointed out Lebron at his peak at worse has rivaled MJ. So maybe a bit of context there narrows this potential gap more that first thought. However I don't know exactly what Lebron break down in his early years are so I can say I'm any of that definitively.


Thing is, Jordan's elite level was more elite. IMO it was much more elite.
And he was on top for a long time. I'll back this up with stats down below.

If justice were served and it was based on playing at an elite level, Jordan would have won Most Valuable Player every year except for 2 seasons- rookie year and his return year where he played few games, and his all-time leading MVP shares is an indication of that. Jordan, who won five MVP awards, has a 8.138 MVP share rate. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is closest at 6.203. LeBron James leads active players at 4.389.

Jordan's 9 1st team defensive selections is the most ever. He failed to score 20 points in only 6 of 179 playoff games. In 35 finals games, his single lowest scoring game was 22.

Excluding the players on the 50s and 60s Celtics teams the only player with more championships than Jordan is Robert Horry. Of those 6 rings, Jordan was Finals MVP all 6 times. Jordan has the most Finals MVP awards, and the next closest players only have 3.

Michael Jordan won the MVP on five distinct occasions: 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998. In both 1993 and 1997, voters were just tired of picking him as the MVP, and voted for two subpar players with subpar stats in Charles Barkley and Karl Malone. Jordan should have 7 MVPs.

Just look at their stats:

Barkley 1993: 25.6 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.6 SPG
Jordan 1993: 32.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.5 APG, League Leader in Steals (2.8), 1st Team All-NBA

Malone 1997: 27.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1st Team All-Defense
Jordan 1997: 29.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1st Team All-Defense, Finals MVP


(Since we're going down the Lebron Jordan route)
Jordan vs LeBron

Most trophies -
Jordan - 22
Bill Russell - 17
Kareem - 15
Lebron - 14

After Lebron's 14th season. Michael Jordan had:
•3 more rings
•3 more final mvps
•1 more DPOY
•1 more season MVP
•9 more scoring titles
•3 more steals leader
•3 more all defensive team selections
•4000 more points / Lebron moved past him in playoff points, but it took him longer.
•800 more steals
•Beat 20 50+ win teams in the playoffs (Lebron only defeated 10)
•Jordan never averaged less than 40% Field Goal in the finals
Lebron did it twice
•6/6 (never allowed a game 7)
•Lebron had much more offensive help, example:
Jordan never had a teammate average more than 22 points in the finals.. In fact, Mj is Only player in NBA history to lead a team to the championship with only one teammate averaging double figures in scoring
* In the Bulls’ 1997 playoff run, Scottie Pippen averaged 19 points per game on 42% shooting. All other teammates of Jordan averaged under 8 points per game
Kyrie averaged over 28 and DWade averaged more than 26
•MJ never ever had a finals meltdown like Lebron in 2011 against the Mavs
•MJ had more points in the playoffs in less games..
MJ accomplished all of this in 13 seasons
Lebron after his 14th season, is still chasing the “ghost (GOAT) that played in Chicago”
•Michael Jordan in the playoffs has put up atleast 40ppg, 5rpg, 5apg in 6 different playoff series. Along with an average of about 55% shooting, 3spg and 2bpg.
(86 vs bos, 89 vs cavs, 90 vs philly, 92 vs Miami, 93 vs Phoenix, 88 vs cavs) Jordan won every one of those matchups except for the 1986 matchup vs the celtics.
•Jordan in 88-89 averaged 32ppg, 8apg, 8rpg, 3spg off 54% shooting. LeBron has never even came close to this stat line.
•in 87 thru 92, MJ averaged 5 straight seasons of atleast 51% FG shooting. LeBron has never done this.
•the lowest FT% MJ ever shot in a season was 78%. Lebrons highest in a season ever is 78%.
•MJ has a higher playoff FG% of 48.7% to Lebrons 48.3%
•MJ has a higher playoff player efficiency rating of 28.6 to Lebrons 27.3.
•MJ shoots a higher playoff 3 point percentage of 33.2% to Lebrons 32.9%
•LeBron James has scored 30 points, 416 times in 1,117 games.
Michael Jordan did it 562 times in 1,072 games.
Jordan won 6 championships without losing a final in 1,072 games and LeBron in 1,117 games has lost 5 times and has only won 3 times (updated 2018)
•MJ also shocked the league by being the first (and only) player to have 100 blocks and 200 steals in the same season, then turned around and did it again the next year..
•Mj also has more career blocks (893) than Lebron James (853) despite playing in 22 LESS career games and being the smaller guy.
Also, MJ averaged 1.6 blocks per game in the 1987-88 season which is absolutely bonkers for a 6’6″ shooting guard.

MIchael Jordan:
•NBA record 5 playoffs series’ averaging atleast 40ppg
•Only player in history to lead league in scoring and win DPOY
•Highest scoring average, points per game, in any championship series:
41.0 vs. Phoenix Suns, 1993 NBA Finals
•Only rookie in NBA history to lead his team in four statistics (1984–85)
•Only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring, win Most Valuable Player, and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season (1987–88)
•Only player in history to average at least 30pts 6reb 5assists And 2 steals per game AND HE DID IT 7 TIMES.
•Only player in NBA history to win Rookie of the Year (1984–85), Defensive Player of the Year (1987–88), NBA MVP (1987–88, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1995–96, 1997–98), All-Star MVP (1988, 1996, 1998), and Finals MVP (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
•Only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring and win the NBA championship MORE THAN ONCE in the same season
* He did this SIX TIMES!! (1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98)
•One of two players in NBA history to score 3,000 points in a season: 3,041 points scored in 82 games played (37.1 ppg) (1986–87)
* Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player to achieve this.
•MJ is also the only player in NBA history to score over 40 points at age 40, and he did it twice!
•In 1988, MJ earned: Dunk Champ, All Star Game MVP, NBA Scoring Title, League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.
Michael in only ELEVEN complete seasons with the Bulls:
-10 scoring titles,
-Won Defensive Player of the Year,
-9 times all defensive team,
-9time All NBA,
-5 league MVPs
-6 finals MVPs
All 11 seasons. Mj has done in 11 seasons things Lebron hasn’t done and won’t do in his whole career…

HELP?

All-star appearances while playing with Jordan:
Scottie Pippen 6
1 player, 6 appearances = 6/6 in finals

All-star appearances while playing with Kareem:
Magic 10
Worthy 6
Bob Dandridge 2
Jamaal Wilkes 2
Oscar 2
Flynn Robinson 1
Norm Nixon 1
AC Green 1
8 players, 25 appearances = 6/9 in finals

All-star appearances while playing with Magic:
Kareem 10
Worthy 6
Jamaal Wilkes 2
Norm Nixon 1
AC Green 1
5 players, 20 appearances = 5/9 in finals

All star appearances playing with Shaq:
Kobe 7
Wade 3
Penny 2
Van Exel 1
Eddie Jones 1
Horace Grant 1

All-star appearances while playing with Lebron
Wade 4
Bosh 4
Love 3
Kyrie 2
Mo Williams 1
Zydrunas 1
6 players, 15 appearances = 3/9 in Finals

All-star appearances while playing with Duncan:
Parker 6
Robinson 3
Ginobili 2
3 players, 11 appearances, 5/6 in finals

All-star appearances while playing with Bird:
Parish 9
McHale 6
Tiny Archibald 3
Dennis Johnson 1

4 players, 19 appearances = 3/5 in Finals

You can't try to say Lebron has been more consistent or more elite. He has not. Lebron's had many great performances, so much against him as well, with the recent sweep, multiple slaughters... when he faces all-time great players, his resume isn't the best. Dwight, Durant, Dirk (Terry...), and so on. He has hobbled Steph and a younger Durant beaten.

If you were to take all of the stats, accolades, etc that could be compared between Jordan and Lebron, it's a slaughter. The problem is that it's advanced stats that favor ball-dominant players and over-reliance on Lebron that are continually brought up, and even those are close. Otherwise? It's triple double stats that really don't mean that much other than Lebron's one of the greatest ever. But in this comparison? It means little to nothing, especially considering the era and role Lebron plays. Heck, Durant basically had similar stats to Lebron with fewer assists and way better scoring numbers over the last 2 finals. There's plenty of evidence that modern stats are blown up.
Image

dice wrote:James Harden is currently in the same league as Michael Jordan as a scorer.



Playoffs- to age 27
MJ 35.4 PPG
JH 20.6 PPG

LBJ 27% in the clutch in the Finals: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1651184
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#147 » by KTM_2813 » Tue May 12, 2020 3:41 pm

SNPA wrote:
Bergmaniac wrote:
SNPA wrote:
Going back to this, I think LeBron is hurt on an all time ranking because he isn’t a natural basketball player, major parts of the game aren’t instinctual to him. Take his passing, he starts and spends years as a mainly drive and kick player. He was a great one, and yes there was a bit more, but mainly that was his passing acumen. I give him great credit for improving over time and now he can stand out top and pick teams apart. However, that just goes to prove the point that it is a learned skill for him. Other greats like Bird and Magic didn’t have to learn to have great floor vision and creation, they are natural players and could always do it. To them it is innate, not learned. (Lol at the post saying LeBron is a top three passer)

Another example is shooting. LeBron is a learned shooter. His form gives it away. The disrespect the Spurs showed him in the finals with young KL shows that. Pop flat out didn’t respect his jumper. Yes, better than letting him drive but still, just daring the best player in the league to take open shots is a sign and not a positive one for LeBron. Doug Christie has pointed out how LeBron looks down at his feet before shooting some threes (generally when he has the ball in iso). That glance down is a learned trigger allowing him to lineup the shot and his mechanics. Bird didn’t look down. He was a natural shooter.

LeBron is first and foremost a top flight athlete with a high BBIQ. Players like Bird or Magic are instinctual basketball players first. There is a difference and not a small one here. It doesn’t mean LeBron can’t surpass them (he is above Magic IMO because of defense).

However, to be GOAT one should be a supreme natural basketball player that has the key elements of the game come intuitively, a basketball savant able to play any style in any era at the top level of the game. LeBron to me isn’t that guy to me. He needs to play a certain style to be an all time great. Some will say this is a nonsense differentiation, I think at the GOAT level an athlete who plays basketball (learned) vs basketball player (innate) can be a separator.

This is a weird post. Nobody is born knowing how to shoot or pass a basketball. Nobody has instincts for playing basketball.


Really? You think everyone is born with equal basketball instincts?

How about music or math? Equal natural affinity too?


I think I understand what you are getting at, but I just don't know how to accurately measure natural basketball instincts versus learned ones. Perhaps Bird and Magic have the upper hand on LeBron there. Dunno. If anyone is a natural though, LeBron would seem to fit the bill. I don't know how you become the best high school player in the country at 16 years-old otherwise.

Also, doesn't your train of thought disqualify Jordan from the GOAT conversation? Not trying to be clever, but it genuinely seems that way to me. As great as MJ was, he was infamously cut from his varsity team as a sophomore, didn't develop his defense or his jumper until a few years into his career, and didn't master the passing:shooting ratio until closer to the Bulls' first championship. Seems to me that many of Jordan's most devastating skills were very much learned versus innately there.
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#148 » by Mazter » Tue May 12, 2020 3:52 pm

bledredwine wrote:If justice were served and it was based on playing at an elite level, Jordan would have won Most Valuable Player every year except for 2 seasons- rookie year and his return year where he played few games, and his all-time leading MVP shares is an indication of that. Jordan, who won five MVP awards, has a 8.138 MVP share rate. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is closest at 6.203. LeBron James leads active players at 4.389.

I believe after all those years this requires an update, right? And you would give Jordan an MVP for his injury season and the Bullets years?
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#149 » by Bergmaniac » Tue May 12, 2020 3:53 pm

SNPA wrote:
Bergmaniac wrote:
SNPA wrote:
Going back to this, I think LeBron is hurt on an all time ranking because he isn’t a natural basketball player, major parts of the game aren’t instinctual to him. Take his passing, he starts and spends years as a mainly drive and kick player. He was a great one, and yes there was a bit more, but mainly that was his passing acumen. I give him great credit for improving over time and now he can stand out top and pick teams apart. However, that just goes to prove the point that it is a learned skill for him. Other greats like Bird and Magic didn’t have to learn to have great floor vision and creation, they are natural players and could always do it. To them it is innate, not learned. (Lol at the post saying LeBron is a top three passer)

Another example is shooting. LeBron is a learned shooter. His form gives it away. The disrespect the Spurs showed him in the finals with young KL shows that. Pop flat out didn’t respect his jumper. Yes, better than letting him drive but still, just daring the best player in the league to take open shots is a sign and not a positive one for LeBron. Doug Christie has pointed out how LeBron looks down at his feet before shooting some threes (generally when he has the ball in iso). That glance down is a learned trigger allowing him to lineup the shot and his mechanics. Bird didn’t look down. He was a natural shooter.

LeBron is first and foremost a top flight athlete with a high BBIQ. Players like Bird or Magic are instinctual basketball players first. There is a difference and not a small one here. It doesn’t mean LeBron can’t surpass them (he is above Magic IMO because of defense).

However, to be GOAT one should be a supreme natural basketball player that has the key elements of the game come intuitively, a basketball savant able to play any style in any era at the top level of the game. LeBron to me isn’t that guy to me. He needs to play a certain style to be an all time great. Some will say this is a nonsense differentiation, I think at the GOAT level an athlete who plays basketball (learned) vs basketball player (innate) can be a separator.

This is a weird post. Nobody is born knowing how to shoot or pass a basketball. Nobody has instincts for playing basketball.


Really? You think everyone is born with equal basketball instincts?

How about music or math? Equal natural affinity too?

Affinity and instincts are very different things. Obviously some people learn much faster how to pass, shoot or dribble, but everyone has to learn it.

Besides, none of us has watched these guys as kids when they first started developing their skills, so all the talk of who is the more natural player is speculation.
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#150 » by Doctor MJ » Tue May 12, 2020 4:19 pm

Bergmaniac wrote:Affinity and instincts are very different things. Obviously some people learn much faster how to pass, shoot or dribble, but everyone has to learn it.

Besides, none of us has watched these guys as kids when they first started developing their skills, so all the talk of who is the more natural player is speculation.


I feel like you're being too rigid to be practical in what's meant by "instinctive"

The word "instinctive" generally means being intuitive - etymologically they don't mean the same thing, but in practice, that's what's meant.

And the thing about basketball intuition is that you can generally see who has it and who doesn't very quickly. Same with other sports. People can have good intuition in some sports than others, but if you're talking about actual on-court awareness, players who are especially strong on this front are typically seen as "naturals" in any open field sport. Steve Nash was famously a star in high school in basketball, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, and rugby, each time immediately being a better passer than anyone else. That's clearly about brains ability to read a complex situation and have an action emerge as salient faster than anyone else. It's frankly something that we could develop scouting tests for (if we haven't already done), but since it's fairly obvious when scouts watch a guy play further tests in theory shouldn't be necessary. (In reality, if we could develop something with reliable quantities attached to it that would recognize the difference between being excellent and being a true outlier, this would undoubtedly be useful, and could be used to scout potential talents for field sports before they've even played the sport much like we do when we see a muscular 7-footer.)
homecourtloss wrote:Only good thing about quarantine Is that Dr. MJ is posting again. :lol:


Tryin' to avoid the strident debates. I'd rather just help others understand.
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#151 » by LKN » Tue May 12, 2020 4:29 pm

KTM_2813 wrote:
SNPA wrote:
Bergmaniac wrote:This is a weird post. Nobody is born knowing how to shoot or pass a basketball. Nobody has instincts for playing basketball.


Really? You think everyone is born with equal basketball instincts?

How about music or math? Equal natural affinity too?


I think I understand what you are getting at, but I just don't know how to accurately measure natural basketball instincts versus learned ones. Perhaps Bird and Magic have the upper hand on LeBron there. Dunno. If anyone is a natural though, LeBron would seem to fit the bill. I don't know how you become the best high school player in the country at 16 years-old otherwise.

Also, doesn't your train of thought disqualify Jordan from the GOAT conversation? Not trying to be clever, but it genuinely seems that way to me. As great as MJ was, he was infamously cut from his varsity team as a sophomore, didn't develop his defense or his jumper until a few years into his career, and didn't master the passing:shooting ratio until closer to the Bulls' first championship. Seems to me that many of Jordan's most devastating skills were very much learned versus innately there.


Most of the bolded isn't true - if you think it is you need to read a book about MJ. (I'd recommend playing for keeps by Halberstam - which also covers the Bulls and has interesting detours on guys like Magic as well).
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#152 » by nolang1 » Tue May 12, 2020 5:18 pm

bledredwine wrote:
NbaAllDay wrote:
LKN wrote:
That's really not true - MJ has a decided edge in consistently elite postseason play IMO.

Career postseason BPM: MJ - 11.1, Lebron - 10.2
Career postseason OBPM: MJ - 8.8, Lebron - 7.6

Those are not small gaps (ex for OBPM - The gap between MJ and LBJ is about the same as the gap between LBJ and Curry).

While Lebron's absolutely peak runs definitely rival MJs - MJ has more super elite seasons.

Lebron has the highest BPM season (2009) at 17.5, but after that MJ dominates the high level runs.

Runs over 12 BPM: MJ - 5 (6 if you count his 11.9 run), LBJ - 2
Runs over 11 BPM: MJ - 7, LBJ - 4
Runs over 10 BPM: MJ - 8 (10 if you count his 2 9.9 runs), LBJ 8

OBPM is generally a better metric than BPM:

2009 is again the best season for either at 12.8 (freakish run really... kudos to LBJ)

Runs over 10 OBPM: MJ - 3 (4 if you count a 9.9 run), LBJ - 2
Runs over 9 OPBM: MJ - 6, LBJ -2
Runs over 8 OBPM: MJ - 11, LBJ - 6

We can stop there since that's 11/13 MJ seasons.

It's very fair to point out that this is only one metric (well more like 1.5 but whatever) and people can totally dismiss it if they want, but it's telling that MJ is just consistently better.

It's also fair to point out that LBJ shouldn't be knocked here... his numbers are dominant and #3 is far from him.


That's for supplying data. And like you said it's never definitive with just 1 or 2 sets of data but it can tell a story. I wonder if some of the data is screwed a bit due to Lebron reaching the playoffs at a younger age and not being able to perform at there GOAT levels. As you've pointed out Lebron at his peak at worse has rivaled MJ. So maybe a bit of context there narrows this potential gap more that first thought. However I don't know exactly what Lebron break down in his early years are so I can say I'm any of that definitively.


Thing is, Jordan's elite level was more elite. IMO it was much more elite.
And he was on top for a long time. I'll back this up with stats down below.

If justice were served and it was based on playing at an elite level, Jordan would have won Most Valuable Player every year except for 2 seasons- rookie year and his return year where he played few games, and his all-time leading MVP shares is an indication of that. Jordan, who won five MVP awards, has a 8.138 MVP share rate. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is closest at 6.203. LeBron James leads active players at 4.389.

Jordan's 9 1st team defensive selections is the most ever. He failed to score 20 points in only 6 of 179 playoff games. In 35 finals games, his single lowest scoring game was 22.

Excluding the players on the 50s and 60s Celtics teams the only player with more championships than Jordan is Robert Horry. Of those 6 rings, Jordan was Finals MVP all 6 times. Jordan has the most Finals MVP awards, and the next closest players only have 3.

Michael Jordan won the MVP on five distinct occasions: 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998. In both 1993 and 1997, voters were just tired of picking him as the MVP, and voted for two subpar players with subpar stats in Charles Barkley and Karl Malone. Jordan should have 7 MVPs.

Just look at their stats:

Barkley 1993: 25.6 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.6 SPG
Jordan 1993: 32.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.5 APG, League Leader in Steals (2.8), 1st Team All-NBA

Malone 1997: 27.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1st Team All-Defense
Jordan 1997: 29.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1st Team All-Defense, Finals MVP


(Since we're going down the Lebron Jordan route)
Jordan vs LeBron

Most trophies -
Jordan - 22
Bill Russell - 17
Kareem - 15
Lebron - 14

After Lebron's 14th season. Michael Jordan had:
•3 more rings
•3 more final mvps
•1 more DPOY
•1 more season MVP
•9 more scoring titles
•3 more steals leader
•3 more all defensive team selections
•4000 more points / Lebron moved past him in playoff points, but it took him longer.
•800 more steals
•Beat 20 50+ win teams in the playoffs (Lebron only defeated 10)
•Jordan never averaged less than 40% Field Goal in the finals
Lebron did it twice
•6/6 (never allowed a game 7)
•Lebron had much more offensive help, example:
Jordan never had a teammate average more than 22 points in the finals.. In fact, Mj is Only player in NBA history to lead a team to the championship with only one teammate averaging double figures in scoring
* In the Bulls’ 1997 playoff run, Scottie Pippen averaged 19 points per game on 42% shooting. All other teammates of Jordan averaged under 8 points per game
Kyrie averaged over 28 and DWade averaged more than 26
•MJ never ever had a finals meltdown like Lebron in 2011 against the Mavs
•MJ had more points in the playoffs in less games..
MJ accomplished all of this in 13 seasons
Lebron after his 14th season, is still chasing the “ghost (GOAT) that played in Chicago”
•Michael Jordan in the playoffs has put up atleast 40ppg, 5rpg, 5apg in 6 different playoff series. Along with an average of about 55% shooting, 3spg and 2bpg.
(86 vs bos, 89 vs cavs, 90 vs philly, 92 vs Miami, 93 vs Phoenix, 88 vs cavs) Jordan won every one of those matchups except for the 1986 matchup vs the celtics.
•Jordan in 88-89 averaged 32ppg, 8apg, 8rpg, 3spg off 54% shooting. LeBron has never even came close to this stat line.
•in 87 thru 92, MJ averaged 5 straight seasons of atleast 51% FG shooting. LeBron has never done this.
•the lowest FT% MJ ever shot in a season was 78%. Lebrons highest in a season ever is 78%.
•MJ has a higher playoff FG% of 48.7% to Lebrons 48.3%
•MJ has a higher playoff player efficiency rating of 28.6 to Lebrons 27.3.
•MJ shoots a higher playoff 3 point percentage of 33.2% to Lebrons 32.9%
•LeBron James has scored 30 points, 416 times in 1,117 games.
Michael Jordan did it 562 times in 1,072 games.
Jordan won 6 championships without losing a final in 1,072 games and LeBron in 1,117 games has lost 5 times and has only won 3 times (updated 2018)
•MJ also shocked the league by being the first (and only) player to have 100 blocks and 200 steals in the same season, then turned around and did it again the next year..
•Mj also has more career blocks (893) than Lebron James (853) despite playing in 22 LESS career games and being the smaller guy.
Also, MJ averaged 1.6 blocks per game in the 1987-88 season which is absolutely bonkers for a 6’6″ shooting guard.

MIchael Jordan:
•NBA record 5 playoffs series’ averaging atleast 40ppg
•Only player in history to lead league in scoring and win DPOY
•Highest scoring average, points per game, in any championship series:
41.0 vs. Phoenix Suns, 1993 NBA Finals
•Only rookie in NBA history to lead his team in four statistics (1984–85)
•Only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring, win Most Valuable Player, and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season (1987–88)
•Only player in history to average at least 30pts 6reb 5assists And 2 steals per game AND HE DID IT 7 TIMES.
•Only player in NBA history to win Rookie of the Year (1984–85), Defensive Player of the Year (1987–88), NBA MVP (1987–88, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1995–96, 1997–98), All-Star MVP (1988, 1996, 1998), and Finals MVP (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
•Only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring and win the NBA championship MORE THAN ONCE in the same season
* He did this SIX TIMES!! (1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98)
•One of two players in NBA history to score 3,000 points in a season: 3,041 points scored in 82 games played (37.1 ppg) (1986–87)
* Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player to achieve this.
•MJ is also the only player in NBA history to score over 40 points at age 40, and he did it twice!
•In 1988, MJ earned: Dunk Champ, All Star Game MVP, NBA Scoring Title, League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.
Michael in only ELEVEN complete seasons with the Bulls:
-10 scoring titles,
-Won Defensive Player of the Year,
-9 times all defensive team,
-9time All NBA,
-5 league MVPs
-6 finals MVPs
All 11 seasons. Mj has done in 11 seasons things Lebron hasn’t done and won’t do in his whole career…

HELP?

All-star appearances while playing with Jordan:
Scottie Pippen 6
1 player, 6 appearances = 6/6 in finals

All-star appearances while playing with Kareem:
Magic 10
Worthy 6
Bob Dandridge 2
Jamaal Wilkes 2
Oscar 2
Flynn Robinson 1
Norm Nixon 1
AC Green 1
8 players, 25 appearances = 6/9 in finals

All-star appearances while playing with Magic:
Kareem 10
Worthy 6
Jamaal Wilkes 2
Norm Nixon 1
AC Green 1
5 players, 20 appearances = 5/9 in finals

All star appearances playing with Shaq:
Kobe 7
Wade 3
Penny 2
Van Exel 1
Eddie Jones 1
Horace Grant 1

All-star appearances while playing with Lebron
Wade 4
Bosh 4
Love 3
Kyrie 2
Mo Williams 1
Zydrunas 1
6 players, 15 appearances = 3/9 in Finals

All-star appearances while playing with Duncan:
Parker 6
Robinson 3
Ginobili 2
3 players, 11 appearances, 5/6 in finals

All-star appearances while playing with Bird:
Parish 9
McHale 6
Tiny Archibald 3
Dennis Johnson 1

4 players, 19 appearances = 3/5 in Finals

You can't try to say Lebron has been more consistent or more elite. He has not. Lebron's had many great performances, so much against him as well, with the recent sweep, multiple slaughters... when he faces all-time great players, his resume isn't the best. Dwight, Durant, Dirk (Terry...), and so on. He has hobbled Steph and a younger Durant beaten.

If you were to take all of the stats, accolades, etc that could be compared between Jordan and Lebron, it's a slaughter. The problem is that it's advanced stats that favor ball-dominant players and over-reliance on Lebron that are continually brought up, and even those are close. Otherwise? It's triple double stats that really don't mean that much other than Lebron's one of the greatest ever. But in this comparison? It means little to nothing, especially considering the era and role Lebron plays. Heck, Durant basically had similar stats to Lebron with fewer assists and way better scoring numbers over the last 2 finals. There's plenty of evidence that modern stats are blown up.


So this boils down to Jordan playing on better teams and Jordan being more of a pure scorer (in an era where the rules were friendlier to 1v1 play and teams couldn’t fully commit to stopping one guy from scoring). LeBron also had additional seasons where he was clearly the best player and could’ve been awarded MVP; frankly if you use the same logic that was used to deny LeBron a few MVPs (yeah he’s the best player but the MVP is a regular season award and he’s clearly holding something back for the playoffs) then the players that won MVP over Jordan make sense as well; in my mind they’d both have more MVPs, but those accolades don’t mean much compared to actually being the best player, which is proven in the postseason. And again, you can’t point to Jordan’s regular season accolades without acknowledging that he took a year and a half off in the midst of his prime and didn’t do anything particularly noteworthy after age 35. If LeBron were to drastically fall off and be at best a borderline all-star player next year and going forward rather than an MVP candidate I’d be perfectly willing to concede Jordan had a better career.

When accolades like all-star appearances and MVP voting are determined by people who aren’t too smart and default to things like points per game, of course the players who are better at getting their teammates involved on offense are going to play with more all-star teammates and lose MVPs to players who score more points per game. The whole point I was making about Jordan was that he had to have an outstanding defensive big like Horace Grant or Dennis Rodman (both of whom were better than Kevin Love or Chris Bosh overall and were definitely better than Wade was after his first year with LeBron) for his team to win championships, and players like that just didn’t make all-star teams back then.
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#153 » by KTM_2813 » Tue May 12, 2020 5:37 pm

LKN wrote:
KTM_2813 wrote:
SNPA wrote:
Really? You think everyone is born with equal basketball instincts?

How about music or math? Equal natural affinity too?


I think I understand what you are getting at, but I just don't know how to accurately measure natural basketball instincts versus learned ones. Perhaps Bird and Magic have the upper hand on LeBron there. Dunno. If anyone is a natural though, LeBron would seem to fit the bill. I don't know how you become the best high school player in the country at 16 years-old otherwise.

Also, doesn't your train of thought disqualify Jordan from the GOAT conversation? Not trying to be clever, but it genuinely seems that way to me. As great as MJ was, he was infamously cut from his varsity team as a sophomore, didn't develop his defense or his jumper until a few years into his career, and didn't master the passing:shooting ratio until closer to the Bulls' first championship. Seems to me that many of Jordan's most devastating skills were very much learned versus innately there.


Most of the bolded isn't true - if you think it is you need to read a book about MJ. (I'd recommend playing for keeps by Halberstam - which also covers the Bulls and has interesting detours on guys like Magic as well).


Good to know. I certainly didn't intend to take credit from Jordan. I guess I'm just trying to poke some holes in the whole "you can only be the GOAT if your innate basketball ability is greater than X" thing. Seems like a bit of a dumpster fire, if I'm being honest. :lol:
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#154 » by LKN » Tue May 12, 2020 5:43 pm

KTM_2813 wrote:
LKN wrote:
KTM_2813 wrote:
I think I understand what you are getting at, but I just don't know how to accurately measure natural basketball instincts versus learned ones. Perhaps Bird and Magic have the upper hand on LeBron there. Dunno. If anyone is a natural though, LeBron would seem to fit the bill. I don't know how you become the best high school player in the country at 16 years-old otherwise.

Also, doesn't your train of thought disqualify Jordan from the GOAT conversation? Not trying to be clever, but it genuinely seems that way to me. As great as MJ was, he was infamously cut from his varsity team as a sophomore, didn't develop his defense or his jumper until a few years into his career, and didn't master the passing:shooting ratio until closer to the Bulls' first championship. Seems to me that many of Jordan's most devastating skills were very much learned versus innately there.


Most of the bolded isn't true - if you think it is you need to read a book about MJ. (I'd recommend playing for keeps by Halberstam - which also covers the Bulls and has interesting detours on guys like Magic as well).


Good to know. I certainly didn't intend to take credit from Jordan. I guess I'm just trying to poke some holes in the whole "you can only be the GOAT if your innate basketball ability is greater than X" thing. Seems like a bit of a dumpster fire, if I'm being honest. :lol:


Fair! Sorry , wasn't trying to be an @ss :-)

However,I honestly think there's something to the natural talent/instinct thing.... No matter how much most guys practice they will NEVER EVER be able to shoot like Curry, Nash, etc.

Look at Messi in futbol...... no matter how much someone worked they'd just never have his vision and field sense.

I will say - I'd be really interested to read a book about a guy who DID become one of the best players who wasn't naturally talented - I'm just not sure that's possible.

The one exception to this is probably NFL football - which is much less skill based (at least for some positions) and a much less dynamic environment.
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#155 » by SNPA » Tue May 12, 2020 5:52 pm

KTM_2813 wrote:
LKN wrote:
KTM_2813 wrote:
I think I understand what you are getting at, but I just don't know how to accurately measure natural basketball instincts versus learned ones. Perhaps Bird and Magic have the upper hand on LeBron there. Dunno. If anyone is a natural though, LeBron would seem to fit the bill. I don't know how you become the best high school player in the country at 16 years-old otherwise.

Also, doesn't your train of thought disqualify Jordan from the GOAT conversation? Not trying to be clever, but it genuinely seems that way to me. As great as MJ was, he was infamously cut from his varsity team as a sophomore, didn't develop his defense or his jumper until a few years into his career, and didn't master the passing:shooting ratio until closer to the Bulls' first championship. Seems to me that many of Jordan's most devastating skills were very much learned versus innately there.


Most of the bolded isn't true - if you think it is you need to read a book about MJ. (I'd recommend playing for keeps by Halberstam - which also covers the Bulls and has interesting detours on guys like Magic as well).


Good to know. I certainly didn't intend to take credit from Jordan. I guess I'm just trying to poke some holes in the whole "you can only be the GOAT if your innate basketball ability is greater than X" thing. Seems like a bit of a dumpster fire, if I'm being honest. :lol:


I don’t expect everyone to get it. Especially in the age where quantitative measurements are seen as object truth to high to be questioned. FYI - stats are subjective too in which one you pick and how you value them.

Dr. MJ has it right IMO. It’s about biology in how the brain is wired. That’s why we say some guys can see two or three moves ahead, they are processing input differently. Bird could pass and shoot before he picked up a ball just like a baby giraffe knows intuitively to stand up after birth, it’s not learned it’s naturally there.

This innate ability is a factor just like height, length or running and jumping. It’s a fundamental part of how a player plays the game. And if you look for it, you’ll know when you see a player that has it. It was has no associated statistic so lots of people miss it or discount it.
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#156 » by nolang1 » Tue May 12, 2020 5:57 pm

KTM_2813 wrote:
LKN wrote:
KTM_2813 wrote:
I think I understand what you are getting at, but I just don't know how to accurately measure natural basketball instincts versus learned ones. Perhaps Bird and Magic have the upper hand on LeBron there. Dunno. If anyone is a natural though, LeBron would seem to fit the bill. I don't know how you become the best high school player in the country at 16 years-old otherwise.

Also, doesn't your train of thought disqualify Jordan from the GOAT conversation? Not trying to be clever, but it genuinely seems that way to me. As great as MJ was, he was infamously cut from his varsity team as a sophomore, didn't develop his defense or his jumper until a few years into his career, and didn't master the passing:shooting ratio until closer to the Bulls' first championship. Seems to me that many of Jordan's most devastating skills were very much learned versus innately there.


Most of the bolded isn't true - if you think it is you need to read a book about MJ. (I'd recommend playing for keeps by Halberstam - which also covers the Bulls and has interesting detours on guys like Magic as well).


Good to know. I certainly didn't intend to take credit from Jordan. I guess I'm just trying to poke some holes in the whole "you can only be the GOAT if your innate basketball ability is greater than X" thing. Seems like a bit of a dumpster fire, if I'm being honest. :lol:


To me this is just a bias among people who were older and got used to seeing basketball played in a certain way. It’s like how some computer engines can beat the crap out of the best human players in the world and it’s dismissed as not particularly instructive since their advantage is mostly due to being able to calculate more moves into the future than any human being could and just capitalizing on the inevitable mistake. Especially during Jordan’s era and even now, teams haven’t fully harnessed the power of the three-pointer. LeBron’s greatness comes from the fact that he’s able to simplify the game (drive to the basket and if they help, kick out to the open shooter) to a degree that looks unnatural. Someone like Harden is the exemplar of playing in this seemingly unnatural way that is more optimal based on the actual rules of the game, and LeBron is able to do this while being a much better defender and playing in a way that conserves his energy so he can be at his best in the postseason.
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#157 » by homecourtloss » Tue May 12, 2020 6:06 pm

SNPA wrote:
I don’t expect everyone to get it. Especially in the age where quantitative measurements are seen as object truth to high to be questioned. FYI - stats are subjective too in which one you pick and how you value them.


So...only you and people who agree with you “get it”? Ok.

SNPA wrote:
This innate ability is a factor just like height, length or running and jumping. It’s a fundamental part of how a player plays the game. And if you look for it, you’ll know when you see a player that has it. It was has no associated statistic so lots of people miss it or discount it.


So one has to look for a subjective quality and then determine subjectively if he or she “has it”? Seems dubious,

Lastly, if the quality you’re subjectively outlining is a positive in creating winning margins (the entire point of the game) in any way shape or for, it shows up in impact statistics regardless, but we might not be able to isolate it.
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#158 » by SNPA » Tue May 12, 2020 6:14 pm

homecourtloss wrote:
SNPA wrote:
I don’t expect everyone to get it. Especially in the age where quantitative measurements are seen as object truth to high to be questioned. FYI - stats are subjective too in which one you pick and how you value them.


So...only you and people who agree with you “get it”? Ok.

SNPA wrote:
This innate ability is a factor just like height, length or running and jumping. It’s a fundamental part of how a player plays the game. And if you look for it, you’ll know when you see a player that has it. It was has no associated statistic so lots of people miss it or discount it.


So one has to look for a subjective quality and then determine subjectively if he or she “has it”? Seems dubious,

Lastly, if the quality you’re subjectively outlining is a positive in creating winning margins (the entire point of the game) in any way shape or for, it shows up in impact statistics regardless, but we might not be able to isolate it.

Yes to the first part.

For the second part...

Basketball is played by humans interacting with each other. There’s no quantitative measure that fully explains how they react to each other and different situations. Understanding the game on that level is social science, it’s in part subjective in the sense it’s not reducible to numbers. If you like purely objective reasoning pick something that doesn’t have humans as the baseline unit of measure.
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#159 » by Bidofo » Tue May 12, 2020 7:51 pm

It gets annoying seeing these very data-dismissive approaches. Why does there have to be such a one-or-the-other dichotomy? Do people exist on this board and elsewhere that heavily weigh stats more than my liking? Sure. But by far the majority of reputable posters here conduct their analysis with a combination of eye-test (whether live or recorded) and an insightful use of statistics. Honestly, I see people rely on their literal memory that hasn't been refreshed in 20+ years to make analysis more often than a stats only approach, and both are equally nonsensical.

Understanding humans is difficult, correct. But using stats as a proxy, we get pretty dang close to painting the whole and accurate picture. Claiming "artistry" only goes so far; Bird is one of the GOAT aesthetically pleasing players, while LeBron is much less so. Does that affect their impact in any meaningful way? I'm not sure that it does.

Bird being an innate basketball player doesn't mean he didn't have flaws that hold him back from GOAT status. He has weak longevity. He's been injured in the postseason a few times (imagine if LeBron got into a bar fight and saw a drop in production in today's age, lol). His defense took a steep drop as he got older. He isn't exactly the most resilient postseason scorer (lack of dominant slashing/foul drawing hurts him here). I mean the case that he's out of the top 7/8 is very easy, and at that point I wouldn't call someone a GOAT candidate. If you like purely subjective reasoning pick something where winning and goodness don't have such a (relatively) strong correlation with stats.

I'm not sure if that innate quality even exists. Recently Curry's shooting has been such an outlier that I'm more pressed to believe that it does. But there are tons of instances of people picking up basketball relatively late and still dominating. Things like "seeing moves ahead of time" are a) learnable as you age and get better, and b) not limited to only offense. Two late bloomers that are better than Bird imo are Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon. Both guys started playing a different sport (swimming and soccer, respectively). Coming into the league they were already demons on defense, but they peaked later in their career on that end because of added experience. And now looking back, I consider both of them having better careers than Bird and much stronger cases for GOAT (though I wouldn't argue for any of them).

LeBron may not be as intuitive a passer as Bird, but if he's able to "barrel" to the rim and his scoring is better/more resilient in leading to offenses that are just as good if not better, and then leverage his GOAT athleticism on defense at a good to elite level (depending on year)...where is Bird's case? Not to mention the massive longevity edge LeBron has. Defaulting to "social sciences" is just running away from this analysis, imo.

Fwiw, I think Ben Taylor actually is a social scientist (psychologist?) of some kind, and he has Bird at 11 all-time. I know, it's blasphemy. But read his article (and the others) and he lays a good case.

And then the LeBron criticisms make no sense. You would be remiss to say "He isn't a savant that can play any style in any era at the top of the game" and not account for the fact that LeBron molded his game to best fit his era. His athleticism and IQ alone guarantee he would dominate any time period. Also maybe someone hasn't watched HS/young LeBron but he's always been an exceptional passer; he understood it's value at such a young age, compared to guys like Jordan (look, another GOAT candidate who's better than Bird that didn't have the same instinctual skills) and Kobe.

What does it say about Bird if LeBron picked up these skills a few years into his career and still proceeded to outperform Bird as a postseason player? LeBron's prime alone ('09-'20) matches up to Bird's entire career. So LeBron took a few years to become a GOAT tier playmaker...so what? :roll:
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Re: Where do you rank Lebron right now in the GOAT list? 

Post#160 » by bledredwine » Tue May 12, 2020 8:48 pm

Mazter wrote:
bledredwine wrote:If justice were served and it was based on playing at an elite level, Jordan would have won Most Valuable Player every year except for 2 seasons- rookie year and his return year where he played few games, and his all-time leading MVP shares is an indication of that. Jordan, who won five MVP awards, has a 8.138 MVP share rate. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is closest at 6.203. LeBron James leads active players at 4.389.

I believe after all those years this requires an update, right? And you would give Jordan an MVP for his injury season and the Bullets years?


Wouldn't you assume the injury season doesn't factor into this at all? He barely played.

And same for Wizards... he was near 40.
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dice wrote:James Harden is currently in the same league as Michael Jordan as a scorer.



Playoffs- to age 27
MJ 35.4 PPG
JH 20.6 PPG

LBJ 27% in the clutch in the Finals: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1651184

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