What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak?

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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#61 » by Gregoire » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:11 am

Jordan 90-92 vs Lebron 2012-2013:
- Overall better offensive player.
- Better scorer, more volume and more efficient one , so best scorer overall, more versatile scorer, less weaknesses.
- Biggest mismatch for the team, so best creator for himself and teammates in halfcourt because of his uncanny ability to split doubles, triples and to outplay 2,3,4 defenders in one play, better gravity effect
- Great passer and playmaker (worse than Lebron), but less TO prone.
- Much better off-ball player and shooter, so create the spacing, better FT shooter
- Better stamina, health and durability
- Better handles and hands in halfcourt, more creative
- Obviously better intangibles, sense of the moment, wll to win, motor, mentality and huge clutch factor (maybe the best ever)
- Much more quick desicion-making, less time with the ball
- Very good help defender and versatile one, better man defender, overall defense capability - tied or slight edge to Lebron, but MJ had better motor.
- Better bbal IQ

Jordan 90-92 vs Lebron 2016-2018:
- Overall better offensive player.
- Better scorer, more volume and more efficient one , so best scorer overall, more versatile scorer, less weaknesses (Lebron 16-18 is better than 12-13, but MJ still better).
- Biggest mismatch for the team, so best creator for himself and teammates in halfcourt because of his uncanny ability to split doubles, triples and to outplay 2,3,4 defenders in one play, better gravity effect
- Great passer and playmaker (worse than Lebron), but less TO prone.
- Better off-ball player and shooter, so create the spacing, better FT shooter
- Better stamina, health and durability
- Better handles and hands in halfcourt, more creative
- Better intangibles (not so obvious, but still), sense of the moment, wll to win, motor, mentality and huge clutch factor (maybe the best ever)
- Much more quick desicion-making, less time with the ball
- Very good help defender and versatile one, better man defender, overall defense capability - tied or slight edge to Lebron, but MJ had much better motor.
nate33 wrote:

Yeah, when ever I make all time comparisons, I pretty much ignore the pre-3PT-line era. The game was so different then. It's apples and oranges. Those guys may be better or may be worse, we're never really going to know.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#62 » by ThePersianFreak » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:50 pm

I think their peak is very close.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#63 » by Sark » Sat Oct 17, 2020 11:10 pm

His scoring is the best of all time, and his turnover efficiency is an outlier compared to all the greats. Also his individual defense was better than Lebron's.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#64 » by D.Brasco » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:07 am

Eddy_JukeZ wrote:The question is a bit tricky, because there's a consensus MJ peak. That's his 91 season.

Lebron doesn't have a consensus peak.


The funny thing is was '91 MJ necessarily better than '90 MJ or is it that his team and mainly Pippen became better? I'm legitimately not sure. Stat wise those 2 seasons are close with maybe an edge to '90.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#65 » by therealbig3 » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:54 am

It's been mentioned already, I think it's MJ's superior shot making ability, particularly off the dribble. Even though LeBron is the better and more willing passer, I think it made peak Jordan a little better offensively. LeBron is a little better defensively though, so these guys are essentially equal.

I tend to lean towards who I believe is the better offensive player, which to me is Jordan, since I think the defense is more easily made up for by teammates than offense is, especially since Jordan was an excellent defender himself.

But it's important to note that LeBron has led some of the greatest offensive teams of all time in the PS throughout his prime, so as someone else mentioned, we might be griping over a theoretical advantage for Jordan that hasn't really manifested itself as an actual negative for LeBron in a long time, and the results are certainly there for LeBron in terms of being an offensive anchor.

So, I wouldn't think twice about it if someone felt that LeBron was the better player at his peak, on both sides of the ball. I think he certainly has a case for it.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#66 » by therealbig3 » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:59 am

D.Brasco wrote:
Eddy_JukeZ wrote:The question is a bit tricky, because there's a consensus MJ peak. That's his 91 season.

Lebron doesn't have a consensus peak.


The funny thing is was '91 MJ necessarily better than '90 MJ or is it that his team and mainly Pippen became better? I'm legitimately not sure. Stat wise those 2 seasons are close with maybe an edge to '90.


89-92 Jordan are essentially the same player, 91 just gets picked because of the narrative (first championship, finally got past the Bad Boys, beat Magic and had the figurative torch passed in the Finals). He didn't win the title in 89 or 90, and 92 was less of a storyline year compared to 91.

93 is right up there as well, but he clearly coasted during the RS, so it's a touch below those other years.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#67 » by Eddy_JukeZ » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:09 am

D.Brasco wrote:
Eddy_JukeZ wrote:The question is a bit tricky, because there's a consensus MJ peak. That's his 91 season.

Lebron doesn't have a consensus peak.


The funny thing is was '91 MJ necessarily better than '90 MJ or is it that his team and mainly Pippen became better? I'm legitimately not sure. Stat wise those 2 seasons are close with maybe an edge to '90.


They're very close, but there's a very slight edge to '91 MJ in most metrics.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#68 » by jdzimme3 » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:20 am

Jordan was a better scorer, shooter, defender, more coachable, more clutch, more of a competitor, and sat out fewer games. If you want to trade all that for a few rebounds and assists that’s on you but keep in mind Lebron demands to also be the coach and gm.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#69 » by King Ken » Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:45 am

Cavsfansince84 wrote:
Jim Naismith wrote:Jordan eliminated these MVPs in a finals:
    Barkley
    Magic
    Karl Malone
None of these beat him in a playoff series.
The perception is that Jordan strictly dominates 3 MVPs.

Bird and Shaq have beaten Jordan in "asterisked" years. But Jordan beat Shaq as well. So it's easy to excuse "pre-prime" Jordan losing to the loaded Celtics in 1986 and 1987.


LeBron eliminated these MVPs in a playoff series:
    KG
    Curry
    Duncan
    Durant
The problem is that these MVPs all beat LeBron in a playoff series too.
So LeBron dominates no MVPs.
In fact, all four MVPs have beaten LeBron twice.

Oh, there's another MVP who's also beaten LeBron, but only once: Dirk
But LeBron's never beaten him.


Why does Bird get an asterisk? Also, LeBron has beaten Harden who has an mvp as well as Rose multiple times who won an mvp. I don't recall MJ ever playing a team that had two guys who'd won mvps on it at the same time either. Both of KD's wins came while teamed up and Curry's win came against a LeBron team minus two all stars.

MJ fans put an asterisk on anything that makes MJ look bad which is why, you can really never debate with them. They ignore all of the bad that is MJ and just focus on the good.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#70 » by King Ken » Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:49 am

jdzimme3 wrote:Jordan was a better scorer, shooter, defender, more coachable, more clutch, more of a competitor, and sat out fewer games. If you want to trade all that for a few rebounds and assists that’s on you but keep in mind Lebron demands to also be the coach and gm.

Scorer - I agree
Shooter - I disagree
Defender - I 100% disagree
Coachable - I 100% disagree
More Clutch - Stats prove otherwise, it's LeBron
More of a competitor - Can this even be measured other than personal opinions? Both seemed to be elite competitors.
Sat out fewer games - This is true.
So MJ didn't have demands on his coaches and GM? He literally made his GM a monster on Space Jam. Like I said, MJ fans have an extremely skewed view of him especially in comparison to others, especially LeBron James.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#71 » by King Ken » Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:59 am

kayess wrote:
Ainosterhaspie wrote:Chris Anderson is such a telling player for how big an impact an easily forgotten role player can have on a team. A small hole can lead to big problems and the Heat, not just in 2013, but the whole time LeBron was there were weak at the five and other teams consistently capitalized on it. It's one of the biggest reasons they so rarely seemed to meet expectations.

Then in the middle of the year they get a guy who had been out of the league and they looked like a team on a whole other level. They rattled off the longest post merger single season win streak. They managed a 76 win pace for the second half of the season. And it was in large part because they finally had a guy who could give them a few minutes of actual effective big man play. Nothing flashy. No big numbers. No big minutes. Yet it made a huge difference. They were dominant.

Then Wade's knees gave out just in time for the playoffs and they were back to grinding out more difficult wins. It's amazing how big an impact bench players can have in a team's success. Way too easy to overlook.


When the "LeBron couldn't play with a big man" narrative always comes up, I always point to Birdman. Guy could do literally nothing on O except putbacks and cut well, and they looked **** amazing together. I'm not slagging on Birdman - his instincts on O and nose for the ball were just absolutely tremendous - but it's more just that micro example's fairly easy proof that if LeBron looked amazing with him, imagine what would happen if said guy could also roll (LeBron would feed him easy shots), or post-up (LeBron would cut for easy buckets). I don't think it was ever a legitimate argument, and his entire history really bore that out - Big Z before, Shaq to an extent, Birdman, TT, and now AD.

Also, role players who are great at their jobs really magnify their superstars' impact too. It goes both ways, but obviously the obnoxious stanning means that more often than not the discussion is around "x and y weren't really all that good compared to a and b", instead of appreciation - e.g. Battier being an absolute stud in Miami, decrepit Ray Allen still being an offensive force, Miller actually **** burying OKC in G5, the KCP game, the Dwight Howard series, and literally every single 3 that Rondo took and made... All those things let LeBron not face packed paint, or rest up, so he could in turn empower those guys with open looks and whatnot.

It comes from Chris Bosh and Kevin Love production melting like lava when playing with LeBron. I always felt Love's numbers were fool's gold in MIN and that Bosh didn't really have a reliable championship level game till his 2nd season in Miami. LeBron unlocked championship Bosh even if Bosh was by numbers more productive in Toronto. When you mention guys like Birdman and TT, they bring up how those two have no skill, LeBron plays Bron Ball and that's why they are effective, they need him. Now that Bron has AD, they realize, it was never Bron, it was that Bosh never had a reliable offensive game till he became a more modern player who can score from the perimeter and finish in transition and that K. Love was always fool's gold and never really was a championship level player at all.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#72 » by VanWest82 » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:08 am

One of the arguments I always look for from Lebron backers is the idea that he was a better shooter than MJ. It's hard for me to take the rest seriously if that's part of your analysis.

Kirk Goldsberry looked at this recently and concluded MJ was the GOAT mid range shooter with Dirk as the only other guy worthy of consideration. MJ just shot (and made) way more of them as that was the shot you needed to win in the 80s and 90s (and 00s). I'd also argue his fadeaway is iconic. Does Lebron have an iconic move that ends with him shooting jumpers?

People try and argue three point shooting even though it was more of a specialist's shot in the 80s and 90s reserved for PGs and off ball wings. But for some reason this has become a talking point because Lebron worked really hard at it to become only satisfactory in the era of the three ball. I'd argue their FT percentages are a better indication of shooting ability as that's a common skill needed across eras. Even so, MJ averaged 37.6%, 35.2%, 42.7%, and 37.4% in the only four seasons where he took threes with any kind of regularity.

MJ was easily the better shooter. Lebron is better at using his bigger frame to get to the basket and make lay ups which is why he has a high FG%.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#73 » by LukaTheGOAT » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:20 am

D.Brasco wrote:
Eddy_JukeZ wrote:The question is a bit tricky, because there's a consensus MJ peak. That's his 91 season.

Lebron doesn't have a consensus peak.


The funny thing is was '91 MJ necessarily better than '90 MJ or is it that his team and mainly Pippen became better? I'm legitimately not sure. Stat wise those 2 seasons are close with maybe an edge to '90.


They are close. I would argue 91 is his offensive peak and his best playoff run. I believe a lot of metrics generally agree that it is.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#74 » by Gregoire » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:07 am

Snake3 wrote:I think in general MJ had less weakness in his game than LeBron has in his when it comes to the scoring aspect. MJ at his peak/prime would be like 88-91.



Miami LeBron worked on his weakness of the jump shot, post up game, off the ball movement and 3pt shot. While it wasn't as smooth or efficient as MJ, he was working on it. But his FT% was always a little bit of a problem. When it came down to the playoffs, his jumper went away. While it hasn't stop his team from winning, it made some series really difficult than it should've been. The Spurs in 2013 was one. It was rough 1-5 games. The Pacers series was rough too.

.


I think Lebron's lack of jumpshot was exploited by 2011 Mavs, 2013 and 2014 Spurs, even by 2016 Warriors to some degree (in first 4 games). In 2017-2020 IMO he became better in this area, but not so much, just there arent defenses, which exploited it to this degree. Plus he became less athletic. So, overall I think his peak offense was at 2013 or 2016. Peak defense was in 2012-2013 (better motor, athleticism, focus).
nate33 wrote:

Yeah, when ever I make all time comparisons, I pretty much ignore the pre-3PT-line era. The game was so different then. It's apples and oranges. Those guys may be better or may be worse, we're never really going to know.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#75 » by SinceGatlingWasARookie » Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:06 am

Jordan faced better help defense than LeBron did. Modern 3 point shooting has significantly reduced help defense.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#76 » by NO-KG-AI » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:51 pm

He was better at splitting guys and getting to better spots in the halfcourt, his off ball game made it a lot easier for him to set up shop in a favored spot, and his shooting and overall versatility made his half court offense a lot less predictable and made it hard to gameplan for things to take away from him.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#77 » by giordunk » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:10 pm

dare i say nostalgia
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#78 » by Pelly24 » Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:09 pm

One thing I'll say is that when you've essentially got LeBron's peak athletic ability with his post 2k16 resolve and the ability to shoot lights out from everywhere inside the arc while keeping your turnover rate super low and are still a good playmaker, it;s hard to beat. I think that elite shot-making ability gave MJ a better ability to force the outcome of a game. It seems like he was capable of scoring literally as many points as he needed to score. Like he could just drop 50 if he needed to for any given game, and 40 was literally nothing. You prob. never saw him confused about what he should do. He got open and figured out a way to score. LeBron still even has some moments where he's like, "S*!t, I'm not in a good enough rhythm to start taking these jumpers," though it's much improved these days.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#79 » by letskissbro » Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:45 pm

They were essentially equals at their peaks but people gotta give MJ something since LeBron has him beat in longevity by such a large margin. Jordan slightly better offensively on average, LeBron slightly better defensively on average. There are maybe some portability arguments but I always thought those were bs and reliant on painting LeBron as a Westbrook/Giannis type player when his skillset is way more diverse and his IQ is high enough for him to maximize his impact regardless of fit or talent.

As people said there's also a lot of disagreement as to what LeBron's peak years were. 2009 and 2013 are usually the two seasons brought up but you could argue he was actually better in 2010 than '09 and that his performance against Boston was a fluke from an elbow injury combined with a small sample size (I would). With 2020 proving that he still has the tools to be an elite defender you could also argue that in a vacuum he was actually at his best in his best offensive years in 2014, 2017, or 2018 but his defense suffered due to circumstance.

Whereas with Jordan you can clearly point to '88-'91 as his peak.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#80 » by Nbafanatic » Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:38 am

I think one big key difference between the two is that Jordan never had his jump shot broken for long stretches(at most, something like 3 games in a row, like in the beginning of the Knicks series in 93, for example), while Lebron has had several entire, or almost entire playoff series with a broken jump shot, like in 08, 11, 12 and 16, with the exception of game 6 against the Celtics in 2012 and the Finals in 2016. Therefore, teams were better able to gameplay against Lebron rather than Michael.

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