What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak?

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

Post#21 » by D.Brasco » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:04 pm

Eddy_JukeZ wrote:
D.Brasco wrote:
Cavsfansince84 wrote:Mainly just the consistency of his mid range shot. It could also be argued his will to win was greater or something like that which combined with his overall scoring ability allowed him to take over games more consistently when things were close.


The ironic thing is the mid-range shot in today's game has never been valued less. It's considered an inefficient shot today point blank.

If Jordan grew up 20 years later than he did I'm sure he'd do great in the league but I hold if you magically plucked 80s or 90s Jordan into todays game he'd be lost.


How can you say that after watching what Butler did in the finals?


Butler grew up in a league that became very 3-point heavy, he's not a big 3 shooter himself but he knows how to operate in that environment. Also Butler was absolutely burnt out by game 6, not saying a more established 3-shot would have been the game changer for him but he would have had more ways to score being less reliant on attacking the rim.

My point is Jordan is a guy who wasn't a particularly good 3-point shooter in a league where the 3-shot wasn't heavily used, hence him being lost if he was literally plucked from the 90s to now.

The league post-2015 would probably have a lot of early 2000s players confused.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#22 » by Jim Naismith » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:17 pm

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

Post#23 » by rrravenred » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:35 pm

If you accept the premise, then it's scoring consistency and focus. LeBron does multiple things at a high level, wheras Jordan is a fanatically good scorer. LeBron is very much a whole-of-offence player which occasionally leads to decision making Issues (which late career Lebron has solved, more or less) wheras Jordan knows exactly what his role is and how he wants to execute it, game in and out. He does not deviate.

It's a reasonably minor edge if that's what it is, rather than flavour text.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#24 » by Pelly24 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:48 pm

D.Brasco wrote:
Eddy_JukeZ wrote:
D.Brasco wrote:
The ironic thing is the mid-range shot in today's game has never been valued less. It's considered an inefficient shot today point blank.

If Jordan grew up 20 years later than he did I'm sure he'd do great in the league but I hold if you magically plucked 80s or 90s Jordan into todays game he'd be lost.


How can you say that after watching what Butler did in the finals?


Butler grew up in a league that became very 3-point heavy, he's not a big 3 shooter himself but he knows how to operate in that environment. Also Butler was absolutely burnt out by game 6, not saying a more established 3-shot would have been the game changer for him but he would have had more ways to score being less reliant on attacking the rim.

My point is Jordan is a guy who wasn't a particularly good 3-point shooter in a league where the 3-shot wasn't heavily used, hence him being lost if he was literally plucked from the 90s to now.

The league post-2015 would probably have a lot of early 2000s players confused.


I've always thought this idea was overstated. I think it would take a few film sessions and some practice and he'd be acclimated just fine. He would get the ball and get to all of his spots whenever he wanted and score at the same rate if not more because he's the most athletic guard and he could shoot 45-50% on 800-1000 midrange jumpers every year. He shot like 33% from three for his career and had excellent form on his jumper and from the free throw line. If he shot at that level and took 5 threes a game that'd be fine enough easily. Luka shoots 31% and he isn't nearly the midrange or free throw shooter that MJ was. Kawhi dominates from the midrange.

A more athletic Kawhi with at least above average playmaking skills and much better off ball skills would have no issues. MJ would get to the line like 11 times a game. Jimmy isn't nearly the athlete or midrange shooter MJ was and he always takes three or less threes per game. MJ would have no issues. It's just if you're not able to supplement midrange with free throw attempts or threes.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#25 » by Cavsfansince84 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:52 pm

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

Post#26 » by Jim Naismith » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:53 pm

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.


Sorry you're right. LeBron strictly dominates Harden, Rose, and Westbrook.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#27 » by Ainosterhaspie » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:55 pm

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.

As long as we're making vapid narrative arguments... LeBron beat three MVPs in one series and three finals MVPs in another.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#28 » by Sublime187 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:59 pm

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.


I expected more then this low level fodder type of comparison from you Jim....
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#29 » by PaulieWal » Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:05 am

Sublime187 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.


I expected more then this low level fodder type of comparison from you Jim....


Really? I did not.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#30 » by Sublime187 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:07 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.


Unfortunately these LBJ vs MJ debates lead to some of the most down right garbage arguments that you can hear. Very few people provide the neutral fair perspective that can lead to something constructive...

Like one of those losses against Duncan is when LeBron was 22 y.o. but it is bad because he was already destroying the league, but a similar age MJ's losses don't count against Bird because he was so called pre prime?
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#31 » by Heej » Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:21 am

DQuinn1575 wrote:So MJ’s 91 team was better (1.5 SRS) then LeBron 2013 with a worse supporting cast. LeBron was never on a team with best season SRS and champion. So MJ was worth more value.

League was weaker and Heat were flawed until they got Birdman
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#32 » by Shanghai Kid » Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:56 am

You could make a reasonable argument that peak MJ is a more consistent/reliable offensive player AND defensive player than peak Lebron.

But, you could make the same argument for Lebron also. So it's going to come down to what you value in a player.

Its been mentioned in this thread, but what is to MJ's advantage is that he has such a clear, defined peak. It's 6 years in a row, from 1988-1993. It includes, 3 titles, 3 regular season MVPS, 3 finals MVPs, DPOY, 6 All-NBA 1st teams, 6 All-NBA defensive teams. And all of the advanced stats suggest it's probably the best 6 year stretch of play anyone has had (4 straight seasons over 31 PER).

Lebron has matched the very best of MJ, but its kind of spread out throughout his career in less defined ways. Statistically, Lebron's peak is 2009, but if we say that's Lebrons peak, it makes his 2011 meltdown seem that much worse. 2012 and 2013 Lebron are peak seasons because they are prime Lebron in the regular season and also winning titles. But then it gets muddled because you have this whole stretch of seasons where Lebron didn't take the regular season seriously but then had dominant playoff runs where he's clearly the best player in the league. But those seasons didn't end with any real accolades for him. You wouldn't say the best prime of anyone included 0 regular season MVPS (His last one being 2013). Some people feel like 2018 is a peak Lebron season and even 2020, but in the middle of that you have an awkward 2019 season where he doesn't make the playoffs.

I just think MJ's peak looks better on paper because its neatly packaged into one 6 year continual stretch (or you could trim it down to a 3 year stretch) where he really stacked regular season accolades along with championships. Lebron obviously has career value and in actuality is probably as good on the court in certain stretches as MJ's peak, it's just harder to define unless we really boil it down to 1 season. Going by just 1 season, I still give a slight edge to 91 MJ. His regular season + playoff numbers have no holes, it's just one uninterrupted masterclass season. And in the playoffs, MJ averaged over 8apg, so Lebron's playmaking advantage wasn't even so pronounced.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#33 » by Jim Naismith » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:24 am

Sublime187 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.


I expected more then this low level fodder type of comparison from you Jim....


This is just a variation of the well-known argument "nobody else ate while Jordan was in his prime."

A lot of people believe this, and I'm not unsympathetic to it.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#34 » by No-more-rings » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:31 am

Texas Chuck wrote:It's not a consensus fwiw.

But when a sizable group of people look at peak all they are really looking at is scoring. And so if we look at just scoring, the argument for Mike is there to be made. But we almost never include Bill Russell in peak discussions even though he clearly belongs because he didn't score a lot. It's always Mike and Shaq.

I don’t think that’s really fair to say most people just look at scoring. Plenty of knowledgeable posters take MJ over Lebron’s peak, and while yes scoring is a big part of it it’s also how his play style trickles down to teammates as well as other parts of his game. Elgee seems to be well respected in the Realgm community and he according to his write-ups had like 3 or 4 jordan seasons over Lebron’s peak. In regards to Bill Russell, it’s not surprising many don’t put him up there due to how less developed the game was along with the lack of extensive footage of him. At some point guys like Wilt and Russell become more and more mythical as time goes on. They were all time greats, and dominated their era, but the game has evolved and talent level has grown exponentially so naturally people will be skeptical.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#35 » by DQuinn1575 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:40 am

Heej wrote:
DQuinn1575 wrote:So MJ’s 91 team was better (1.5 SRS) then LeBron 2013 with a worse supporting cast. LeBron was never on a team with best season SRS and champion. So MJ was worth more value.

League was weaker and Heat were flawed until they got Birdman


1. Why was League weaker in 1991?
2. Heat was flawed until they got their 9th man ? (based on playoff minutes played)
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#36 » by toodles23 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:42 am

Jim Naismith wrote:
Sublime187 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.


I expected more then this low level fodder type of comparison from you Jim....


This is just a variation of the well-known argument "nobody else ate while Jordan was in his prime."

A lot of people believe this, and I'm not unsympathetic to it.

It isn't even true though. Jordan was a much better player from 88-90 when he lost to the Pistons every year than he was during the 2nd 3peat. And of course he also didn't even play in '94 and lost to the Magic in '95.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#37 » by No-more-rings » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:44 am

limbo wrote:You have to think MJ scoring peak was clearly better than LeBron's while also believing his playmaking and defense were underrated.

Pretty much yeah. Though MJ’s scoring peak was clearly better, because if you don’t give him that then he really has no argument.

To the other point, Jordan peaked at 8 rbs/8 apg in the regular season as wells as 7.9rbs/8.4 apg in the playoffs. He wasn’t as consistent as Lebron in those aspects, but it does sometimes seem people act Lebron was in a different class outside of scoring which doesn’t seem true.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#38 » by Texas Chuck » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:49 am

No-more-rings wrote:I don’t think that’s really fair to say most people just look at scoring.


I would address your concerns to someone who said that. :D
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#39 » by 2klegend » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:50 am

If your life and family depend on picking MJ or Lebron in a one game situation, who would you pick? I certainly wouldn't bet against Jordan in a game of death.
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Re: What Made MJ Better Than LeBron at His Peak? 

Post#40 » by toodles23 » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:51 am

No-more-rings wrote:
limbo wrote:You have to think MJ scoring peak was clearly better than LeBron's while also believing his playmaking and defense were underrated.

Pretty much yeah. Though MJ’s scoring peak was clearly better, because if you don’t give him that then he really has no argument.

To the other point, Jordan peaked at 8 rbs/8 apg in the regular season as wells as 7.9rbs/8.4 apg in the playoffs. He wasn’t as consistent as Lebron in those aspects, but it does sometimes seem people act Lebron was in a different class outside of scoring which doesn’t seem true.

If you're going to cherry pick single playoff runs like that though then you could say Lebron peaked as better scorer. '09 Lebron was at 47.5 points/100 on 61.8 TS%, both of which are better than any playoff run of Jordan's career.

Of course cherry picking a single year is dumb when we're talking about guys that played full careers, but as long as we're doing that...

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