While watching ESPN earlier today, they made a report about an assistant coach from the US Olympic Team, Jim Boehim (also longtime Syracuse Collegiate Head Coach), appearing on ESPN radio and saying that ‘His Airness’ (obvious reference to Michael Jordan) might have company in the all-time NBA elite. He went on to comment about how Lebron leads a team both offensively and defensively, how Lebron is both a potent scorer and facilitator, and how Lebron can defend any position. Yes LBJ is an extremely versatile NBA player, but is he yet comparable to Michael Jordan?
Lebron James has career averages of 27.6 ppg on 48% shooting, 6.9 apg, 7.2 rpg and 1.7 spg. Michael Jordan has career averages of 30 ppg on 49% shooting, 5.3 apg, 6.2 rpg and 2.3 spg. But the results, and bodies of works are very different. In my personal opinion, I not only believe that Lebron James is comparable, I think he’s better. Its all in personal preference though, and really depends on how you feel about basketball and what the best approach is.
I think Lebron has the best offensive approach ive ever seen. He’s able to handle the ball like a PG, and can turn into a scorer in a split second. His huge frame, elite ball handling, superb speed, jumping ability and strength allow him to be able to drive to the rim and finish unlike anyone we have ever seen. When he’s coming off a pick, he has the ability to pass it to the open shooter, the cutter, the roll man, drive it to the basket himself, and sometimes he gets hot and can hit a mid-ranged shot. It workes in unison, the shooters make it easier for cutters to cut, the cutters make it easier for shooters to get an open shot, the movemement of cutters and presence of shooters give him the ability to get to the rim easier than he already could. Its really a beautiful example of how basketball should be played; involve everyone and get the most efficient shot you possibly could.
Michael Jordan is a great great scorer. The greatest ever perimeter scorer, EVER! He can get the shot he wants, when he wants it, on a much more consistent basis then Lebron James. He’s provided not only the NBA, but the sports world with some of its all-time top moments. In adversity, his game has risen to levels unmatched in any sport. He used his scoring ability to great efficiency throughout his career, and is a true champion.
When you compare bodies of work tho, I give the upper hand to Lebron James. In life, we are in situations where we have to “carry the load”, as well as we are in situations where we have assistance to reach a goal. But in the NBA, success never comes from carrying the load. When one looks at the overall talent of the past NBA teams to win a championship, every single one of them has a load of decent, reputable NBA players. When Lebron James played in Cleveland, he didnt have any reputable players there with him making the plays. He carried the load in Cleveland in a way that has and never will be matched, giving us in my opinion the best overall performance ever in game 5 of the ECF vs Detroit in 2007, taking his team to the NBA Finals losing to the dynasty Spurs. In the 2008-2009 NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers won 67 Regular season games, losing only 1 home game in which Lebron didnt play. They were led by Lebron in his first MVP season. The next most notable players? Ben Wallace who played 56 games and averaged 3 pts and 6.5 rebounds, Big Z and Mo Williams who made an allstar game somehow. The first thing I thought was, this guy led his team in every major statistical catagory, gave us 28 ppg 7 assists 7 rebounds a game, AND had the best record in the NBA? When has this ever happened? Never. And much credit is due for a 24 year old with those expectations, playing for his “hometown” that never won anything, ever.
These Cavs made it all the way to the ECF without losing one game in the playoffs. It seemed like this was his year to take over the NBA. That is, until the ECF ofcourse. Lebron went on to average 38 ppg versus the Magic in the series, and provided us with a game 2 buzzer beating 3 pointer that in my opinion was better than any buzzer beater I had ever saw. But the Magic won, they were a far superior coached and overall better team. No Cav stepped up to give Lebron the support he needed. People called him a loser. No one gave him credit for making it this far, no one brought up how his teammates shouldve stepped up. It was all on him. Very fair criticism world, and yes im being sarcastic. So they trade for a 400 year old Shaq the next season, and lose to another superiorly built and coached team, the Boston Celtics. Albeit, they again had the best record in the NBA once again and Lebron won the MVP once again. The team just wasnt overall good enough. Lebron couldnt make every play going up against a loaded team, like he had done against Detroit IN Detroit in game 5 of the ECF back in 2007 (please go watch it on youtube). Then LBJ became the most criticized player in NBA history with his bad decision.
Jordan’s career was different. While he had amazing scoring averages early on, it didnt translate to success immediately. His team hadnt past the Eastern Conferense until they had a great supporting cast led by Scottie Pippen, and hired alltime highest win % and most coaching NBA titles, Phil Jackson. In the 90-91 season, they got it all done and would win the following 2 championships. Following a year and a half break, Jordan would rejoin the Bulls along with Dennis Rodman and win 3 more championships to cement himself among the alltime greats and in the opinion of many as, the greatest.
Not mine though. I think that Pippen and Jackson and Rodman dont get enough credit. Basketball is about 5 guys, and the truth is without the names I just listed, Jordan didnt come very close to his success. Lebron had alot of success without much help. And we see how he dominated with talented teammates. While posting on yahoo earlier, I saw these two comments that caught my attention. I’ll leave them anonymous out of respect.
Heres the first guy:
“First off Jim Boeheim your an idiot. lebron wins 1 ring and that’s all it takes
HELL NO!!!!! MJ did not change teams to make his chances better he fought
through it & BUILT his legacy like a real champion does. No matter what any
clown says MJ is the greatest & has proven himself. What a dumb #$%$
Heres a response from a different guy:
“Youre right he didn’t change teams but, his team didn’t originally draft any of
the following players Pippen, Armstrong, Grant, Paxson, Cartwright, Kerr, Kucoc,
Longley, Rodman, Harper, and Phil Jackson. MJ didn’t win a title until he
was 1 year older than lebron is now.
Did Jordan really fight through it and
build a legacy like a real champion? Or did his team just do a way better job
than the cavs in bringing in quality players and coaches?”
One guy denounces LBJ for leaving the Cavs, and salutes Jordan for staying a Bull. The other guy breaks down the more understanding and advanced thoughts on the delicate NBA processes that involve building a team.
This concludes my first article on this new blog. Please all opinions on my opinions, anything your guys wanna say, about my writing, anything just drop a comment below. This is my first article to any tips, advice or constructive criticism is welcomed.
Decided to add this, its a video of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals Game 5. Considering this game decided the series, and how Lebrons team was terrible, there was alot of pressure. He turned from hybrib facilitator/scorer into scoring monster in this one, making shots on such a high level of difficulty that i’ve never seen matched. Watch and enjoy. Dont forget to vote down below after watching.
Last week the Sixers made a move that was surprising to fans who closely follow there moves; they traded Andre Iguodala and brought in Andrew Bynum from the Lakers. When I heard the deal was finalized, I was in shock that the same 76ers who signed Kwame Brown 3 weeks prior and refered to him as our starting pivot man, made such a positive move. Even though we were openly shipping Iggy, I didnt think we had much of a chance to bring in someone of Bynum’s caliber. I wouldve been happy with Tyreke Evans honestly.
My initial thought though was, doesnt Bynum have 1 year left on his contract? Well today Bynum was introduced to the city along with Jason Richardson, the other piece we got in the deal. And one of my fellow Philadelphians and 76er fans asked him would he resign with us. His response was ” To be honest, man, my first experience here has been so great that I’m leaning toward making this my home”. He went on to add “I’m not a guy who wants to be all around and have a lot of teams under my belt. But that’s really the answer. I’m really looking forward to making this my home “. He kinda plays both sides but, thats as good as you can get. Plus if he doesnt return, thats $20 million off our books, and it would seem the 76ers would make another aggressive move hopefully in the right direction.
But we have him for atleast one season, and there will be alot of questions for this upcoming season. Questions like, can Bynum stay healthy? Can and/or will he make the transition from 3rd fiddle to primary player smoothly? Who will become the teams primary facilitator now that Iguodala is in Denver? Will one of our young prospects, Holiday or Turner, explode onto NBA stardom? Can/Will this roster surpass the mediocrity of the 76ers from the past few seasons? Where do they need to improve? Where do they fall in this Eastern Conference?
All good questions, and heres my opinions on them. Bynum had returned from knee surgery to have his best season as a pro last year, with averages of 18 ppg on %56 shooting, 11.8 rbs and 1.9 blocks per game. He played 60 of 66 games last season, missing 6 because of suspension for molly wopping JJ Barea in 10-11′s playoffs. Seems pretty sturdy to me. Theres really no question as to if Bynum is a go-to star caliber player. He’s 24 coming off an all-star start. I think he’ll give us atleast 21 ppg, 12-13 rbs and 2 blocks a game next year. He’s already a lock for starting center for the eastern conference in next years allstar game.
With the departure of Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams, the teams 2 primary ball handlers, I expect decision making to be a little shaky early on for the team. But with the new inside presense, and all the shooters we have on the wing, it shouldnt take long for our team to get it going offensively. It might not immediately reflect in statistics, but I expect Evan Turner to be the teams lockdown perimeter defender, facilitator and grow into a leading role with Bynum. His length should make it easy for him to shutdown some players on the defensive end, while his ball handling and ability to get to the rim should help free up shooters like Richardson N. Young, Wright and Holiday. If he can start scoring the ball and making that jumpshot, maybe he will even develope into a star; after all he was the 2nd overall pick a couple of years ago. At the very least, expect an Iguodala-like do it all type of player with not as much athleticism and defensive intensity, but a smoother offensive touch and more offensive upside. Holiday should also bear some primary ball handling responsibilities, after all he is PG but I dont see the same upside as Turner.
The past few seasons, the 76ers have finished either 7th or 8th seed in the eastern conference. Last year was a unique one tho, because during the beginning of the lockout shortened season we were hovering around 2nd-4th seed. Around allstar break we had an epic, unexpected dropoff and reality came into place and we fell all the way down to 8th. In my opinion, the team was strong defensively but struggled offensively because we had no type of go-to player when we needed a bucket. With Bynum we not only have a go-to player, but a presence that should be able to set a tone for our offense and defense, and more importantly give us the opportunity to get baskets easier whether it be inside or outside. Combine that with the Hawks and Bulls losing key players, and Boston getting older, and i’d say the 76ers might be a top 4 seed. It really depends on how healthy and dominant Bynum is, how much Turner and Holiday took from the playoffs run, and how all the players we acquired fit in together.
Where the team is shaky is quite obvious. We have so many perimeter wings, Richardson, Turner, N. Young, T. Young, Wright, and only 1 PG who has never had primary ball handling responsibilities. And if you look at the body of work of the wings we have, and what they offer the team, its kinda hard to decide who to attempt to move to get a PG. Thats something i’ll leave up to Sixers management, and just hope and pray they dont trade Turner. Besides that i’d say the roster is solid, with Moultrie and Hawes probably rotating at the 4 spot and Kwame Brown as backup pivot we should be solid.
All opinions below, how do you feel about what I wrote, about the 76ers performance and chances for next season.