Would Michael Jordan Rule in Today's NBA?
Kirk. So I I swear. I promise we're not here to debate. Mj versus Lebron. At least not until the end of the interview believe me I have my stance. It is locked and loaded. We'll get to that. I don't want to alienate half the audience before we begin so over the last few weeks. Those of us who have watched the last dance have borne witness to the greatness. That is Michael. Jordan and that greatness does inform the Lebron debate insofar as it has reminded us of how dominant Jordan was but of course he was playing a different era. Basketball was very different from how it is today which can make it hard to compare those two players or to evaluate how Jordan would fare in today's NBA. So let's start here and established that point of comparison. What was the league like Jordan came into it? Well Jordan came into the in nineteen eighty four and it was a very very different place. The best players in the League at that time or Magic Johnson. Magic Johnson Larry Bird bird again. Larry saying the crowd here. This is what came to see. Kareem abdul-jabbar was still really good Long story short meaning the the NBA was run by big men just as it had been since its entire district and eight of the ten highest play players by the time Jordan even retired centers Jordan was drafted in Nineteen eighty-four just to give you an idea dominant. How valuable centers were sixteen of the twenty previous? Mvp Award winners heading into the one thousand nine hundred four eighty five season worst centers so Jordan entered an MBA. That's fair to characterize as a centers -ly And obviously it's very very different than what we're describing here in twenty twenty. So how big of a deal was it? That the best player in the League Michael Jordan was a shooting dude. You can't overstate. How big of a deal. It was really weird. I mean magic had showed us that point guards could be great. Bird showed us the power forwards and shooting. Forwards could be great no. Mvp had ever come from the shooting. Guard position nobody had really ever dominated the leak or won championships from that position or in that way and again one of the main things the makes Michael Jordan's such a special character in NBA. History is that he deformed the various static of MBA greatness. disrupted to use the term from from Silicon Valley. What it meant and what it looked like to be. Nba superstar love deformed as a verb because it sort of implies that he bent the League to his own. Will he did that man? I mean he came in there and it was violent and it was beautiful and it was for the betterment of the future of the sport a couple of weeks ago. You're at a piece about why. Michael Jordan was such a transcendent score. Can you explain what it was that? Made that dominant so unusual. Yeah well it starts with the fact that he's a he's a guard and again to contextualize it against what was going on in the eighties. Nineties is is shooting guards in wings didn't dominate the NBA. We had the occasional superstar like Julius Irving. So I'm not GonNa say that he was the first star wing but he was a jump shooter. Long Story Short. He was a jump shooting guard. Who could attack the Rim and boy could he attack the rim? So the early part of Jordan's careers. Obviously marked by these highlight jump. Man Silhouettes the dump contest leap from the free throw line and Chicago. Stadium can picture that in our head along Dominique to Michael Jordan but by the end Meena Jordan would beat teams with just incredible mid range shooting And if a majority of buckets in the last dance season in that second repeat came off of the mid range jump shots that either came from post plays Dribble pull-ups quick stops just an endless array of mid range jumpers. Mj On the way away. Jumper and one scout told me a really stuck out is like I've been watching the last dance for eight hours now. I haven't seen the same move twice. It's not like he had to go to move over and over again. All those phase pretty close but man he he did it all but he did it in this area that we don't use very much anymore. Aka Amid Ridge and he's also very difficult shots right thinking about it this way. If you're going up against the Bulls in his nineteen ninety two or nineteen ninety-seven and year in opposing coach. Year number one objective is pretty clear If you can stop or slowdown Michael Jordan. You have a chance. If can't you don't So almost every night the Jordan played he would get the other teams best defender. And that person would WANNA play their best game of the year because everybody in their Rena was watching it and so he did. This eighty two games a year to put up the best sort of scoring numbers in the League against the best defensive performers in the league so you made a heat map for Jordan and then in the same story you made one for harden and you put them next to each other and trying to comparison it almost looks like urban and rural America right or like to to heat maps. That are just wildly different. Almost like people playing different sports one hundred percent in hardened deserves all the credit in the world for becoming the best score of this era but this era is dominated by sort of this moneyball dogma efficiency efficiency efficiency and when you look at James Harden shot signature. You see a guy who shoots near the hoop. He's great Basket attacking guard like Jordan But then away from the painting of the student only shoots threes. He avoids the Mid Range just like he avoids a shaving cream. And and then when you look at say Jordan you see almost the exact opposite remember that old image of Pan Jia and how the continent sort of fit together these two shots hearts kind of look like South America and Africa. Where Jordan is one shape all mid range and then a hardest jump shot activity is sort of surrounding that all three point airs. Jordan didn't shoot a lot of threes.