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Could Prime Michael Jordan Have Defeated The Golden State Warriors In LeBron’s Place?

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By: Opinionated MJ

Could Prime Michael Jordan Have Defeated The Golden State Warriors In LeBron’s Place?

I want to start this discussion by saying that I respect LeBron and his abilities and the fact that he’s a champion. I believe that he’s arguably the best in the league right now along with Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis. I also believe that he will probably be in the next 3-4 finals. Weak Eastern Conference, eh? Now let’s weigh in.

I have started an uproar amongst peers who are proud Jordan fans, LeBron fans, and Kobe fans. I made a statement and asked a question that has us nearly hating each other over our different views. I said, “If Prime Jordan was in LeBron’s place against the Warriors, he would’ve won this series. What do you think?” I’m a believer that LeBron is currently in his prime and at the very height of it. Though, LeBron’s weaknesses are Jordan’s strengths and I think Jordan would’ve overcome the Warriors as he has done against pretty much everything he’s been up against except father time.

A close friend to me says that Jordan has the “Superman” complex when I talk about him because it’s based upon what Jordan has done and was able to do and the fact that he succeeded so how could anyone dare to see him fail in this situation. Sacasticly we then argued about that complex. I watched Jordan as a kid and he put away competitor after competitor after competitor at every level. I’m seeing LeBron operating from the post and mid-post areas and looking to facilitate unless he was backing down Harrison Barnes or Draymond Green. He made a couple fadeaways which was surprising and he also made a few of those jab step jumpers that Carmelo Anthony specializes in. I thought I was watching Melo for a minute at times. Now, when Andre Iguodala guards LeBron James, not only can he push him outside of the post, but he can force him to take really bad shots. I posed this question, “Could Iguodala had honestly stopped Jordan in the spot that made him legendary? The mid-post?” I am very doubtful that he could. Jordan has seen tougher defenders in my opinion.

We’ll move on to this whole concept of “Making His Teammates Better.” LeBron, in my opinion, makes his teammates INSTANTLY better because he is on the floor ACTIVELY looking for them to be open once he penetrates the lane and attracts defenders. Rather he’s driving or he’s posting up (usually a smaller defender), he’ll find an open teammate for a good shot. This is where the argument took another turn in saying that he makes his teammates better and people saying to me that Jordan didn’t do that. I totally disagree. Jordan made his teammates raise their game individually so it would fit into the grand scheme of things so when he passes them the ball they could actually connect on their opportunities instead of hanging on to his every move like LeBron’s teammates. How many times has Randy Brown and Jason Caffey come in make shots and had you like, “Really? Him?!?” Without LeBron, JR Smith and Shumpert were simply LOST. The whole team loses their identity and the ball movement comes to a halt and isolation takes over completely. The only reason they survived a lot of times in the season when this happened was Kevin Love being able to stretch the floor and when the iso’s fail, Kevin will be standing there where LeBron wants him. What a big 3 member is supposed to be doing.

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Would Jordan have converted on a lot more of the volume shots LeBron was taking?

People also say LeBron didn’t have anyone. Okay, so we have actual NBA players who aren’t worth a damn when they fail but when they’re making shots they’re being celebrated. Shumpert! FOR THREE! YESS!!! JR is UNCONSCIOUS RIGHT NOW!!! Celebrated when doing well, and hated and treated as worse than D-Leaguers when they’re doing bad. I’d like some of you to see what the 97-98 Bulls roster looks like from top to bottom. I’m sure you’ll recognize LeBron’s teammates but then again we live in a post-2K era where everybody knows everyone and all their business. Twitter didn’t exist during Jordan’s playing time. Let’s analyze.

Sounds upsurd but, Jordan Cavs:

Dellavedova

Shumpert

Jordan

Thompson

Mozgov

Jordan Bulls:

Kerr

Jordan

Pippen

Rodman

Longley

Considering what I’ve seen from those Cavs teammates, they are VERY defensive. They were able to keep the Warriors off their game for 2 games and 3 quarters and still played good defense thereafter. Thats basically defense at every position and athleticism. Who expects Kerr to stop Curry? So I’d go with Dellavedova on that one. Shumpert did well with his assignment. Thompson seemed to be Dennis Rodman in this series anyway cause he grabbed a few rebounds from half court and Mozgov is a good defender and guy you could drop the ball into for a bailout. Who didn’t he dunk on in this series? He even went 28 & 10 in game 4. Yeah, I would take Mozgov over Longley. Maybe I need to watch some tape to remember what Longley did other than be a gump who made a few shots at the rim. Lets not act like that Cavs team wasn’t defensively formidable and would’ve been better having a lockdown defender with Jordan being there. LeBron isn’t a lockdown defender to me. You disagree? I have a few names: Jason Terry, Kawhi Leonard, Derrick Rose (before injury), Stephen Curry.

I can see Prime Jordan at least continuing to slow down Curry. May not stop him but he’d have a higher chance of doing so. Let’s also not forget how different the rules are nowadays. Jordan would literally rule at the line and would easily put up 50 points. He almost effortlessly could reach 40 points. He was already the focal point of the offense so why would his style thrive in this situation? I see Jordan scoring in places where LeBron would pass. I see Jordan scoring on Iguodala with no problem. Iguodala still had happy feet, it’s just that LeBron could not convert on many of his jumpers. He’s also not comfortable trying to force the issue, Jordan also thrives in this area well. When his teammates became spotty scorers, he would’ve taken over instead of putting his head down and accepting defeat. I see LeBron accept defeat before and he also did so in game 6. I can’t see the assassin in Jordan just relent. I don’t see that happening.

We can argue FG %, we can argue 3pt %, we can argue FT %, we can argue assist ratios, fact of the matter is that Jordan always elevates his game and rises to the occasion and puts teams dreams on hold. He always did. 6 for 6 in the Finals explains enough.

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Would LeBron have made this shot?

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About Opinionated Basketball Minds (87 Articles)
Passionate Lover of NBA Basketball

2 Comments on Could Prime Michael Jordan Have Defeated The Golden State Warriors In LeBron’s Place?

  1. Ronald Stovall // July 28, 2015 at 3:32 pm // Reply

    I knew exactly who this was when I saw the post and I disagree with you on the analysis of the outcome of the series. You are not acknowledging all of the other factors in the series that make up the overall outcome. FIRST, lets start with the Bulls, and coveted 72-10 season. At no point in time did Michael Jordan dominate the game in every category, None. His highest point total in that finals was 36, during that game Rodman led in rebounds(10) and Pippen led in assists (9). The reality is at no point in that series did Jordan have to. That is a testament to the team he had around him and the coaching that allowed him to conserve the energy. By comparison in the Lebron led and or tied in 2 of the three stats throughout the entire series and it was a necessity for him to do so. While the cavs lost during his 40 pt games the outcome was almost certain when he had his 20 pt game.

    If the Cavaliers had a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love and they lost, this topic would have more merit, but at no point in the Jordan’s Historic Finals runs did he not have Pippen and at least one other player to shoulder the load. This is not a knock against Jordan at all, but like Energy, you have to accommodate additional load or situations. Who was going to step in and pick up Kyries pts. Who was going to step in and pick up Kevin Loves points. Ultimately time will catch up with you as it did the CAVS

    SECOND, lets talk about Golden State. The Cavs did not really slack on the defense any more that Golden State had to figure it out, namely Steph Curry. Golden State essentially played the bulls game and as long as the game is close, we can rely on Steph Curry to pull us through. Watching the game he came alive late in the 4th quarter and that was it. So, for this to hold water, Jordan would have had to carry the team for three quarters like Lebron did AND overcome the onslaught of Steph Curry when he showed up. I don’t believe that would be possible. Again this is not a knock against the Cavs either, but you can’t expect a player who has averaged 10pts a game to suddenly average 20pts a game in the finals. Only Superstars are capable of doing that, Lebron, Jordan, Kobe then you cut the deck. At best you will get players who have dynamic games because they are fresher than those on the court, but not with any consistency and their success is generally because everyone one else IS on superstar status and are cancelling each other out.

    SO, better scenarios would be Would a healthy Cavaliers team have beaten the Golden State Warriors? Would Lebron James with the Bulls Roster have achieved the same success? Would a Bulls Team losing two of its stars have won in the Finals?, but in this one, Jordan would have probably won one more game, but Golden State had the advantage from the beginning. It was only a matter of time for it to come to light.

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    • Jordan didn’t lead the team in all aspects because he’s not 6’8 and 250-260 being as big as a center, nor did he play the 4 position although his skill certainly would allow for it. Jordan was 6’6 200-210 in his prime. BIG difference.
      Jordan didn’t lead the team in assists because he is a scorer, he is an assassin. He is Bond, not M16. Plus he didn’t have five+ three point shooters on his team. Jordan was the killer. Pippen WAS NOT a knock down 3 point shooter, and while we’re speaking of that, what did Pippen do in his career without Jordan? Back to the shooters, Jordan had Kerr, Kukoc and Buechler. Only three. LeBron had Shumpert, JR Smith, Mike Miller (also Kyrie & Kevin were hurt but they count as shooters since we’re speaking on the scope of the whole 72-10 season), plus other players that he directly put on the team to complement his game. Jordan never had the ability to tell a team to trade the future away for today. He wouldn’t bring friends to his team nor could he. Not a knock, but if we’re going to compare, gotta compare it all. Jordan was apart of an order, he wasn’t the order. LeBron RUNS Cleveland.

      Jordan also didn’t take so many ill advised shots, his were calculated and executed nicely. He didn’t get pushed from his spots much at all without finding a way to another. He wasn’t forced to adjust his game, if anything, he was brutalized by the Bad Boys Pistons because he was basically unstoppable. This isn’t one on one basketball but the point of the game is to win. You don’t score by passing. You score by scoring. This is why I believe he lost. Cause he has good enough teammates to get the job done. He still posted a triple double I believe and also flirted with one for the rest of the games. I think Tristan and Matt did a better job than Kyrie and Kevin would’ve done defensively, FOR SURE!

      LeBron was given credit for containing JR, bringing out a really good JR, but not maintaining JR’s downfall smack dab in the finals. LeBron didn’t truly try to let his teammates find rhythm and let the game come to him. True, the stakes were high, but he took initiative to basically let his opponent know that it was about him getting his first in order to set the pace or whatever. He should’ve let them get set, then take over and still have his teammates be apart of the attack instead of posting up and passing out the post almost exclusively. LeBron didn’t even speak up for Miller and Marion to get play in this series. He personally wanted them here and yeah they could’ve contributed.

      Its more factors I missed out on and am leaving out now cause the place I’m coming from is that Jordan had ice in his veins to kill. LeBron doesn’t have that. I’ve seen it against my Pistons and once against the Celtics, that’s it. Jordan had that attitude EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! That’s what would’ve made the difference along with Jordan being more fundamentally sound and skilled. Also, PRIME Jordan was very athletic.

      I could go on

      Like

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