In the social media world, Lebron's flaws are constantly thrown into the faces of NBA fans. He misses a key shot in a close game? He's a choker. He can't handle the pressure. He misses a jumper? He can't shoot. He can only drive to the basket. While Lebron is elevating his game to enormous heights and reaching magnificent levels of basketball greatness, his flaws are emphasized within the Hater and Social Media World.
On the other hand, Michael Jordan simply lives in the highlights of his past. No one sees his 26 missed game winners. No one points out his three point percentage sinking below Lebron's career three point percentage. Everyone wants to see the 1992 NBA Finals 6 three's in one half, but not the 3 three pointers he missed each game. Michael Jordan's basketball legend lives on in highlights and are immortalized, because no one wants to see his poor performances - People only want to see the great performances. Therefore, the greatness of Michael Jordan increases, and enormous bias is created when comparing Jordan to other players. "Jordan would never have choked!" "Jordan wouldn't have missed that shot!" Or my favorite: "Jordan could have won that game single handily!"
Well I recently heard a statement similar to above involving Lebron and Jordan switching places. Somone pointed out Lebron is 2 for 5 in Finals, and I made the point it is simply astonishing he reached the 2007 Finals. Then, the certain person made the comment, "Jordan would have beat the Spurs."
In other words, he said Jordan (During his playing years), if he switched places with Lebron, could have won the 2007 NBA Finals with the Cavaliers roster.
Let's take a minute to look back on the 2007 Cavs roster:
The 2007 Spurs roster:
The Cavs roster includes 0 Hall of Famers, while the Spurs include 2 definite Hall of Famers, while the other three are one of the best sixth men of all time, one of the greatest all around defenders in history, and one of the most clutch shooters in NBA past.
Now, let's put Jordan onto the Cavs roster and take away Lebron.
In this scenario, we go back to Jordan's 4th year, 1988, as 2007 was Lebron's 4th year. Jordan was averaging 35 PPG (25 shot attempts, 53% from the field), 6 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. Lebron was averaging 27 PPG (20 shot attempts, 48% from the field), 6 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. Both clearly impressive numbers.
In 1988, Jordan played on a team with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th leading scorers including 13 PPG, 12 PPG, and 10 PPG. Huh, sounds familiar: 2007 Cavs 2nd, 3rd, and 4th leading scorers include: 14 PPG, 11 PPG, and 11 PPG. Neither Jordan nor Lebron had great teammates, but merely average teammates.
Within the 1988 and 2007, the Bulls reached the second round, where they lost to the Pistons in 5. On the other hand, the Cavs reached the NBA Finals and lost in 4.
Of course, the Cavs of 2007 had an easier road in the playoffs within the first 2 rounds of play. However, in the Eastern Conference Finals, Lebron faced off against one of the greatest defensive teams to ever play together, the Detroit Pistons. Lebron averaged 26 PPG, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists (1 rebound and 1 assist short shy of averaging a triple double), and scored 48 points in a crucial game 5 (Including scoring the Cavs last 18 points in both overtimes). The Cavs won the series in 6 games.
19 years earlier, Jordan played the Detroit Pistons, another one of the greatest defensive teams in the history of basketball. Jordan averaged 28 PPG, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, and lost the series in 5. Jordan dominated the series, yet still lost in 5.
Lebron was able to win the series single handily, while Jordan could only pull out one win. Now don't get me wrong, the 1988 Pistons are a better team than the 2007 Pistons. The 1988 Pistons were led by Isiah Thomas, while the 2007 Pistons were led by Rip Hamilton. However, at the time, the Pistons had already won the 2004 Championship with the same main core, while the 1988 Pistons had won nothing. Not to mention, the teams are paired side by side as two of the greatest defensive teams in history.
Back to the main point, if Jordan couldn't beat the 1988 Pistons in the Semi-Finals, how could one say he would beat the 2007 Spurs? The Spurs Dynasty has won 5 Championships in the past 15 years, while the Pistons won 2. The Spurs were led by defensive masterminds of Bruce Bowen and Tim Duncan, and the Spurs offense was just as dynamic (If not more than the Pistons). Finally, the Spurs were led by Tim Duncan, who I have as one of the top 10 greatest players in history, rather than Isiah Thomas (I put in top 25). Therefore, if the Spurs of 2007 had just as great of a defense, a better offense, and a better leading star, how could one say Jordan would beat the Spurs if he couldn't beat the 1988 Pistons?
Not to mention, another someone brought up the point of Jordan could simply score 50+ points each game and win. First of all, the person clearly does not take into account the physical toll of a playoff game (Shooting 25+ shot attempts and scoring 50 points). Second, scoring 50+ points in 4-7 straight games is near impossible (Not bothering to notice Jordan would have to try score 50+ points on Bruce Bowen and Tim Duncan - two all defensive first team selections of a combined 22 times). Finally, even if Jordan did score 50+ points, what is there to say he would undoubtedly win the game? Let's take a trip back to 1986, when Jordan was young stud playing the Boston Celtics in the first round. Game 2 Jordan scored 63 points, had 6 rebounds, and handed out 5 assists. The Bulls couldn't lose with Jordan playing an all time legendary game right?
The Bulls lost game 2 and went on to be swept in 3 games.
Even to say Jordan could score 50+ points and definitely win is simply not correct.
Overall, Jordan could never have beat the 2007 Spurs with Lebron's 2007 Cavs. Jordan couldn't beat the 1988 Pistons (With a Bulls team as the same level talent as the Cavs), and therefore, would have no chance of beating the 2007 Spurs. Not to mention, Jordan scoring 50+ points (For 4-7 straight games) could never happen, and there's no guarantee he would still win the game. At the end of the day, I have no doubt in my mind. The 2007 Spurs would have won the Finals facing Lebron and the Cavs or Jordan and the Cavs.
Thank you for reading, feel free to comment in the section below.