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Is LeBron the greatest player ever?


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#1 Mugthis

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:10 PM

Since the only way to answer these questions is to somehow define "greatest," here are some options:

 

-A hypothetical Game 7, who would you draft first?

-For any given season, who would you draft first?

-You can have a player for their entire careers, who would you draft first (who maximizes the number of expected championships)?

-Who dominated their league the most?

 

For the first two questions, I'd probably go with Jordan. The fourth question is probably Wilt, maybe Jordan. The third question is difficult...Kareem had a great peak, a long peak, and a long career, so he probably would increase the number of "expected championships" more than anyone.

 

Where does LeBron rank in these areas? I think he would be a top 5 or 3 (and I could see an argument for #1) for the first two questions. While his career is far from finished, he may have a legitimate claim as #1 for the 3rd question (came in the league super young, dominated by his second season, great health, high peak, long peak, and probable long career). Due to the depth and compression of talent, I doubt anyone will top Wilt for pure domination.

 

What say you?



#2 bowiac


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:33 PM

1) Jordan, M., 1990-1991.

2) Jordan, M., 1987-1988

3) James, L.

4) Abdul Jabar, K.



#3 mandro ramtinez

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:43 PM

For question 2 (other than Jordan), I would consider Shaq in 99-00 or 00-01 and Duncan in 02-03.  

 

I think Duncan deserves some consideration for question 3.  



#4 ifmanis5


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:46 PM

Answer to thread is no. Answer to 4 questions is not Lebron.



#5 Dan to Theo to Ben


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:54 PM

1. Russell (10-0 in Game 7, 1-0 in deciding Game 5, ultimate team player)

 

2. Jordan probably, possibly Bird

 

3. Jordan or, as much as I hate him, Kobe

 

4. Wilt



#6 dhellers

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:13 PM

Reallly, you wouldn't draft Russell for reason #3? Sacrilege!



#7 mandro ramtinez

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:19 PM

Reallly, you wouldn't draft Russell for reason #3? Sacrilege!

Don't you have to consider the physical limitations Russell would have playing against today's players?  The questions seem to contemplate taking players at their best in their time and placing them in today's game.  Russell would play at a high level in today's game but would struggle to be the kind of dominant player he was in the 60s.



#8 Average Reds


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:35 PM

Off the top of my head, I can think of a number of players who I would rather have before LeBron:

 

 - Wilt

 - Russell

 - Kareem

 - MJ

 - Kobe

 - Magic

 - Jerry West

 - Oscar Robertson

 

As far as the answers to the questions, I'd have to go with:

 

1.  Michael Jordan

 

2.  Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson

 

3.  Wilt, Russell, Kareem or Michael Jordan  (Toss up between these four.)

 

4.  Wilt, and it's not close.

 

 

Wilt is the wild card in all of this, because we can't really know how good he was.  He was a one-man team for years in Philly up against the Celtics dynasty and could only break through once.  But it's hard not to think that he would have been an NBA title machine if he had been on teams with more talent and/or better coaching. 

 



#9 mandro ramtinez

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:50 PM

Wilt is the wild card in all of this, because we can't really know how good he was.  He was a one-man team for years in Philly up against the Celtics dynasty and could only break through once.  But it's hard not to think that he would have been an NBA title machine if he had been on teams with more talent and/or better coaching. 

Hal Greer, Chet Walker and Billy Cunningham were great players on those Philly teams.  Wilt was not a one man band on those teams.



#10 nighthob

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:55 PM

Hal Greer, Chet Walker and Billy Cunningham were great players on those Philly teams.  Wilt was not a one man band on those teams.

 

He meant the Warriors, not the Syracuse Nationals (aka the 76ers).



#11 nighthob

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:01 PM

Off the top of my head, I can think of a number of players who I would rather have before LeBron:

 

 - Wilt

 - Russell

 - Kareem

 - MJ

 - Kobe

 - Magic

 - Jerry West

 - Oscar Robertson

 

I liked Jerry and all, but there's no way I'm taking him over James. Robertson and James are, essentially, the same player. They both made their mark by being impossibly athletic for their contemporaries to handle, while simultaneously being highly skilled players. And, for all the crap people give James, the 60+ win Cavs squads turned into a 17 win team when he left, while Bryant couldn't even get comparable teams into the playoffs. 



#12 Average Reds


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:06 PM

He meant the Warriors, not the Syracuse Nationals (aka the 76ers).

 

I was thinking more of the Warriors - and it feels strange to check his stats and realize that he played in San Fran for two and a half years before being traded back to Philly to the Sixers.

 

He was surrounded by better players in his second go round in Philly, but Boston had the better organization and Red was a better coach.



#13 mandro ramtinez

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:07 PM

He meant the Warriors, not the Syracuse Nationals (aka the 76ers).

I should have figured that out, my mistake.  Those Warriors teams were pretty thin, especially against the talent Boston had amassed.



#14 nighthob

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:09 PM

Yeah, he won his first title on that 76ers squad, which was pretty good.



#15 Average Reds


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:14 PM

I liked Jerry and all, but there's no way I'm taking him over James. Robertson and James are, essentially, the same player. They both made their mark by being impossibly athletic for their contemporaries to handle, while simultaneously being highly skilled players. And, for all the crap people give James, the 60+ win Cavs squads turned into a 17 win team when he left, while Bryant couldn't even get comparable teams into the playoffs. 

 

Jerry West was known for being greatest in the clutch. When has anyone ever said that about LeBron?  (Of course you're probably right that West is a reach. I did say that the list was off the top of my head.)

 

Look, it's hard to compare across eras, and I'm not trying to trash James, who is an extremely talented player.  I'd just like to see a few more seasons before anointing him as "the best ever."  He's top 10 for me right now.  But I need to see it for a few more years before he's in the best ever conversation.



#16 nighthob

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:24 PM

West also plyed ina  considerably less athletic era. He'd really struggle to get separation these days. And after James eviscerated Boston and OKC last year I can't believe that people are still trotting out that old "He can't clutch!!!" canard. We're talking about the player that singlehandedly demolished one of the best defensive teams of the last decade and carried an NBDL team to the NBA Finals, where he got killed because he couldn't beat the NBA's reigning dynasty all by himself (because his teammates shot something like 0 for 168 for that series). 

 

James was always more Magic than Jordan, but there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I'd prefer Magic over Jordan anyway (but then I'm probably the oldest guy around here so my memory goes back a long way). Miami's problem in 2011 was that Dallas very cleverly played the Heat so that Wade would take over the games. Only he no longer had the ability to do it.



#17 dhellers

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:37 PM

James was always more Magic than Jordan, but there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I'd prefer Magic over Jordan anyway (but then I'm probably the oldest guy around here so my memory goes back a long way).  .

Funny how I have grown to like (I always respected) Magic over the years. Jordan, kind of the opposite.

 

BTW: Lebron may have overcome his "can't get it done in the clutch" flaw, but it still is just one championship. If you were to consider players who were incredible for a few years, wouldn't Walton have to be considered?


Edited by dhellers, 06 February 2013 - 04:40 PM.


#18 dhellers

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:42 PM

Don't you have to consider the physical limitations Russell would have playing against today's players?  The questions seem to contemplate taking players at their best in their time and placing them in today's game.  Russell would play at a high level in today's game but would struggle to be the kind of dominant player he was in the 60s.

I knew someone would bring that up.  Would he be a modern day Cowans?

 

(Phooey, I still would take him)



#19 Average Reds


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:46 PM

West also plyed ina  considerably less athletic era. He'd really struggle to get separation these days. And after James eviscerated Boston and OKC last year I can't believe that people are still trotting out that old "He can't clutch!!!" canard. We're talking about the player that singlehandedly demolished one of the best defensive teams of the last decade and carried an NBDL team to the NBA Finals, where he got killed because he couldn't beat the NBA's reigning dynasty all by himself (because his teammates shot something like 0 for 168 for that series). 

 

James was always more Magic than Jordan, but there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I'd prefer Magic over Jordan anyway (but then I'm probably the oldest guy around here so my memory goes back a long way). Miami's problem in 2011 was that Dallas very cleverly played the Heat so that Wade would take over the games. Only he no longer had the ability to do it.

 

 

The "clutch" comment was meant to be funny.  I thought my recantation of choosing West and subsequent praise for LeBron made that clear.  But if not, let me take the opportunity to do so more explicitly. 



#20 Zomp


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 06:11 PM

Before his career is over, if he can win 2 more rings...he's in the discussion.

 

Comparing players of different eras is very though.  Put Lebron in any era before now and he physically dominates even more.



#21 Mugthis

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 06:15 PM

FWIW:

 

Single-season PER

 

1. Wilt, 31.8 (62-63)

2. Wilt, 31.8 (61-62)

3. Jordan, 31.8 (87-88)

4. LeBron, 31.7 (08-09)

5. Wilt, 31.6 (63-64)

6. Jordan, 31.6 (90-91)

7. Jordan, 31.2 (89-90)

8. Jordan, 31.1 (88-89)

9. LeBron, 31.1 (09-10)

10. LeBron, 30.7 (11-12)

 

LeBron also comes in at 28th (29.1 in 07-08), 49th (28.1 in 05-06), and 72nd (27.3, 2010-11). Kobe's best season, BTW, is 28.0 in 05-06, which is the 53rd best ever.

 

Career PER:

1. Jordan, 27.9

2. James, 27.4

3. Shaq, 26.4

4. David Robinson, 26.2

5. Wilt, 26.1.

 

I would wager that LeBron will be in first after next season or so and probably stay there, unless he lingers on way too long.

 

Career Win Shares

 

1. Kareem, 273

2. Wilt, 247

3. Malone, 235

4. Jordan, 214

5. Stockton, 208

...

26th. LeBron (144) (will probably go up to 23rd this year, passing Payton, Bird, Parish and sitting right behind Magic. May crack top 15 by the end of next year and maybe 6th after the following year, and so on. Could be first in 7 or 8 years)

 

Kobe is 17th at 169.4

 

Career WS/48m:

 

1. Jordan, .251

2. David Robinson, .250

3. Wilt, .248

4. Chris Paul, .241 (!!!)

5. Neil Johnston, .241

6. LeBron, .236

 

Kobe is 31st at .184

 

Career playoff PER:

 

1. Jordan, 28.6

2. Mikan, 28.5

3. LeBron, 27.1

4. Shaq, 26.1

5. Hakeem, 25.7

 

Kobe is 21st at 22.4.

 

Career playoff WS:

 

1. Jordan, 39.8

2. Kareem, 35.6

3. Magic, 32.6

4. Wilt, 31.5

5. Shaq, 31.1

...

12. LeBron 24.4 (will probably go past Bird, West, Erving, and Russell after this season and be 8th. May pass Kobe at 7th).

 

Kobe is 7th at 28.3. 

 

Career playoff WS/48m:

 

1. Jordan, .255

2. Mikan, .254

3. LeBron, .234

4. Magic, .208

5. Dirk, .205

 

Kobe is 50th, at .157.

 

It would be interesting to take WS (both total and per 48m) and add together regular season and playoffs, and then mess around with weighing playoff games more), and see what pops out.

 

By the time LeBron's career is over, he may have a very strong case for "greatest ever." He'll likely retire with some of the very best efficiency stats, both career and single season, probably the best cumulative stats for his career with some of the best single seasons. All of this will be true for the regular season and playoffs. The one thing holding Jordan back is few seasons he missed due to early retirement, and his overall lack of seasons played. Jordan only played 13 full seasons, and 1072 games overall. LeBron is already at 10 full seasons and 734 games. 



#22 Brickowski

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:00 PM

LeBron might have a strong case at some point, but one ring isn't enough.  Elgin Baylor (just to mention one guy whose name hasn't appeared yet) had half a dozen years that were as good statistically as anything James has done so far, so you really have to throw out the stats.  It's rings that matter. 

 

The notion that LeBron would "physically dominate" in prior eras is an assertion that I just don't buy.  If he had played in the 60's or 70's he would not have had officals who constantly kiss his ass and he'd have opponents like Ricky Mahorn who would take his head off every time he came down the lane.  Today's NBA is a much kinder and gentler place.



#23 nighthob

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:11 PM

The "clutch" comment was meant to be funny.  I thought my recantation of choosing West and subsequent praise for LeBron made that clear.  But if not, let me take the opportunity to do so more explicitly. 

 

 

Sorry about that. I'm so used to hearing that from the Kobe fanboys so my sarcasm detector is a little fouled on that response.

 

LeBron might have a strong case at some point, but one ring isn't enough.  Elgin Baylor (just to mention one guy whose name hasn't appeared yet) had half a dozen years that were as good statistically as anything James has done so far, so you really have to throw out the stats.  It's rings that matter. 

 

The notion that LeBron would "physically dominate" in prior eras is an assertion that I just don't buy.  If he had played in the 60's or 70's he would not have had officals who constantly kiss his ass and he'd have opponents like Ricky Mahorn who would take his head off every time he came down the lane.  Today's NBA is a much kinder and gentler place.

 

Drop LeBron into the 60s and most centers wouldn't have his size/mass. Bill Russell was the same size as Tayshaun Prince. James would have a 2" and 40-50 lb. advantage on Tommy Heinsohn. Unless the coach that had him suddenly decided to stick him at the C spot how would anyone defend him? And if it was that easy why was LeBron v1.0 able to average a triple double for six years?



#24 soxfan121


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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:40 PM

Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, Jordan. 

 

Comparing players of different eras is very though.  Put Lebron in any era before now and he physically dominates even more.

 

Magically make Bill Russell 18 or 22 again, with access to modern <cough> training methods and he's Bill Russell. Magically make Michael Jordan 28 (or whatever age LeBron is these days) and give him the same supplements, training methods and chemistry and he takes pride in mentally destroying LeBron when advancing past his team in the playoffs every year. Prime Jordan vs. Prime Kobe is far more competitive and interesting than Prime MJ vs. Prime LBJ. 


Edited by soxfan121, 06 February 2013 - 07:40 PM.


#25 nighthob

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:49 PM

Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, Jordan. 

 

 

Magically make Bill Russell 18 or 22 again, with access to modern <cough> training methods and he's Bill Russell. Magically make Michael Jordan 28 (or whatever age LeBron is these days) and give him the same supplements, training methods and chemistry and he takes pride in mentally destroying LeBron when advancing past his team in the playoffs every year. Prime Jordan vs. Prime Kobe is far more competitive and interesting than Prime MJ vs. Prime LBJ. 

 

Unless those training methods made Bill 3" taller, probably not. And, ummm, Jordan is not some Robertsonesque freak of the pre-PED era. He did have access to PEDs, training regimens, etc. 



#26 mandro ramtinez

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:54 PM

Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, Jordan. 

 

 

Magically make Bill Russell 18 or 22 again, with access to modern <cough> training methods and he's Bill Russell. Magically make Michael Jordan 28 (or whatever age LeBron is these days) and give him the same supplements, training methods and chemistry and he takes pride in mentally destroying LeBron when advancing past his team in the playoffs every year. Prime Jordan vs. Prime Kobe is far more competitive and interesting than Prime MJ vs. Prime LBJ. 

Pippen would almost definitely have guarded Lebron and Jordan would have covered Wade.  Rodman probably would've been second on LBJ so I don't see how Jordan would have much chance to mentally eviscerate Lebron.  I am not a major Lebron defender but Lebron's playoff accomplishments are much more impressive than you are giving him credit for.



#27 Brickowski

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:16 PM

Sorry about that. I'm so used to hearing that from the Kobe fanboys so my sarcasm detector is a little fouled on that response.

 

 

Drop LeBron into the 60s and most centers wouldn't have his size/mass. Bill Russell was the same size as Tayshaun Prince. James would have a 2" and 40-50 lb. advantage on Tommy Heinsohn. Unless the coach that had him suddenly decided to stick him at the C spot how would anyone defend him? And if it was that easy why was LeBron v1.0 able to average a triple double for six years?

Yeah, I've heard this before.  Don't buy it.  Plus he wouldn't have the huge weight advnatage without all of those designer PEDs.



#28 nighthob

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:56 PM

Great, LeBron coming out of high school still had 25lb advantage on Heinsohn. Plus a gigantic athletic advantage. And people actually don't even care about the question "If LeBron was born in 1940, ate french fries and gravy with every meal and chain smoked would he be LeBron? Huh? Huh?" They really don't.



#29 Brickowski

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:35 PM

I bet he doesn't have a 25lb advantage over Heinsohn now LOL.



#30 ALiveH

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:33 PM

I realize we can play this if/then game with a lot of guys but it really stands out to me that if only jordan hadn't taken those years off in his prime, his career cumulative #s would be significantly better, his career averages would be slightly better and he might have 1-2 more top-10 single-season PERs (and might have 1-2 more titles). I'd refer the Russel & Wilt detractors to their wikipedia pages. These guys were basically olympic quality track-and-field athletes in multiple events in their day. They were super-elite athletes and in today's age with the all the advantages and specialization they would both dominate.

#31 swingin val

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:13 AM

In three or four years, this will be much clearer. If Lebron wins 2+ rings, and continues his improvement in shooting percentages (the last 3 years show an astonishing trend - 3pt %, .330, .362, .404, and fg% .510, .531, .555) there will be few doubting his greatness Actually, there will be quite a few doubting him and touting old-timers, but statistically, it will be tough to make an argument that he doesn't belong in the top spot.



#32 wutang112878


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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:32 AM

it really stands out to me that if only jordan hadn't taken those years off in his prime been suspended for gambling



#33 NatetheGreat

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:25 PM

&nbsp;

In three or four years, this will be much clearer. If Lebron wins 2+ rings, and continues his improvement in shooting percentages (the last 3 years show an astonishing trend - 3pt %, .330, .362, .404, and fg% .510, .531, .555) there will be few doubting his greatness Actually, there will be quite a few doubting him and touting old-timers, but statistically, it will be tough to make an argument that he doesn't belong in the top spot.



It really isn't that hard to make an argument that Jordan's statistical prime is more impressive than Lebron's. Lebron may well go down as one of the greatest ever, but the GOAT seems unlikely given how fucking ridiculous MJ was.

#34 lars10

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:17 PM

I realize we can play this if/then game with a lot of guys but it really stands out to me that if only jordan hadn't taken those years off in his prime, his career cumulative #s would be significantly better, his career averages would be slightly better and he might have 1-2 more top-10 single-season PERs (and might have 1-2 more titles). I'd refer the Russel & Wilt detractors to their wikipedia pages. These guys were basically olympic quality track-and-field athletes in multiple events in their day. They were super-elite athletes and in today's age with the all the advantages and specialization they would both dominate.

Yeah... Wilt was the reason why you can no longer dunk the ball on free throws.  Both of them had ridiculous vertical leaps... with a 10' rim it's hard to see how they'd be dominated...especially since they'd no longer be jumping in chuck taylors but in shoes actually designed for basketball of this era.



#35 reggiecleveland


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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:24 AM

I really think Shaq at his best vs Wilt at his best would all depend on how it was reffed. If they let them play like they did in Shaq's era Shaq would be much better. As big as Wilt was he has skinny legs and Shaq would get position and got to work.

 

But if I had to pick one guy it would be Jordan. His game would be great in any era. He was able to dominate at both ends.

 

Jordan

Jordan

Jordan, but maybe Russell since Jordan took a while to mature

Russell. Wilt scored but dominating is winning games. Just onc Wilt should have been able to outplay Russell enough to win a game 7. WIlt did not have the killer instinct. I have read a lot about those days and Wilt was nice guy, and easily distracted by personal goals. This game often comes down to how nasty you can be when it matters and Russ was way more of a badass than Wilt. Even today Russ has trouble not laughing when the 100 poit game comes up. Jordan had the edge, so did Bird, Magic, Hakeem, Kobe, Wade, Lebron have it too.I don't think Wilt did.



#36 Seels

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:48 AM

I've never seen Lebron as Jordan's equal at anything except physicality and maybe in the paint d. Jordan was better in basically every possible way offensively, better at perimeter d, and I know there is no stat for this but he got a lot more out of his teammates than Lebron has. Jordan took some real lousy Bulls teams pretty far in the playoffs (and I know Lebron's Cavs weren't great but they were a good deal better than the pre-Jackson Bulls). Aside from that Cavs / Pistons series from a few years ago there has never been a time where I felt like Lebron could lift his team over whatever the other team was throwing his way --- something I constantly saw Jordan do from 1990 or so on.



#37 jon abbey


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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:09 AM

I usually stay out of this kind of topic, but:

Jordan took some real lousy Bulls teams pretty far in the playoffs (and I know Lebron's Cavs weren't great but they were a good deal better than the pre-Jackson Bulls).

 

Jordan only won three playoff series in five years pre-Jackson, 14-23 in games, 3-5 in series. Three first round exits in his first three seasons (only winning one game total and getting swept twice), second round in his fourth season, conference finals in his fifth season, then Jackson took over.



#38 Brickowski

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:38 AM

There is no single stat that measures BBIQ.  Russell and Jordan were off the charts.  They knew how to win.  (Yes, it took Jordan awhile, but he learned.)

 

Lebron is a great player, but he hasn't proved to me yet that he's equal to those guys above the neck..



#39 PedrosRedGlove

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:28 AM

I think we can trust Coach K's opinion on that issue.

"I love LeBron," Krzyzewski said. "He was our leader. He's the best player on this planet. And I think he can even get better, as he accomplishes more."

On a team that included Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, Krzyzewski said James was a cut above.

"We can rave about his physical talents, but they're matched, they're definitely matched, by his leadership qualities and his brilliance," he said. "He's a really, really smart guy. Right now, he's in command of all those things.

"He has a great heart, great mind, great voice and a great body. No one has had all of that. I can't say anything more than that about him. I mean, he's the best."

For a player who had been criticized prior to the Heat's 2012 NBA championship run for shying from the big moment, Krzyzewski said James seized such moments for the national team.

"He wanted the ball," he said. "He not only wanted the ball at the end of a ball game and completed the plays and hit shots, but he made plays, he made plays."

Just as he did for the Heat during their championship run, James often was cast as a point-power forward or point center in the Olympics.

"When LeBron plays at the four or five, he's behind a team," Krzyzewski said of the uniqueness of such an alignment. "And when he talks then, it's even more important, because he's talking to guys who have their backs turned to you, his teammates, and he's giving them instruction and he's giving them guidance.

"And for him to be able to talk to a team from behind a team is an unbelievably unique situation. And he knows what he's talking about."


I'm not a fan of debates across eras, Russell's lifetime record in win-or-go-home games is pretty staggering to me. I will say though that Lebron certainly has all the talents and skills, and to this point in their respective careers, really has comparable credentials to Jordan and everyone else. I wonder how he would be perceived with his same level of personal accomplishments every year, but a reverse championship narrative a la Tom Brady. If Lebron had someone even close to Pippen in his Cleveland days he probably wins multiple rings and his reputation as someone who is soft or can't close would he laughable.

#40 Brickowski

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:02 PM

Well, when you title a thread "Is Lebron the greatest player ever" you are by definition inviting a debate across eras.  If the poster had asked "Is LeBron currently the greatest player on the planet," everyone would say "yes" and that would end the discussion.

 

My answer to the question posed is "maybe."  Perhaps he could have won in Cleveland with a better supporting cast, but he didn't.  And he didn't win in Miami until last year.   If he scores 3-4 more championships, then maybe I would answer "yes."



#41 ALiveH

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:03 PM

agreed - can't really answer the question till his career is over. It'd be like walking out halfway through a movie and declaring that is definitely going to win Best Picture. If he gets hit by a bus tomorrow, then clearly the answer is no. If he dominates for 10 more years and wins 3+ more championships he could be in the mix w/ Jordan, Wilt, Russel et al.

Just as a pure statistical argument, as great as Lebron has been at this point in their careers (thru age 28) Jordan has been slightly better and had already won 3 championships. Lebron averaged 15.2 win shares per season and Jordan averaged 16.3 thru age 28. Lebron has a career 27.4 PER and Jordan had a 29.6 thru age 28.

Edited by ALiveH, 09 February 2013 - 02:04 PM.


#42 NatetheGreat

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:34 PM

agreed - can't really answer the question till his career is over. It'd be like walking out halfway through a movie and declaring that is definitely going to win Best Picture. If he gets hit by a bus tomorrow, then clearly the answer is no. If he dominates for 10 more years and wins 3+ more championships he could be in the mix w/ Jordan, Wilt, Russel et al.

Just as a pure statistical argument, as great as Lebron has been at this point in their careers (thru age 28) Jordan has been slightly better and had already won 3 championships. Lebron averaged 15.2 win shares per season and Jordan averaged 16.3 thru age 28. Lebron has a career 27.4 PER and Jordan had a 29.6 thru age 28.

 

Thats slightly skewed because Lebron came in so much younger. How do their win shares per season compare if you only look at age 22-28?



#43 PedrosRedGlove

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:04 PM

Well, when you title a thread "Is Lebron the greatest player ever" you are by definition inviting a debate across eras.  If the poster had asked "Is LeBron currently the greatest player on the planet," everyone would say "yes" and that would end the discussion.

 

Thanks Brick, I can read.  That wasn't an argument against you, I was making a general statement on this very common debate.  I think we all realize that the jury is still out on this argument, and how the rest of Lebron's career plays out makes a big difference. 

 

It took Lebron 9 seasons to win a title, it took MJ 7 years, 4 of those playing alongside Scottie Pippen, and Lebron actually won his first title at a younger age than Jordan. I guess I just think the whole idea of an "edge" is overblown, I see it similar to clutch hitting in baseball.  Jordan's "edge" was that he was insanely good at putting the ball in the basket, this wasn't something that only came out when the game was on the line.  I personally think Jordan still has an advantage over Lebron that I'm not sure he'll ever be able to overtake, no matter what stat you use Jordan comes out on top.  I just think it's strange how these debates often boil down to an argument over who was more cutthroat, competitive, ruthless, whatever, and to extend that sentiment to questioning Lebron's basketball IQ, something that by all accounts is off the charts, didn't seem fair to him.



#44 ALiveH

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:52 PM

When I first looked at the age 21-28 seasons (Jordan came in at 21) I hadn't factored in that Jordan lost almost his full age 22 year to injury (ironically the only significant time he's lost to injury in his whole career); if you throw out that year, he averaged an even higher 18.4 WS/season over those 7 years.

Looking at Lebrons 21-28 seasons and factoring in that he's only played 62% of his age 28 season (this year) his average jumps to 16.4 WS/season.

Edited by ALiveH, 09 February 2013 - 08:55 PM.


#45 reggiecleveland


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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:40 PM

I am on my phone do I won't go back and find out who said LeBron is only slightly better than Jordan in the paint. Are you on crack? LeBron is as big as Karl Malone, maybe bigger. I picked Jordan as my guy but Bron would skullfuck him in the paint

#46 ALiveH

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:29 AM

Jordan - apart from taking 2 years off at his peak, he also took 3 years off after his 6th title. When he came back as an out-of-shape 38 year old shooting guard for his final 2 years he was still an above-average starter, scoring 20+ (if I recall he was the best player on some horrendous Wizards teams). His counting stats would be so much better if he had played those 5 near-peak years.

Edited by ALiveH, 10 February 2013 - 02:30 AM.


#47 Reardons Beard

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:09 PM

Russell, Jordan, and then humanity.


Edited by Reardons Beard, 10 February 2013 - 10:09 PM.


#48 TomRicardo


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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:41 AM

Before his career is over, if he can win 2 more rings...he's in the discussion.

 

Comparing players of different eras is very though.  Put Lebron in any era before now and he physically dominates even more.

Put LeBron in the 80s, he is bitching about getting pummeled every night.  Put LeBron in the 60s, and he doesn't get through a offensive series without a travel being called on him.

 

He is an incredible athlete however his game would have not worked in the past.  Travels far too much and complains when he gets touched at all.  Imagine McHale clotheslining LeBron then the ref calling LeBron for the travel before that.



#49 reggiecleveland


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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:36 AM

Had he played in the 80's he would not of been a media superstar as a 15 year old. Magic and Bird were seen as something special in HS but really became famous in the final game they played in college. LeBron grew up in the basketball crazy world created by Magic, Bird, Jordan and Stern. I saw him when he was 16 and he was stronger than Mchale then. But more telling everyone was kissing his ass. including. NBA players. He is a product of his environment and the fact he became a player at all is a credit to him since the pressure and potential pitfalls were enormous. He should be an even bigger whiner all things considered. Jordan, Larry, etc all bitched for calls. I saw Jordan talk to some kids once and a coach said he didn't like how he complained during games. Jordan said it was part if the NBA game and as star he needed to influence the refs to help his team win. He said it was "bullshit" but part of the game. He told the kids until they became an Nba all star to shut their traps. LeBron came from Akron and earned his name by Fucking up A list senior recruits as a grade 8. He didn't start out getting all the calls. I think he would dominate even more in the rough and tough hand check and fight 80's based on his strength. Other than nfl guys I have never seen such a naturally big dude. Rodman was dominant defender because he was 6-8 and allowed to hand check. If they let LeBron do that he would stop anyone. There are some athletes like Russell, Wilt, MJ, Magic, LeBron that would be great in any era.

#50 Mugthis

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:40 AM

Really? While the game may have been more physical, the players were quite a bit less physical and the defenses were orders of magnitude less sophisticated than today. LeBron's physical gifts would have been even more dominant the further back we go (he's probably the most gifted athlete ever in the NBA) and his basketball IQ would still be top-notch. It seems likely that he'd be more dominant in the 80s and vastly more dominant in the 60s. It's not like his game is predicated on lax calls on traveling and tight calls on bruising--he just takes advantage of it. 






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