Michael Jordan And LeBron James Should Not Be Compared

Introduction

Throughout the past 15 years, the mainstream media has constantly compared LeBron James to Michael Jordan. For example, Jerry Brewer of the Washington Post stated that he “grew up watching Jordan and grew wise (I hope) watching James, I still think it’s easier, at this point, to laud Jordan as basketball’s invincible hero”. However, it is unfair to compare these two players when their style of play is/was vastly different.

Michael Jordan Vs LeBron James (Offense)

Over the course of 8 years, the Chicago Bulls successfully implemented Phil Jackson’s triangle offense. In the triangle offense, one of the perimeter players would bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to another player posting up in the mid to low block. Once that happens, the person with the basketball would shoot a turn around jumper. Another example of the triangle offense is when one of the perimeter players would bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to another perimeter player. The second perimeter player will either dump the ball into the post or give it to a third perimeter player, and he will throw it into the post. After this occurs, the individual in possession of the ball would hold it for a couple of seconds to see if a teammate can successfully cut to the basket. The teammate who was supposed to cut to the basket usually came from one of the wings or corners. For instance, if the teammate came from the corner, the individual in possession of the ball would perform a backdoor pass. On the other hand, if the teammate came from the wing, the individual in possession of the ball would perform a drop pass. However, if the teammate weren’t able to successfully cut to the basket, the individual in possession of the ball would shoot the ball or kick it to the perimeter.

As a result of this system, Michael Jordan never had a defined role within the Chicago Bulls offense. Before his first retirement, Jordan alternated between the roles of a bystander, cutter, isolation and low post player. There were some possessions, where Michael received the ball on the wing or corner, and he would dump it into the post. Once that happens, Mike immediately cut to the basket in hopes of getting the ball back. If he were successful, Jordan would attempt a layup, dunk or shoot a short jumper. If he were unsuccessful, Michael Jordan would either fight thru the crowd to get in position to box out for the rebound, or he would go to the perimeter in hopes of getting the ball back. On the other hand, there were possessions where Mike would isolate the defender after the team got an offensive rebound or when the low post player passed the ball back to the perimeter. When this occurs, he will pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action. If the defender gave him a few feet of space, he would pull up to shoot the wide-open mid-range jumper. But, if the defender played him tight, he will attempt to drive towards the basket for a score, to draw a foul or attract a double team. However, when Mike returned from his first retirement, he became more of a post up player. For example, Jordan would jog to the mid to low block and post up to call for the basketball. Once this happened, Michael Jordan would usually attempt a turnaround or fadeaway jumper.

On the other hand, LeBron James has played in a completely different system to that of Michael Jordan. Throughout the past seven NBA seasons, teams who obtained the services of LeBron James have incorporated an offensive system; that is meant to showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide-open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man, he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him, he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Furthermore, on occasion, the team will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

Michael Jordan Vs LeBron James (Defense)

As a result of LeBron’s playmaking duties, he has neglected the defensive side of the floor over the past few years. This is because LeBron uses defensive possessions to catch his breath to have enough energy for the next offensive possession. For instance, James will take the weakest offensive player on the opposing team and stand near the painted area until a shot is taken. Once the shot is taken, he will move towards the rim to get the rebound and start the next offensive possession. On the other hand, Michael Jordan kept his defensive intensity because he didn’t have to be a playmaker on every possession. For example, he would crowd the space of the ball handler forcing them to pick up the dribble and turn sideways. Once this happens, he would go for the steal or run to a spot on the same side the ball handler is looking at to cut off the potential pathway. After this happens, the ball handler has two choices, take a contested shot or pass the ball.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is unfair to compare Michael Jordan and LeBron James because they played in two different systems which fundamentally changed their approach to the game.

How To Build A Team Around LeBron James

Throughout the past seven NBA seasons, teams who obtained the services of LeBron James have incorporated an offensive system; that is meant to showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide-open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Furthermore, on occasion, the team will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

Due to this, a team would have to surround LeBron with players who can catch and shoot or know how to move without the ball. However, not only will a team have to acquire three-point shooter but they need to find players who are outstanding defenders. This is because LeBron uses defensive possessions to catch his breath to have enough energy for the next offensive possession. For instance, James will take the weakest offensive player on the opposing team and stand near the painted area until a shot is taken. Once the shot is taken, he will move towards the rim to get the rebound and start the next offensive possession. Unfortunately, James’s defensive strategy means that he can’t be counted on to provide adequate help defense if necessary.

As a result of this, a team should target players like Matthew Dellavedova, Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Tony Snell and Paul George. All of these players shoot above 36 percent from behind the arc for their careers and are known as excellent defenders. For example, these players will crowd the space of the ball handler forcing them to pick up the dribble and turn sideways. Once this happens, they will go for the steal or run to a spot on the same side the ball handler is looking at to cut off the potential pathway. After this happens, the ball handler has two choices, take a contested shot or pass the ball.

In conclusion, if a team were to fill out the roster with those type of players, it would give LeBron the best opportunity to win a championship. This is because it decreases the likelihood of the team getting hurt by James taking defensive possessions off.

 LeBron James Shouldn’t Sign With The Philadelphia 76ers In 2018

Over the past few weeks, some people within the NBA community have suggested that  LeBron James should sign with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018. According to HoopsHype.com, retired NBA player Brian Scalabrine recently stated that Philadelphia is the best landing spot for him; ” because that team already has players who can shoot. Plus, he’d be able to play off Simmons and Embiid”. Although Philadelphia seems to be an excellent landing spot for LeBron, that is not necessarily the case.

Throughout the past seven seasons, teams who obtained the services of Lebron have incorporated an offensive system; that is meant to showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide-open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Furthermore, on occasion, the team will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

Due to this, the 76ers would have to surround LeBron with players who can catch and shoot or know how to move without the ball. Unfortunately, both of these skill sets nullify Ben Simmons’s best attribute; Simmons has been described as a player who possesses exceptional court vision and passing skills as well as an ability to get to the basket on a consistent basis.  According to DraftExpress, during his tenure at LSU, Simmons demonstrated “tremendous ball-handling and passing ability, as he has outstanding court vision… sometimes above the rim with a head of steam”. Due to this, he needs to be in an offensive system similar to that of LeBron, where he would showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket.

Therefore, both of these players would need to have the ball in their hands for a significant amount of time to be effective. Due to this, they would need at least one season to figure out where everyone is supposed to be on the court and to develop chemistry. For instance, there would be many possessions in the early portions of the first season, where one player will bring the ball up the floor and hold it for the majority of the shot clock. Meanwhile, the other player is standing behind the three-point line acting as a spot-up shooter. This is because the duo will need multiple games to develop timing as to when they should move without the ball and where to end up. Unfortunately, neither LeBron James or Ben Simmons can be productive in the spot-up shooter role; because they have a below average shooting percentage from behind the arc. According to Basketball-Reference, LeBron has a career three-point shooting percentage of 34.2 percent, while Ben is shooting 0 percent. Consequently, opposing teams will leave the shooter wide open and use the extra defender to provide help defense.

In conclusion,  LeBron James shouldn’t sign with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018 because of floor spacing issues that will present themselves when he and Ben Simmons are playing together.

Magic Johnson Would Need To Trade Lonzo Ball For LeBron James To Join The Los Angeles Lakers

Over the past few months, there have been several reports that LeBron James is leaning towards signing with Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers. According to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, “the general belief around the league is that, if he does leave, he’ll land with the Lakers.” Although these rumors are picking up more steam each day, Magic Johnson would’ve to trade Lonzo Ball; to turn the rumor from a dream into reality.

Throughout the past seven seasons, teams who obtained the services of Lebron have incorporated an offensive system; that is meant to showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide-open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Furthermore, on occasion, the team will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

Due to this, the Lakers would have to surround LeBron with players who can catch and shoot or know how to move without the ball. Unfortunately, both of these skill sets nullify Lonzo Ball’s best attribute; Ball has been described as a player who possesses excellent court vision and passing ability. According to DraftExpress, “Ball showed he has the vision, timing, accuracy, and overall foundation to eventually make every read necessary at the NBA level… and locate shooters”. Due to this, he needs to be on a team where he would be the primary ball handler; and is allowed to analyze the defense to determine what is the right pass. For instance, the traditional pick and roll offense would be an ideal system for him because he can bring the ball up to the three-point line and ask for a screen. Once the pick was set Ball can pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, Ball can go over it and take the wide open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Ball can go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he can score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.

As you can see, both of these players need to have the ball in their hands for a significant amount of time to be effective. Due to this, they would need at least one season to figure out where everyone is supposed to be on the court and to develop chemistry. For instance, there would be many possessions in the early portions of the first season, where one player will bring the ball up the floor and hold it for the majority of the shot clock. Meanwhile, the other player is standing behind the three-point line acting as a spot-up shooter. This is because the duo will need multiple games to develop timing as to when they should move without the ball and where to end up. Unfortunately, neither LeBron James or Lonzo Ball can be productive in the spot-up shooter role; because they have a below average shooting percentage from behind the arc. According to Basketball-Reference, LeBron has a career three-point shooting percentage of 34.2 percent, while Lonzo is shooting 23.1 percent. Consequently, opposing teams will leave the shooter wide open and use the extra defender to provide help defense.

Therefore it would behoove Magic Johnson to trade Lonzo Ball for some more shooters to stretch out the defense thus giving LeBron more room to maneuver.