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HandsOnTheWheel
04-05-2017, 05:02 AM
It's only a matter of time before people start considering it. In your mind, what realistically does Lebron have to do from this point out to be considered a better player than Jordan (Kareem/whoever else you have Lebron behind). Highest career points leader by a wide margin? Generally high career stats across the board? Win 6-7 championships/FMVPs when it's all said and done? Or can he pass MJ at all? It's a topic that is bound to be brought up, what say you?

ewing
04-05-2017, 07:24 AM
Go back in time and be a better at basketball


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KnicksorBust
04-05-2017, 08:08 AM
It's unlikely that LeBron can catch MJ because MJ had basically a decade of scoring titles combined with all-nba defensive teams and 6 Finals MVPs. However, the idea that it would be impossible for LeBron to catch him seems silly to me because LeBron has already accomplished so much and is still an elite player. LeBron with just 3 rings already has people putting him in their top 5 and many seem to believe he is as high as top 3. If he wins a few more rings in Cleveland then people will make the argument but my personal opinion is he won't get there. He wins MAYBE gets 1 more ring and if that is the case it should not be a debate.

Quinnsanity
04-05-2017, 10:32 AM
It depends what you're asking.

If you're asking "who do I think was better is better at basketball," I think the answer is LeBron. I think LeBron has a bigger overall impact on the game. MJ's a better scorer, even though LeBron is slightly more efficient (.536 eFG% for Bron, .509 eFG% for MJ, for example). LeBron is miles ahead as a passer. That's not a slight on MJ as a passer because he really doesn't get enough respect in that area, but LeBron is, what, the sixth best passer of all time? I can't think of anyone besides Magic, Bird, Nash, Stockton and maybe Oscar that is definitely better. Maybe Chris Paul, maybe Pistol Pete, maybe Rick Barry, but we're comparing a very good passer to a legendary passer. LeBron is also a better rebounder by a pretty wide margin. Relative to their positions, at their peaks, they're probably around even on defense. Yes, MJ has the DPOY, but LeBron really should've won it in 2013. And in general, a defender with LeBron's size is going to be more impactful than one with MJ's size. Besides a Shaq-type center, there's no player LeBron can't credibly guard. Can't say the same about MJ. So, added up, I think LeBron does more to help his teams win on the court than MJ did. That's my personal measure of who's better.

But if you're asking "will LeBron's objective achievements match MJ's?" the answer is probably no. If he couldn't win MVP this year, putting up basically a grossly efficient 26/9/9, then he probably won't ever win another one. With the Warriors out there I think the odds are below 50/50 that he ever wins another title, and realistically the decline has to start soon, right? I don't think these things are necessarily LeBron's fault. I don't think MJ wins his last MVP if someone puts up a triple double average that same season. I don't think MJ wins six titles if a team like the Warriors existed in his era (what would the equivalent to that be? Something like if Magic never got sick, then got to play with Reggie Miller, Pippen and David Robinson or something? There's not a great comp here, something like that I guess). The point is, these are all things that are out of LeBron's control. But if that's how you evaluate individual players, based solely on the objective accolades, then yea, MJ probably has an insurmountable lead.

AntiG
04-05-2017, 10:34 AM
basically he would need to win a championship and be MVP every season for the rest of his career.

KnicksorBust
04-05-2017, 11:32 AM
basically he would need to win a championship and be MVP every season for the rest of his career.

Sad but almost might be true.

LA4life24/8
04-05-2017, 01:40 PM
basically he would need to win a championship and be MVP every season for the rest of his career.

For me personally this is basically what it wpuld take... and even then idk if id put him above mj because mj never lost a finals and he took years off so he could have more and tie lebron (if he does win several more)

Stats wise bron will be the best player all time
Achievement wise MJ prolly got him.

DanG
04-05-2017, 02:35 PM
An argument can be made that LeBron's 2011-2016 run is just as impressive as Jordan's 1988-1993. Now I'm looking forward to seeing what LeBron can do to match Jordan's 96-98 run.

However, with all the drama and the superteams I don't think LeBron will ever have the aura like Michael Jordan does. I don't think most of these new super talented kids look up to LeBron as much as the young players back in the day looked up to Jordan.

The media however will go crazy if the Cavs win this year and we'll hear about LeBron being the GOAT for months.

DanG
04-05-2017, 02:38 PM
The '6-0 finals' argument is kinda stupid. Is it better to lose in ECF than it is in the Finals?

Quinnsanity
04-05-2017, 08:47 PM
basically he would need to win a championship and be MVP every season for the rest of his career.

Why is this the case? Like just look at it from an MVP standpoint. LeBron has four and MJ has five. Both have a few that they probably should've won but didn't. LeBron is also going to end up, in all likelihood, with far more longevity. Not really sure why he needs that many more accolades.

As far as rings go, I'd like to see LeBron win more, but it should be noted that MJ never had to go up against anything close to the Warriors, even last year's Warriors much less the KD version. MJ never played a team in the Finals that won more than 64 games. Last year's Warriors won 73. MJ never played a team with a net rating above +9.6 (and most of them were in the +7 or +8 range). This year's Warriors are +11.7. I'm not even saying that MJ wouldn't have beaten the Warriors. That's an entirely separate conversation. I'm just saying he never played anyone like them. When we're looking back at these careers, I think it's highly relevant to say MJ had an easier path to his rings than LeBron did to his, and that if their situations were reversed LeBron might have six and MJ might have three. This is why I really don't like using rings to judge individual players. There are so many external factors.


For me personally this is basically what it wpuld take... and even then idk if id put him above mj because mj never lost a finals and he took years off so he could have more and tie lebron (if he does win several more)

Stats wise bron will be the best player all time
Achievement wise MJ prolly got him.

Being undefeated in the Finals is meaningless. As has been said, losing in the Finals is not worse than losing earlier in the playoffs. Let's put this another way. MJ played 13 years in Chicago (ignoring Washington). LeBron has played 13 full seasons before this one. In those 13 Chicago years, Jordan won 30 playoff rounds. In his 13 years before this one, LeBron has won 29. Considering MJ literally never won a playoff series without Pippen on his team and LeBron won eight with the pre-Decision Cavs, I'd say LeBron's are probably more impressive.

Also on the topic of the years off, this is just a big personal bugaboo of mine, I HATE when people just assume "oh MJ would've won eight straight if he didn't retire." That's completely untrue. First of all, show me a precedent for a team or player playing four playoff rounds eight years in a row. It would completely destroy their bodies. The Russell era Celtics did win eight titles in a row, but they did it with shorter seasons (72 games long in their first title, 80 in their last) with only three playoff rounds, and that was at a point when the NBA just generally sucked. Second, Shaq's Magic legitimately beat them. MJ scored 31 per game in that series. What more do you want? They lost that series largely because they didn't have an answer for a star center. You know who else had a star center? The Rockets! Good luck winning a seven-game series against Hakeem Olajuwon with ancient Bill Cartwright, Bill Wennington and Will Perdue. It was a brilliant stroke of luck for the Bulls that such a major matchup problem never came up for them in the Finals. And all of this is before we discuss the butterfly effect. Maybe if MJ stays Kukoc never comes over. Maybe they never get Rodman, or Kerr, or whoever. Maybe Phil and Krause have their falling out earlier. Point is, I hate when people treat the first MJ retirement as if they're basically titles he was gracious enough to allow the rest of the league to win. If anything, I think MJ needed to retire to recharge his batteries. I'm not convinced he even gets to six if he keeps playing after the third title.

FlashBolt
04-05-2017, 08:56 PM
Two rings would do it for me. Not every ring is the same. Despite Lebron's failures at a few finals (realistically only the Dallas one), he made it to the Finals.. Since when did we downgrade a player for MAKING the Finals? LeBron would have beaten better teams (three rings vs Warriors) and spurs and OKC.. I can't think of a team Jordan beat that was better. Maybe the Suns?

Quinnsanity
04-05-2017, 09:49 PM
Two rings would do it for me. Not every ring is the same. Despite Lebron's failures at a few finals (realistically only the Dallas one), he made it to the Finals.. Since when did we downgrade a player for MAKING the Finals? LeBron would have beaten better teams (three rings vs Warriors) and spurs and OKC.. I can't think of a team Jordan beat that was better. Maybe the Suns?

Each team Jordan faced in the Finals was uniquely challenging for different reasons, but each had a fatal flaw:

- The Lakers had experience. This was seen as a really big deal at the time. In 1991, pretty much everyone would've taken Magic in the Finals over MJ. But it also had no depth. They had six relevant players: Magic, Worthy, Byron, Vlade, Perkins and A.C Green. No one else on the team had a VORP above 0.1. They wore down in the Finals, especially as Pippen and MJ made life so hard for Magic.

- The Blazers were incredibly forward-thinking under Rick Adelman. They gunned a **** ton of three's (for the time) and played an extremely fast pace, creating an offense that was much better than it had a right to be. That was the problem. They were smoke and mirrors. They didn't remotely have the raw talent of a typical Finals team. And hey, if you get hot, you can absolutely shoot your way to a championship (I'm looking at you, 2011 Mavs). There's nothing wrong with that. But the Blazers weren't a championship caliber team.

- The Suns had the most raw talent of any team MJ faced in the Finals. Barkley was obviously the MVP, KJ was on his way to becoming a star, and with Thunder Dan, Tom Chambers and Danny Ainge they took even more three's than Portland did (and made a higher percentage to boot... they were above average even by 2017 standards percentage wise which is nuts). But they had absolutely no size. No one on their roster was above 6'10'', they had no rim protection and were small pretty much across the board. Center was always Chicago's weak spot. If you take that out of the equation, you're basically trying to build a team 1-4 that's better than one that has the best player of all time, a top 25 player of all time and two future All Stars. You can't beat the Bulls that way.

- The Sonics were the best matchup for the Bulls. GP defended MJ better than anyone and I believe he's admitted that. Kemp was big issue for a team without a legitimate center (though in fairness they had Rodman). They were just so ****ing sloppy. They had the second most turnovers per game in the league. Combined with GP being injured during the series, that was just never going to be a formula for beating a seasoned champion like Chicago.

- The Jazz were the best overall team the Bulls played statistically (in '96-'97 they had a +9.6 net rating, best of any Jordan Finals opponent). They were also stuck in the ****ing stone age. They were dead last in the league in three-point attempts both years... but top-10 in percentage both years. If Jerry Sloan would've let his team gun from long range, especially given what we know about the pick-and-roll now, I have to imagine they would've won a championship.

valade16
04-05-2017, 09:57 PM
Considering LeBron already has several moments where he didn't measure up to MJ for me the conversation can't really start until LeBron gets to 6 rings.

To those saying his legacy is already set in stone, I don't think that's true. The backside of a career can do wonders for a player's legacy.

Duncan was a borderline Top 10 (certainly at the end of the top 10) until the last 5 years of his career with his 5th Championship (and another Finals appearance) and now he's considered closer to Top 5 than bottom of the Top 10.

Quinnsanity
04-05-2017, 10:11 PM
Nobody ever wants to have the "what does MJ actually do better than LeBron" argument with me. Someone have it with me. It really is only scoring, and the gap isn't all that big in that area. I'm not even saying this is some sort of open and shut "LeBron is better" argument, but I get so goddamn annoyed when people are like "well MJ has six rings and LeBron only has three so MJ has to be better." If you're so confident that Jordan is better tell me what he DOES better than LeBron. Otherwise we're all just sucking Robert Horry's dick.

ewing
04-05-2017, 10:34 PM
maybe a lobotomy

FlashBolt
04-05-2017, 11:12 PM
Nobody ever wants to have the "what does MJ actually do better than LeBron" argument with me. Someone have it with me. It really is only scoring, and the gap isn't all that big in that area. I'm not even saying this is some sort of open and shut "LeBron is better" argument, but I get so goddamn annoyed when people are like "well MJ has six rings and LeBron only has three so MJ has to be better." If you're so confident that Jordan is better tell me what he DOES better than LeBron. Otherwise we're all just sucking Robert Horry's dick.

Well, if we're judging scoring in advanced metrics, LeBron is more efficient by a small margin. What most people don't realize is that even if we count Jordan's Wizards days, LeBron has played about the same amount of games Jordan has in the NBA. So let's just go down the list:

PER: About the same.
WS: Jordan wins. About the same.
VORP: LeBron wins. I find that VORP has been a relatively great measure but LeBron destroys him in this category.
PPG: LeBron's more efficient but Jordan shot more. 3 points difference.
Passing: LeBron's better.
Defense: Jordan's defense was great but it was because he had an easier defensive assignment. Pippen+Rodman? Grant? C'mon.
I'm just not seeing just how much better MJ really is unless you're arguing that he's 6-0 in the Finals and want to ignore every other aspect of the game. It's really damn close. Close enough for me to say LeBron is right up there with MJ if he wins two more rings as the best player in the Finals. And before anyone says LeBron has Finals losses.. Yeah, but how many Finals do you think LeBron loses with Pippen+Rodman against those same teams Jordan played? It's more likely LeBron goes undefeated than Jordan does if we're making Jordan play against the Finals LeBron played through.

Quinnsanity
04-05-2017, 11:37 PM
Well, if we're judging scoring in advanced metrics, LeBron is more efficient by a small margin. What most people don't realize is that even if we count Jordan's Wizards days, LeBron has played about the same amount of games Jordan has in the NBA. So let's just go down the list:

PER: About the same.
WS: Jordan wins. About the same.
VORP: LeBron wins. I find that VORP has been a relatively great measure but LeBron destroys him in this category.
PPG: LeBron's more efficient but Jordan shot more. 3 points difference.
Passing: LeBron's better.
Defense: Jordan's defense was great but it was because he had an easier defensive assignment. Pippen+Rodman? Grant? C'mon.
I'm just not seeing just how much better MJ really is unless you're arguing that he's 6-0 in the Finals and want to ignore every other aspect of the game. It's really damn close. Close enough for me to say LeBron is right up there with MJ if he wins two more rings as the best player in the Finals. And before anyone says LeBron has Finals losses.. Yeah, but how many Finals do you think LeBron loses with Pippen+Rodman against those same teams Jordan played? It's more likely LeBron goes undefeated than Jordan does if we're making Jordan play against the Finals LeBron played through.

And all of this is before you consider longevity.

It's not like I'm ******** on MJ. All of these things I say LeBron is better at? It's not like he was bad in those areas. People sorely underrate MJ as a passer, and the late-80's (I wanna say '88?) "MJ as point guard" period when he was putting up triple doubles every night was downright incredible. But LeBron's vision is just otherworldly and frankly, the trust he has in his teammates allows him to make passes Jordan wouldn't have. MJ was a great defender, he didn't win DPOY by accident, but LeBron was just as technically sound but with better physical measurables and, as FlashBolt said, had harder assignments. Like if you need evidence of how good LeBron was/is defensively, just read this (http://deadspin.com/lebron-james-is-a-better-defender-than-the-computerized-456410614). The short version is that, when the Raptors made a computer program that compared their own players on defense to a computerized player that was literally ideal, LeBron ruined it because he was better than whatever their computers could come up with.

I just don't know what Jordan really does better than LeBron other than scoring. I don't know how you can justify saying MJ was the better all-around player. Calling someone worse than LeBron is not insulting. Every other human on the planet is worse than LeBron at basketball. What I suspect is the case is that MJ was so much better than anyone before him that he set a bar that in people's minds was unreachable the moment he retired. When someone did reach that bar, they refused to acknowledge it because they were still operating under the thought process that since nobody before MJ was remotely close to him, no one afterwards could be either. But when you judge them on a skill-by-skill basis, it seems pretty apparent to me that LeBron comes out on top.

FlashBolt
04-05-2017, 11:56 PM
And all of this is before you consider longevity.

It's not like I'm ******** on MJ. All of these things I say LeBron is better at? It's not like he was bad in those areas. People sorely underrate MJ as a passer, and the late-80's (I wanna say '88?) "MJ as point guard" period when he was putting up triple doubles every night was downright incredible. But LeBron's vision is just otherworldly and frankly, the trust he has in his teammates allows him to make passes Jordan wouldn't have. MJ was a great defender, he didn't win DPOY by accident, but LeBron was just as technically sound but with better physical measurables and, as FlashBolt said, had harder assignments. Like if you need evidence of how good LeBron was/is defensively, just read this (http://deadspin.com/lebron-james-is-a-better-defender-than-the-computerized-456410614). The short version is that, when the Raptors made a computer program that compared their own players on defense to a computerized player that was literally ideal, LeBron ruined it because he was better than whatever their computers could come up with.

I just don't know what Jordan really does better than LeBron other than scoring. I don't know how you can justify saying MJ was the better all-around player. Calling someone worse than LeBron is not insulting. Every other human on the planet is worse than LeBron at basketball. What I suspect is the case is that MJ was so much better than anyone before him that he set a bar that in people's minds was unreachable the moment he retired. When someone did reach that bar, they refused to acknowledge it because they were still operating under the thought process that since nobody before MJ was remotely close to him, no one afterwards could be either. But when you judge them on a skill-by-skill basis, it seems pretty apparent to me that LeBron comes out on top.

Important to note that neither of us are stating LeBron IS better than Jordan but that there is a window there. It's crazy that some people just shut it down and the sole reason of it is based on "LeBron joined up with a superteam" or "Jordan is 6-0 and for that reason, LeBron will never surpass him." Well, the word "Finals" is an arbitrary meaning. Legitimately, every playoff can be your "NBA Finals" if you're losing. So it's a far better measurement to check their Wins/Losses in the playoffs than simply their NBA Finals record. Ex: Let's say Jordan gets past the Celtics and Pistons but loses in the Finals. Give or take, he's 0-3 in the Finals before he ever wins one. Does his legacy change? I mean, he plays otherworldly and beats the Celtics/Pistons but the narrative is that since he lost before he got to the Finals, he must be a better player. That's essentially the narrative of this 6-0 Finals nonsense when we don't include context. Literally the only argument in LeBron's career is his Mavericks Finals in which he simply didn't show up. But let's look at this from another angle. Here's a fun fact:

In their six rings together, for the playoffs, Pippen grabbed more rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks while being the better defender than Jordan. Some people are shocked when I mention this fact but that's because they're so enamored with how "great" Jordan is that it's impossible for there to be any other alternative. I get it. He's the GOAT. But he didn't beat the GREATEST teams of ALL TIME when he had some of the greatest TEAMMATES of ALL TIME. And that simply matters.

That DPOY thing is tricky. I've always thought Pippen was the better perimeter defender than Jordan. Don't get me wrong, Jordan was great at it but LeBron in 2011-2014 played as great of a defender at the perimeter than the best.

Quinnsanity
04-06-2017, 12:07 AM
Important to note that neither of us are stating LeBron IS better than Jordan but that there is a window there. It's crazy that some people just shut it down and the sole reason of it is based on "LeBron joined up with a superteam" or "Jordan is 6-0 and for that reason, LeBron will never surpass him." Well, the word "Finals" is an arbitrary meaning. Legitimately, every playoff can be your "NBA Finals" if you're losing. So it's a far better measurement to check their Wins/Losses in the playoffs than simply their NBA Finals record. Ex: Let's say Jordan gets past the Celtics and Pistons but loses in the Finals. Give or take, he's 0-3 in the Finals before he ever wins one. Does his legacy change? I mean, he plays otherworldly and beats the Celtics/Pistons but the narrative is that since he lost before he got to the Finals, he must be a better player. That's essentially the narrative of this 6-0 Finals nonsense when we don't include context. Literally the only argument in LeBron's career is his Mavericks Finals in which he simply didn't show up. But let's look at this from another angle. Here's a fun fact:

In their six rings together, for the playoffs, Pippen grabbed more rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks while being the better defender than Jordan. Some people are shocked when I mention this fact but that's because they're so enamored with how "great" Jordan is that it's impossible for there to be any other alternative. I get it. He's the GOAT. But he didn't beat the GREATEST teams of ALL TIME when he had some of the greatest TEAMMATES of ALL TIME. And that simply matters.

That DPOY thing is tricky. I've always thought Pippen was the better perimeter defender than Jordan. Don't get me wrong, Jordan was great at it but LeBron in 2011-2014 played as great of a defender at the perimeter than the best.

Again, it depends on what you're asking. If you're asking me which was the better player? It's LeBron. If you're asking me who had the better career? It's Jordan.

Pippen is a better defender than Jordan. I don't think it's a stretch to say Pippen is the best perimeter defender of all time. As far as I'm concerned, Pippen and Kawhi are one and two in some order (again, this is based on who's better, not who had the better career), then peak LeBron is 3. Jordan is a bit lower down the list but obviously still really high.

The super team thing is nonsense. Jordan played on a super team, it just happened to be formed more organically. It's stupid to blame LeBron for seeking one out. If he had competent management in Cleveland the first time around it never would've been necessary.

The Finals thing is equally ridiculous. Like I said earlier in the thread, at the same points in their careers, LeBron has won 29 playoff rounds and MJ has won 30. I think given his inferior teammates early in his career that extra round is forgivable.

The Mavericks series was bad. There's no question about that. I'm just not willing to judge a player on one series. Players grow. LeBron grew. It's not like MJ came into the league fully formed either, even if he didn't have a series that bad. I just think it's ridiculous to take one moment and say "because this happened, this other thing can never happen." We're talking about entire careers and a few bad games are how they're defined? It's ridiculous. The Mavs series should be considered. It should be part of the conversation. But it shouldn't be the whole conversation. It was ultimately just one lost series. MJ had a few of those as well, that they weren't in the Finals just means he couldn't get them there those years.

FlashBolt
04-06-2017, 12:12 AM
Again, it depends on what you're asking. If you're asking me which was the better player? It's LeBron. If you're asking me who had the better career? It's Jordan.

Pippen is a better defender than Jordan. I don't think it's a stretch to say Pippen is the best perimeter defender of all time. As far as I'm concerned, Pippen and Kawhi are one and two in some order (again, this is based on who's better, not who had the better career), then peak LeBron is 3. Jordan is a bit lower down the list but obviously still really high.

The super team thing is nonsense. Jordan played on a super team, it just happened to be formed more organically. It's stupid to blame LeBron for seeking one out. If he had competent management in Cleveland the first time around it never would've been necessary.

The Finals thing is equally ridiculous. Like I said earlier in the thread, at the same points in their careers, LeBron has won 29 playoff rounds and MJ has won 30. I think given his inferior teammates early in his career that extra round is forgivable.

The Mavericks series was bad. There's no question about that. I'm just not willing to judge a player on one series. Players grow. LeBron grew. It's not like MJ came into the league fully formed either, even if he didn't have a series that bad. I just think it's ridiculous to take one moment and say "because this happened, this other thing can never happen." We're talking about entire careers and a few bad games are how they're defined? It's ridiculous. The Mavs series should be considered. It should be part of the conversation. But it shouldn't be the whole conversation. It was ultimately just one lost series. MJ had a few of those as well, that they weren't in the Finals just means he couldn't get them there those years.

Yup, I wish I had phrased that a bit differently. I think LeBron is the most complete player ever and by virtue of that, a better player. But in terms of career, I don't see how anyone argues LeBron over Jordan just yet. But two more rings against the Warriors would make it three rings against a team that had three-all-time great seasons with arguably the most stacked roster. He also beat the thunder and Spurs. I know you went through the teams Jordan faced but I don't see how any of them were better than the Finals team LeBron have beaten. Outside of the Mavericks and MAYBE 2007 Spurs, the teams LeBron have played against were better.

Quinnsanity
04-06-2017, 07:30 PM
Yup, I wish I had phrased that a bit differently. I think LeBron is the most complete player ever and by virtue of that, a better player. But in terms of career, I don't see how anyone argues LeBron over Jordan just yet. But two more rings against the Warriors would make it three rings against a team that had three-all-time great seasons with arguably the most stacked roster. He also beat the thunder and Spurs. I know you went through the teams Jordan faced but I don't see how any of them were better than the Finals team LeBron have beaten. Outside of the Mavericks and MAYBE 2007 Spurs, the teams LeBron have played against were better.

To be honest, the first two teams LeBron beat in the Finals really weren't that good. Their net ratings were both below 7. Neither were No. 1 seeds. There's a lot of revisionist history with both of those teams.

We look at the Thunder and say "holy crap, they had Durant, Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka," except, ironically, Ibaka was the only one of them playing at his career peak or close to it. Harden was miserable in those Finals. He was great earlier in the playoffs, but he was really inconsistent at that point of his career. Westbrook was at the height of his ball hogging. He only had 5.5 assists that year. Other than his rookie season, he never posted below 6.9 in any other season. That was what made Harden so valuable to that Thunder team. When Westbrook went off the rails, Brooks would bring Harden in and essentially make him the point guard, slowing the game down and forcing Westbrook to cool off. And to be blunt, at that point in his career, Kevin Durant was not a good defensive player. Now? He's a ****ing stud on that end, but at that point he was still rail thin and relying solely on athleticism. LeBron just bullied him in that series. So yea, it's tempting to look at what these players are now and say how impressive it was that LeBron beat them, but at the time, they were really young and still finding their way.

As far as San Antonio, I think people look at how good the Spurs have been the last two years and assume the teams LeBron played are similar. They really aren't. Remember, LeBron didn't beat the current, fully formed Kawhi Leonard. He beat Year 2 Kawhi Leonard, and it took one of the most remarkable endings in league history. The Spurs didn't have Aldridge at that point. For all the talk of how beautiful the Spurs machine was, last year against OKC Aldridge was pretty much their only consistent offense. This was still very much a Spurs team based around the super old trio of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker. TP was on his last legs (I want to say that was his last year a star caliber player), and Duncan was already the all-defense/no-offense player he looked like last year he was just able to summon his old self for short stretches at a time. To be honest the recent Spurs are far better than the two teams that played LeBron in the Finals. Had Russell Westbrook not gotten hurt in 2013. OKC likely would've won the West.

But that title over the Warriors? Yea, even without Bogut, that was more impressive than any title Jordan won. The others are around even with MJ's.

FlashBolt
04-06-2017, 08:15 PM
To be honest, the first two teams LeBron beat in the Finals really weren't that good. Their net ratings were both below 7. Neither were No. 1 seeds. There's a lot of revisionist history with both of those teams.

We look at the Thunder and say "holy crap, they had Durant, Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka," except, ironically, Ibaka was the only one of them playing at his career peak or close to it. Harden was miserable in those Finals. He was great earlier in the playoffs, but he was really inconsistent at that point of his career. Westbrook was at the height of his ball hogging. He only had 5.5 assists that year. Other than his rookie season, he never posted below 6.9 in any other season. That was what made Harden so valuable to that Thunder team. When Westbrook went off the rails, Brooks would bring Harden in and essentially make him the point guard, slowing the game down and forcing Westbrook to cool off. And to be blunt, at that point in his career, Kevin Durant was not a good defensive player. Now? He's a ****ing stud on that end, but at that point he was still rail thin and relying solely on athleticism. LeBron just bullied him in that series. So yea, it's tempting to look at what these players are now and say how impressive it was that LeBron beat them, but at the time, they were really young and still finding their way.

As far as San Antonio, I think people look at how good the Spurs have been the last two years and assume the teams LeBron played are similar. They really aren't. Remember, LeBron didn't beat the current, fully formed Kawhi Leonard. He beat Year 2 Kawhi Leonard, and it took one of the most remarkable endings in league history. The Spurs didn't have Aldridge at that point. For all the talk of how beautiful the Spurs machine was, last year against OKC Aldridge was pretty much their only consistent offense. This was still very much a Spurs team based around the super old trio of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker. TP was on his last legs (I want to say that was his last year a star caliber player), and Duncan was already the all-defense/no-offense player he looked like last year he was just able to summon his old self for short stretches at a time. To be honest the recent Spurs are far better than the two teams that played LeBron in the Finals. Had Russell Westbrook not gotten hurt in 2013. OKC likely would've won the West.

But that title over the Warriors? Yea, even without Bogut, that was more impressive than any title Jordan won. The others are around even with MJ's.

Are you talking about SRS?

As for the Spurs, but Parker and Gino and Duncan were better so despite the Spurs being still great this point, they didn't need Kawhi to score. This Kawhi that is scoring is amazing but it's where Danny Green, parker, Manu, and Duncan were able to help take responsibility. They really only needed Kawhi to be a defender. So I'm not sure why that has to come into play. That spurs team just picked the Heat apart and played the greatest NBA Finals performance ever. They could have beaten any team with how they were shooting.