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View Full Version : Who had the easiest/hardest path to the Finals: MJ/Bron/Magic?



valade16
07-30-2019, 01:23 PM
Since there seems to be a debate about which superstar (MJ/Magic/Bron) had the easiest time getting to the Finals through their conference, I have looked up the SRS of all the teams they faced in their own conferences during their runs, here they are:


Magic:

80 Suns 3.25 (W)
80 Sonics 4.24 (W)
81 Rockets -0.20 (L)
82 Suns 3.05 (W)
82 Spurs 1.79 (W)
83 Blazers 1.88 (W)
83 Spurs 3.10 (W)
84 Kings -1.62 (W)
84 Mavs 0.15 (W)
84 Suns 0.65 (W)
85 Suns -2.34 (W)
85 Blazers 2.80 (W)
85 Nuggets 2.05 (W)
86 Spurs -2.06 (W)
86 Mavs 0.69 (W)
86 Rockets 2.10 (L)
87 Nuggets -1.14 (W)
87 Warriors -2.54 (W)
87 Sonics 0.08 (W)
88 Spurs -5.02 (W)
88 Jazz 2.96 (W)
88 Mavs 3.59 (W)
89 Blazers 0.59 (W)
89 Sonics 2.44 (W)
89 Suns 6.84 (W)
90 Rockets 1.71 (W)
90 Suns 7.09 (L)
91 Rockets 3.27 (W)
91 Warriors 1.72 (W)
91 Blazers 8.47 (W)


Magic record vs West: 27-3
Average SRS of opponents: 1.65
Fun Fact: Magic only played 3 teams with an SRS above 5.00 in the West and went 2-1 in those series

Jordan:

85 Bucks 6.69 (L)
86 Celtics 9.06 (L)
87 Celtics 6.57 (L)
88 Cavs 1.28 (W)
88 Pistons 5.46 (L)
89 Cavs 7.95 (W)
89 Knicks 3.62 (W)
89 Pistons 6.24 (L)
90 Bucks -1.06 (W)
90 76ers 4.23 (W)
90 Pistons 5.41 (L)
91 Knicks -0.43 (W)
91 76ers -0.39 (W)
91 Pistons 3.08 (W)
92 Heat -3.94 (W)
92 Knicks 3.67 (W)
92 Cavs 5.34 (W)
93 Hawks -0.67 (W)
93 Cavs 6.30 (W)
93 Knicks 5.87 (W)
95 Hornets 2.87 (W)
95 Magic 6.44 (L)
96 Heat 1.46 (W)
96 Knicks 2.24 (W)
96 Magic 5.40 (W)
97 Bullets 1.77 (W)
97 Hawks 5.51 (W)
97 Heat 5.56 (W)
98 Nets 1.88 (W)
98 Hornets 2.45 (W)
98 Pacers 6.25 (W)

Jordan record vs East: 23-7
Average SRS of opponents: 3.87
Fun Fact: Jordan never lost to a team with an SRS under 5.00 and went 8-7 in those games vs the East.


LeBron:

06 Wizards 1.56 (W)
06 Pitsons 6.24 (L)
07 Wizards -0.80 (W)
07 Nets -1.00 (W)
07 Pistons 3.69 (W)
08 Wizards -0.61 (W)
08 Celtics 9.30 (L)
09 Pistons -0.36 (W)
09 Hawks 1.70 (W)
09 Magic 6.48 (L)
10 Bulls -1.64 (W)
10 Celtics 3.37 (L)
11 76ers 1.00 (W)
11 Celtics 4.83 (W)
11 Bulls 6.53 (W)
12 Knicks 2.39 (W)
12 Pacers 2.59 (W)
12 Celtics 2.26 (W)
13 Bucks -1.83 (W)
13 Bulls -0.02 (W)
13 Pacers 3.34 (W)
14 Bobcats -0.89 (W)
14 Nets -1.57 (W)
14 Pacers 3.63 (W)
15 Celtics -0.40 (W)
15 Bulls 2.54 (W)
15 Hawks 4.75 (W)
16 Pistons 0.43 (W)
16 Hawks 3.49 (W)
16 Raptors 4.08 (W)
17 Pacers -0.64 (W)
17 Raptors 3.65 (W)
17 Celtics 2.25 (W)
18 Pacers 1.18 (W)
18 Raptors 7.29 (W)
18 Celtics 3.23 (W)

LeBron record vs East: 32-4
Average SRS of opponents: 2.28
Fun Fact: LeBron faced the most teams with a negative SRS (11), even when adjusted for number of series (Bron: 30.5%, Magic 23.3%, MJ 16.7%)




Keep in mind SRS is by no way a definitive look at which teams are the best/worst. Some teams with high SRS had injuries in the playoffs and weren't the same, some teams played far better in the playoffs than their regular season SRS indicates, and some just don't have SRS that most would say accurately reflects how good a team they were. Regardless:

Looking at these it seems that MJ faced the toughest test in getting out of his conference, not even just for the 80's but in the 90's he was still facing tough competition. LeBron only faced 2-3 teams during his 8 Finals runs that were good according to SRS, but before that he was generally only losing to very good teams. After 1980 it could be argued Magic only played a single good team from 81-88 (86 Rockets).

Rank their paths to the Finals in order. Who had it easiest and who had it hardest?

Tg11
07-30-2019, 02:22 PM
3- Jordan (toughest)
2- LeBron
1- Magic (easiest)

Vee-Rex
07-30-2019, 04:40 PM
Okay now do it for finals teams.

TheMightyHumph
07-31-2019, 01:20 AM
Bron in 2006

valade16
07-31-2019, 08:13 AM
Okay now do it for finals teams.

Already did that in the "Ranking the best teams MJ destroyed during his reign of terror" thread.

Essentially, of the combined 15 teams they've faced in the Finals, LeBron has faced the 5 toughest, going 1-4 vs them. However LeBron also lost to the easiest team either of them ever faced (11 Mavs).

hidalgo
07-31-2019, 06:19 PM
Jordan easily had the toughest road to the finals
LeBron 2nd toughest
Magic a razor thin 3rd toughest

valade16
08-01-2019, 11:59 AM
It seems the common refrain is that they all had easy roads to the finals in easy conferences, but at least according to SRS Jordan's path was far harder, even in the 90's, than Magic's or Bron's.

He had to face a very underrated Cavs in the early 90's, a tough Knicks in the mid 90's and a strong Indiana in the later 90's.

Hawkeye15
08-01-2019, 02:50 PM
Jordan's road TO the finals was more difficult, for sure. While I don't think he faced as great of teams as many like to lay out, he rarely ran into teams that weren't at least really good. LeBron and Magic had literally terrible teams in the 1st round many years, and Magic even lost to a couple bad teams, something LeBron never did.