This year in the ECF, Boston had 6 of the top 8 or 7 of the top 9 players in the series. I think you would be hard pressed to argue that Hill, Korver, etc. were better than Horford, Tatum, Brown, Rozier, Morris, or Smart. I think you could realistically argue Baynes is also better than those players. Obviously James was by the far best player in that series and frankly Love might have been the 2nd best, but 3 to 15 the Celtics were far more talented and better across the board and it wasn't close.
I posted this on Reddit asking if the Cavs would still be in the Finals with prime Jordan in Lebron’s place.
Not arguing with Jordan's resume. He was greatest ever. They dominated their competition back then. That said, Jordan has a losing record his first 3 seasons carrying a garbage team:
* 1984 age 21: 28 pts, 6 asts, 6.5 rbs, 2.4 stl - Bulls win 38 games
* 1985 age 22: Jordan only plays 18 games. Bulls win 30 games
* 1986 age 23: 37.1 pts, 4.6 asts, 5.2 rbs, 2.9 sl - Bulls win 40 games
Not until 1987 and the arrival of Scottie Pippen did the Bulls win 50 games.
Pippen always gets overlooked. The biggest argument in favor of Pippen is that in 1993 during Title #3 for the Bulls, they won 57 games. Jordan "retires" and the very next season (without Jordan), Pippen carries the Bulls to 55 wins and the second round. Pippen's averages that season: 22 points, 5.6 assists, 8.7 rebounds, 2.9 steals
So FWIW, Jordan never won 50+ games without Pippen, but Pippen won 50+ games with Jordan.
Consider LeBron's performance when the same age as Jordan's first 3 seasons (in which Jordan finished below .500 every year).
* 2006 Age 21: 31.4 pts, 6.6 asts, 7 rbs, 1.6 stl. - Cavs win 50
* 2007 age 22: 27.3 pts, 6 ast, 6.7 rbs, 1.6 st. - Cavs win 50 and make Finals
* 2008 age 23: 30 pts, 7.2 ast, 7.9 rbs, 1.8 stl - Cavs win 45
Jordan finally cracked 50 wins at age 24 during Pippen's rookie season. At age 24, LeBron won 66 games alongside Mo Williams.
History aside, how do you think this Cavs team plays with prime Jordan in LeBron's spot? Is he easier to defend? Harder? Jordan is significantly smaller than LeBron, doesn't have the same shooting range, and doesnt get his teammates involved as much. Do they still sweep the Raptors and get through the length of the Celtics?
Jordan's mid-range shooting in his prime was incredible. Athletically he was a marvel. One of the fiercest competitors the league will ever see. Was he more athletic than LeBron, though? Does the mid-range shooting offer him that much of an advantage considering the length of defenses like the Celtics? Is he that much more of a competitor than LeBron? Explain to me why prime Jordan would do a better job carrying this team.
Honest question. How does it play out? Don't just say "Obviously cuz Jordan is the greatest"... give me some real reasons. LeBron got through the Celtics with his size, strength and range. How does Jordan beat them?
Everyone just responded “yes jordan would make the finals”. No actual analysis. It’s lazy. The Paul Bunyaning of Jordan. Listen, I saw prime Kobe try to carry teams like this Cavs squad and end up winning 35 games and missing the playoffs. Granted, prime Kobe was like 60-70% the player jordan was, but it’s food for thought. Lebron is somehow very underrated. Consider context when dismissing Lebron losses. Jordan wasn’t going against a juggernaut stacked with 4 all-nba players (three of the greatest shooters of all time on one team). Instead Jordan was going against mortal pairs like Malone/Stockton or Payton/Kemp - while playing alongside a top 50 player (Pippen) who only saw his team lose 2 less games (57 to 55) when Jordan retired.
Meh, people talked about Love like he was a superstar (even on these forums) and now act like he is complete chopped liver even though he is in his absolute prime at 29 and was an all-star this year. George Hill, Rodney Hood, and Korver have all been really high level role players or in hill's case, an above average starter for many years. Lebron completely dominates their system and we are now meant to believe all these other players are complete crap all of a sudden? I personally think the Lebron has no help narrative is the lazy one.
They have way more talent than the celtics without irving or hayward, but limped by us and people act like it was some herculean effort by Lebron carrying scrubs. 1) They are not scrubs, 2) if he is the best ever he should be able to beat a team led by a rookie and second year player and lifetime role players playing with me you and moranis.
Moranis, you got some cajones even making that argument after your barrage of posts talking how great the guys they got at the deadline were. I don't have any interest in arguing you with you on your 180's but I can pull up some posts from 4 months ago that would make this new take pretty embarrassing for you.
Here is one from March: "They have better individual defenders this year then they did last year and they entered last year playing as a bottom 3 defense for the entire second half of the year before turning it on in the playoffs and finishing as a top 3 defense in the playoffs. Obviously, they will miss Irving's scoring and ability to take games over, but Hill is a better defender and better 3 point shooter than Irving (Irving is obviously a much much better player). Instead of Smith, Shumpert, and Deron Williams, they will have Hood, Smith, and Clarkson, which is a much better 3 some on both ends of the floor. Korver is Korver and Thompson is Thompson, though Thompson will get far less minutes this year and will come off the bench rather than start. They will replace Frye and R. Jefferson with Green and Nance. They have guys like Osman and Zizic on the deep bench instead of Derrick Williams, James Jones, and Dahntay Jones.
In other words, defensively they have the potential to be far better then they were last year, when they were blowing teams out in the East and a top 3 defensive team in the playoffs. "
So they were potentially better than last year despite losing Irving, but 3 months later they are all worse than Smart, Rozier, Morris and potentially baynes? I mean... what the...