mj-lbj-slow

In Eleven Rings Phil Jackson praised Michael Jordan’s career Field Goal Percentage (49.7 percent) which he called “extraordinary” and boasted about how it was sometimes in the 53 and 54 percent range.

Well I wonder what he thinks about what LeBron has done recently.

MJ-LBJ-FG

MJ-LBJ-TS

James has somehow achieved a whole load of remarkable things related to scoring accuracy that I couldn’t even imagine him doing 6 years ago:

  1. He increased his Field Goal Percentage to an astronomical 56.7 percent.
  2. He increased his Field Goal Percentage to an astronomical 56.7 percent while still making over 100 threes.
  3. He increased his Field Goal Percentage from 56.5 percent last season to 56.7 percent this season, even though he attempted 52 more threes (306 3PA from 254).
  4. He increased his Field Goal Percentage every year for the last 7 seasons.

King James and Lenny Wilkens are the only players to increase their Field Goal Percentage in seven consecutive seasons.  The difference, though, is that Wilkens’ highest shooting percentage over that time was 44.0 percent, LeBron’s is 56.7 percent.

The difficulty level of what LeBron has done is really through the roof.

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Now, before you go off thinking that LeBron was only able to shoot 56.7 percent because he plays more Power Forward now, understand that James made over 100 threes in both seasons where he shot over 56 percent – the only player in the history of the game to make 100 threes and shoot 56 percent.

And he’s done it twice.

Search Basketball-Reference for all of the players who have shot .56 from the field while making 100 threes and only one name comes up:

56-100

Even if you lower the FG% requirement down to .55 he is still the only player in history to do that:

55-100
Incredible.

But here’s where I think the comparison really gets scintillating:

  • When Michael Jordan shot his highest percentage (.539) he only made 29 threes.
  • The best Field Goal Percentage Michael Jordan could manage while making over 100 threes was 49.5 percent.

That pales in comparison to the heights LeBron James has reached.

Have a look:

Highest Field Goal Percentages While Making 100 Threes

Michael Jordan 1996:  49.5 percent.  111 threes.
Michael Jordan 1997:  48.6 percent.  111 threes.

LeBron James 2014:  56.7 percent.  116 threes.
LeBron James 2013:  56.5 percent.  103 threes.
LeBron James 2010:  50.3 percent.  129 threes.
LeBron James 2009:  48.9 percent.  132 threes.
LeBron James 2008:  48.4 percent.  113 threes.
LeBron James 2006:  48.0 percent.  127 threes.
LeBron James 2005:  47.2 percent.  108 threes.

Yes, MJ only converted over 100 triples in two seasons.

And the kicker:  The three point line was 21 inches closer in 1996 and 1997.

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To sum all of this up:

What LeBron James is currently doing right now in regards to scoring accuracy is completely outside of the realm of possibility for a player like Michael Jordan, who wasn’t big enough or strong enough to be so accurate inside while still being a good enough three point shooter to convert 116 of 306 threes at the original three point distance of 23 feet, 9 inches.
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Join the conversation! 11 Comments

  1. Those are bogus “ESPN” stats that people don’t really care about. Fact is Jordan 6: LeBron 2*.

    Reply
    • Havlicek 8: Jordan 6

      LeBron is simply a better, much more complete, basketball player than Jordan. No amount of rings are going to change that – it would be the case even if MJ had 11.

      Reply
  2. Really? Because when Jordan played hand checks were legal. If you put Leflop in that era he wouldn’t even average 20 per game. The Detroit Bad Boys would DESTROY LeBron. If you put Jordan in this era, he could easily score 50 per game.

    Reply
    • That’s a tired argument. MJ was small and frail compared to James and could be beaten up by the Pistons. LeBron is a completely different animal. Not only does he out-weigh everyone on the Bad-Boys Pistons by 20 pounds, but he actually hurts people when he’s on offense. He picked up a flagrant foul when he was driving to the basket… when’s the last time you’ve seen that? That’s some Larry Csonka/Earl Campbell shit.

      In any case, LeBron sees a lot of the same things Jordan saw as far as getting hit every time he enters the paint – and he sees a lot of things that Jordan never saw, like getting tackled on a fast break. And James sees it from bigger, stronger players.

      Reply
  3. REALLY? LOL Go to youtube and watch a full game of the Detroit Bad Boys vs Jordan. Jordan would get hammered everytime he drives with no foul calls. Heck, I remember seeing Rodman pushing pushing Jordan out of the way and they didn’t even call a foul. Today, those would be flagrants. Jordan may be small and “frail” but he is an ass kicker. LeBron is 250 lbs of pure muscle but still needs to flop like a pussy

    Reply
    • I think you need to go watch those games again, because I watch them regularly. I have most of them on my laptop. I’m always watching old Jordan games.

      In any case, the hard fouls committed on Jordan then aren’t anything we haven’t seen before. You’re going to see some of the same stuff happen to LeBron tonight. In fact, the most notorious hard foul between the Bulls and Pistons was Rodman pushing Pippen out of bounds, where he falls into some chairs and splits his lip. Now, go watch that play again and tell me it isn’t just a regular play we see several times every week from frustrated players.

      And you want to talk about no-calls… LeBron is kind of in the same position as Shaq… he is so big and strong that refs basically allow opponents to go at them because they don’t blow the whistle unless they see his body movement disrupted – and it takes a lot of power to disrupt the movement of LeBron or Shaq. So James sustains hits that would knock a smaller player like Jordan on his ass, and the refs don’t even call it.

      Reply
  4. Seriously? LMAO. LeBron is 6th in FTA this postseason and 8th in the regular. Don’t tell me the referees don’t call fouls on LeFlop or Shaq because they’re too overpowering. I can’t remember how many and 1 dunks Shaq has had in the paint (it didn’t matter since he only made half of his free throws).

    Since you do have Jordan’s games why don’t you actually watch them.

    Reply
  5. Jordan averaged 6.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists
    James averaging 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists

    Though I am NOT James crazy, I have long thought of him being better all around than Jordan. Best all around player in history in fact. If I were to build a team around one of them today, by far I’d take James. I’d bet at least 90% of GM’s today would do the same, and they’d be smart for doing so.

    I stumbled on this page quite by accident and decided to look and compare their career stats to see for myself. Here’s one that took me by complete surprise…… career 3 point accuracy…..

    Jordan – .327%
    James – .341% (and getting better)

    And this is from a 3 point line nearly 2 feet further out? Incredible!

    This is ALSO a shooting guard v.s. a power forward? Again, incredible!

    I’m an absolute Spurs nut, and they lead the series with the Heat 3-1 as I write this. I hope like crazy the Spurs win one more with my all time favorite player Timmy but I’ll be honest, I’m worried sick about the basketball monster called King James turning things around.

    If I were watching this same series with Jordan in his prime playing for the Heat in place of Lebron James, I’d not have a worry in the world.

    I feel my worry and fear is my personal show of appreciation and respect for the greatest basketball player who ever took the court. The man is that great.

    Reply
    • Yes, I wrote about the difference in their three point accuracy here: http://wp.me/p3L1dS-8c

      I’m usually an admirer of the Spurs – just not when they’re playing my team. I’m a big fan of “good” Manu Ginobili. But right now they’re driving me absolutely crazy! But I respect them even though sometimes it doesn’t sound like it.

      Reply
      • Hey thanks for that 3 point accuracy comparison link, a real eye opener.

        Wow, I’d never have guessed that Lebron’s worst 3 point % season (28%) was actually a better percentage than MORE THAN HALF of Jordan’s total career seasons. Jordan had 8 worse 3-point percentage seasons than Lebrons single worse season, with only 6 seasons better than Lebrons worst season (one tied).

        CLEARLY Lebron James is a FAR superior marksman from long range (and every other range for that matter).

        Good information, thanks again.

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