On Tuesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers escaped a nail biter against the Milwaukee Bucks with a 124-119 win. But the game meant more to LeBron James than picking up the struggling team’s second victory in six games. The win marked James’ 1,072nd career game in the NBA – tying the league’s all-time best player and the ‘ghost’ he is forever chasing, Michael Jordan.
James And Jordan Stats
While it’s well-known that Jordan holds the edge in championships (6 to 3), there are numerous categories where James is on top. LeBron has bested Jordan in FG% and career record. Additionally, James holds a significant edge in rebounds and assists. James’ 7,561 career assists compared to Jordan’s 5,633 demonstrates how great of an offensive teammate Bron has been over his 14-year tenure. His massive edge in assists does explain why he trails Jordan in overall points.
James has played in 217 career playoff games, while Jordan suited up in a total of 179 games. Jordan’s numbers are inflated though, due to his first three playoff appearances that wrapped up in a total of 10 games. The least amount of games LeBron ever played in a single postseason is 11. In the ’85-’86 postseason, Jordan averaged 43.7 PPG, but that series was over in just three games. Once again, the Bulls’ legend leads in PPG, but trails James in both in rebounds and assists by a wide margin.
Every single James vs Jordan debate comes down to one word: rings. When Jordan played, he was a known as a stone-cold killer – that has never been the reputation of James. In fact, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant is the only player to truly warrant comparisons to Jordan since #23 left the game. Jordan was the man when it was crunch time, while James has seemed all too happy to pass the rock in crucial moments. LeBron’s 3-5 NBA Finals record is the biggest factor used against him in any Jordan debate, but is that record really a disappointment?
Simply put, no, James’ 3-5 record should not be viewed as disappointing. In fact, James’ teams have only been favored to win the finals three times (against Dallas, OKC, and San Antonio). The Heat fell to the underdog Mavericks, but six years later, his team pulled off the most improbable comeback of all-time after falling behind 3-1 to the Warriors. According to Las Vegas, James’ record should not be classified as bad, instead, it should be referred to as correct.
If Michael Jordan is the ‘ghost’ is it possible that LeBron James ever becomes the ‘goat?’
Suns Trade Bledsoe
In other league news, the Eric Bledsoe saga has come to a quick and somewhat disappointing end for Phoenix Suns fans. A simple late-October tweet reading “I don’t wanna be here” caused the team to suspend Bledsoe indefinitely. Three weeks later, Bledsoe was shipped to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Greg Monroe, plus a protected first round and second round pick in 2018. NBA experts have quickly proclaimed Milwaukee the big winners in this deal although Bledsoe has yet to wear a Bucks’ jersey. Many are disappointed in the return Suns GM Ryan McDonough received for the team’s best player. McDonough now hopes to find takers for Monroe as he seeks another potential high draft pick. While fans hoped the team’s ongoing rebuild would be expedited this year, it appears to have hit yet another speed bump after the trade of Bledsoe.