Well, Lebron didn't have a team that won 55 games without him after a season he left. It's a team sport and not giving credit to a player because he loses to a better team in the playoffs is silly.
Mark Cuban said it perfectly "[The championship is the macho aspect of the sport. It's the goal, but you don't need to have a player win the title to know the full impact they have had on the court and how good they are.]"
I didn't have the quote, but this is basically what he said.
I am absolutely comparing Lebron to Jordan if he doesn't win a ring this year. There are more and more rules each year to create parity and cause player sharing. It's harder to win more titles now than it was in the past. Not only that, but Lebron's playoffs stats are just as good if not better than Jordan's.
You are basically giving credit to players who were put into better situations for their careers. I don't think Kobe is any better because he got to play on the Lakers and with Shaq and Pau. I would have rated him the same way if he stayed on the Hornets his whole career and missed the playoffs every now and then along with winning no titles.
Whether you win a title or not is circumstantial. And I know Bron has a better supporting cast, but not really. They are +13. with him on the floor (just a little bit below the best differential ever) an -2.3 team without him on the floor. That's a below 500 team with him off the floor. That's absolutely insane. I don't need to see him win a ring to know that he just had the best season of all time. I can enjoy and it and give him credit. You are doing yourself an injustice when you say that doesn't matter if he doesn't win a ring. It's a great position to have as a player, but as a fan, it's irresponsible.
Lebron could get stuck on one ring for all I care, as long as he continues to produce at this level he will be the best player of all time.
Talk about anything general in the NBA here.
I'm not gonna go point-by-point on this, but there are two circular arguments that people cling to and I believe you're camping in one of them. The first being:
Statistics say he's the best ---> Then why can't he pull his team to a title (or, in some cases, more titles)?
This is the argument with players like LeBron, Dirk Nowitski, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, among others. They had phenomenal careers, individually, but every player's ultimate goal is a championship and for whatever reason, these guys underperformed in that aspect. Reggie Miller describes not winning a title as the greatest failure of his life. It's not as dismissive or circumstantial as you're making it appear. The greatest player WINS. In every sport of every era. Tiger Woods, Jerry Rice, Willie Mays, Michael Jordan, and so on and so forth. To deny winning as the absolute goal is misleading.
The other circular argument is:
He wins a lotta titles, therefore he's the best --> But he was given an opportunity on a great team and other players, in his position, would have done just as well or better.
You find this line of thought towards players like Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, and Tim Duncan. The notion being that these player's superior winning percentage and overloaded statistics are mostly due to the greatest overall roster year-in and year-out. You'll hear people exclaim that Chamberlain, in Russell's place, would have won just as many titles. But the fact is, he didn't. Even though he put up superior individual numbers, Russell accomplished the ultimate goal.
You're arguing for the former. Personally, I don't buy into either of these arguments. I think it's a combination of both. Titles aren't EVERYTHING - that's for damn sure - but they are certainly SOMETHING. And in many people's eyes (including the players, coaches, and everyone directly involved with the on-court game), it's the biggest something.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS DIE HARD
No, that's not true in any sport. Dan Marino(best QB of all time). Barry Bonds (greatest peak of all time)
Being the best player does not mean you are on the best team. There have already been a plethora of series this year alone where the best player on the court didn't advance. Chris Paul (played out of his god damned mind too), Durant, Dwight.
Titles are what build your legacy, but they don't determine who was the better player.
Titles shouldn't mean anything in terms of player evaluation or all time rankings. Duncan isn't going to be even higher up on my all time list because he was lucky enough to be in the best organization of basketball. Not all situations are created equal and judging players off of their disadvantages is the wrong way to do it.
Would have Lebron won titles with the Spurs core, yes. Would he have won with Shaq, yes. He didn't get to play in those organizations. He got stuck in Cleveland. And now he is stuck with a team that would be below .500 without him.
Winning titles are extremely circumstantial, especially for players who don't control the roster. You are basically giving credit to Michael Jordan for being on absolutely stacked teams that could win even without him, or Kobe for being put into an organization that gave him Shaq, Pau, Bynum, Fisher, Metta, and company.
If you can apply the logic that he isn't the best of all time if he doesn't win X amount of rings, why can't we do it season to season? Was anyone on the 2004 Pistons the best player in the league? Is Marc Gasol better than Chris Paul because he was the best player on the team that advanced? The obvious answer is no, but if you say no, I think you are being inconsistent with your original thought process, which winning titles aren't circumstantial.
Also, I think your argument feeds into it self, as in circular. "Only the greatest win titles, so those without titles are not the greatest and those with titles are the greatest."
Assuming that makes it okay to exclude any player you want from the argument because they didn't win a title; it's an argument predicated on a presupposition.
Dominque Wilkins, Miller, Barkley, are all some of the greatest players of all time and you can't exclude them because of a presupposition. Excluding them for that reason is just circular logic.
The title should be the ultimate goal for each player, but they don't need to win a title for us to know their impact on winning games and who contributed more to winning basketball.
You are creating a straw man argument. I'm not arguing that TITLES ALONE equate to greatness, and your entire last post was structured as if I were. This is not the position I'm arguing. Again, you're displaying a rhetorical fallacy: a circular argument is one that points to itself as proof that it's the truth.
You are the only one arguing an absolute here; that titles are circumstantial and mean nothing. If this is true, why don't analysts and retired coaches/players all admit that MVP seasons and top-dog status in fantasy ball are the main drive? Why do players in post-game interviews lie to reporters and spew this nonsense about "winning being the ultimate goal?" Why are they even keeping score if individual accolades determine one's legacy and winning is "circumstantial" and means nothing?
You can throw whatever stats at me that you want or make as many excuses for losing players with glitzy stat-lines; the fact is, EVERY player wants to win. THAT'S the goal. And acting like that aspect of the game doesn't count cause it messes up your bean-counter, quantifiable rankings of where everyone should be at on the scale of greatest to worst does not phase me. Its like your argument against Monta Ellis, where my answer was this: "if every player COULD average 20 points (even simply for the sake of a big contract), they would."
This is the exact same thing. If everyone COULD win a title, they would. They're all trying for that. Therefore, it must be factored into play. It's not the only factor, it doesn't override all other parts of one's game; earlier in this thread, I had plenty of non-champions in my top 20 all-time. But it HAS to come into play at some point. If you believe statistics mean everything (and I know you're a huge believer in TS%), than you believe Charles Barkley > Tim Duncan.
I simply can't agree with that. Cause, if he were, he'd have won. What was wrong with that Suns squad of his?
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS DIE HARD
It should be the ultimate goal as a player, but that's irrelevant. Players are put into situations by their gm's and sometimes their teams aren't good enough. Every player should want to win every single game they play.
But if they don't that doesn't stop us from knowing who was the better player. Who scored better, who passed better, who played defense better, who rebounded better. That doesn't change with or without a title.
A players contribution to winning is what we can see. We can know the true and full impact of a player even if they don't have a title. It's rewarding players for being put into good organizations or a GM putting them with a talented squad.
Kevin Garnett toiled away the vast majority of his prime on the poorly ran Twolves who continuously put scrubs next to him. If he never won a title and never went with Boston would you think of his game less? The only season where he left it all on the court and played with passion only count the season he won a title? Would he be lower in your all time rankings if he spent his whole prime on the garbage Timberwolves and their garbage front office and would you claim he just couldn't get it done or would you be talking about him like Tim Duncan if he was on the Spurs his whole career?
I find it hard to factor in titles for any kind of ranking when not only the playoffs are a crapshoot, but the situations and organization you are in completely circumstantial.
When it's all said and done Lebron will be better than MJ maybe with 1 title, maybe with 2 titles or even 3. But that won't change.
I just plainly disagree.
Duncan's legacy is defined by his ability to take his team to titles. The Garnett hypothetical doesn't land; if if's were fifths we'd all be drunk. If Duncan wasted away in Minny and only won a single title on a different team in the twilight of his career, he wouldnt be Duncan. He would be Chamberlain or Garnett or Olajuwon; somebody who needed a specific window in order to succeed. Duncan didn't need a window; he LED his team to the promised land multiple times.
LeBron can average a triple-double for all I care. He's not Jordan. Jordan was a winner. LeBron needed a dream team to get a ring (possibly 2).
Winning means something. It just does.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS DIE HARD
It should to a player and a coach. As a fan we can sit here and watch players now and realize how much of an impact they have on the court without a title.
"LeBron can average a triple-double for all I care. He's not Jordan. Jordan was a winner. LeBron needed a dream team to get a ring (possibly 2)."
What's the difference of getting help via free agency and allowing your team to put the best players on your team. You remember how stacked Jordan's team was. All six of Jordan's title teams are more stacked than any other team Lebron has. Lebron also thought he was getting a dream team, but he really didn't get a dream team. Just speaking statistically, the Heat are -2.3 without Lebron. Plus all those garbage Cleveland teams with him on there.
Jordan's team on the other hand won 55 games with out him.
I think all Jordan proves is that not a single player can win without help and sometimes those players don't get that help. It shouldn't be of consequence to them.
I mean, bro, you can say it 100 different kinds of ways. I just don't buy it.
Btw, the teams argument you put forth is total apples and oranges. The Bulls that won 55 games without Jordan went into training camp thinking MJ wasn't gonna be there. You can't compare the impact of a player NOT on the roster versus the plus-minus of the MVP who got 40 minutes a night. The Heat have horrid +/- without LeBron because LeBron and Wade play in tandem. When one is off the floor, the other usually is too. Most of the blows LeBron got mid-game was in the 2nd half, after establishing a lead, and Spoelstra would reinsert his A-Team midway through the 4th to finish off the contest. The Heat's secondary squad is not designed to trade buckets; they're just trying to hold the lead until they can hand the baton back to LBJ & Wade. That was not the case in '95, where Scottie Pippen was still logging heavy minutes without Jordan and the Bulls had ample time to adjust their gameplan to life after Mike. I'm sure you know this and I'm sure you're doing this purposefully to prove a point, but the bottom line is this:
You are comparing the overall record of a fully healthy championship roster that lost it's biggest piece but had a full offseason to adjust it's game plan (ie, APPLES) to the selective production of the Heat's backup lineup in limited minutes (ie, ORANGES).
To say the Heat are a below .500 team without LeBron is yet another example of you misusing stats to prove a point. The Heat were 5-1 this year in games LeBron didn't play. THAT's the bottom line. You can hypothesize otherwise, based on the stats the Heat put up with LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and Chalmers on the bench, but the fact is that the Heat played just as well if not better without LeBron and - get this: most of those games, they were playing without either WADE or BOSH, too.
LeBron isn't even in Jordan's league. This is the classic glitzy, sexy stat-line versus kiss-the-rings, "scoreboard, bitch" argument. I've already admitted, LeBron puts up video game stats. He plays in an era that lives and breathes numbers (back in Chamberlain's day, nobody was getting paid to break records, imagine how many more stats he would have padded himself with if he played today). Jordan didn't play for stats. Jordan played to win. And Jordan won better than anyone in the past 40 years of the game. The name of the game is WINNING. QED, Jordan > LeBron.
LeBron isn't even at Kobe's level yet. Let's pump the breaks on the hype machine until dude gets more than one lucky series in a shortened season. He hasn't even played more than 10 years in the league and already he's the greatest of all-time? C'mon now. This is absolute lunacy.
And since I'm obvious not changing your mind on this: enjoy the last word on the subject. Cause you're not gonna change my mind and I doubt I'm shifting yours.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS DIE HARD
Six game sample really doesn't mean anything. It's statistically irrelevant. And Lebron only played 31 minutes a game in the regular season, Wade and Lebron weren't on the floor as much as you imagine.
Here would be the standard deviation of any game without Lebron playing. Square root(.833)(1.67)/6 = .254
That's really high, and this isn't even factoring who they are playing and that is without an assumed value. This is assuming they will average out to .833 winning percentage with him. Rule of thumb, in a six game sample, anything can happen for any team. See Bobcats and their 7-5 start.
Lebron career wise is not as good as Kobe, but if you line up every single season they both ever had Lebron was better every single year. Lebron is better than Kobe, it's not close, the only thing that can stop him from passing him on every all time list is a bus hitting Lebron.
I also don't think you realize how much players stat watched back then. They stat watched the hell back then. Larry Bird was a box score watcher, Jordan was. They all made they got their stats.
I didn't say Lebron was the GOAT yet, but rings or not, Lebron will pass Michael Jordan at this pace.
And winning does matter, and we know how much a player impacts winning. Using playoffs as another factor to judge players is unfair to greats like Wilkins, Barkley, Malone, and Stockton, because it's circumstantial.
I think if we are using winning and not winning, just W-L impression or all time record is a better thing to do, honestly.
When it comes down to using rings and comparing other players rings you have to ask what would they have done in any particular situation. Chris Paul got knocked out in the first round, but if we was with the Spurs he would totally be in the finals right now.
Would GM's build teams and even as a slight factor use rings or playoff RECORD(not even stats, because chris paul high insanely crazy stats in the playoff. They won two games, his WS was 1.3.)
I don't think they would, it would be a disaster for them if they tried to judge players like that. They would make bad teams.
Like if we are using rings now, you are saying you'd take Kobe's best year over Lebron for just one season to win it all?
I agree with most all of this.
Sure. And I have no problem with any of that.
Blackfoot said LeBron is already better than Jordan. Said if LeBron kept producing at this rate (ie, 2 titles in 18 years, with a lot of glamorous individual accolades), he'd surpass Jordan. I think that's laughable. But it illustrates a difference between my and BF's philosophy. I believe great players can make their teams win. He believes great players get great numbers. See my Allen Iverson posts to know all you need to about how I view individual statistic glory hogs. If the name of the game was MVPs and stats, LeBron would be the greatest. But it's not and he's not. The point of the game is to win. Truly great players make their teams win; how many times did we hear coaches and teammates say that Jordan and Bird and Magic MADE THEIR TEAMMATES BETTER? Suddenly, 20 years go by and we forget this and just claim those guys were gifted with great lineups and they had nothing to do with how well those players performed? Gimme a break. Another example of how stats mislead.
Obviously, if LeBron plays 20 years like Kareem, sets the MVP record, wins 6 rings... Obviously, he'd be considered the best ever. I'm simply doubting hell win 6 rings. I doubt he'll get 4.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS DIE HARD
Even Michael needed help. That help being the greatest individual defender at his position of all time. Otherwise he had the same exact criticism you are giving to Lebron now. "He will never be as good as Larry Bird because of rings." And of course he got criticized for needing Scottie's help.
The truly great players make their team win claim is a presupposition that's not true. Everyone needed help or otherwise they get stuck with the "You couldn't get Larry Hughes, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden to win a championship. You just aren't a truly great player."
Honestly, I think this conversation is exactly why Jordan ruined the NBA. You never hear these conversations in baseball, it's about the players, the managers, what happened, which team won and why. In basketball, it's about the individual player and how he wasn't Jordan enough. Lebron had some of the worst line ups in Cleveland, no supporting cast whatsoever and this is now going to become part of why we criticize him. Lebron now is carrying a struggling Bosh and a somewhat ailing Dwade who forgot how to play defense + Ray Allen and + **** bench. With the coach, the coaching being Eric Spoelstra.
Michael Jordan's coach was Phil Jackson. Not only did he have a roster capable of winning 55 games without him, but he had the best coach of all time.
If you discuss rings into an all time conversation you can't ignoring coaching, the front office, the supporting cast. Was it the right place at the right time type of deal?
Why, when discussing all time rankings do we factor in something that ignores every meaningful think to talk about in the NBA?
Every generation makes a case that their generation was the most spectacular era in any given sport. My dad and his friends still, to this day, talk about the 70's in baseball, Willie McCovey, the pitcher's duels, the elements that they played through, the lack of steroids... anything they can to try and convince me that their generation produced better players than mine.
Blackfoot pushing LeBron James as the best player of all-time does not surprise me. A lot of people in our demographic (males, 18-30) buy into that. Blackfoot being under 25 years old, never really got to watch Michael Jordan like several of us did. Hell, I'm 26 and I barely got to see Michael in his hey-day: my most vivid memories are things like the 97 & 98 Finals, where he beat Utah. I remember the Sonics series well, but I literally don't remember much in his series against Charles Barkley and the Suns. And even though I recall it being on TV while I ran around the house in my youngest phase, I have zero recollection of Michael versus Magic. So I'm partially biased like that; I never saw Jordan in his 80's and struggling phase, where he wasn't regarded as the undisputed greatest. By the time my mind developed into young, pre-teen, cognitive enough to recognize what I was watching, Michael was already the man. I'm 6 or 7 years older than Blackfoot, so I imagine he must barely (if at all) remember seeing Michael Jordan play... except maybe for the Wizards (which I have blocked out of my memory like a rape).
Here's what I want everybody to understand about this conversation: the greatest of all-time is an extremely subjective category. Its not the all-time assists leader or the guy with the most MVPs or anything definitively quantifiable like that; the greatest is simply the player that any fan has come to recognize as the man who epitomized the game of basketball in it's purest, rawest, most concentrated form.
When Bill Russell was appointed "the best", it was because he won a lot. When Wilt Chamberlain was regarded as the best, it was because he held the most records. When Magic and Larry were dueling for best in show, it was because they brought mainstream attention to basketball while establishing the greatest rivalry to ever exist in sport. Michael Jordan had no rival, but he was elite on both sides of the floor, something Magic and Larry wasn't. LeBron is of the same mold as Michael; elite 2-way player, no peer to speak of... but he doesn't win like Jordan does.
Subjectively, I admit that I'm looking for a great individual that propelled his team to victories. LeBron doesn't measure up to Jordan quite yet.
Blackfoot is looking for the best single-player statistics. Fine. That'd still be Michael Jordan.
Mike and LeBron are 1 and 2 in career PER, Mike at 27.91, LeBron at 27.65. (http://www.basketball-reference.com/lea ... areer.html)
The next closest 3 players are Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson, and Wilt Chamberlain. Making a top 5, based on overall statistical accomplishment, Michael, LeBron, Shaq, DRob, and Wilt.
My list is based on being a franchise player with a lot of rings. Even though the following is not MY top 5, a group compiled as such would be Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Kobe Bryant.
I'd say the list of players who dragged their teams to titles is more impressive than the one based purely on individual statistics. But that's just me. These lists are, again, very subjective.
BF, if you disagree with the use of PER, perhaps you can enlighten us on exactly what statistics you are using to claim that LeBron is greater than Jordan? Is it just because he's gotten a lot of MVPs in a substantially weaker league than the one Jordan played in?
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS DIE HARD
I don't believe the league is weaker. I believe the talent pool now if far greater than it was and there is a far greater reach than previously. I believe the way the league is set up that it is harder to win a title and there is more parity.
PER is not a bad stat, but it favors guys who take more shots. Jordan did that (five more shots a game). Jordan was probably the better isolation player, which is fine that he did that.
In the first ten seasons, Jordan is better. Higher TS, higher WS/48, better synergy. So, career wise I think Jordan will hold off Lebron fairly easily and will have the better legacy (I separate legacy and career)
However, just speaking peak. I think Lebron is by far better in his peak. Jordan has never had a season as offensively efficient as Lebron, never had as good as a passing season, never rebounded as well.
Basically when it's all said and done I think Lebron will have the better peak and depending how long it lasts will surpass Jordan. However, his peak needs to last until he is 33-34 for this to be a discussion. It might, it might not.
We will see.
Also, I think Bill Russel is the most overrated player of all time.
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