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17 hours ago, Brian Fowler said:

On one hand, the only year LeBron lost that I think you can really credibly argue that his team should've won is 2011.

On the other, I think he has two (2013 and 2016) that he won despite playing against a superior team.

It's the same argument people made a lot about "Montana never lost a Super Bowl so Brady can't be better than him" even as Brady got 50% more rings and over double as many conference titles.

Setting aside Russell's obvious 11-1 Finals record, I'll take Kareem's 6-4 over literally every other player every, insomuch that a Finals record is a good basis for a GOAT argument.

Right now, 3-6 is still impressive as hell, but if LeBron picks up a couple more rings, it's gonna add a lot to his argument. In the unlikely event he actually were to get 3 more, 6-6 would be the most impressive Russell. I don't think that'll happen unless the Lakers somehow get one more guy, but as long we're talking hypotheticals...

 

EDIT: As for the weak conference thing, nobody bags on Magic and Kareem for dominating a piss poor West.

16 he won, because he whined and cried and got Draymond kicked out for a game. That’s why he won that series. And I’m not sure the 13 Spurs were the better team. Kawhi wasn’t near his peak yet. Once he had another year of experience we got to see what happened, and Miami did lose. 

The Montana vs Brady thing is a terrible comparison to MJ vs Lebron too, and one that’s usually brought up by Lebron homers. Montana had Rice, and Brady has never had weapons like that. Plus he’s won two more Super Bowls so yeah Brady deserves to be considered the GOAT. On the flip side Lebron has had more prime help than MJ ever did (his two little buddies in Miami were both still in their prime, and AD certainly is now) so it’s not fair to say oh he made 9 finals, has a beyond terrible record in them, but because he made it 9 times he’s GOAT. Hell MJ having to go through Detroit in his first two finals trips was harder than anything Lebron ever faced in the East. Plus he’ll always carry that unexplainable 2011 finals loss to Dallas.

Any of you that want to put him in the GOAT argument instead of just letting him be #2 need to explain how he and his two clown friends lost to Dirk and a bunch of nothing in a best of 7 (that only went 6 games besides). Or how Lebron only averaged the third most points on his team, and 4 turnovers a game in that series. When did Jordan ever choke that bad against a Finals opponent that only had one star? 

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Jordan only went through Detroit in his first Finals run. In '92, Detroit lost to the Knicks.

The Jordan comparisons are tiresome. Nobody holds it against Jordan that he kept getting bumped from the playoffs by the Celtics and the Pistons because he had to get over the hump. If LeBron had a team that stood in his way, people would like that more because that's the classic narrative. But if you look a bit closer at what LeBron has accomplished in the playoffs. he has generally gotten payback on the teams that beat him. That includes the Pistons in '07, the Celtics in '09 & '11, the Spurs in '13 and the Warriors in '16. 

I think LeBron could have won the 2011 title and the 2015 title if the Cavs had been healthy. The fact that he won the 2012 and 2016 titles after those disappointments is a testament to his competitiveness. People love to take LeBron down a notch, but you can't point out the meltdowns and the poor performances in deciding games without also highlighting the resilience. LeBron coming back and beating the Pistons, Celtics, Spurs and Warriors was ever bit as tough as the Bulls finally getting past the Pistons. 

2011 was a loss a lot of people took enjoyment in because nobody really wanted the Heat to win. Dirk was phenomenal throughout those playoffs. It was my favorite playoff run since Hakeem. I wouldn't exactly call his teammates nobodies, at least not to regular NBA fans. I mean he had Jason Kidd on his team fro crying out loud. Dallas had been knocking on the door for years. Personally, the Warriors winning in 2015 was more of a surprise. It wasn't like they had been a perennial contender up until that point, and they didn't really explode until after they won the title. 

The thing that bugs me about the Jordan/LeBron finals record comparison is that Jordan didn't face teams as good as the Spurs or the Warriors. He beat an injured and fading Lakers team (not prime Showtime Lakers) and his run was over before the Shaq/Kobe Lakers were established. We never got to see the Bulls vs. the Rockets in the Finals. For the most part, Jordan got the equivalent of the 2011 Dallas team each time. Maybe deeper rosters on those opponents, but basically Drexler or Barkley playing the role of Dirk. If LeBron had gotten a few more looks at teams like that, he would have more championships. 

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30 minutes ago, ohtani's jacket said:

The thing that bugs me about the Jordan/LeBron finals record comparison is that Jordan didn't face teams as good as the Spurs or the Warriors. He beat an injured and fading Lakers team (not prime Showtime Lakers) and his run was over before the Shaq/Kobe Lakers were established. We never got to see the Bulls vs. the Rockets in the Finals. For the most part, Jordan got the equivalent of the 2011 Dallas team each time. Maybe deeper rosters on those opponents, but basically Drexler or Barkley playing the role of Dirk. If LeBron had gotten a few more looks at teams like that, he would have more championships. 

Seriously, the Jordan Bulls were great, full stop.  Their competition was not.  LeBron played in a much more competitive era, with far more great players, and was often playing against superior teams in the playoffs and Finals.  LeBron's biggest accomplishments in my opinion are getting to the Finals with that 2007 Cavs team, winning the 2016 Finals, and dragging the Cavs to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009.  In 2007, the second best player on the Cavs was Larry Hughes.  In 2016, they beat the biggest juggernaut in the history of the sport, in 2009 he scored 35/9/7 but lost a team that was way ahead of it's time.  Jordan never beat a team that was better than his, but that's because there were never any teams better than his.  

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The Bulls first three came in a mostly really good NBA. Yes, the '91 Lakers weren't great, but it's not the Bulls' fault that the Blazers shit the bed. 

The second three peat came against a terrible East and not that great West. A significantly watered down league.

All that said, I go back to my point: There's no argument that LeBron in his prime was better than Jordan in his, imo. But if LeBron continues to age well, then he's going to have the weight of longevity and it's going to really come down more to which you value, peak or total.

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6 minutes ago, Jiji said:

Wait, is my childhood memories of an nba golden age of talent in the early to mid '90s wrong? Barkley's Sun's were great, no? 

Who is the 3rd best player on the Barkley Suns, compared to who is the 3rd best player on a Finals team in the last decade.  Dan Majerle vs. Klay Thompson or James Harden, or Kevin Love, or Chris Bosh, etc.

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13 minutes ago, Jiji said:

Wait, is my childhood memories of an nba golden age of talent in the early to mid '90s wrong? Barkley's Sun's were great, no? 

It's the NBA Jam phenomenon. Barkley's Suns could have been a great side, but they choked against the Rockets two years in a row. The title was up for grabs in those years too. 

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12 minutes ago, ohtani's jacket said:

It's the NBA Jam phenomenon. Barkley's Suns could have been a great side, but they choked against the Rockets two years in a row. The title was up for grabs in those years too. 

Those Rockets teams were really good and really deep.  The biggest basketball crime of our lives is that we never got to see them against Jordan's Bulls.  They didn't have anything close to an answer for Olajuwon, but they had multiple people to throw at Jordan.

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Early '90s Thunder Dan > Cleveland Kevin Love. Timberwolves prime Love is of course a better, more complete player but Thunder Dan had some great seasons in Phoenix. Kevin Johnson was fantastic. The West had Robinson's Spurs, the Rockets, Suns, Sonics, Run TMC Warriors, and Jazz. The East had the emerging Magic, Knicks, Bulls, Hornets, Hawks, and Pacers. Not as deep but still a good conference to survive. It was a duos league, not a super team league. Weren't there as many star players from '91-'96 as there are now? The late '90s through the Spurs revolutionizing ball movement in the early 2010s was really rough to watch imo and didn't have the depth of skill of the eras prior to and after it. The hero ball was too much for me but it had its moments (I, for some reason, loved the Antoine Walker Celtics despite not really digging Pierce). Maybe I'm way off though. I'm sure NBA Jam helped but there were some real players. 

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4 minutes ago, Jiji said:

Early '90s Thunder Dan > Cleveland Kevin Love. Timberwolves prime Love is of course a better, more complete player but Thunder Dan had some great seasons in Phoenix. Kevin Johnson was fantastic. The West had Robinson's Spurs, the Rockets, Suns, Sonics, Run TMC Warriors, and Jazz. The East had the emerging Magic, Knicks, Bulls, Hornets, Hawks, and Pacers. Not as deep but still a good conference to survive. It was a duos league, not a super team league. Weren't there as many star players from '91-'96 as there are now? The late '90s through the Spurs revolutionizing ball movement in the early 2010s was really rough to watch imo and didn't have the depth of skill of the eras prior to and after it. The hero ball was too much for me but it had its moments (I, for some reason, loved the Antoine Walker Celtics despite not really digging Pierce). Maybe I'm way off though. I'm sure NBA Jam helped but there were some real players. 

The Cavs were one of the worst teams in the league this year.  If you had the same exact roster in the 90s, with Andre Drummond, Tristan Thompson, and Kevin Love in the front court, they make the playoffs.  In 1995, the Clippers had the worst record, their best player was Loy Vaught.  There is a huge talent difference between the two eras.  The worst playoff team that year was the Celtics, their best player was a 35-year-old Dominique Wilkins.  

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The Cavs are basically built for '90s basketball, so yeah, that would work well for them. The game is damn near a different sport with how complex defenses are these days, more complex off the ball movement, and the elimination of the mid-range. It is based more on skill than athleticism now, not that there wasn't a tonne of skill back then too. I don't know if there's as big of a gap between the two eras as you suggest. How many teams had losing records and made the playoffs this year or were in contention at the end? They weren't filled with superstar talent either. Pacers had a flash in the pan that went pop and disappeared, missed their new main guy, but Oladipo ain't the same after the injury. As amazing as the Heat's team defense has been, they don't have an automatic go-to guy on offense as Butler's offense can go missing and nobody will complain because he doesn't have superstar expectations looming over him. Same can be said for the Celtics team. And bad teams in the '90s in pretty much every sports were just extra special shits. But yeah, I agree with you that this era is the best for skill. I love it. It's overcome sawkur for my #1 sport to follow and these playoffs have been incredibly entertaining. 

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The 90s was an era of franchise stars. The teams were committed to their star player and built around them. They didn't blow up the team after a few years or trade away their star. With the exception of Barkley and Shaq, the franchise players were loyal to their team and didn't demand trades or form super teams. Most of the teams got a bite at the apple, but the 90s weren't an era of parity. It seems like a deep era, but there was a cap to the teams' success. The 80s had better all-round teams, IMO. When the money started increasing, you couldn't really have teams with rosters like the Celtics or Lakers, and then the league became diluted with expansion teams. You could argue that Jordan held back an entire generation of Hall of Famers, and perhaps he did, but he didn't have to deal with a dynasty when he was winning championships. His team were the dynasty. 

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Besides the Lakers, Celtics, Sixers, and Pistons, who were the other great teams of the '80s? Were the Hawks great or was it mostly Dominique? I had some dvd sets of the Celtics and Lakers so I got to see most of the big games from their finals meetings and some of other big games of the era but the '80s is mostly what I've read and heard other people talk about. 

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There were some really good Bucks teams, and the Rockets had a lot of success as well. The Blazers came on strong right at the end of the decade.

I think the era for notably weaker as the 90's went on. The biggest issue was they added 2 expansion teams in 1988, 2 more in '89, and then two more in '95, while the talent base to draw from didn't meaningfully expand nearly rapidly enough until the influx of foreign players started growing, and the first wave of them started hitting their primes.

It wasn't as much that the talent was worse (minus the fact that athleticism tends to exist on an overall upward trajectory, and improvements in training, diets, etc) as that they had the same number of legit NBA players spread over an extra 4 or 6 teams.

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The real secret is that AAU, who everyone constantly bashes, has developed talent at an absurdly high rate.  Seriously, in the past, they would have put Kevin Durant on the block and tried to have him play with his back to the basket.  AAU gave him the ball and let him develop every possible skill.  

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20 hours ago, ohtani's jacket said:

Jordan only went through Detroit in his first Finals run. In '92, Detroit lost to the Knicks.

The Jordan comparisons are tiresome. Nobody holds it against Jordan that he kept getting bumped from the playoffs by the Celtics and the Pistons because he had to get over the hump. If LeBron had a team that stood in his way, people would like that more because that's the classic narrative. But if you look a bit closer at what LeBron has accomplished in the playoffs. he has generally gotten payback on the teams that beat him. That includes the Pistons in '07, the Celtics in '09 & '11, the Spurs in '13 and the Warriors in '16. 

I think LeBron could have won the 2011 title and the 2015 title if the Cavs had been healthy. The fact that he won the 2012 and 2016 titles after those disappointments is a testament to his competitiveness. People love to take LeBron down a notch, but you can't point out the meltdowns and the poor performances in deciding games without also highlighting the resilience. LeBron coming back and beating the Pistons, Celtics, Spurs and Warriors was ever bit as tough as the Bulls finally getting past the Pistons. 

2011 was a loss a lot of people took enjoyment in because nobody really wanted the Heat to win. Dirk was phenomenal throughout those playoffs. It was my favorite playoff run since Hakeem. I wouldn't exactly call his teammates nobodies, at least not to regular NBA fans. I mean he had Jason Kidd on his team fro crying out loud. Dallas had been knocking on the door for years. Personally, the Warriors winning in 2015 was more of a surprise. It wasn't like they had been a perennial contender up until that point, and they didn't really explode until after they won the title. 

The thing that bugs me about the Jordan/LeBron finals record comparison is that Jordan didn't face teams as good as the Spurs or the Warriors. He beat an injured and fading Lakers team (not prime Showtime Lakers) and his run was over before the Shaq/Kobe Lakers were established. We never got to see the Bulls vs. the Rockets in the Finals. For the most part, Jordan got the equivalent of the 2011 Dallas team each time. Maybe deeper rosters on those opponents, but basically Drexler or Barkley playing the role of Dirk. If LeBron had gotten a few more looks at teams like that, he would have more championships. 

Jason Kidd who was in freaking year 17 of his career in 2011. You’re talking as if he was first Dallas run, or NBA Finals run in New Jersey Kidd. And how had Dallas been “knocking on the door” they’d only been in the finals once, and that was 5 years prior. 

To try to say that Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle were somehow equivalent to that really old Kidd is an insult to both of them too. Same with Terry Porter and Jerome Kersey. Just because MJ handled his business every time doesn’t give the wannabe King a free pass. He still had Wade and Bosh and lost. Jordan would have never lost with that duo.

And what does the 11 title have to do with the Cavs health? That’s the one he lost to Dallas once he was already in Miami. 

2012 isn’t a testament to anything either. You’re starting to sound like Lawful with these silly statements. 2012 he beat up on the baby Thunder. If even two of the three were in their prime Miami would have got it handed to them again. 

The same can be said of those Celtic teams you’re bragging that he got by in 09 and 11. By 2011 KG was an antique. He was finishing up year 16 of his career, and nowhere near the force he was in Minnesota. But hey big props to Lebron for beating him, Pierce, and Allen in 11 while having Bosh and Wade with him. Gee I wonder which trio was much younger and more athletic???

Edited by MavsFan77
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Jordan/James finals opponents by ELO: https://ca.nba.com/news/the-last-dance-did-michael-jordan-or-lebron-james-face-tougher-competition-in-the-playoffs/ub0a1xhfjsff1kuizb90rbd7y

Every Finals Opponent
Team Rating Opponent
2017 Warriors 1850 LeBron
2015 Warriors 1802 LeBron
2016 Warriors 1790 LeBron
1998 Jazz 1762 MJ
1997 Jazz 1751 MJ
2012 Thunder 1737 LeBron
2014 Spurs 1730 LeBron
2011 Mavericks 1717 LeBron
2013 Spurs 1711 LeBron
2018 Warriors 1710 LeBron
2007 Spurs 1705 LeBron
1992 Blazers 1702 MJ
1991 Lakers 1697 MJ
1996 Sonics 1695 MJ
1993 Suns 1634 MJ
Edited by Beech27
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That's my thing. I'd put Jordan number 1. I'd listen to anyone putting those three in any order, though. I just don't think anyone needs to bury LeBron (or whomever) or misrepresent facts--such as they are--to support their arguments. (I get that ELO isn't a "fact" per se, but it's more objective than playing "let's remember some guys". I love doing that. But.)

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1 hour ago, Beech27 said:

That's my thing. I'd put Jordan number 1. I'd listen to anyone putting those three in any order, though. I just don't think anyone needs to bury LeBron (or whomever) or misrepresent facts--such as they are--to support their arguments. (I get that ELO isn't a "fact" per se, but it's more objective than playing "let's remember some guys". I love doing that. But.)

Exactly. You’re touting ELO like it’s the be all end all. We all have eyes, and there’s no way the Baby Thunder were that hard an opponent for Miami and their big 3. Hell just seeing the 11 Mavs ahead of the 18 Warriors tells me all I need to know about that garbage metric. 

Theres less than a zero percent chance Dirk and those guys were better than Steph, KD, Klay, and Draymond all in their primes. But yes please give me more metrics that prove whatever you’re aiming for.

Plus this direct quote from your chosen article proves my point about Lebron’s cake walk to the Finals most years:

If you take every team that Jordan and James faced in the East, you'll find that it's Jordan who faced the stiffer competition in rounds leading up to the Finals.

Eight of the toughest 11 opponents belong to Jordan and if you limit it to just the years in which they reached the Finals, six of the top eight were MJ opponents.

Edited by MavsFan77
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1 hour ago, Jiji said:

I have him as my #1 but it's more a stylistic preference. I just have a fondness of that early to mid 90s NBA as a kid and have enjoyed watching old games now and again. Is there really a huge gap between Jordan, James, and Kareem? 

Kareem and the other two comes down to style of play for sure. Then again that’s the case of comparing any big to a guard or small forward. I’d definitely agree with Kareem being in the top 3 for sure though. Just for me I’d place him behind MJ and Lebron (in that order).
 

And before Fowler tells me that oh Lebron is the best in year 17. Well how are we to know MJ wouldn’t have been had he not been out of the league for almost two years in the early 90’s, and retired at the end of the 90’s? We do know he was still the best 14 years after he came into the league. If we want to get technical his year 14 (where he won his 6th title) would be equivalent to Lebron’s year 17 when you account for Jordan having played three years (and won a National Title) at North Carolina. But hey a Lebron was “too good” for college, and got to play for the Cavs instead. Plus age wise it matches up. So there’s no real point in trying to turn this in Lebron’s favor.

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Show me where I touted ELO as the be all, end all. I presented one data point, because metrics provide context that raging about eye tests don’t. (The data do not confirm my priors, and are therefor trash, is a bad argument.)

Further, I think Jordan is better than LeBron. I said that above. Please explain how I’m biased and searched out a stat that would make LeBron look better.

Or maybe, maybe, you could accept nuance, and not devolve into petty insults and sure statements about unknowable hypotheticals.

Edited by Beech27
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7 minutes ago, Beech27 said:

Show me where I touted ELO as the be all, end all. I presented one data point, because metrics provide context that raging about eye tests don’t. (The data do not confirm my priors, and are therefor trash, is a bad argument.)

Further, I think Jordan is better than LeBron. I said that above. Please explain how I’m biased and searched out a stat that would make LeBron look better.

Or maybe, maybe, you could accept nuance, and not devolve into petty insults and sure statements about unknowable hypotheticals.

You’re offering up a selective metric that shows somehow Lebron faced better Finals competition, yet said metric doesn’t even know who played on said teams. As I said there’s no way that Mavs team had better players than the 18 Warriors. I’d love to see anyone debate that with me. 

What are the hypotheticals with this? You trotted out a metric, and I’m disputing its credibility. It’s ether a good metric or it’s not. A hypothetical would be us discussing who was better the Big 3 in Miami or MJ, Pippen, and Rodman? Since we never got to see those teams play one another, and there’s good and actual arguments on both sides. I’m not sure I wouldn’t say Miami’s guys weren’t the better trio. 

As for your earlier points I fail to see how my saying Lebron is #2 all time to be anything other than praise, nor is it my misrepresenting facts.

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