Thursday, April 14, 2011

Michael Jordan: Not a One Man Show pt. 3

The first two parts of this series examined Jordan's teammates individually, so there wasn't exactly a reference point for how good they were as a team. In part one, I mentioned how Kobe's teammates are generally regarded more favorably than Jordan's (at least by the general public), so why not compare the two? Obviously the late-90's Bulls had a better supporting cast than the Lakers, so here's a Finals comparison of Jordan's early teammates ('91-'93) with Kobe's ('08-'10). In order to account for overtime, the averages will be per 48 minutes.

Averages of the Bulls per 48 minutes (minus Jordan):

’91 Finals-
68.8 PTS   31.9 REB   16.1 AST   .516 FG%   6.9 STL   3.5 BLK   8.8 TOV

’92 Finals-
67.0 PTS   32.1 REB   20.0 AST   .493 FG%   5.2 STL   4.8 BLK   10.8 TOV

’93 Finals-
62.4 PTS   33.0 REB   19.5 AST   .457 FG%   6.0 STL   4.4 BLK   8.7 TOV

That’s a total three year average of:
65.9 PTS   32.4 REB   18.7 AST   .486 FG%   6.0 STL   4.3 BLK   9.5 TOV

Averages of the Lakers per 48 minutes (minus Kobe):

’08 Finals-
68.2 PTS   32.5 REB   14.3 AST   .456 FG%   4.2 STL   3.0 BLK   9.7 TOV

’09 Finals-
65.5 PTS   33.6 REB   8.6 AST    .452 FG%   5.6 STL   3.7 BLK   6.5 TOV

’10 Finals-
62 PTS   34.4 REB   10.7 AST   .423 FG%   5.1 STL   5.4 BLK   8.6 TOV

That’s a total three year average of:
65.0 PTS   33.6 REB   13.0 AST   .447 FG%   4.9 STL   4.1 BLK   8.3 TOV

Jordan’s teammates outperformed Kobe’s in virtually every way. Wouldn't that make them better? We know Kobe has a good supporting cast, so it should speak volumes about Jordan's supporting cast that they outproduced Kobe's. Jordan's teams were good enough that Bill Simmons placed three of them ('91, '97 and '96) in the top 10 teams of all-time, and placed the '92 Bulls in the Honorable Mention section, in The Book of Basketball. Kobe was only on one team in the top 10 ('01) and one in the Honorable Mention section ('00), and both of those involved Shaq. If Kobe's current teammates don't measure up to his early decade teammates, and the early decade teammates are comparable to Jordan's teammates, doesn't that mean Kobe's current teammates don't measure up to Jordan's as well? And if everyone thinks Kobe has a good supporting cast, and they don't measure up to Jordan's, how good were Jordan's?

Considering the individual stats of Jordan’s teammates, the way they performed after he left for baseball, the fact that they outproduced Kobe’s teammates in the Finals, and where they rank historically should provide concrete proof that Michael Jordan was not a “One Man Show.”

*stats from

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