Friday, June 22, 2012

Lebron James: Not The GOAT... Yet?

I'm nervous.

I'm nervous because I think Lebron James has figured it out and has taken that evolutionary step in his game. If he continues this play, he has the potential to usurp Michael Jordan as Greatest Of All Time (GOAT).

So, I performed a sanity check: comparing Lebron's player efficiency rating (PER) and his win shares to Jordan's. I gathered data from their first nine (9) seasons, respectively (omitting Jordan's second year because he only played 18 games) as well as their first seven (7) years in the playoffs. I figured that I would find that A) Jordan's dominance would shine through (it does) OR B) that Lebron's greatness is emerging (it is):

Lebron v. MJ (PER)


Lebron v. MJ (PER, Playoffs)


Lebron v. MJ (Win Shares, Regular Season)


Lebron v. MJ (Win Shares, Playoffs)


I'm not saying that Lebron is GOAT right now BUT he's getting closer. I think it's a given that he will go down as a Top 5 player in the company of Wilt, Jordan, Bird, and Magic.

But taking a closer look at the accolades, he has an uphill battle to go down as the GOAT. Many of my friends think Lebron needs to surpass Jordan in every category. Some think he needs to surpass Jordan in championships. Assuming that Lebron will play for another 8 years, I think he will either match or pass Jordan in a couple of these categories (MVPs, All-Star Selections, All-Star MVP, All-NBA First Team, Gold Medals):

Assuming Lebron and Team USA win the Gold, Lebron would have accomplished the following in one year:
  • NBA MVP
  • PER Leader
  • Win Shares Leader
  • All-NBA First Team
  • All-Star MVP
  • NBA All Defensive First Team
  • Championship
  • NBA Finals MVP
  • Gold Medal (pending)
This is an amazing feet. The last player to do this?

Michael Jordan in 1992.

Hat tip to Lebron, he had an amazing year. And maybe he's closer to Michael Jordan than this Bulls fan would like to admit.