Showing posts with label Michael Jordan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Jordan. Show all posts

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:
  • 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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Miss You, Wheaties

Wheaties has fallen on hard times. Yup, this is true. The cereal that I grew up with with Jordan on the cover, finds itself with only 0.5% of the market. This is not good. The Street reports:
In total, yearly Wheaties sales have brought in $38.7 million, down 18.6% versus a year ago. Total boxes sold are under 10 million, down 22.5%, meaning roughly 4,000 fewer orange boxes are being sold in the U.S. per day than were being sold just three years ago.
Wheaties has gotten itself into a [brand] identity crisis — where's Michael Jordan when you need him?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Derrick Rose, Clutchiness, And Big Macs

Clutchiness, which in NBA terms means "Player performance in the last 5 minutes of games when the score margin is within 5 points" can be the Narrative Ninja of the NBA; for some, the narrative can be good (See: Jordan, M) or bad (See: James, L). For Chicago's native son, Derrick Rose, his clutchiness -- at first look -- has been head scratching in 2012. Yes, his buzzer beater in Milwaukee was amaaaaazzzinnnnggg. But, in the clutch, he has seen a decline in his Effective Field Goal and True Shooting Percentage while having an increase in his usage:




2012 (so far)

I do think that this abbreviated season -- where DRose has missed 10 games -- has affected his output in the clutch. Just last week (while I was thinking about writing this post) I took a look at his clutch numbers (via NBA Stats Cube):

(just last week)

Comparing with the 2012 image from above, we see an increase in his mid-range jumper (C) and restricted area (A). Is Rose moving back towards the mean? Possibly.

More importantly, who knew making free throws to win Big Macs was such a big deal?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Michael Jordan: How Many MVP's He Should Have Won

In April I did a post about Derrick Rose and how, according to Win Shares, he wasn't the MVP of the league.

I took a closer look at Michael Jordan's stats:
  • He led the league in win shares 9 times (this ties Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most eva!)

  • He led the league in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) 7 times (this happened consecutively from '86-'92)

  • He led the league in points per game 10 times, consecutively from '86-'92, and from '95-'97
Considering those three important measures of statistical performance, he only won the MVP 5 times. Boo.

Win shares isn't perfect. But for measuring "most valuable" I can't think of a better measurement than how many wins one's productivity contributes to one's team. Another reason I like win shares (or WAR in baseball) is that it separates the narrative, perception, and reality (stats).

According to win shares, Jordan shouldn't have won just 5 MVP's -- but 9 instead.

(Photo courtesy of: Steve Lipofsky)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 NBA Finals: Winning Changes Everything

“I don’t want him on my team, I don’t like his character.” – Anonymous friend talking about [a fictitious trade for] Lebron James

The comparisons of Lebron James to Michael Jordan have been overblown, overused, and overrated. Fact of the matter is, MJ won and Lebron (to date) has not. But as much as we salivate over MJ's highlights and accomplishments, these comparisons are starting to get old. And if we are to make comparisons (of one man's character to another), then we need to look at MJ as a whole. I think we have forgotten who Michael Jordan was. Yes, he was a stone cold killer on the court. But off the court, he wasn’t the clean image we see in the Hanes commercials.

MJ manipulated the media as well as the NBA. After Magic and Bird left, the NBA needed him more then he needed the NBA. It wasn't Shawn Kemp's league (how many kids does this man have?), Patrick Ewing's league, or Charles Barkley's league (that's turrble). It was Mike's. He stood alone. He sold tickets, jerseys, newspapers, and the like. The NBA, the Chicago Bulls, and the media protected Jordan from his indiscretions: the gambling, the punching of teammates, and the perusing of women.

Let’s not be na├»ve. We give MJ a hall pass because he got us 6 banners. Let us continue to pretend like these things didn’t happen. He didn’t cheat on his wife, he didn’t punch his teammates, he didn’t gamble (even during the playoffs), he didn’t make bad movies, and he doesn't have an AWFUL moustache (c'mon, Mike). Nope. Never happened.

We look the other way for Mike because...he won. There's the double standard.

Honestly, is he any different than Brett Favre, Plaxico Burress, Ray Lewis, or Tiger Woods. All of these athletes have committed heinous indiscretions, yet we, the fans, look the other way.

Don't get this twisted. I’m not “Anti-Mike”. I still think he’s the greatest player... ever.

But I understand what winning does. It changes things. It changes everything, even the truth. Winning can turn enemies into friends (or frenemies), goats into heroes, and harsh critics into raving supporters — and winning can make indiscretions fade away like a 20-foot jumper.

It's just too bad Lebron hasn't learned how to hit this jump shot yet.

(Image courtesy of: Steve Lipofsky)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's GOTTA Be The Shoes! (version 2.0)

You remember those old(er) Air Jordan commercials, right? Spike Lee as Mars Blackman talking about his main man, Michael Jordan. Nike was selling an idea - you can jump higher, shoot better with a pair of Air Jordans on your feet (*ahem* even if you're listed at 5'8"). These marketing campaigns were pure genius. Even though I only owned one pair of Air Jordans, I must admit, I was caught up in the hype - when wearing them, I did feel like I was Mike. They didn't help my vertical, nor improve my jump-shot and they most certainly did not help me grow but I did feel like Mike because I was wearing his shoes.

If you've been watching the Bulls lately, Derrick Rose has been wearing these sweet gray and red kicks.

Enter the "Fast don't lie" campaign by Adidas. Their idea is that you can cut better and run faster like Derrick Rose (or at the very least, have caviar pools and lady pyramids). Pure genius. But, at 33 years old, my admiration is different; I know that these shoes won't help my vertical and if I were to "cut" like DRose, I'd tear my ACL in seven places. I feel myself becoming more of a collector of Derrick Rose gear (rookie cards, shoes, jerseys, etc) rather than trying to emulate him.

I reached out to Jeremy Kreiger -- he won the Nike LunarGlide+ 2 Design Contest and he represented the U.S. in a global competition. I had several questions about shoes and shoe collecting. He told me there’s two types of shoe collectors: the "Sneakerheads" and the casual collector.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Debating the Hot Shooter

Watch this video. Is Mike hot?

Brad and I have discussed clutchiness, hot streaks and the hot shooter to some degree. It's a strange feeling - when the game slows down and you can make every shot, catch every ball, or hit any pitch. We've all been there. During these rare instances, we feel -- superhuman. Recently, I had some friends over discussing the "hot hand" and I was trying to explain (though unconvincingly) that the hot hand doesn't exist and could hurt you/the team statistically.

The naysayers disagreed; pointing to the fact opinion that they "feel like they can make every shot". They argued that as each shot goes in their confidence level rises and the odds of making their next shot increases. To their defense came the point of muscle memory. But I have a problem with this because no two shots are alike (I do not shoot a 3-pointer the same way I shoot a free throw). For the muscle memory argument to have more "weight", in my opinion, every variable (elevation, release point, trajectory, hand/eye coordination, exertion, force of the shot, etc) would have to be the same and it just isn't the case. To my defense came random events. But randomness usually occurs when models fail (basically, when we can't prove something).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Where's Dennis?

Brad and I have discussed numerous times that the Cubs should retire Mordecai Brown's number name at Wrigley Field.

(Side note: I have mentioned to Brad to coerce other bloggers and picket Wrigley Field this year with "Retire Mordecai" banners, tshirts, flair. There's strength in numbers, people. Strength. In. Numbers.)

But there is another Chicago sports hero who hasn't had his number retired - Dennis Rodman.

Dennis has been nominated for the HOF. I won't argue if Dennis should/should not be in the Hall of Fame (personally, I think he should be but I digress). What irks me is that the Bulls haven't retired his number. Every time I go to the UC, I look up at the rafters; I see banners for Jordan, Pippen, Sloan, Love, Phil Jackson and...Jerry Krause? Seriously? How does this man have a banner hanging and NOT Rodman?

Rodman's accomplishments with the Bulls
  • Led the league in rebounding all three years ('96-'98)
  • Led the league in rebounding rate all three years ('96-'98)
  • All-NBA Defensive First-Team ('96)
  • Helped the Bulls win three NBA championships
(you would think that would be enough to get your number retired)

Can you imagine this party if the Bulls do retire his number? MJ and Scottie (if they even show up) will be extremely uncomfortable, Rodman will swear, he'll thank the fans while having a fifth of Jack in his hand, he'll walk onto the court with several scantily clad women, he'll be wearing something ridiculous (or nothing at all).

Come to think of it, maybe that's what the Bulls are afraid of.