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Destroying the Michael Jordan critiques ONE BY ONE for the GOAT

Apr 29, 2024
Do you have to believe that Michael Jordan is the GOAT? Absolutely not. Some of the most knowledgeable people in basketball have their own opinions on who they think is the greatest player of all time. In fact, these types of debates become fun when there is a variety of opinions. But when you use false narratives to take down Michael Jordan, that's when there's a problem. And there is a lot of ridiculous criticism of the GOAT, almost consensual.   Let's go one by one and take down each one of them using logic and numbers. The most popular one we see is that Jordan went 1-9 in the playoffs before Scottie Pippen was drafted.
destroying the michael jordan critiques one by one for the goat
In other words, people are disqualifying him for what he didn't accomplish in the first three seasons of his career. If we use that logic, then poor Wemby. He is already disqualified for failing in his rookie season. His team missed the playoffs and the Spurs finished 22-60.   I guess those people don't have LeBron James as their GOAT. His team missed the playoffs in his first two seasons. At least the Bulls made the playoffs. What about Kobe Bryant?   He came off the bench during his first two seasons. What did he do to contribute to the Lakers' success? I really hope you caught my sarcastic tone.
destroying the michael jordan critiques one by one for the goat

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destroying the michael jordan critiques one by one for the goat...

I think it's foolish to put so much importance on what a player failed to do early in his career. But if you want to have a serious conversation about Jordan's supposed failures without Scottie Pippen, then we can break it down. In the 1983-84 season, the Bulls won 27 games. In Jordan's rookie season, they won 38 games, which is an 11-game improvement. They went from being the second worst team in the league to a playoff team. And in the first round they faced the Milwaukee Bucks, who won 59 games. Expecting a rookie to lead such a weak team to victory over a legitimate title contender is beyond foolish.  The following season, he broke his foot and missed 64 games.
destroying the michael jordan critiques one by one for the goat
Without him, the Bulls won 30 games. If anything, this shows how little talent the Bulls had outside of Michael Jordan. Somehow they made it to the playoffs and faced what many consider the greatest team of all time. The Boston Celtics won 37 more games than the Bulls.   Jordan averaged 43.7 points per game on 51% shooting against that team and they still couldn't win a game. Do you really want to blame Michael for that? Look what happened in the next season.  Remember, we're talking about the same team that won 30 games with Jordan out with an injury. They lost their four best scoring options.
destroying the michael jordan critiques one by one for the goat
Orlando Woolridge was traded for a second-round pick. Quintin Dailey left to play for the Clippers. George Gervin went to play in Italy. And Sidney Green was traded for pieces that ended up being useless. So this team, which had no talent to begin with, lost all of its best scorers. Who was called in to help MJ on the offensive end? It was Charles Oakley, who was only in his second season. This team was so bad that the New York Times wrote that if "Jordan focused on passing the other Bulls, Chicago could finish 20-62 or 0-82." The only way to stay competitive was for him to win games by himself.
That led him to average a career-high 37.1 points, which remains his highest average since the merger. And again they faced the Boston Celtics in the first round. You know, the team that had five hall of fame players. A player can't deal with that, no matter how good he is. The following season, the Bulls drafted Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant. They also traded for Sam Vincent, who was a sharp outside shooter. This was the season they finally made it past the first round. How much did those two players contribute to the 1988 playoffs? Well, in that first round series, Jordan averaged 45.2 points per game….
While Pippen and Grant averaged 19.4 points combined. Come on people, the numbers clearly indicate that he didn't need Scottie Pippen to advance beyond the first round.  Obviously not, because he was just a rookie. He just needed competent players who could help a little on the offensive end. What happens in 1989, when the Bulls reached the conference finals?  How much did they contribute? Pippen averaged 13.1 points and Grant averaged 10.8 points in the playoffs. Jordan averaged 34.8 points. He also led the team in assists and steals.  Don't you think it's a one-man show? If not, let's look at a historical comparison.  Let's look at the 1994 Houston Rockets.
You know, the team we all agree was a one-man show, coached by Hakeem Olajuwon. The second leading scorer was Otis Thorpe, who averaged 14 points per game. And even Vernon Maxwell averaged more than Scottie. He averaged 13.6 points in the 1994 playoffs. Now let's look at the 2001 Philadelphia 76ers. This team was led by Allen Iverson and a group of role players/defensive specialists. Aaron McKie and Dikembe Mutombo averaged more points in the playoffs than Scottie Pippen. This is the point I am trying to make. I think it's common knowledge that a star player needs great teammates to win a championship.
No one denies that they couldn't do it without Pippen.   But to say you couldn't succeed without it is to completely ignore the facts of the matter. Here's Jordan's next review. There are some who believe that losing to the Detroit Pistons three years in a row should disqualify him as a GOAT. I'm not going to sit here and discredit what the Pistons accomplished. They are a historically great team that played incredibly well together.   Just like I mentioned before about the Boston Celtics, one great player wasn't going to beat that team. But is that enough to disqualify him?  Are we taking points away from a player who loses   in the playoffs?
I think we shouldn't. This is why. 99% of all players who have ever played in the NBA lost more than they won. Unless your GOAT is Bill Russell, that plot line is simply flawed. The question we should really ask ourselves is: Did Jordan cause the Bulls to lose?   Did he deserve any blame? That's where we really work hard with the players. Think about LeBron's performance in the 2011 Finals, Kobe in the 2004 Finals, or Magic Johnson in the 1984 Finals. Let's look at the numbers from each playoff series. In 1988, Jordan averaged 27.4 points on 49% shooting. Remember, this was the same team that invented the Jordan Rules and supposedly shut it down.
That's not what the numbers say.  Instead, they did a great job of shutting down everyone else. Their second leading scorer, Sam Vincent, averaged 12.8 points on 41% shooting.   The Bulls weren't as talented as the Pistons, and that's why they lost in five games. If that was the case in 1988, then we can say the same in 1989. The Pistons won 63 games while the Bulls won 47 games. It was almost the same story. Jordan averaged 29.7 points on 46% shooting. Their second leading scorer, Craig Hodges, averaged 12 points on 45% shooting. The following season, the Bulls finally had the talent to give the Pistons a fair fight.
How did they perform? If you look at the stat line, there were only two players who shot over 43% from the field. It was Michael Jordan and Charles Davis, who took a total of one shot in that series.  On the other hand, MJ averaged 32.1 points, while he led the team in assists and steals.  Did the Bulls lose because of him in those three seasons? No. Did you underperform at a shockingly low level where people questioned your individual greatness? No. In fact, he was the only reason the 1988 and 1989 series were competitive.   The Pistons knew they couldn't contain him.  The numbers say they never did.
Instead, they held off everyone else and that's why they lost.  Once his teammates raised their level of play, they were able to crush the Detroit Pistons in 1991. I was able to break this down in this video, and I encourage everyone to watch it for the full analysis of that series. But it shouldn't be a shame to lose to a great historical team while you are the only strong option to score. The next criticism is that he was only a goalscorer.  That he wasn't a great player in every way. Well, does a versatile player simply mean staying on defense to grab rebounds and dish out a lot of assists?
Or does all-around also mean playing on both ends of the court?   Because in 1988 he was the only player to win the goal scorer and defensive player of the year titles in the same season. Oh, and by the way, he was the MVP. Then in 1989, he averaged 32.5 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds. How many players in league history have been able to equal or surpass those numbers? Only one. That's Luka Doncic in this offensive league. However, here is the difference. Jordan averaged 2.9 steals while Luka averaged 1.4. That makes Michael's stats unique. Then, in the 1991 finals, Jordan averaged 11.4 assists in the series.   Do you know how many players have averaged more assists in the finals?
Only one. That's Magic   Johnson. Not even John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Isiah Thomas, Rajon Rondo or Oscar Robertson have done better. The reality is that he has always been more than just a goalscorer. Well, Jordan's competition was not the same as that of the players today. Actually? Because in the 1988 season, when he won his first MVP, he was competing against Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Dominique Wilkins, Patrick Ewing and Clyde Drexler. They were all at their best. They all recorded great numbers.   None of them could compete with what MJ was achieving.
Then we have the '90s. Younger fans may be done with this, but that may be because they are afraid of the truth. Do you know how many teams in those 10 years won more than 50 games? 78. And they took away the 1999 season from us due to the lockout. We're halfway through this decade and there have only been 25 teams that have won more than 50 games. Hhhmm… I don't know about you, but it seems like one era of basketball was much more competitive than the other.  And at that time, Jordan's teams dominated. That's all I know. But that's enough for me.
Now is the time for all of you to have your say. How would you respond to each of these criticisms? What are some other crazy things you've heard people say to just get MJ out of the GOAT position? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for watching.

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