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Michael Jordan thinks he has found a flaw in LeBron James’ game

LeBron James is the reigning NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP and considered by many to be the top player in the league. He has dominated this month and became the first player in league history to score at least 30 points on over 60 percent shooting in six straight games. Though James is playing outstanding ball, Michael Jordan thinks he has found a flaw in the Heat star’s game.

ESPN’s Wright Thompson wrote an excellent piece about Jordan ahead of the Hall of Famer’s 50th birthday on Sunday. The lengthy piece discusses MJ dealing with aging and harnessing his competitive drive. Jordan discusses how some of the current players would have fared when he played, and he said LeBron, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Dirk Nowitzki would have done well. He also analyzed a part of James’ game while watching the Heat play the Jazz in Utah Jan. 14. According to Jordan, LeBron has a tendency to shoot jumpshots when forced left, and he drives to the hoop when he goes right.

“I study him,” he says.

When LeBron goes right, he usually drives; when he goes left, he usually shoots a jumper. It has to do with his mechanics and how he loads the ball for release. “So if I have to guard him,” Jordan says, “I’m gonna push him left so nine times out of 10, he’s gonna shoot a jump shot. If he goes right, he’s going to the hole and I can’t stop him. So I ain’t letting him go right.”

Business Insider shares visual evidence that seems to support MJ’s theory. This shot chart comes via NBA.com:

LeBron James shot chart

Based on that chart, James has taken 235 shots from the left side of the court, and 159 from the right side. Anything near the basket or straight ahead was not counted. While this chart doesn’t tell the full story — James could be on the right side of his court, go left, and shoot, and it would count as a jumper for the right side in these stats — but this still gives us a good idea of James’ tendency.

LeBron also shoots 44 percent on shots from the right side compared to 40 percent from the left. If MJ has this data, so should the rest of the league. I think I’ve even heard Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers mention it in the past. But even with this knowledge, James is still the toughest player in the league to defend. Something tells me MJ would have a hard time defending him anyhow. I wonder if this has anything to do with why MJ says he would take Kobe over LeBron.

H/T Business Insider



Around The Web

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GQJSFHCBKOMEUXIB6SNX4MS5BM Jose Velez

    Seriously? I live in Cleveland and seen Lebron first hand and I will tell you right now Lebron will not win 6 rings.  The fact that Jordan vs. Lebron is even a topic is ridiculous.  The rules have changed since Jordan played.  You could hand check back then now you cant even touch a guy at all !! MJ would average 40 per game in this league today. Plus Lebron is doing against a watered down NBA of players.  Take a look at the 10 ten in the NBA rigth now and the top 10 when MJ played and you will see the difference. Hell the 11-20 guys when MJ played can beat the top 10 right now in the NBA

  • fadeaway94

    First MJ is the greatest of all time and im a Pippen fan but Mj is d greatest just because he won every finals he played in he never took a loss and he left the game for two years just to become a good player in baseball and to come back and win another 3 championship in 3 straight years untouchable and if Lebron wants to be considered greater then MJ he will have to leave the game for two years become great in another sport return to basketball and win a championship point blank.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7HKSUDQ4FRGQGR6Y4LAYRA4US4 C

    Sooo learn to spell before criticizing anyone about there game!!!

  • tmunson15

    you forgot will perdue!!!

  • EBI Rehbein

    My unbiased opinion:  It is unfair to compare today’s players to past players.  David Stern knew he needed Michael Jordan type players for the NBA to at least maintain, if not expand its popularity.  As we all know, but seem to forget or at least underestimate the significance, the NBA implemented rules changes several years ago to make it easier for the 1s, 2s, and 3s to dominate and be the focal point of the game (and to be like Mike).  MJ would be 20% better in today’s game than he was during the era in which he played.

  • 2sons2

    That’s Bull… Jordan was surrounded by stars for all six of his championships. Phil, Scotty, Paxson, Rodman, Cartwright, Hodges, Kerr, Grant, Anderson… Please, Jordan is hating, simple and plane, Jelousy is unbecoming MJ.  Lebron has played  in two NBA championships with a brand new coach, who’s not the best in the world.   MJ should be studying that horrible team of his instead of LJ.

  • 2sons2

    That’s a joke… Kobe is only mentioned as the best by Laker fans.  No one else seems to hold Kobe in that regard.  I don’t think he’s even the best Laker of all time.

  • tmunson15

    stars?.. eau contrere my friend…will perdue was the “big” man the first 3 rings.. rodman is the best of all the guys you mentioned… (he could out rebound the league wearing his high heels)… as far as the rest of your list.(excepting phil.. remember his mean crossover)?… they were functional role  players but hardly stars.. they only became better from playing with jordan.. micheal elevated everybody’s play.. can’t say that about lebron…..face it..james is a jordan wannbe…. but way to soft and lacks the competitive fire to put him over the top.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/O7TV5SAKO7UX2WSN255Z6QBVUA IRENE

    Lebron is Jealous of Jordan’s respect that he demanded and received.  Rings were a bi product of that.  Not bought like the Heat are. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/O7TV5SAKO7UX2WSN255Z6QBVUA IRENE

    Ha!  Keep dreaming.  THE CHOOSEN ONE

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/O7TV5SAKO7UX2WSN255Z6QBVUA IRENE

    In all fairness Russell won his rings with a total of 8 teams in the NBA not 25+.  All realtive.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/O7TV5SAKO7UX2WSN255Z6QBVUA IRENE

    Stars?  Paxson, Kerr,Cartwright,Grant, Hodges, BJ were only realvant because of Jordan not in spite.  Pippen and Rodman were the only true stars and only one contributed points.  FACT

  • http://twitter.com/eewilde23 eewilde23

    BOMMER GEORGE – Nice spell check you idiot.  Lebron is great but will not be dethroning MJ in this life.  MJ is the “GOAT” according to peers that played against him, along with guys that never had the opportunity.

  • http://twitter.com/eewilde23 eewilde23

    James – you make intelligent points and based on rings alone, Bill Russell is the absolute PIMP.  Based on the game and how it evolved, Bill would have been eaten alive in the paint by guys in Jordans prime era, along with todays era.  Jordan could have played 30 years ago, along with today and completely dominated.  I am a MJ fan but I am completely realistic and not just a fan.  Talent is talent and can surpass era’s and MJ is supreme in that regard.  Magic Johnson even says MJ is the “GOAT”.  Bird has said the same and both of those players I would take in a heartbeat.  Actually I would take many Lakers and many Celtics players as all time greats.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1473372618 Darrico Murray

    you forget that Lebron took a Cleveland team of nobodies to the finals twice…im not even a fan but statistically Kobe has been greatly outshined by Lebron and his career is not even completed yet… and the whole clutch thing and rings argument Kobe has lost more games at the buzzard than Magic, Jordan, and LBJ and tell me any time Kobe has ever had a playoff run performing like Lebron did last year.  The game is more than rings otherwise the Hall Of Fame would be empty

  • tmunson15

    are you sure you replied to the correct post? i reread mine and nowhere do i find where i mentioned kobe or magic…. let’s not compare apples and oranges here

  • walt1999

    I DONT THINK ANY OF YOU FOLLOWED MJ’S CAREER BECAUSE IF YOU DID YOU WOULD NOT CALL KOBE AND LBJ ARROGANT. NO ONE WAS MORE ARROGANT THAN MJ. KOBE’S AND MJ’S ARROGANCE BREEDED CONFIDENCE THAT MAKES THEM 2 OF THE BEST PLAYERS TO EVER PLAY THE GAME. LBJ HAS THE MOST PHYSICAL AND ATHLETIC SKILLS OF A PLAYER HIS SIZE. BUT HE WILL NEVER BE AS GOOD AS MJ, KOBE, MAGIC, BIRD, RUSSELL, CHAMBERLAIN, OR THE BIG “O” OSCAR ROBINSON BECAUSE HE DOES NOT HAVE THEIR WILL AND DESIRE TO WIN. IF KOBE WAS SURROUNED WITH GOOD 3PT SHOOTERS LIKE LBJ HAS HE WOULD AVERAGE DOUBLE FIGURE ASSISTS. WHEN YOU COMPARE MJ TO KOBE, HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU SEEN MJ DOUBLE AND TRIPLE TEAMED FROM THE TIME HE CROSSES HALF COURT. KOBE IS CONSTANTLY DOUBLE TEAMED AND SOMETIMES TRIPLE TEAMED. I DONT REMEMBER MJ BEING THE PLAYER TO GUARD THE BEST PLAYER FROM THE OTHER TEAM. THAT WAS PIPEN’S JOB. KOBE ALWAYS ASK TO GUARD THE BEST PLAYER FROM THE OTHER TEAM, WHETHER IT BE LBJ, KD, CP3, RONDO, WADE, OR  WESTBROOK. KOBE IS A GREAT 1 ON 1 DEFENDER. LBJ AND MJ ARE GOOD TEAM DEFENDERS.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ATXB4OH53IIGU7KOU2D6HZ4REE michael

    Michael Jordan should concentrate on getting the Bobcats better players and making the playoffs.  Jordan’s NBA career is over, it was a great career, but it is OVER!

  • Nrec LLeshaj

    2 Corinthians 10:12 - For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 
    1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

  • Robbie Rob

    The thing is.. Lebron and Kobe have all around stats and all around games..

    The Bill Russell compare is not a good one because Russells game was mostly rebounds.. not scoring.. and certainly not STEALS of which MJ leads all these guy BY FAR

  • Robbie Rob

    Most guy are also  ignoring how they let guys play in the 80′s.. the seasons MJ averaged 37 points and 34 points and 35 points.. they let these guys play ‘street ball’ on the league floor.

    You think the refs would  let players knock Lebron to the floor without even sometimes calling a foul – the way Detroit did to Jordan in the eastern conference finals ? There are videos of Jordan getting hit hard and holding himself on the floor with no calls..

    Jordan at 27 had much better foot speed then LeBron.  Lebron is quick for a big man.. but Jordan would’ve had ANY shot anywhere he wanted in a 1 v 1 game versus Lebron.  Since Lebron wouldn’t be as quick LeBron would have to mostly shoot jumpers.. Jordan once hit his head on the backboard – not the tip, his entire backside head.. That’s why he blocked the shots of 7 footers often.. and also dunked on them..

    Jordan would’ve dunked on 6’8 Lebron the same way he dunked on 6’9 Dominique Wilkins ( who could jump and dunk )… the way he dunked on Alonzo mourning, the way he dunked on Kevin McHale.. Patrick Ewing.. James Worthy …All these guys as tall or taller then LeBron..

    Robert Horry played with Kobe, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaq and against Lebron – He said Jordan was best by far..

  • Robbie Rob

    Most guy are also  ignoring how they let guys play in the 80′s.. the seasons MJ averaged 37 points and 34 points and 35 points.. they let these guys play ‘street ball’ on the league floor.
     
    You think the refs would  let players knock Lebron to the floor without even sometimes calling a foul – the way Detroit did to Jordan in the eastern conference finals ? There are videos of Jordan getting hit hard and holding himself on the floor with no calls..
     
    Jordan at 27 had much better foot speed then LeBron.  Lebron is quick for a big man.. but Jordan would’ve had ANY shot anywhere he wanted in a 1 v 1 game versus Lebron.  Since Lebron wouldn’t be as quick LeBron would have to mostly shoot jumpers.. Jordan once hit his head on the backboard – not the tip, his entire backside head.. That’s why he blocked the shots of 7 footers often.. and also dunked on them..
     
    Jordan would’ve dunked on 6’8 Lebron the same way he dunked on 6’9 Dominique Wilkins ( who could jump and dunk )… the way he dunked on Alonzo mourning, the way he dunked on Kevin McHale.. Patrick Ewing.. James Worthy …All these guys as tall or taller then LeBron..
     
    Robert Horry played with Kobe, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaq and against Lebron – He said Jordan was best by far..
     

  • Robbie Rob

    Selfish based on what – your opinion ?

    Back then they said Jordan was selfish because he took more shots then others in the league – but he made them.

    Whats funny is – if you actually look at the facts.. Jordan in his prime shot 53% about 4 or 5 years.. MUCH Higher then ANY OF LEBRONS OR KOBES BEST 4 years..

    What does this mean ? Factually speaking it means Lebron and Kobe TAKE MORE SHOTS THEN JORDAN over their careers to score almost ( not quite ) as much…  Jordan scored more because he made more of those shots..

    Ever heard of PER ? Player Efficiency Rating..
    Jordan HAS THE HIGHEST RATING RECORDED..

    OUT OF THE TOP FIVE PER’s recorded.. Jordan holds 4 of them.. Lebron has 1 of them – when he peaked in 2009.. Lebron is NOT at his peak anymore.

  • Robbie Rob

    EVERYONE ONE THE BULLS TEAM SAID JORDAN MADE THEM BETTER.. Including GRANT whose video is on youtube..
    Go to youtube and in search type in “Robert Horry says Jordan best by far”

    Robert Horry played with Shaq, Hakeem Olajwon, Kobe AND AGAINST LEBRON.  He should know.. HORRY ALSO HAS 6 RINGS

  • Robbie Rob

    Lebron is 2 inches taller then Jordan.. maybe stronger.. but  you’re missing a lot of key points.. Jordan very strong but was definately quicker then Lebron.. quickness beats strength in basketball..

    You think 6’9″  Dominque Wilkins was easy to dunk on ? Jordan did it more then once..

    You think 6’10 ALonzo Mournin simply let Jordan dunk on him ? NOPE he was in perfect position to block it but simply couldn’t get high enough..

    What about 7 foot Patrick Ewing ? You think he just liked getting dunked on ?

    POINT is this.. Jordan dunked on MANY more then this – ALL taller and bigger then Lebron..

    Jordan was quicker.. he could’ve dribbled the ball anywhere around Lebron and simply shot a jumper..

    JORDAN IS STILL THE ONLY GUARD to RECORD more then 200 steals and 100 BLOCKED SHOTS in a single season – AND HE DID it TWICE !

    You outta watch videos of Lebron and Kobe dunking.. the head is usually alittle below the backboard.. these guys arms are 3 feet long.. so its easy to dunk.. Ever see the video of 6’5 Jordan in college hitting his head on the backboard ?  He didn’t hit the tip of his head – his entire back head…

    You severely underestimate Jordan.

    Also.. Jordan eventually got calls – not quite as bad as todays stars, but in HIS PRIME YEARS he didn’t.  The years Jordan averaged 37 and 35 points a game.. it was street ball in the league.. I guess you never saw Jordan get knocked hard to the ground with no foul call against Detroit.. In today’s league they would never let them play with that much contact..  The way Ron Artest used to try and play ( and he always got called for flagrants ) was the way the game used to be played..

  • Robbie Rob

    Jordan used to get fouled hard a lot.. Detroit implemented the “Jordan Rules” which they said if it looks like he’s going to drive then foul him HARD..

    People forget Jordan dunked on 7 footers regularly in his prime – most kids now just don’t know how high Jordan could jump.  He hit his freaking head on the backboard in college – not just the tip, his entire head – blocking a shot..

    ALonzo Mourning, Dominique Wilkins, Patrick Ewing – All guys taller and bigger then Lebron got dunked on by Jordan.  Jordan walked up to David Robinson ( height 7’1″ ) and said “Im gonna dunk on you” and he did..

    Jordan also had tremendous foot speed.. he would’ve had ANY shot against Lebron on the floor..  That’s often why they put smaller guys on Jordan.. because they hoped a smaller quicker guard could stay with Jordan better.. Bigger guys couldn’t stay with Jordan and then simply got dunked on anyways.. That’s why Jordan was so hard to guard…

    Lebron James is little more then Dominique Wilkins today..  In fact.. if you d the research.. google it..  average height of NBA players.. theres a place in Wikipedia.. it shows the height of guys in Jordan’s prime years was actually taller then today..

  • 5realdeal5

    Lebron won 60 games w/Cleveland, couple of times with nobodies. Could Michael or Kobe do that? Kobe can’t even win now with 3 other “Hall of Famers”, never won nothing till Shack got there. Remember, would not play for Charlotte, but needed Shack to get a ring. Best rebounder,Rodman help Mike get over. I don’t  think Mike wins 60 games w/Cleveland Calvaliers without Pipin,Grant,Rodman and play San Antonio in Finals.Who else was on that team with Lebron that played San Antonio in Finals, certainly no H of Famers like Pipin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.ortega.142 Steve Ortega

    The thing about the Black Mamba,KING KOBE is hat he as 5,NBA titles already,where after 10long years,La Queen Jane has one,and that came with th help of the refs in the playoffs.The 76″ers,Pacers had them beat,but the refs had to get them to the finals by order of higher up.The Heat will not make it this year.By the time La Queen gets 5 titles he will look like grand-pa,Oden.

  • cncaliguy

    Russell doesn’t get respect but at the same time is overrated. He was the second best floor general, sinning as COACH and player at the same time. 

    Wilt was a better player than Russell by far, but Bill worked with his teammates to play better team ball. Russell is an equivalent of Dennis Rodman, without the Ego, headaches, and better leadership.

    Stop comparing LBJ to MJ. LeBron is just in his prime. LBJ is who he is and also passes the ball very well, handles the ball, and distributes better than MJ (before Jackson triangle and first retirement). He’s is a hybrid of Magic and Jordan without the clutch game. 

  • cncaliguy

    People forget MJs quickness and first step. Only a prime Kobe had a faster first step. MJ also had a reliable jumpshot. Jordan was a nightmare in the 80s, go watch the NBA classic and he was everywhere. 

    I think a 86-91 MJ was a bigger nightmare than LBJ. Kobe in his prime with junk players on Lakers wasn’t as good as Jordan and he was 95% of Jordan. Remember the 40 pts strak Kobe had. MJ averaged 37 and about 6rbs and 6 assist 3 steals and 1 block at +50 FG. 

    Jordan got 3 steals a game and 1.5 blocks, and a murderous on ball defender and help defender. LBJ never got 1.5 blocks or 3 steals a game. He a very good at all 5 positions but not a shutdown defender like Jordan, Pippen, Bowen, Tony Allen, or Gary Payton.

  • cncaliguy

    Forgot Kukoc and Rodman and Longley and Harper. 

    Jordan had a very good supporting cast, compare them to the teams that won in the 90s and the Bulls team were very good without Jordan. Put in Kobe, and they win 4 out 6. Put in Jerry West they win about 3 or 4. Put in Ray Allen they would’ve win one. 

  • cncaliguy

    Magic says MJ is the best player and played against stacked Celtic and Houston teams.

    I personally think Magic, MJ and Kareem are the top 3. Wilt and Hakeem at number 4 or 5. My heart say Magic but he wasn’t a complete player. My basketball IQ and numbers say Kareem because dominate big men win rings. 
     
    My knock on MJ has he didn’t win right away, has selfish, and hard to play with or put up with. He wasn’t a charismatic leader like Russell, Magic, and Bird. He similar to Kareem, West, and Kobe where they didn’t get along with teammates and were standoffish

  • cncaliguy

    Actually Wilt has higher PER at 31.8, 31.6, 31.6. They didn’t record blocks or rebounds.

    On Win Shares, Wilt has the most at 25, 23, 22, 21, 20. MJ had 21, 20,20,20,19,18 win shares.On stats alone Mj murders LBJ and Kobe. Not even the same category. That is why Mj in in discussion with Magic, Kareem, and Wilt at GOAT.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ONMOTAIKZYHXKO7IJYECZNSALA Al

    ha ha ha ha you are one funny fool.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MPN6QYOBMRWZNZTYKDTFC5EP5M G-Money22

    Well said I agree about the Magic – Michael hybrid. The killer instinct is the biggest difference between MJ and LJ. Michael played with more tenacity and he had a greater will to win than any other player in the history of the league that is why he is the greatest ever. Lebron still has much work to do if he is going to reach MJ’s level – Mainly dominating the league for the next 7 or 8 years – If he does that he probably will end up with more MVP’s – but Rings might be a different story - If LJ wins 4 Titles and 8 MVP’s then I think you can make a case but he needs to at least win 4 Titles and finish his career with more MVP awards than MJ for me to even consider him being better than Jordan. 

  • tmunson15

    ouch.. i must have struck a nerve…i am in no way comparing james and jordan…. stats…facts…logic…common sense and deductive reasoning say there is no comparison…set aside emotion and scrutinize the subject objectively then the obvious becomes apparent.statistically it is impossible for james to match jordan’s 16 yr career…. jordan amassed 6 championships…6 finals mvp’s….10 time scoring champ.(and i could go on and on).. in the championship and mvp dept james would have to run the table just to equal mike’s  career…. stats though are only part of the equation… there are the intangibles that jordan possessess that james doesn’t… heart, drive, desire and competitive fire… but that’s not entirely his fault… the n.b.a. today is just  shell of the game when jordan was playing… in micheals day, james would have been a star but nowhere near a superstar (as the n.b.a. is promoting him today)…. the game is totally different and to james’ detriment.. there are very few shut down defenders.. no body to “push” james…however  kobe bryant did throttle james not once but twice at the all-star contest.. and please don’t give me “it’s just an all star game… means nothing”… it may mean nothing to most fans….but to those players… they want to win…. in cleveland,james routinely passed the ball to lesser players but now in miami he can hide that “flaw” because of dwade and bosh…so again…. i stand by my statement… he’s a jordan wannabe… but there is no shame in that…. most every kid that could half way dribble and some that couldn’t grew up wanting to be like mike….. james himself said that growing up he had a poster of jordan on his bedroom wall….maybe in the next post we can talk about you “comparing” wilt and russell and rodman and magic…….  on another note… just a friendly piece of advice… don’t advise someone to “stop” doing this or that.. it smacks of desperation…    

  • tmunson15

     walt… playing at the star or superstar level.. one has to have an ego (especially in pro sports)… call it arrogance if you like…. i am an amateur athlete… and when i step between the lines… i’m convinced i am the best player on that field … either team…. in reality that’s not the case… self analysis says i’m maybe a step above avg… but i have the rep of being a winner and a lot of teams want me to play because of that. i think you may be confusing arrogance and confidence with someone being caustic..(that i don’t like)  personally i’m not into trash talkers ..i let my skills do my talking… however i don’t have a problem with someone being arrogant or over confident…. IF they can back it up  

  • http://www.facebook.com/juba.moten Juba Moten

    Put a sock in it bommer and first learn to spell, MJ is never worried about anyone ever filling his shoes or surpassing him, EVER!!!

  • Renee Matthews

    I’m with u 2 sons. No way is Kobe better than Lebron now!