Tuesday , Jul , 05 , 2011 J.N.

NBA stars who can possibly reach near MJ level

No. This is not an attempt to compare any of these guys to Michael Jordan. Nope. That has been beaten, raped, and pillaged to hell and back. This is more of an examination of the talent today that might have a chance to reach Jordan’s status. They are obviously not him and will not surpass him either. The goal is ridiculous anyway. However, getting close to Jordan is possible. It’s not out of the question. 

I thought about this while lighting up fireworks in front of my house. I never thought any one would break Dan Marino’s records. Enter Brett Favre. Now who is on his way to breaking his records? Enter Peyton Manning who is better than Marino and Favre. This can be applied to Mike Jordan. He does not own all of the records, but makes an extremely strong presence in the record books. 
We have not seen any player get close to Jordan yet. Kobe Bryant is the obvious answer, but the gap between him and Michael is massive. Right now, Kobe is still in his prime. Time is running out though. So far, his accomplishments and statistics are nice yet the accumulative total does not add up. 
Kobe’s career averages (current) – 1103 games, FG 45%, FT .837, 25.3 points, 5.3 rebs, 4.7 asts, 1.5 stls, PER 23.5, Win shares 156.3
Jordan’s numbers are right here. Click. 
The numbers show that Bryant cannot reach him at this pace. He had his chance. No shame in that because Black Mamba is a great player; 2nd greatest shooting guard of all time. Here are the other candidates: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, and Derrick Rose. These four are prime players because they have some of the statistics and accomplishments. We can eliminate a couple of them right now. 
LeBron James – Nope. He had his chance if he stayed in Cleveland. 
Dwyane Wade – Nope. He is sharing the work with LeBron causing his numbers to decline. Yes, he has one title and a Finals MVP. Great stuff, but he’s trying to gain ground on Jordan, remember? Not good enough.
That leaves us with Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose. These two kids have a better chance anyone else right now because they are young. Durant is the two time scoring champion, but he only averaged 27.7 points per game last season. He has to knock out consistent 30+ point seasons consecutively. He also has to start getting league MVPs, first team all defense, and Finals appearances. 
The same is applied to Derrick Rose. He is the youngest league MVP. He’s coming off a 25.0/4.1/7.7 season. Rose does have the potential to average 30 points. We’ll see. His defense is not up to snuff yet. 
Here is some of the stuff that jumps at you when determining if he can chase Jordan:
  • Ability to score anywhere
  • Great finisher at the rim with either hand
  • Solid handles
  • Isolation skills
  • Can defend/or has tools to become a great defender
  • Can shoot from anywhere
  • Athletic 
  • Can get to the line with frequency
  • Hard worker
  • High basketball IQ
  • Killer instinct 
Both guys already reached their respective conference finals. They’re off to great starts. Blake Griffin earned honorable mention. He averaged 22.5 points in his rookie year. That is hot. The player doesn’t have to be a guard to chase Jordan; just look at LeBron and Durant. I know it is premature to mention Blake, but if he starts to light up the score boards averaging 27-30+ points per game, watch out. Griffin does have the potential to do that. However, he plays for the Clippers. They do not win anything. We will have to see. 
This is NOT about “The Next Jordan.” 
Who is the guy who has a realistic shot at reaching near Jordan level in terms of numbers and accomplishments? Durant? Rose? Or is that person even in the league right now? 
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