Editor’s note. This is merely opinion and not to be taken too seriously. Michael Jordan is widely considered the greatest of all time. Lebron James has reached his peak. These two factors spark debate among basketball purists and fans alike
With the attenion now surrounding Lebron James after winning his first title and establishing himself as the the most dominate player in the NBA what’s next for the man known as LBJ?
Statistically he has surpassed his supersstar teamate Dwyane Wade. Lebron has also proved more efficient than Kobe Bryant. The next hurdle is to go for the crown: Supassing Michael Jordan.
Michael has been widely regarded as the gold standard to surpass. It is a daunting task when dealing with the spectre of Jordan. There isn’t a need to go over MJ’s accomplishments. They are of legend.
A statistical comparison between Jordan and Lebron show this: We may be looking at the next MJ.
Now right now you might have unfollowed me on twitter or have just started to prepare a hate mail letter about even putting James in the class of Michael but lets examine the most efficient seasons measured by PER in NBA history (Bear in mind PER doesn’t take into account older legends and defensive stoppers)
The Player efficiency rating (PER) is ESPN Insider writer John Hollinger’s all-in-one basketball rating, which attempts to boil down all of a player’s contributions into one number. Using a detailed formula, Hollinger developed a system that rates every player’s statistical performance.
PER strives to measure a player’s per-minute performance, while adjusting for pace. A league-average PER is always 15.00, which permits comparisons of player performance across seasons.
PER takes into account positive accomplishments, such as field goals, free throws, 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, and negative ones, such as missed shots, turnovers and personal fouls. The formula adds positive stats and subtracts negative ones through a statistical point value system. The rating for each player is then adjusted to a per-minute basis so that, for example, substitutes can be compared with starters in playing time debates. It is also adjusted for the team’s pace. In the end, one number sums up the players’ statistical accomplishments for that season.
Now like all statistical formulas there is room for error. PER is generally considered one of the best measures of player efficiency. Here is an idea of the numbers:
- A Year For the Ages: 35.0
- Runaway MVP Candidate: 30.0
- Strong MVP Candidate: 27.5
- Weak MVP Candidate: 25.0
- Bona fide All-Star: 22.5
- Borderline All-Star: 20.0
- Solid 2nd option: 18.0
- 3rd Banana: 16.5
- Pretty good player: 15.0
- In the rotation: 13.0
- Scrounging for minutes: 11.0
- Definitely renting: 9.0
- The Next Stop: DLeague 5.0
Now let’s take a look at the top 5 most efficient seasons in NBA History based on PER:
- Wilt Chamberlain: 31.84 1962 – 1963
- Wilt Chamberlain: 31.76 1961 – 1962
- Michael Jordan: 31.71 1987 – 1988
- Lebron James 31.67 2008 – 2009
- Wilt Chamberlain: 31.64 1963 – 1964
As you can see Mr Chamberlain is up there as well, but we will discuss him at another time. Michael and Lebron are numbers 3 and 4
Now, ere are the career PER leaders:
- Michael Jordan: 27.91
- Lebron James: 27.24
- Shaquille O’Neal: 26.43
- David Robinson: 26.18
- Wilt Chamberlain: 26.13
Lebron and Michael are virtually tied. The difference is Lebron can still change his numbers. Michael can’t
Now just like Lebron’s teammate Dwyane Wade and the rest of the world will say Lebron has a long way to go before surpassing his airness but the numbers PER wise don’t lie. Lebron James is on the path to surpass Michael Jordan
(Statistics from http://www.basketball-reference.com)