Chicago Bulls: Breaking down the Jordan vs. LeBron debate

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Guard Doc Rivers of the Atlanta Hawks tries to fend off guard Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls during a game at the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia.
Guard Doc Rivers of the Atlanta Hawks tries to fend off guard Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls during a game at the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia. /

Where it all starts

The starting point of the LeBron-Jordan debate is going to be their per game basic and advanced stats from the regular season. Per game stats can be flawed, especially with how the game has changed in the modern age. But a lot of advanced stats will account for the change in style of play, per league averages.

Here’s the per game regular season numbers and shooting percentages for Jordan.

30.1 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.8 blocks

49.7 FG%, 32.7 3PT%, 83.5 FT%

And here’s the per game regular season numbers and shooting percentages for James.

27.1 points per game, 7.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.8 blocks

50.4 FG%, 34.4 3PT%, 69.7 FT%

As far as the per game averages and shooting percentages go from their careers lined up during the regular season, Jordan and James are pretty similar. Jordan scored a few more points per game and shot better from the free-throw line. But James held the edge in rebounds, assists, and field goal and three-point shooting percentage.

When it comes to the playoffs, though, Jordan was able to reach another level entirely. Jordan averaged 33.4 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.1 steals, and 0.9 blocks in his playoff career. Meanwhile, James averaged 28.9 points per game, 8.9 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.0 blocks. Both players were able to elevate their games come playoff time.

The per game numbers do tend to favor LeBron just in terms of pure volume. Given that LeBron plays the point guard position often for the Lakers now, his assist numbers are understandably solid. His insane physical tools also allow him to get an edge in the rebounding department.

Edge: LeBron James (slightly)