Michael Jordan Would Still Dominate in the Modern NBA, but Would He Be the League’s Best Player?

Michael Jordan wasn’t just great because of his talent, but also the league’s product. The NBA has evolved significantly since Jordan passed down the torch to Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in 2003. How would Michael fare today?

Michael Jordan is regarded as one of the best basketball players ever. In fact, he was the league’s best player during his prime. However, in today’s NBA, would MJ still be the best player? Read more in detail here: how good was michael jordan at baseball.

Michael Jordan became a basketball legend virtually as soon as he joined the Chicago Bulls. His explosive athleticism and skill made him an unrivaled talent and a game pioneer in his generation.

Would Michael Jordan have the same clout in today’s NBA?

Athletes today are larger, stronger, and quicker than they have ever been. They’re also better at what they do. In the 1980s and 1990s, there was no one like Giannis Antetokounmpo. Centers used to play virtually entirely on the block. Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid are two point guards who can shoot from three-point range, handle the ball in transition, and have the kind of court vision that fans demand from a point guard.

The terrain has shifted substantially as well. Because of the NBA’s transition toward being a more perimeter-centric league, scoring point guards are all the rage. The stretch-4 and stretch-5 variants are in great demand.

With all of these information in hand, let’s dissect Jordan’s game and see where he fits among today’s NBA great.

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This isn’t to imply Jordan isn’t one of the best basketball players ever. However, his physical characteristics are the most easily translated for predicting his success in today’s world.

When Jordan entered the NBA, he possessed the jumping ability and quickness. Later in his career, he made a concentrated attempt to gain muscle while maintaining the aforementioned traits, making him one of sports’ most dynamic athletes.

Mike made full use of his extraordinary physical abilities.

At the moment of attack, His Airness could defeat opponents off the dribble. He had a flair for acrobatic rim finishes, but his ability to finish despite contact was mostly due to his incredible body control. Mike was also capable of splitting double teams and raising up for mid-range shots.

Jordan eventually developed a lethal fadeaway. Strength played a key part here as well. He backed up defenders on the low block and moved into deep post position, generating enough sleight of hand for him to swivel back and shoot his high-arcing jumper off either shoulder.

In addition, the Bulls legend has gigantic hands. Jordan’s ball fakes are legendary, and they would surely give him an edge in today’s NBA. It’s a trait shared by Kawhi Leonard, who got the moniker “The Claw” for a very specific reason.

Jordan’s superior physical talents as a 2-guard would serve him well in an age when players are larger and quicker. Consider what he could do if he didn’t have to double-check everything.

Jordan’s worst flaw: the perimeter jumper.

“If LeBron James played back in the 90s he would adjust to the physicality. If Michael Jordan were in today’s era he would practice the 3-pointer more. When MJ entered the NBA he wasn’t a good mid-range shooter & became arguably the best mid-range shooter ever.” —@Chris_Broussard pic.twitter.com/W645CVgwNI

— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) May 5, 2020

Michael Jordan had very few flaws on either end of the court. However, he never provided much of a danger from the perimeter, at least not in today’s NBA.

Mike’s career three-point percentage was slightly under 33%, however he did have some more acceptable seasons in that area. Jordan hit 37.6% of his triples in 1989-90 and 42.7 percent in 1995-96, although with the arc shifted in somewhat.

It’s difficult to argue that Jordan wouldn’t have developed into a reliable three-point shooter given some of those outliers — not to mention an insatiable desire to achieve. Outside jumpers were not considered an effective shot during MJ’s time. Today’s teams prefer to concentrate on space and throw more threes than ever before.

Jordan would be forced to adapt if the rules changed. Because of the unlawful defense rule, teams could run offensive sets and clear one side of the floor in the past, enabling skilled post players like MJ to take advantage of one-on-one matchups. However, that rule no longer applies, which is why having a suitable quantity of floor-spacers is essential.

In any event, in today’s NBA, Jordan would seem to be a somewhat more willing shooter, averaging more than 1.7 triples per game during his career. He’d definitely have less hesitation about squeezing the trigger, shooting in transition, and taking on a greater usage with a more frantic and fluid offensive tempo.

Where would His Airness fit in today’s world?

Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan (L) speaks with Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic during halftime of the 2022 NBA All-Star Game

Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan (L) speaks with Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic during halftime of the 2022 NBA All-Star Game On February 20, 2022, Michael Jordan and Luka Doncic converse during halftime of the 2022 NBA All-Star Game | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

It’s difficult to say precisely where Michael Jordan would rank in today’s NBA. Comparing players is a subjective and, as the MVP race has shown, nauseating process. From a generational standpoint, this is considerably more difficult.

Assume, however, that NBA players are divided into levels. Jordan, like Antetokounmpo, Jokic, Embiid, Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry, would still be in the top tier.

Mike’s athletic abilities complement the sport’s heightened speed and strength. The intangibles and will to succeed are practically unrivaled. He’d be a viable three-level scorer with a solid handle and excellent abilities as a distributor and facilitator in the open floor if he worked on his outside jumper.

His defense is also under-appreciated by historians.

Jordan was named to nine All-Defensive teams and three times led the league in thefts, always pressuring ball-handlers and offering a threat to pick pockets or defend the passing lanes. He also possessed outstanding timing and instincts as a player who understood when to abandon his assignment and try to block opposing bigs near the hoop.

All of this is to argue that in today’s NBA, Jordan would still be a dominating force. Another consideration is if fans, peers, and commentators consider him the top player. But he’d undoubtedly be brought up in the discourse.

Perhaps that dialogue isn’t necessary. Like the GOAT discussions or the “greatest player” debates, maybe everyone would just admire excellence.

Basketball Reference provided the statistics.

RELATED: Michael Jordan’s Decision to Leave the Bulls for an Executive Position with the Wizards Should Be Reconsidered

Michael Jordan would still dominate in the modern NBA, but he would not be the league’s best player. Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players to ever live, and there is no doubt that he would have dominated in today’s game. However, there are a lot more talented players than MJ could have faced back then. Reference: michael jordan janitor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you agree that Michael Jordan is the best player in basketball of all times?

A: No.

Why is Michael Jordan regarded by most people as the greatest ever basketball player ?

A: Michael Jordan is regarded as the greatest basketball player because he has a lot of achievements in his career, such as leading the Chicago Bulls to win six NBA Championships and winning an Olympic Gold Medal.

How dominant was Michael Jordan?

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