***Ed note: Wrote this the other night after the 1st Bulls/Cavs game here in Chicago. Last night he scored 12 in the 4th to finish with 32, 8 boards and 6 assists in another Cavs win.***
The player comparisons to Jordan over the years have been thrown around like lingerie on a Vikings boat trip. I'm tired, that was lame, but it's true. Let's see...we've had Harold Miner, Vince Carter, Grant Hill, Kobe Bryant and even Corey Benjamin. And if you're white and good you get compared to Larry Bird--Wally S., Laettner, Gugs, I think even Adam Keefe. None of the comparisons have ever really been fair--or fit.
LeBron James is the latest "Next Jordan". I watched him play the Bulls last night and he impressed me. That sounds dumb--he impresses everyone, but he impressed me in that I will not cringe anymore when people call him the next Jordan. I had before. Now I will not. The similarities are many: unique, incredible NBA body that combines tremendous speed and strength for their size, excellent court vision, the ability to score any way you like it, the ability to single-handedly take over and win games, the ability to dictate the tempo of the game and that charisma and aura that only the most special of players have.
Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni are good defenders. He went right past them several times last night. Every dunk is a form of art. He not only has gears when he is running the floor, his jumps have gears too. He did this jam last night where right as he was about to stuff it he burst up even higher--a double pump with his whole body. It was astounding. And obviously he has so much more than dunks. The knock that he can't shoot mid range J's and 3's is not applicable. He won't be 21 until the end of this year. No one in their right mind would look at him and think he is only 20 and this is only his 3rd year in the league.
He is shooting over 50% and 38% from 3. He is a 79% FT shooter. All 3 of those percentages have risen each season. Can you even imagine what he will be like at age 24? 26? He's averaging 31 pts., 6 boards and 5 assists per game. At age 20. Count me among the believers and sorry for being late to the party.
There is one facet where LeBron doesn't come close to Jordan. Defense. I've yet to see the tenacity Jordan displayed on that end and I also don't think his instincts are as good as Mike's or even Scottie's. And that's what totally set Jordan apart from every other prolific scorer--his incredible defense. So no one will ever be the next Jordan. But LeBron is the closest yet.