Would prime LeBron or prime Michael Jordan be harder to guard?

I’m going with prime Jordan, because along with prime Wilt and prime Shaq, he was the most dominant scorer I’ve ever seen. Like.. there were defenses specifically meant to stop him like the Jordan Rules used by the Bad Boy Pistons. It didn’t matter. Jordan still sliced all these defenses like hot knife through butter.

Jordan was averaging 30+ PPG ^ against this.

And just look at the numbers. Jordan had to face the gamut of great perimeter defenders. Joe Dumars, Dennis Johnson, Maurice Cheeks, Sidney Moncrief, Mookie Blaylock, Alvin Robertson, Gary Payton, Vernon Maxwell, Gerald Wilkins, John Stockton, John Starks, Michael Cooper, it didn’t matter he averaged 30+ PPG head to head vs all of them.

Lebron is a different story. He’s certainly hard to stop on his own merits, but it’s more like trying to guard Karl Malone than it is trying to guard say.. KD. I’ve never seen any player totally lock Lebron down (and certainly not guys like Jason Kidd or JJ Barea like the haters all say they just happened to be part of the great zone defense the Mavs played on Bron). Andre Iguodala I would say did a pretty good job slowing Lebron down in the 2015 Finals dropping Lebron’s FG% down to 40% and Bruce Bowen’s defense on Lebron in the 2007 Finals dropped his FG% down to 36%. Certainly the 2011 Mavs zone defense contained Lebron well. There’s been a few other players like Kawhi or Tayshaun who might have bothered Lebron but didn’t really slow him down that much.

While Gary Payton did the best against Jordan in the 1996 Finals, I don’t really recall many other instances of Jordan truly being slowed down.

Overall, from what I’ve seen, although both players were hard to stop, prime Jordan was never really slowed down or contained whereas Lebron has been slowed down or limited a few times in his career. I’m giving it to Jordan.


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