Question of the day: Michael Jordan says that under today’s rules, he would have scored even more points. Do you agree?
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Duh. Jordan not only would have scored more points because of the limited contact allowed on the perimeter, but because of the talent drain created by league expansion after his prime Bulls years and the league's move away from thug-like enforcers, the type Pat Riley utilized during his Knicks coaching tenure.
About the only change since Jordan's prime years that would create any new challenge would be the legalization of zone defense, but that approach is so minimally utilized that it likely would not even stand as a factor.
As for concerns that the contact limitations on the perimeter would create foul trouble for Jordan, this is not a league that puts its prime attractions in foul trouble. Exhibit A there would be LeBron James.
Baxter Holmes, Los Angeles Times
Oh, MJ. There’s nothing you can’t do -– or at least that’s what you think. But 100 points in today’s NBA? Nope. You’d foul out first. Nice thought, though.
First, your career-high was 69 -- and that came in overtime.
Second, 100 isn’t as easy as you make it sound.
Wilt Chamberlain did it in an era when most big men stunk –- and even then his 100 came against a backup center on a night when his teammates intentionally fouled to get the ball back. It was a circus act, not basketball.
And Kobe, whose 81 in 2006 is the second-highest game behind Wilt, put up that many because his teammates then stunk.
Also, Kobe’s a great three-point shooter, and you’re not. These days, you’d need the three-ball to hit the century mark. Free throws wouldn’t be enough. Not against the talent these days, which is as good as the NBA's ever seen, if not better.
So, MJ, don’t pop off some bombastic proclamation to remind us you were great. We haven’t forgotten, OK? But 100 points is too much for any ballplayer, even you.
[Updated at 12:10 p.m.
KC Johnson, Chicago Tribune
If Michael Jordan said he would score more points under today's rules, then Michael Jordan would've scored more points. Basically, virtually anything Jordan said he would accomplish, he accomplished. Such was the tenacity and talent of the Greatest Player Of All Time. So many of Jordan's teammates talked about how the player with the most talent also possessed the most competitiveness. That rare combination propelled Jordan to dizzying heights. And that same combination would send his scoring average higher today. Without hand-checking on the perimeter, MJ would've gotten to the rim at will early in his career and would've been even more effective in the post with his turnaround jumper later in his career. Few could guard him even in the rough-and-tumble, Bad-Boy-Pistons era anyway. That's because Jordan was tough enough to absorb contact. Without it, he'd be downright scary.
Photo: Michael Jordan. Credit: Dick Raphael / Getty Images