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Horace Grant says Michael Jordan could score 45 a game in today’s NBA

Oct 11, 2013, 5:14 PM EDT

Michael Jordan AP

Horace Grant is doing his best to add to the mythology of Michael Jordan… we all might as well join in. I’ve heard Jordan turned water into wine, slayed the Nemean lion, and along with Babe the Big Blue Ox dug the Grand Canyon.

Grant is with the Bulls in Rio for an exhibition game and was asked about the tiresome today’s heat vs. Michael Jordan’s Bulls comparison (please just make it stop). What did you think Grant would say?

Here is his quote, via the Chicago Tribune, which starts off well and ends up in tedious comparison land.

“No, you can’t compare (eras),” he said. “The rules have changed so much from our days and the Heat’s days. It was more physical back then. Today you can run around without getting touched. Today, Michael Jordan would average about 45 points.”

He’s right, you can’t compare eras.

Also, I have no doubt Jordan could score 45 a game now. If they really wanted to LeBron James, Kevin Durant, pre-injury Kobe Bryant and pre-injury Derrick Rose could as well. But what those guys know — what Jordan knows — is that you can’t win that way consistently. You have to get your teammates involved. Jordan would have.

I’m fully over the LeBron vs. Jordan comparison — we don’t know LeBron’s legacy because he’s still at his peak, but LeBron likely will never match Jordan’s resume; however that is separate from the better player argument, which is always eye of the beholder — but here is Grant’s comments about Scottie Pippen saying LeBron could be the greater all around player.

“Scottie was really drinking that day when he said that,” Grant said, drawing laughter. “You can’t compare anybody to Michael. You can compare, but Michael is the best player I’ve ever seen or ever played against. Not taking anything away from Kobe (Bryant) or LeBron or Carmelo (Anthony) or even DRose, but wait until those guys get through playing. Then you can say compare the two careers.”

Exactly. We shouldn’t have this discussion until LeBron’s career (or Kobe’s or anyone’s) is over. Not that it will stop any of you in the comments.

  1. dolphindubs - Oct 11, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Yada yada yada…Let’s not forget that Jordan is considered the best ever for his defense as much as his offense and he played in a time where he was able to MANHANDLE his opponents. If he played today, he would be in so much foul trouble he wouldnt get the chance to score 45.

    What? Jordan would adapt to todays game but his opponents wouldnt adapt to him as well?

    • cantonbound13 - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      Sounds like someone’s an idiotic Heat fan falling for the LeBron hype. If it were ok to “manhandle” opponents when MJ played, isn’t it more impressive that Jordan was able to average over 30 points a game & LEAD his team to 6 championships? Championships were earned back then, unlike today’s sissified NBA where Dwayne Wade is given a Championship in 2006 because every time he touched the ball they whistled a foul on the Mavs.

      • kb2408 - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:46 PM

        @cantonbound…preach, bro, preach!! So true….

      • rickyspanish - Oct 11, 2013 at 8:07 PM

        Basketball season is upon us and it’s time for my good friend cantonbound to start hammering us Heat fans. Keep it up cantonbound, you make these comment sections infinitely more interesting.

      • cantonbound13 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        Ricky!!! Get ready for a fun year. Maybe your team will finally earn a title without Daddy Stern in the picture anymore?

      • miamatt - Oct 11, 2013 at 8:17 PM

        Man, @cantonbound13 and @kb2408 back-to-back? If only @mrwright had weighed in, we could have had the entire leadership council of the Miami Heat Appreciation Club going for their very own three-peat!

        Keep the fan mail coming, guys, it means so much to know that you all care!

      • leahcima1 - Oct 11, 2013 at 8:23 PM

        I am not saying that Jordan played only for himself. Let’s get that straight. At this point in time he is one of the greatest of all time and many astute followers of the NBA consider him THE greatest. (Cantonjerk0 is not in the “astute followers of the NBA” class so his opinion doesn’t count. He is more in the “I’ll pick out a player and a team to hate ” class.) I wouldn’t argue either way. It’s an impossible discussion because the game is always changing so you can’t compare one era’s players with another era’s players. But many, including former NBA players, believe that if Lebron played only for himself he could be close to Oscar Robertson and have a shot at averaging a triple double for the season. Not my call. We’ll wait for Lebron to finish his career and see if he was the greatest of his time, not of all time, but of his time.

      • kb2408 - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:38 PM

        @miamimatt, at least someone will be celebrating a threepeat….the Heatles sure won’t. Hope you all enjoyed you’re little “dynasty.” If barely winning two titles constitutes a dynasty.

      • cantonbound13 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        What dynasty? They lost to Dallas with 3 “all stars”. Bosh Spice actually refers to himself as a future Hall of Famer. They got the 1 in the lockout shortened season. Ask 9 time Championship & Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson what he thinks of teams that win a title in a lockout shortened season.
        Even last season’s choke job by the Spurs & controversial non travel call on Ray Allen makes you wonder why on earth any person would refer to this little tainted run as a “dynasty”.
        They will never duplicate the Bulls run, PERIOD!

  2. jimeejohnson - Oct 11, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    I think MJ could score as many as he wanted to in any NBA time period. Jordan’s not considered maybe the greatest of all time for nothing!

  3. shawnc16 - Oct 11, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Why do they allow Kurt Helin to write articles about Jordan who he hates or Lebron who he has a serious man crush or maybe just a crush crush on.

    • adamsjohn714 - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM

      It must be a conspiracy. Grant couldn’t just be rattling on with no real point supported objectively.

      C’mon. It’s a former teammate saying ridiculous things that are as unknowable as they are unlikely. Grain of salt isn’t bias here. It’s seasoning.

  4. savvybynature - Oct 11, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    If pre-injury Kobe could’ve averaged 45 a game, he would’ve.

    That dude has never met a shot he didn’t like and didn’t think he could make. And he was on a few terrible teams where he had the ultimate green light, yet he never averaged more than 35.4.

    So no, imo he couldn’t average 45 over a season. I doubt Lebron or D. Rose could either. Durant maybe, but Westbrook probably wouldn’t pass him the ball enough.

  5. km9000 - Oct 11, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Michael Jordan is like an ex your significant other can’t stop randomly bringing up in conversation.

  6. antistratfordian - Oct 11, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Retired players always say the same things about the current game – without fail, every generation, the same stuff. Wilt Chamberlain was saying these sorts of things during Jordan’s day, as he said to Ahmad Rashad in the 90s: “Oh, it’d be a joke… I could probably average 60 or 70 a game.”

    It’s rare to find someone like Jerry West who comes out and says, “Oh, I couldn’t compete with these guys today.”

    But in regards to Jordan playing in 2013… the pace is a lot slower now and zone defenses are legal (this creates all sorts of problems, see next paragraph). Jordan couldn’t just drive whenever he wanted to like he did in the 80s, and he’d be forced to improve his outside shot – something he wasn’t really forced to do in his day (the league actually threw him one heck of a bone when they moved the three point line in closer during his ’95 return). And also perimeter defenders are bigger, faster and more athletic. He had trouble with shortstacks like Joe Dumars, if you remember.

    There’s a reason why players have a hard time averaging 30 today. Even Kobe talked about this – defenses are getting too adept at taking a scorer out of a game for all sorts of reasons that didn’t even exist as recently as 2010. This has to do with the ubiquitousness of Thibs’ stifling Boston and Chicago defenses – flooding the strong side/packing the paint, etc. Getting to the hole is getting much harder, and in order to beat these defenses you absolutely must get the ball moving side to side. This was not the case in Jordan’s era.

    • gettinbuckets513 - Oct 11, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      Your logic is seriously flawed, Jordan could score 30 points in any era. You must not have watched 90’s bball because if you had you wouldn’t have this naive perspective. Teams like the Knicks and Pistons were more physical than any team today.

      Jordan best player on 6 championship teams, how many players can say that?

      • antistratfordian - Oct 13, 2013 at 7:18 PM

        “Your logic is seriously flawed, Jordan could score 30 points in any era”

        Where did I say he couldn’t? That isn’t the point anyway – a lot of guys can average 30 in any era – but in this era you are not going to be able to do that an still win a lot of basketball games. Or as Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson said: “The bad teams in our league are the ones who don’t pass the ball well. Teams that just play on one side of the floor are going to struggle against defenses that load up on that side.”

        The loading up on the strong side with a hybrid man/zone defense coupled with an intentional disregard for the 3 second rule (knowing that the refs would prefer not to continually stop play for 3 second violations) is the new Aegis.

        “You must not have watched 90′s bball because if you had you wouldn’t have this naive perspective.”

        I’ve forgotten more about 90’s bball than you know.

        “Teams like the Knicks and Pistons were more physical than any team today.”

        That’s relative. Certainly they were rightly classified as being very physical at the time, but that exact physicality would not produce the same level of intimidation if transported to 2013 without an amplifier. The 1989 force application that can rattle 6-6 198 lb Michael Jordan is not going to persuade 6-9 265 lb LeBron James.

        I’d suggest that you go back and watch those Pistons-Bulls and Knicks-Bulls series again and afterwards reacquaint yourself with the brutality of the 2012 Heat-Pacers series.

    • redbaronx - Oct 13, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      @antistratfordian – You finally made a half decent argument backed up by real logic! Congratulations!

      With that being said, Jordan wouldn’t have to “improve his outside shot”. That’s ridiculous! He had a great outside shot by the 87/88 season! And all that nonsense about the 3 point line? Again, this is a case of an obvious young guy (you…) who never saw Jordan play and only saw his stats somewhere. Try looking up Bulls vs. Blazers Finals on YouTube. That was in 93 in case you don’t know.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 14, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        First of all, the Bulls-Blazers finals was in 1992. Bulls played the Suns in 1993.

        Secondly, I’m older than you.

        Thirdly, Jordan made 6 threes in a game only two times in his career. Once against the Blazers in a wacky first half (didn’t make any in the 2nd) – but it was very rare for him to be that accurate, which why he shrugged.

        Finally, Jordan’s career 3PT% with the line at the standard distance is 29%. MJ had 5 (FIVE) different seasons where he shot under 20% from three. From 1997 to 1998 the league moved the three point line back out to the distance it is now… he shot 37% in 1997 at the shorter distance, then shot 24% in 1998 at the current distance.

      • redbaronx - Oct 16, 2013 at 2:26 PM


        1) Yes, you’re right! I finally made ONE mistake in all of the arguments I had with you. The Blazers Final was in 92.

        2) You have no idea how old I am, but from a maturity level, you’re definitely younger…or just plain immature.

        3) Who cares about how many times Jordan made 6 threes? That’s not the point!! How many people have EVER hit 6 threes beyond the 3?

        The point is that Jordan was a perfectly capable shooter beyond the 3 line.

        4) It makes absolutely no difference that Jordan was 29% beyond three. He only shot when necessary.

        Destroyed you yet again!

      • antistratfordian - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:04 PM

        “How many people have EVER hit 6 threes beyond the 3?”

        A ton. Are you kidding? Ray Allen has done it 48 times. Gilbert Arenas did it 20 times. Tim Hardaway 20 times. Nick Van Exel 27 times. Vince Carter did it 17 times. Dan Majerle 16 times. Kobe Bryant 16 times. Chuck Person 15 times. Mookie Blaylock 12 times. LeBron James has done it 11 times.

        Overall there are 179 players since 1985-86 who have made 6 threes in a game 3 or more times. There are 119 players who have done it 5 or more times. 72 players who have done it 8 or more times.

        Again, Jordan only did that twice. He was not a good, nor confident, three point shooter. One of the biggest mistakes he said he ever made was entering the three point contest, where he posted the worst score in the contest’s history.

        It makes absolutely no difference that Jordan was 29% beyond three.

        No, it does make a difference.

        Yes, you’re right! I finally made ONE mistake

        Delusional. That was about your 25th mistake overall. Your latest reply had 6 mistakes by itself.

      • redbaronx - Oct 21, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        @antistratfordian – 1 mistake……ONE! vs all of your BS.

      • redbaronx - Oct 21, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        @antistratfordian – You call me delusional? You’re the one saying you’re smarter than every NBA player. I hate to break it to you but there’s some pretty smart guys in the NBA! And your intelligence is average at best!

      • antistratfordian - Oct 21, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        Very convincing argument you have there, bub.

      • redbaronx - Oct 21, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        @antistratfordian – I don’t need to make a convincing argument. The level of your delusion is inherent in your assertion that you’re smarter than every NBA player. You have no way to measure your intelligence vs. NBA players, so that just means your ego is writing checks that you can’t cash.

    • notfol - Oct 14, 2013 at 2:41 AM

      You made a good point in contrasting Jerry West’s humility with Wilt’s hubris. I still think the defenses in the 90s were tougher. Between the hand checking on the perimeter & the lack of a ‘restricted area’, Jordan was faced with tougher defense than current players. The zone defense wouldn’t matter as much against a player who was routinely double teamed any time he had the ball in his hands, as Jordan was.

      Jordan would not have averaged the 45 ppg that Grant thinks, but he would easily lead the league in scoring. Carmelo led with 28.7 ppg. Jordan averaged that in his last season with the Bulls, in a league that saw a much lower scoring average. On a bad team today, Jordan would likely be a 40 ppg scorer. On a more balanced, championship team, he’d still be in the mid 30s..

      • antistratfordian - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:06 PM

        Too much is made of hand-checking – if you’re fast/quick it doesn’t really matter – and back in those days you could get to the rim whenever you wanted, it was just a matter of wanting to accept an elbow or shove when you got there. Today, just getting there is difficult, and when you do get there you still have to deal with the shimmy shimmy ya.

        Jordan’s kryptonite would’ve been zone. People forget that he was a bad three point shooter – his career 3PT% in standard distance years was only 29%. (his overall career average is inflated by the years the league moved the three point closer from 1995-1997)

        Teams sometimes played off Jordan, giving him the three – but you couldn’t do that as effectively as you can now with a zone. Stubborn Jordan would’ve killed himself trying to fly into these defenses today with guys twice as big as they were before draping him.

        Carmelo led with 28.7 ppg. Jordan averaged that in his last season with the Bulls

        Yeah, but MJ averaged that in a league where it was easier to score, but slowly paced. I don’t think MJ from 1998 would average 28 against these defenses and defenders. Melo and Durant can do it because they can make a ton of threes (Melo attempted 414 last year – it took Jordan six seasons combined to reach that many attempts).

  7. tigers182 - Oct 11, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Who cares?! Why is it all of the sudden article after article about what Jordan could fictitiously do today? The season needs to start badly.

    • cantonbound13 - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      The reason they still talk about MJ is because the NBA is watered down. There are no real super stars. They are currently hyping a guy that has a lifetime losing record in the Finals & he plays with 2 other “all-stars”. Nobody in the NBA currently could start on the original dream team, nobody!

      • leahcima1 - Oct 11, 2013 at 8:32 PM

        Cantonjerk0 is truly a laughable lap dog. I always get a smile when I see his tag because I know it is always, 100% of the time, going to be an attack on the Heat or on Lebron, Bosh, Wade or Heat fans. Never another subject. A human ditto machine. Jerko entertains. If he was in the movies he’d be one of the three stooges. Naw, he’d be all three of the stooges. He wouldn’t be able to share the stage with any others. lol

      • cantonbound13 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        Funny, you’re the one always following me on here like a lap dog excited to respond to my comments. I’m flattered for the following but also find it creepy.

      • leahcima1 - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:46 PM

        Cantonjerk0 is saying two time NBA champ Chris Bosh and 3 time NBA champ Dwayne Wade are all stars. He’s a little late with the news but it’s good to hear him finally facing the truth. It’s good to look in a mirror Cantonjerk0 and admit when you’re wrong.

      • cantonbound13 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        I do admit facts, moron. Unlike you, who only praises the Heat no matter what the conversation is about. The fact is both those guys made the all-star team.

  8. senorpapino - Oct 11, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    This article is so salty I need to get my cholesterol checked.

    • bikerboy24 - Oct 11, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      Um, so salt causes hypertension. Which does not cause high cholesterol.

  9. observingii - Oct 11, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    . . . and there was Oscar (sigh). . .

    • gettinbuckets513 - Oct 11, 2013 at 11:05 PM

      How many rings?

  10. freddysanford - Oct 11, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Lol. Lebron will never ever be as good as Jordan. Jordan was pure ARTISTRY man. Lebron is all brawn and muscle.

    • adamsjohn714 - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:19 PM

      Thank goodness for Lebron they play basketball, because he wouldn’t stand a chance in the painting championships.

    • cantonbound13 - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      All muscle but flops like a pansy.

      • leahcima1 - Oct 11, 2013 at 8:33 PM

        Really. How do you know what a pansy flops like? :)

      • cantonbound13 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        Just watch a Heat game.

  11. nflcrimerankingscom - Oct 11, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    That’s good to know since he is coming back this year.

  12. stayhigh_247 - Oct 11, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    I can easily see Mj averaging 30 from the floor and 15 from the line, with the added incentive of beating Melo, Kobe, Lebron, and Kd every night. I highly doubt miami would have got 2 in a row

  13. jbeagles23 - Oct 11, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    Lebron is like nothing we’ve ever seen. 20 years from now there will be someone new. Grant is right. Defenses today aren’t as physical but they’re a hell of a lot more athletic. In every sport the players are getting bigger faster and stronger

    • cantonbound13 - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      We may never see another physical specimen like LeBron. With Stern leaving, the drug testing policy may not be a joke anymore.

      • kb2408 - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:42 PM

        We’ve seen physical specimens like LeBron in the NBA before (George McGinnis, Larry Johnson, Karl Malone), they just weren’t as athletic as he is.

      • cantonbound13 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:41 PM


    • dls612 - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:46 PM

      The new defense is flopping! Not that I agree but players are using this tactic vs real defense! But none the less I agree.

  14. dls612 - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    As long as the media ask these kinds of questions and people bite they won’t stop!.I read an article about a stabbing that was kicked off because of a debate on wether Jordan would beat LeBron one on one! About as crazy as these coulda, shoulda, and woulda articles!

  15. tomtravis76 - Oct 11, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    If you were fortunate enough to have seen jordans career, you would not have another opinion about how great he was as a basketball player. He was complete.

  16. dolphindubs - Oct 11, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Jordan also played in an era dominated by bigs, unlike todays game where athletic wings are the stars. Jordan didnt have to face the likes of Kobe, LeBron, KD, Wade, Westbrook, Melo, George and all the other athletes of todays game. These type superstar wings werent around when he played. Just him. Maybe it would have made a difference facing them on a nightly basis, maybe not. Who knows. Who cares. Jordan was awesome as hell to watch. Now its LeBron who is awesome as hell to watch.

    God I love basketball!!!

  17. cruzan80 - Oct 11, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    If what Kurt is saying true…why doesn’t Melo average damn near 45 a game??? He’s always accusing Melo of being a ball hog so what’s up??? I’ll tell you what’s up….that would mean he would have to agree with Grant & gives props to a player he hates on even more than Melo….Jordan. Notice how he conveniently left out Melo (the reigning scoring champ) off his list of players who could average 45 if they wanted too…..smh….caught between a rock & a hard place there huh Kurt….lol.

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 12, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      I overlooked Melo but he could be on that list.

      I love the way commenters decide I like or don’t like people. I like watching ‘Melo play and like him as a person, I just don’t think you can build a contender around him.

    • adamsjohn714 - Oct 12, 2013 at 10:11 PM

      I actually think Melo would be one of the few guys who could do it, entirely because he wouldn’t care AT ALL whether they won or lost. Melo’s 45 points would cost his team 40 possessions, so without tremendously efficient teammates, they’d struggle. Thank goodness Melo plays defense to counteract his offense.

  18. nikey68 - Oct 11, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    I get so sick of hearing or reading how todays players are supposed to be better conditioned or athletic..I don’t know about that,when you consider how soft they seem and how easily they get hurt.I haven’t even gotten to the PED factor…A Wilt or MJ from those days would do just great today because they too would benifit from so called modern conditioning…If you really saw MJ play as I did for years it is a no brainer ..The man is on a higher level than Lebron no matter what the rules are..To me I’ve seen a lebron type play a long time ago..His name is Spencer Haywood..

  19. ninthwardfriend - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    It’s the shoes dam it!!!!!!

  20. ninthwardfriend - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    It’s the shoe’s man…..

    • km9000 - Oct 11, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      The shoe has a man?

  21. philtration - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    You want the truth Kurt?

    Those Bulls teams would have mopped the floor with this Heat team.
    The did it to other teams that would have also beat the hell out of the Heat so put the Kool-Aid down.

  22. jzone954 - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    You all are smoking CRACK….
    Please just let this REDICULOUS subject go. MJ should be more focused on trying to actually be a good GM rather then this endless talk that he could run up and down the courts today , in this league, over 50 weighing 280 lbs… it. Those day are over, and were awesome and fun to wactch…..please let it go

  23. jzone954 - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    “Barely winning two titles?” How exactly do you do that?

  24. chrisstyles32 - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    how are you going to mention derick rose on this article and leave out cp3, crazy cp3 can score with ease but chooses to be more of a passing pg. But I think he has long proven how easily he can score in today’s era.
    truly underrated scorer

  25. fmvonmanstein - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Greatest SG of all time, no argument. Greatest ever?? Nope, if he played as a PF or a C he would have got killed. Basketball has 5 positions last time I checked. Just another case of the overblown media Hype that is Michael Jordan.

    But if it keeps his shoes selling, why not?

    He has nothing else left to offer the game.

    • philtration - Oct 12, 2013 at 9:18 PM

      Dumbest comment on this thread.

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 15, 2013 at 7:34 AM

        Yes, it was argued quite poorly, but the point is still correct. Great Center > Great Guard. There’s a reason almost every single NBA champion won with a dominant center. It’s only natural that in a sport that rewards height, the 7 feet tall guys are the best.

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