"His Airness" Or "The Black Mamba"

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Numbers Don't Lie.

Jordan's career stats (averages added for '85-'98):
FGM (field goals made): 148.9
FGA (field goals attempted): 299.8
3P (3-pointers made): 7.7
3PA (3-pointers attempted): 22.7

Now subtract the 3P from FGM, and 3PA from FGA and you get: 141.2 FGM / 277.1 FGA =50.9%
A career 50.9% FG from the mid-range.

Kobe's career stats (averages added for '99-'11 to match Jordan's 12 years):

FGM: 116.2
FGA: 254.8
3P: 16.7
3PA: 49.3

Now subtract Kobe's 3's from his overall field goal and you get: 99.5 FGM / 205.5 FGA = 48.4%

Between Kobe and Jordan, there is a 2.5% difference in efficiency.

Now let's take a look at their total attempts:

Jordan's career totals from '85-'98:
FGM: 10962 shots

FGA: 21686 shots
3P: 555 shots
3PA: 1670 shots

Same mathematics. Eliminate the three-pointer from the overall shots and you get: 10407 (shots made) / 20016 (shots attempted)

And now Kobe:
FGM: 8783 shots
FGA: 19256 shots
3P: 1265 shots
3PA: 3728 shots

Same math: 7518 (shots made) / 15528 (shots attempted)

So let's compare their post/mid-range game:
Jordan's field goal: 50.9%
Kobe's field goal: 48.4%

Jordan's total shots made and attempted: 10407 / 20016
Kobe's total shots made and attempted: 7518 / 15528

Already you can tell how different their games are. Kobe played a lot as a wing shooter and Jordan played closer to the rim than Kobe did. Jordan took 4500 more shots in the mid-range than Kobe.

If using the statistics, Kobe emulated Jordan's mid-range game throughout his career, it would look like this:
Kobe's FG (48.4%) x Jordan's total shot attempts (20016) = 9687

Jordan's total made (10407) - Kobe's total made (9687) = 720 shots made
Jordan would have made 720 more shots in the post and mid-range than Kobe would have, over the 12-year course.
That would amount to: 720 shots / 12 years = 60 more shots made by Jordan per year
Which would translate to: 60 shots / 82 games a year = 0.73 shots per game. Basically Kobe would have missed less than 1 shot a game than Jordan would have.

Numbers don't tell the whole story, but "numbers don't lie" is a misleading statement. The difference in efficiency is heavily influenced by Bryant's perimeter game, as well as Jordan's lack-of. Of course, this is not an article to argue who the G.O.A.T. is. Jordan was a player that can't be matched in history, but there is a huge double standard when it comes to comparing the two.

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