Michael Jordan retired as the NBA’s all-time leader in points per game, a title he still holds. He scored 40 or more points 211 times, 50 or more 39 times and 60 or more 5 times, with a career-high of 69 in a 1990 game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He holds so many scoring records that Wikipedia has an entire page dedicated to his achievements. To put it in SAT terms, Michael Jordan : scoring :: Jay Leno : wearing all-denim outfits (i.e. the best).
But according to Scottie Pippen, that’s the just the tip of the iceberg for what MJ could have accomplished. According to Pip, if Jordan played today, he’d be even more of the best scorer ever. From CSN Chicago:
“The game now is so offensively driven,” Pippen said. “It’s so easy for an offensive player to keep his aggressiveness with the basketball player.”
Pippen said Michael Jordan could average over 40 points per game in today’s game. Pippen said that whatever the highest guy in the league was, Jordan could just do more if he wanted to. He also said Jordan could score 100 points in a game today.
Bold claims, Pip. Not entirely crazy, but certainly bold, considering the only guy to ever average 40 for a season was Wilt Chamberlain, who did it twice.
Averaging 40 a game obviously isn’t easy but it’s not outside the realm of possibility given the rule changes that have taken place in the NBA. In fact, Jordan’s best season (37 a game in 1987) left him just 239 points short of averaging 40, and that’s only one more made field goal and one more free throw a night. There’s a very good chance 1987 Michael Jordan could put up 40 points a game in today’s NBA.
The 100 point game, however, is a bit trickier. The closest anyone’s ever come was Kobe Bryant’s 81-point explosion in 2006. During that game, Kobe took 46 shots and 20 free throws in 42 minutes. Jordan took that many shots only once, and never took that many shots during a game where he shot 20 or more free throws. Plus, Kobe shot the lights out from three that night, going 7-13. Only once in his career did Jordan take 10 or more threes while making at least five of them. Not to mention, Kobe was still 19 points shy of 100. Simply put, scoring 100 points in a game is basically impossible. Unless, of course, you’re a crazy athletic 7-foot-1 behemoth playing against a bunch of 6-foot-6 slobs who you let score in order to get the ball back.
Then again, if I had to wager on anyone being able to score 100 points in a game, I guess I’d take my chances with Michael Jordan. He seems to enjoy doing things that people tell him he can’t do.