Michael Jordan was a trendsetter for many practices that basketball players use today to get better. Using advanced stats was one of those things.
Jordan played 11 full seasons with the Chicago Bulls. In those 11 seasons, he either led the league in total points scored or points per game every single time. This highlights Jordan’s dominance over his field better than practically any other stat.
What made Jordan different from other high-fliers and athletic specimens of his era was his skill level. Michael Jordan had a vertical leap of over 40 inches before he met Tim Grover, but he was also the hardest-working player in the league.
Tim Grover’s specialized fitness programs helped Jordan gain an even bigger physical advantage over the rest of the league. Grover wrote in his book that he helped MJ get from a vertical leap of 38 inches (disputable) in 1988 to 48 inches in 1993.
Tim Grover talks about how Michael Jordan appointed an extra statistician
One of the steps that Jordan took to improve himself was the appointment of a personal statistician. According to Grover, this fella noted down all the scenarios where Jordan would miss a shot, free throw or make a turnover:
“At the end of the game, there’s the stat sheet that all the teams get. The stat sheet has how many minutes you played, how many points you scored, how many shots you took, rebounds, assists, fouls, free throws, and all those things.”
“Michael used to have a second stat sheet. He would have a stat sheet of all the free throws he missed, the fouls he committed, the turnovers he had, all the negative stuff. And I asked him ‘explain this to me.’”
“He goes ‘I’m supposed to score points, I’m supposed to get rebounds, I’m supposed to make my teammates better. I don’t want to get acknowledged for the things I’m supposed to do.’”
“He’s just like ‘I’m not supposed to turn the ball over. I’m not supposed to miss free throws, I’m supposed to make my teammates better. So I need to work hard consistently on those three things on a regular basis, and the other things will automatically get better.’”