There was nothing on the basketball court that Michael Jordan didn’t excel at. Most of the Bulls legend’s heroics are just more popular than the others.
Michael Jordan is arguably the best to ever play basketball. Just his highlights reels are enough to make a case for “His Airness” but then he has this impeccable record which is second to none throughout history.
We generally talk about his mesmerizing scoring ability through which he destroyed great defenses throughout the 80s and 90s.
Michael Jordan’s Year 3-5 stats are insane.
He was that good offensively while also playing playing DPOY level defense. pic.twitter.com/fTaPvyfEYe
— Jake (@JakeAndHoops) June 29, 2021
In his 15 year NBA career he claimed 10 scoring titles and averages most points per game ever.
But that’s not the only end of the court where the Bulls legend scared the living daylights out of opponents. He also suffocated his rivals on the defensive end of the court. And so much so that they wouldn’t even make plays on his side of the court.
Kenny Smith explains Jordan’s defensive prowess
In an episode of NBA TV’s Open Court, Kenny Smith who played against Jordan a lot tries to explain the 6-time champion’s greatness on the defensive end which is not talked about much.
‘The Jet’ said, “If you look at Michael, he had the correct hand in the passing lane. He was the Deion Sanders of basketball, where you wouldn’t run a play on his side of the court because he could stop you on that side.”
But it’s just because of time that people have forgotten the 6-time MVP’s defensive prowess. Or maybe because defensive highlight reels are not as popular.
While he played he was well appreciated and rewarded for his efforts. He made it to most ALL NBA Defensive First Teams (9) ever. He even won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 1988, but fans sometimes forget why.
When Michael Jordan won the Defensive Player of the Year Award, he was the league leader in:
•Steals Per Game
•Defense Box Plus Minus
— Robert J Pfeifer (@RobertJPfeifer) December 5, 2021
There are just five guards who have the DPOY. Jordan smothered the players of the opposing teams by continuously trying to take away the ball. He is 4th All-time in steals per game (2.35) and was steals leader 3 times in his career.
Only Chris Paul (6) has more steals titles. One can see the similarities in both players’ IQs because most of their steals come from disrupting the passing lane of the opposition. Because of his work ethic and aggression, IQ is another aspect where Jordan is underrated and Paul and LeBron James are considered to be the top guys in the category.
Having Scottie Pippen and a few other defensive juggernauts over the years like Dennis Rodman also helped Jordan’s cause to dominate every team in the NBA and win 6 titles in 8 years.
Imagine being a primary defender of a team in the league during MJ’s time, first, you’d have to guard the offensive savant and fail at it, and then you’d have to listen to your coach, asking you to learn something from Jordan’s amazing defense. Yikes!