Some new NBA fans try and use the whole Michael NEEDED Phil argument to explain how he became the greatest player of all time. The people that seem to do this the most are apparently Kobe fans who try and find ways to minimize Jordan and maximize Bryant, maybe to try to put them on the same plane—as if Phil wasn't Kobe's coach basically the whole way through.
This story isn't about that, because there's no need to defend Mike. He is the GOAT, and he was before the general public ever knew who Phil Jackson was and before he became Chicago's coach. Some people knew Jackson as a backup forward for the old school N.Y. Knicks.
And after Jordan retired for the second time and came back with the Wizards from age 38-40 he was still the GOAT. Put it this way, if the league were all 40-year-olds Jordan would easily be MVP. That is why he still was the GOAT.
Here, we relive all of Jordan's season's without Phil as his coach and explain how he is the greatest INDIVIDUAL player the NBA has ever seen.
Jordan went to the University of North Carolina and immediately had impact. The freshman started and hit the game winning shot to help his team with the National Championship at age 19.
In his second season at UNC he was named College Player of the Year.
In his third season of college he was named College Player of the Year, AGAIN.
Starting to get the picture?
As an NBA rookie Jordan averaged 28.2 points and scored more points that ANY player on the season. Why? Bernard King led the league in scoring with over 32ppg but he only played 50 games. Larry Bird missed some games and averaged over 29ppg. Jordan played all 82 games and indeed did score the most points total on the season, AS A ROOKIE!
It's not like he forced it, either. He shot an awesome and amazing 51.5 percent from the field and he also shot 84.5 percent from the line. He also grabbed 6.5 rebs per game, 5.9 assists, 2.4 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. The Bulls made the playoffs. The year before the Bulls went 27-55 and didn't make the playoffs.
Jordan's teammates were Dave Corzine, Quintin Dailey, Rod Higgins, Orlando Woolridge and Jawann Oldham. Enough said.
In Jordan's second season the Bulls were off to a 3-0 start before Jordan broke a bone in his foot in the third game. He was out for 64 games on the season. Without him the Bulls fell back to their old winning percentage and made a late season run to make the playoffs when he came back with 15 games left.
People do not realize what Jordan did in limited playing time thanks to his doctor's orders. In 18 games he averaged 22.7 pts in only 25.1 minutes!!! He also averaged 2.1 steals in that time and even 1.2 blocks per game. How is that humanly possible?
He did "the inhuman" as Bird said after the game. Jordan scorched the Celtics for 63 points in a losing effort. No one has ever scored 63 points in a playoff game. It is still an all-time record.
His teammates were Gene Banks, Sidney Green, George Gervin in his last ever season, Kyle Macy and Mike Smrek.
In 1986-87 Doug Collins replaced Stan Albeck as coach of the Bulls, who had replaced Kevin Loughery. Jordan's teammates were Mike Brown, Fred Cofield, Steve Colter, Charles Oakley and Brad Sellers.
Jordan obviously had zero help and went out and scored 37.1 points per game, becoming the only other player than Wilt to ever score 3,000 points in a season. He also added 5.2 rebs, 4.6 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.5 blocks, becoming the only player to have ever had 200 steals and 100 blocks in the same season, and he was a shooting guard!
In 1987-88 Jordan had an absolutely amazing season and set the league on fire even more, which would seem impossible after a season like he had the year before. He outdid it anyway, and he had to. His teammates were Artis Gilmore (in his 16th season), Rory Sparrow, Sedale Threatt, Granville Waiters and two rookies named Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen.
The two rookies were projects at the time. Grant played 22.6 minutes and scored 7.7 points per game. He also grabbed 5.5 boards per game. Awesome huh?
Pippen as a rookie scored 7.9 points per game in 20.9 minutes. he also averaged 1.2 steals and 2. 1 assists per game. Not the Pippen you know, eh?
They didn't exactly save Jordan, did they? The Bulls won 50 games because Jordan, by himself, led the league in scoring, was named Defensive Player of the Year...wait...what? Yep. He was also named NBA MVP. His team lost in the Eastern Conference Finals vs. Detroit, 4-1.
Jordan averaged 35 ppg, 5.5 rebs, 5.9 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.6 blocks per game!!! Wait..what? Yep. He shot 53.8 percent from the field and 85 percent from the line.
This is when I started watching basketball every year; I was 12 or 13. I never liked basketball until I saw clips of him one day at school on TV. I was freakin' amazed. You should have seen the way Jordan played the Cavaliers and the Pistons.
Yeah, they lost, but only really had one player. The Pistons threw Jordan all over the place and he never gave up or backed down. He played harder that I have ever seen anyone play and the Bulls won their one game because the whole Detroit team could not stop Mike.
After this series, the world knew they were seeing the greatest single individual player they had ever seen. He was the GOAT already, and his teammates sucked, bad.
1988-89 was the season before the Bulls got rid of coach Collins and got Phil, and OMG it was insane. How could a player outdo the season just described before this? I have no idea, but Jordan did it again. They used MJ as PG for a time, because John Paxson was a spot up shooter who only scored 7.3 ppg and was not a passer.
You hear about LeBron and his 2010 season of seven rebounds, eight assists and 29 points. Jordan scored 32.5 ppg, grabbed eight rebounds AND dished off for eight assists in the same season. He also did it at 6'5" and 200 pounds. He wasn't 6'6".
I, and the rest of the world, sat there stunned every game. He also averaged 2.9 steals per game. Wow. That is the closest anyone has ever come to a triple-double aside from the Big O and Wilt. Why do today's fans not know, when they compare other players to this? They weren't born yet. Ha ha, y'all missed out big time!
The Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Finals and lost 4-2 to the eventual champs Detroit. By, the way, they lost in the ECF to Detroit WITH Phil as coach the next year, too. The Pistons were amazing at defense and scoring. Jordan's teammates were Pippen (15.6 pts and 3.8 assists in his second season), Grant, Ed Nealy, Paxson, Will Perdue and David Wood.
As you see, the Bulls progressed not because of Phil coming but because Pippen started to get better, and Grant and Paxson started to know how to play at a higher level. Jordan finally actually had some teammates to help him win it all in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998. But just like always, Jordan was Jordan (six-time Finals MVP/never lost in Finals). He was the GOAT all the way through.
Skip to his time with the Wizards. Jordan was 39 when the 2001-02 season ended. He scored 22.9 points per game and grabbed 5.7 rebs and dished 5.2 assists for the Wizards. The Wizards were 19-63 the year before and Jordan was the only new player on the team and they went 37-45. They would have made the playoffs if old Jordan hadn't missed 22 games to injury.
Oh yeah, he scored 51 in a game becoming the oldest player ever to score 50 in a game that year. That is half-a-hundred points by an old man against kids who really had no excuse. His teammates that year were Hubert Davis, Kwame Brown, Tyronn Lue, Jahidi White and Chris Whitney. Huh?
At age 40 WITHOUT Phil, who is a good coach, Jordan averaged his lowest ppg ever at 20 ppg. He was the ONLY Wizard to play in all 82 games that year. What the...? Amazing for an old man who could be the actual father of half the league that year. They say he played in another era and that's why today's players are better. Explain this then: His teammates were Jared Jeffries, Brian Cardinal, Juan Dixon, Bobby Simmons and Etan Thomas.
So, in all his season without Phil as his coach, including when he was an old man, Jordan averaged 29.3 pts, 6.1 rebs, 5.5 assts, 2.4 steals and one block per game in 487 games.
In the other 585 regular season games of his career (with Phil as his coach) Jordan averaged 30.8 pts, 6.3 rebs, 5.1 assists, 2.3 steals and 0.7 blocks.
So—we see that WITH Phil as his coach his scoring went up, his rebounding went up, his assists went down, his steals went down and so did his blocks.
People say Phil made Jordan play a team game more, but he scored more under Phil and averaged less assists and did a little less defensively. So...how does that work out in these people's minds?
Phil helped guide the rest of the guys to play around the greatest player ever—the triangle offense was created for a dominant center but they did it with Mike. That's how amazing he was. They now use the triangle in L.A., around a center—Gasol—and they did the same with Shaq.
Michael Jordan finally and only had good players around him from 1991 to 1998. Some guys have had great players around them their entire careers.
MJ=GOAT without Phil and with him, too.