Comparing LeBron James' Olympic Run to Michael Jordan's Dream Team Campaign

Ethan Sherwood Strauss@SherwoodStraussNBA Lead WriterAugust 7, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06:  Lebron James #6 of United States inbounds the ball during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match against Argentina on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Basketball Arena on August 6, 2012  in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

When we compare the Olympic team runs of Michael Jordan and LeBron James, some caveats apply. First, LeBron isn't done playing in these Games, and the more competitive round is about to begin. Second, the Dream Team was competing in something of an exhibition. Nobody else could touch them, as the world was further behind in hoops. 

So, when we look at Michael Jordan's numbers, we see those of a man who just wanted to put on a show while playing amid peers. We will never know what MJ's stats would look like had he actually been pressed or pressured in Olympic competition.

The results were appropriately fun to behold:

Based on his Bulls exploits, it's reasonable to assume that his shot volume might have gone up a tick had, say, Angola dared to challenge the Dream Teamers. 

Now, for the stats:

LeBron James: 11.6 points, 4.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds, .610 field goal, .333 three point 

Michael Jordan: 12.7 points, 5 assists, .3.8 rebounds, .547 field goal, .391 three point

LeBron James has played five games; Michael played six in his Dream Team run. So long as I'm being fair to Michael Jordan, based on his playing glorified exhibition matches, I should also note that LeBron is facing actual competition this time.

Michael's numbers were more impressive in this small sample size, but I don't see that as a criticism of James, per say. We're talking about a Michael Jordan comparison, after all.

Though, if I were to make a slight LeBron criticism, it would be this: He should really shoot more and drive more. This is the cliche James critique, as we often assume it's just easy for him to jaunt to a layup. But I really do feel like he's bailed opposing defenses out at times.

In general, Team USA is chucking too many contested threes. But hey, when it pays off, it's beautiful. It's difficult to argue against LeBron feeding Melo when it looks like this:

While the current 2012 squad has been offensively efficient and then some, it has accomplishing this in a risky manner. One of these games, those long shots might not fall. On the balance, taking advantage of the international three-point line seems a good strategy. But the reliance on threes opens America up to risk.

He has played fine, but LeBron could stand to do more scoring with that team-leading 22.2 minutes-per-game average. Much as I like to witness the drive-and-kicks to Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, it might be time for James to dust off the Jordan-esque post game we saw in the NBA Finals. 


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