What If? Michael Jordan's 1988-89 Season

David Funk@davidfunk74Correspondent INovember 9, 2008

Welcome to the first fantasy basketball edition of What If? This is where I look back at a player's season before fantasy basketball became prominent in our society.

So to start out the basketball edition, I'm starting out with my favorite team and favorite all-time player. Today, we look back Michael Jordan's 1988-89 season. I'm using the default scoring for Sporting News and Yahoo! fantasy basketball games. So here's the scoring system for each:

SN Fantasy Basketball Default Scoring System:

Point Scored: 1 point each
Field Goal Missed: -0.5 points
Free Throw Missed: -0.5 points
Rebound: 1.5 points
Assists: 2 points
Steal: 2.5 points
Block Shot: 2.5 points
Turnover: -1 point
Triple Double: 10 points

Note: For those that are not familiar with basketball, triple-double means reaching double digits in at least three of the following categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots.

Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball Default Scoring System:
Field Goal Attempt: -0.45 points
Field Goal Made: 1 point
Free Throw Attempt: -0.75 points
Free Throw Made: 1 point
3-Point Shot Made: 3 points
Point Scored: 0.5 points
Rebound: 1.5 points
Assist: 2 points
Steal: 3 points
Turnover: -2 points
Blocked Shot: 3 points

Here's the SN scoring total for Michael Jordan's 1988-89 season:

Points Scored: 2,633 = 2,633 points
Field Goals Missed: 829 = -414.5 points
Free Throw Missed: 119 = -59.5 points
Rebounds: 652 = 978 points
Assists: 650 = 1,300 points
Steals: 234 = 585 points
Blocked Shots: 65 = 162.5 points
Turnovers: 290 = -290 points
Triple Doubles: 15 = 150 points
Total SN Points: 5,044.5 points
SN Points Per Game: 62.28
Jordan played in 81 games in 1988-89.

Here's the Yahoo! scoring total for Michael Jordan's 1988-89 season:

Field Goal Attempts: 1,795 = -807.75 points
Field Goals Made: 966 = 966 points
Free Throw Attempts: 793 = -594.75 points
Free Throws Made: 674 = 674 points
3-Point Shots Made: 27 = 81 points
Points Scored: 2,633 = 1,316.5 points
Rebounds: 652 = 978 points
Assists: 650 = 1,300 points
Steals: 234 = 702 points
Turnovers: 290 = -580 points
Blocked Shots: 65 = 195 points
Total Yahoo! Points: 4,230 points
Yahoo! Points Per Game: 52.22
Jordan played in 81 games in 1988-89.

Source: basketball-reference.com

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It can be argued that Jordan had his best statistical all-around season in 1988-89 after leading the league in scoring again, and setting season-highs in rebounding and assists. Jordan's 15 triple-doubles on the season was also a season high for him.

Jordan had five 50-point games that season, which included three in the first month. His scoring high for the season was 53 against the Phoenix Suns on January 21. His game-high for rebounds was 14 which he accomplished five times during the season. His game-high for assists was 17 against the Portland Trail Blazers on March 24.

He didn't record his first triple-double until January 3 which was the team's 28th game of the year. After missing a game against the Boston Celtics because of a groin injury, Jordan had one of his best periods of play not long after.

In his last 16 games of the regular season, Jordan had 11 triple-doubles which included a stretch where he had seven in a row. The Bulls finished the regular season with a 47-35 record. Jordan averaged 32.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game during the regular season.

In the NBA playoffs, Jordan helped lead the Chicago Bulls to Eastern Conference Finals. It was in the opening round against the Cleveland Cavaliers that Jordan hit the famous jump shot over Craig Ehlo in the clinching Game 5 win.

In the next round, Jordan had a triple-double in the opening game against the New York Knicks, and the Bulls eventually won the series 4-2. Chicago advanced to play the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bulls actually held a 2-1 series lead against Detroit, but proceeded to lose the final three as the Pistons went on to win the NBA Title. Jordan averaged 34.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per game in the playoffs.

If anyone wants to suggest a past player, you may do so by commenting. I only ask that we try to keep it before 1995. Also, statistics are tougher to find in the early era of the game because they weren't tracked as well. Just something to keep in mind.

Photo courtesy of Britannica.com

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