JEFF VAN GUNDY EXPLAINS WHY JORDAN WOULD SCORE 40 POINTS PER GAME in today’s NBA: ” He would average north of 40 points a game”

JEFF VAN GUNDY EXPLAINS WHY JORDAN WOULD SCORE 40 POINTS PER GAME in today’s NBA: ” He would average north of 40 points a game”

One of the most interesting debates among basketball fans is whether some of the greatest NBA players would perform better in different eras. Even though most people know these debates are foolish, they are always interesting because different people have different views on this matter. In a recent interview for Sports Illustrated, former head coach and NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy talked about Michael Jordan with whom he faced multiple times when coaching the New York Knicks in the ’90s.

Van Gundy talked about the difference in the way basketball was played back then in comparison to today’s game, which is mostly focused around shooting threes. He points another big difference, which is the physicality that was present in the NBA back in the day, with teams having completely different defensive strategies. Van Gundy points out the dominance and efficiency Jordan had during the era when it was much harder to score because players were not relying on their shooting so much as nowadays.

I lived it. And fans, if they watch closely, they’ll see how little room Jordan had on the floor. The three-point shot was in less use, and there was less three-point shooting. If you look at how tight the spacing was in the triangle, and how much physical contact was allowed, people will be amazed. Everyone thinks they know how good Jordan was, but until you go back and actually study him, you’ll never understand what a great, great player he was. He shot over 50% a lot of times through the physical contact he had to play through—if that happened in today’s game, you’d be absolutely living at the free-throw line.

Jeff Van Gundy, Sports Illustrated

That is one of the biggest reasons why in Van Gundy’s mind, Jordan would average more than 40 points per game today. His playing style and mentality on offense were to go after the defense and exploit any potential weakness they might have had. That means in today’s NBA players like Jordan would love it, because the physicality is not on the same level and players who do initiate contact like James Harden, for example, get a big chunk of their points from the free-throw line.

“That’s why I have no doubt, if you dropped him in at his prime, in today’s game, he would average north of 40 points a game. He would be either living at the line or his variety of shots would just be too hard to handle. If fans watch the game footage closely, the amount of contact that was allowed then versus now, you’re going to be even more astounded at Jordan’s efficiency from a scoring perspective.”

Jeff Van Gundy, Sports Illustrated