Not many players in NBA history can brag about the fact they played against Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant during their career, but Metta World Peace had the privilege to be one of them. The small forward has a great career behind him, as he got remembered for being one of the better defenders the league has ever seen.
So by being regularly the go-to perimeter defender for his teams, World Peace had the opportunity to get a first-hand look at some of the best scores in the NBA. If somebody knows who has a niche for scoring and frustrating his defenders, it's Metta, as he had numerous battles with some of the best offensive players, sometimes getting torched and sometimes being the heroic stopper.
While talking with former NFL player and FS1 analyst Shannon Sharpe on his podcast, Metta talked about how unstoppable Jordan was. Shannon wanted to know what Metta thinks about Jordan in today's NBA as Metta went ballistic, explaining how he would be even more unstoppable in today's NBA.
"Today? More than James Harden, more than that for sure. I was at the Jordan era. I was in the LeBron [James], Kobe [Bryant], [Tim] Duncan, and I was at the tail end. I've played with these guys. I've seen all the 3-point balls go up. No way. Jordan would average 50...If he wanted to. James Harden wants to average 50. He just can't. He got 38. Amazing. If Jordan wants to average 50 and he was playing in this era, I think he averages 50. And that's no disrespect to any of the (current) guys that's killing."
Metta World Peace, ">Club Shay Shay
Metta seemed super confident in his statement, showing firm belief MJ would drop 50 on a nightly basis in today's era by using Harden as an example. James Harden is one of the best scorers in today's NBA, and MJ could do a lot more damage than him, especially considering the difference in playstyles between the two eras.
Today the game is so fast-paced and offense-oriented that we are seeing higher scoring games and more players than ever averaging ridiculous numbers. On the other hand, MJ played in an era that allowed hand-checking and very physical defense, making it much more challenging to score in bunches. Just the simple mention of the Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" and the "Jordan Rules" is enough to describe what MJ had to face.
When you look at the fact Jordan was scoring 30+ points in that era; it backs up Metta's case of MJ averaging 50 points today. It may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I could see a prime Jordan averaging about 40 in the right situation. Considering the offensive variety Jordan had in his bag, he could do anything on the court, with possibly the three-point shot being his least valuable weapon even though he eventually managed to be respectable from long range. After all, he is the GOAT for most of the NBA world, so people believe he could dominate any era and with sound reasoning behind it.