One of the main reasons Michael Jordan was able to have such a dominant rookie season when he entered the NBA in 1984 was because he learned all the most important things during his time at the University of North Carolina. Coached by a HOF coach, Dean Smith, Jordan was able to excel in every aspect of the game, not just on an individual level, but also in Jordan learned how to play within a well-officed system.
When Jordan joined the UNC and coach Smith, he took him under his wing and taught Jordan all the essential things to be a successful professional when he enters the NBA. During those years, they developed an exceptional relationship that lasted until Smith passed away back in 2015. There was even a joke around that Dean Smith was the only person on the planet that could hold Jordan to under 21 points per game. During his sophomore and junior year, Jordan averaged around 20 points per game and was so well implemented into the existing system that there was no need for him to score more points.
Coach Smith immediately knew Jordan has all the God-given abilities to be a great player, but he needed guidance on maximizing his skillset. Jordan learned how to use his speed and quickness and understand what he needs to do in certain situations during the game.
Coming out of high school, I had all the ability in the world, but I didn’t know the game. Dean Smith taught me the game, when to apply speed, how to use your quickness, when to use that first step, or how to apply certain skills in certain situations. I gained all that knowledge so that when I got to the pros, it was just a matter of applying the information. A lot of people say Dean Smith held me under 20 points a game. Dean Smith gave me the knowledge to score 37 points a game, and that’s something people don’t understand.Michael Jordan,via Goheels.com
Jordan made an immediate impact for the Chicago Bulls in his rookie season, averaging 28 points per game, showing unbelievable versatility on both ends of the floor. To put things into perspective, he averaged 17.7 points throughout his college career, leading the UNC to an NCAA championship in his rookie season. It was evident that Jordan nurtured the team concept throughout his career even though Jordan was capable of taking over games almost anytime he wanted.
After his college career, Jordan already understood the dynamic of the game and the moments when he needs to involve his teammates, but it’s time for him to take over and exploit the defense. Those are things he learned playing for coach Smith which was essential for his legendary success in the NBA.