The NBA is full of young and talented players from all over the globe. Some of these guys have already presented themselves as the faces of the franchise in their respective cities and are on a path to have a great NBA career.
Players like Antetokounmpo, Simmons, Mitchell, Towns, and Jokic are putting big numbers and changing the culture in their teams to a one that needs to contend for big things in the league, or they’ll end up losing the talented players. The reason why I mentioned the names in the previous sentence is that all of these players are under the age of 23 and already star players.
While doing some research, I wanted to see what kind of numbers were putting some of the all-time greats but also what was their impact on their team but also the league itself.
I couldn’t help but look at MJ’s stats as a 23-year-old, and I got myself standing and marveling at the numbers Jordan put up at that age.
It so happens he had a historic scoring season averaging 37 points per game. Only Wilt Chamberlain averaged more points, and that was in 1961-62 when he was scoring 50 points per game. MJ was the NBA’s leading scorer in practically his second NBA season because he only played 18 games in his second year during the 1985-86 season.
He played in all 82 games while at the same time averaging 40 minutes per game. He was doing pretty much everything for the Bulls that season since he was also their best perimeter defender averaging almost three steals per game. He was able to accumulate over 3000 points in that season which only accomplished by the already mentioned Wilt Chamberlain.
Even though MJ was playing on such a high level, Larry Bird won the MVP that season and his team was in a much better position to win a title that season.
In all honesty, the Bulls were not a particularly good team. However, they were improving adding more pieces into a puzzle that will eventually conquer the entire NBA. They would win 40 out of 82 games that season which was enough for them to finish 5th in the NBA central division. They would eventually get swept by the Boston Celtics 3-0.
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A stacked Boston Celtics team was too much for MJ and the Bulls even though Jordan stayed consistent even against a team like the Celtics. He was averaging almost 36 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals per game.
Of course, some would argue he wasn’t able to win a game against the Celtics. However, Celtics were the best team in the NBA at that time. They have won an NBA championship in the previous season and was aiming for a back-to-back title.
MJ’s scoring outburst that season will be forever remembered as a pure sheer of determination to put your team in a position to win a game on a nightly basis by merely attacking the basket and making the defense work. Other teams could only at best contain Jordan, but they could not stop him.
The Bulls would after that season add Scottie Pippen to the mix which would initiate the start of a deadly duo that would rule the NBA for the next decade.