Skip to main content

Michael Jordan describes his approach on defense when guarding Joe Dumars, Reggie Miller, and Clyde Drexler

joe dumars vs michael jordan (1) (1)

One of the things that made Michael Jordan one of the greatest basketball players is his ability and willingness to play defense on a very high level. Jerry West often said that Jordan was even more gifted as a defensive stopper than a pure scorer, which is an excellent example of how good he was on both ends of the floor, which is pretty rare in today’s NBA.

Jordan focuses on tendencies

Playing defense is not only about playing with tenacity and playing hard but it also is closely connected to picking up tendencies other players have before they even make a move. Having a great basketball IQ is necessary to play solid defense, which Jordan possessed and worked on, especially in the first couple of seasons. In one of his older interviews, he broke down his approach when playing against some of the best shooting guards from his era. Jordan also explains how understanding their tendencies is the key to success.

"When I'm playing against scorers, players like Reggie Miller, Clyde Drexler, and Joe Dumars, I'm envisioning their tendencies before the game. Should I attack him offensively early so that he's on the defensive for the rest of the game? There are different ways I have to approach players like that because I have to stop them as well as score on them. Sometimes, doing one can impact the other."

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Analyzing their tendencies

Jordan also gives a more detailed approach to guarding Reggie MillerClyde Drexler, and Joe Dumars, who were some of his biggest nemeses back in the day. Because he faced them numerous times in his career, he knew what their habits were on offense and what strategy he needed to implement to shut them down.

"I've played Clyde so much that I know he's dangerous if he can't score early. But he's not dangerous when he comes out shooting and scoring. Isn't that wild? If he hits his first five shots, it's not as much of a problem for me because he'll shoot himself out of the game. Now, if Joe Dumars hits his first five shots, then I'm in big trouble. He knows how to feed off the kind of confidence you get from a good start. Clyde, on the other hand, sometimes seems like he gets overconfident, and he might start taking all kinds of shots. But Dumars, he's going to sit back and let the game come to him because he's in a rhythm, and he's going to make you work. Miller is the same way because he feeds off that energy. If he makes his first five shots, he starts to talk trash, and he's into the game. He gets more intense, more focused. Those are three different people and three different ways I have to play them."

Jordan was quite successful in most games he played against these other NBA legends, but there were often times when things weren’t that easy. Luckily for the Bulls, Jordan’s mindset was completely different, and he understood structured preparation is one of the most crucial aspects of playing against players like Miller, Drexler, and Dumars. Jordan proved that he was a far superior player on several occasions than all of them, but this type of preparation also shows his respect for all of these guys and how they played the game.

Is it time for Chris Paul to retire?

Is it time for Chris Paul to retire?

This Playoff run exposed Chris Paul’s age more than ever. Gone are the days when he had all energy, pop, and even to an extent, durability to stay on the court.

Isiah Thomas criticism of Chris Paul still stands

Isiah Thomas’ past criticisms of Chris Paul still rings true: "He has to push past safe"

Isiah Thomas claimed Chris Paul was playing too safe to maintain his good stats. The Hall of Famer wanted CP3 to take some risks to win games.


Matt Barnes calls Patrick Beverly a clown for the Chris Paul slander: "You're not that guy"

Barnes went in on Pat Bev: "Chris Paul played terrible this series and his numbers are still better than your career numbers have ever been."

Patrick Beverley wouldn't mind joining LeBron James and the Lakers

Patrick Beverley on playing with the Los Angeles Lakers if he had the chance: “I wouldn’t even hesitate”

Patrick Beverley admitted that there's nothing like playing for the Lakers franchise

JJ Redick explains why Eric Gordon could've helped Phoenix Suns in the playoffs

JJ Redick explains why Eric Gordon could've helped Phoenix Suns in the playoffs

The Phoenix Suns fans wanted Eric Gordon but the front office panned their wishes.

LeBron James names three players he'd team up with in a 2v2 vs Jordan and Pippen

LeBron James names three players he'd team in a 2v2 vs Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

History showcases LeBron knows how to adjust his role to accommodate his teammates.

Damian Lillard defends Chris Paul from Pat Beverley’s attacks

Damian Lillard defends Chris Paul from Pat Beverley’s attacks: What CP do to you?

Since the Suns went down in Game 7, Patrick Beverley has attacked Chris Paul for his poor performance. Damian Lillard chimed in and defended CP3.

Doncic dominated the Suns in a way no player ever has in the postseason

Luka Doncic dominated the Phoenix Suns in a way no player ever has in the NBA postseason

Doncic beat the Suns top players in their best skill, showcasing how talented he is despite being just 23 years old.