He’s no Jordan, he’s no Kobe maybe he’s a Dominique Wilkins?


Much will be said about the abilities or lack thereof concerning LeBron James after his disappearing act in the 2011 NBA Championship. LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates lost the NBA Championship in 6 games to the Dallas Mavericks Sunday night. Before the NBA Finals began, Hall of Fame basketball player and former Chicago Bulls teammate of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen said in an interview on ESPN radio show Mike and Mike that LeBron James was better than Michael Jordan. This statement sent the sports world in a tiff and Pippen has since back tracked from his original statement. Pippen has to be more than embarrassed with his statement after LeBron’s performance against the Dallas Mavericks.

There’s no questioning the physical abilities that LeBron possesses. He is as gifted as any athlete on the planet. He’s fast and strong with great jumping ability. He has yet to hone his physical skills into basketball skills, a reoccurring theme in the NBA since the NBA began bypassing college talent for high school talent. Watching 26 year old LeBron James play is more reminiscent of Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins than the best of the best.

Comparing LeBron and Dominique

LeBron’s physical size is on par with “The Human Highlight Film”. Wilkins was 6 foot 8 inches and played at 235 pounds. “King James” is listed at 6 foot 8 inches 250 pounds.

Dominique was the third pick of the 1982 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz out of the University of Georgia. LeBron was the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA Draft out of St. Vincent High School in Akron, Ohio. Dominique was 23 years old when he entered the NBA, LeBron was 19 years old.

* Dominique was traded to the Atlanta Hawks before the beginning of the 1982-1983 NBA season.

Both men have won a NBA Scoring Title and are known more as scores and punishing dunkers than pure shooters. Wilkins averaged 30.3 points per game in 1985-1986 when he won his NBA Scoring Title, LeBron averaged 30.0 points per game in 2007-2008 to win his scoring title.

Wilkins is one of only six NBA players to average over 25 points per game in 10 consecutive years; Jerry West, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson (Wilt Chamberlain went nine consecutive years). LeBron has averaged over 25 points per game in 7 consecutive years.

“Nique” was a nine time all-star.

LeBron is a seven time all-star.

Wilkins never developed a true consistent three-point shot; he wasn’t afraid to shoot a three but was never considered a good three point shooter. In Wilkins’ 10th and 12th seasons in the NBA he shot a higher 3 point percentage shooting .380 and .388. LeBron’s second season in the NBA, 2004-2005, he shot his highest percentage shooting .351. LeBron’s career average is .329. Kobe Bryant has four seasons shooting over .350 in his career.

Wilkins was a better free throw shooter than LeBron. Wilkins averaged .811 for his career. LeBron is averaging .759.

LeBron, to date, is a better rebounder than Wilkins. Analyzing the numbers both players averaged 7 rebounds per game. Wilkins rebounding numbers declined towards the end of his career. LeBron is averaging 7.1 rebounds per game to Wilkins career 6.7 rebounds per game.

LeBron is a better distributor of the ball. King James is averaging 7.0 assists per game through his career. Nique averaged 2.5.

Dominique averaged over 24 points per game in 11 NBA seasons. LeBron has averaged 24 or more points in 7 NBA seasons.

LeBron is a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player winner, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. Nique never won a NBA MVP Award.

Perhaps the most important comparison between both players is neither player has won a NBA Championship.

Winning a NBA MVP does not guarantee a NBA Championship. Recent NBA Most Valuable Players that have not won a NBA Championship

1997 and 1999 Karl Malone

2001 Allen Iverson

2005 and 2006 Steve Nash

2009 and 2010 LeBron James

2011 Derrick Rose

Just to Clarify, LeBron will be 27 years old when the 2011-2012 NBA season begins. He appears to have 10 good seasons left in his Hall of Fame career. Who knows how many titles he will win, if any? But his future is wide open and the possibilities are there for him.

Dominique played off and on in the NBA until he was 39 years old and never won a NBA Championship. Nique had the unfortunate timing of being in the NBA East when Larry Bird and Michael Jordan were dominating. Nique never had a complimentary player in his prime to help over come The Celtics, Pistons, or Bulls. LeBron hopes that the pairing of Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade will help him achieve his ultimate goal of winning a NBA Championship. Time will tell. Until then, “King James” seems more like “The Human Highlight Film” than Michael Jordan or even Kobe Bryant.