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Is Ja Morant better than Magic Johnson? - Mail Bag
At 22, who was the better player?
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Ya know that GQ series called “X Goes Undercover” on YouTube where celebrities and pro athletes answer questions they find on sites like Quora or Reddit?
This article is like that.
I’ve watched a few of those and just liked the idea of it.
It also looks fun to answer random basketball questions from those sites.
So, here are some interesting questions I found on Quora that I’m going to investigate:
Was the NBA harder in the ’80-’90s because of hard aggressive fouls that were part of the game?
No, because basketball was played differently back then versus now.
In the 80s and 90s, players were fouled more often because they drove the lane more and played more bully ball.
They may have gotten hit more, but at the same time, they were getting more close-range shots.
Nowadays, however, players don’t attack the basket as much because they shoot more perimeter shots.
In addition to that, players nowadays are more skilled and many of them are able to finesse their way to the basket (like European players), leading to them getting hit less often.
Thus, basketball wasn’t harder back then. It was just played differently.
Who was the better player at 22, Magic Johnson or Ja Morant?
I can’t definitively answer this question because Ja Morant is still 22 years old and the season isn’t over yet (they still have to play in the playoffs and awards recipients haven’t been announced).
But what I can do is compare them based on their stats and accolades at this age.
So, in 2021-22, Ja averaged 27 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.7 rebounds. He also averaged 1.2 steals per game.
Additionally, he was voted to be an NBA All-Star for the first time this season.
At 22, Magic was averaging 18.6 points, 9.5 assists, and 9.6 rebounds. He also averaged 2.7 steals per game.
Additionally, in 1981-82, he was voted in to be an NBA All-Star for the second time in his career.
As for how their teams did, Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers were 57-25. Ja and the Memphis Grizzlies are 56-26.
From these facts alone, I would say that Magic Johnson is better than Ja Morant.
Ray Allen, Larry Bird, Steph Curry, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Peja Stojakovic, and Klay Thompson are all in their prime and entered in the three-point shooting contest. Who finishes first, second, and third?
To answer this question, I have to first look at these players’ 3-point shooting stats. So:
Ray Allen (30 years old) - Shot 8.4 threes. Made 41.2 percent.
Larry Bird (31 years old) - Shot 3.1 threes. Made 41.4 percent.
Steph Curry (30 years old) - Shot 11.7 threes. Made 43.7 percent.
Reggie Miller (31 years old) - Shot 6.6 threes. Made 42.7 percent.
Steve Nash (33 years old) - Shot 4.7 threes. Made 47.0 percent.
Dirk Nowitzki (35 years old) - Shot 4.1 threes. Made 39.8 percent.
Peja Stojakovich (26 years old) - Shot 6.8 threes. Made 43.3 percent.
Klay Thompson (27 years old)* - Shot 7.1 threes. Made 44.0 percent.
*Klay is currently 31 years old and I don’t believe he is in his prime yet. I chose this age because he had his best shooting percentage-wise here and shot a decent amount of 3-pointers.
Analyzing these numbers, I think that Steve Nash would place first, Klay Thompson second, and Steph Curry third.
However, I will add that none of these stats actually matter because the 3-point contest is completely different than in-game shooting.
In-game, players can cut and shoot off of the dribble. For the 3-point contest, they have to run from station to station and pick a ball off of a rack.
The mechanics are quite different.
So what I’m essentially saying is that I pretty much wasted a bunch of time doing research for this question (more than the other ones), and the research was kinda pointless.
There you have it!
Answers for 3 random questions that I found online that were interesting to me.
Do you agree with my thoughts? If not, how would you answer these questions?
P.S. All of the stats I used are from Basketball-Reference.
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