The Michael Jordan era in the NBA was a nightmare for every team, but some had it worse than others.
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You always have that one person that you despise playing against. It’s not because you dislike them as a person; it’s because that player appears to slice away at your beloved squad, making you pout in despair. Many Eastern Conference supporters despised LeBron James in the mid-2000s and early-2010s because he always appeared to have the last laugh. Michael Jordan had previously been everyone’s arch-enemy.
When looking at the numbers, one guy sticks out above the others. While Jordan and James are the most well-known NBA superstars, there were a few more who were every team’s worst nightmare. These players scored the most points per game against them, causing these teams to wish they had a N/A next to their name when they were in town.
NOTE: To be considered the leader, players had to have played at least 10 games against the franchise.
Michael Jordan, Atlanta Hawks (29.9 PPG, 65 Games)
With one 34-point game, Zion Williamson has the luxury of topping the scoreboard, but the title belongs to the GOAT. During the days of Dominique Wilkins and Dikembe Mutombo, Jordan always had the upper hand against the Hawks. In the 1980s and 1990s, Atlanta had a competitive and powerful defensive club. Jordan, on the other hand, found a way to average almost 30 points each night.
Michael Jordan, Boston Celtics (30.7 PPG, 56 Games)
Jordan averaged slightly over 30 points a game in 56 games, but he had two guys close behind him. In 62 games, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar averaged 28.9 points, whereas LeBron James averaged 28.9 points in 54 games. LeBron James has a shot to surpass Jordan in this area, but he’d have to have a pair of 40-point games to do it. Realistically, since LeBron plays in the Western Conference, he won’t be able to overtake Jordan.
Michael Jordan, Brooklyn Nets (29.9 PPG, 57 Games)
This season, Joel Embiid has a good chance of passing Jordan. Embiid has averaged 29.1 points per game in 13 games. With 27.4 points, LeBron James is in the mix. Both LeBron and Jordan have met the Nets 57 times. Embiid, on the other hand, is closer to the Nets and will face them more often than James. With the current team’s defensive shambles, Embiid may be able to break this record sooner rather than later.
Michael Jordan, Charlotte Hornets (32.1 PPG, 37 Games)
Jordan outscored the Hornets by 37 points in 37 games, with Allen Iverson coming in second with 28.3 points. With 28.0 points in 52 games, LeBron rounds out the top three. Jordan’s achievement is all the more remarkable since the Hornets were a more competitive team at the time. In his career, LeBron has faced some very poor Charlotte teams, like the one that won seven games in 2012.
LeBron James of the Chicago Bulls (28.4 PPG, 59 Games)
Surprisingly, against the highly defensive Bulls, no player could average 30.0 points or higher. The Bulls had a strong defense in the 1990s that lasted into the 2000s and 2010s. Iverson averaged 28.3 points per game, implying that if LeBron has a few poor games, Iverson may win the title. As a result, LeBron has faced the Bulls 59 times, compared to 37 times for Iverson.
Michael Jordan, Cleveland Cavaliers (30.6 PPG, 67 Games)
Can you figure out who comes in second? You guessed correctly. When LeBron joined the Heat and then the Lakers, he had enough games to score 29.3 points. Behind him, George Gervin and Iverson form a ring, but keep an eye out for Luka Doncic, who may win this championship one day. Doncic has a 26.6 point average in only a few games.
Adrian Dantley, Dallas Mavericks (29.2 PPG, 34 Games)
You may be wondering who Adrian Dantley is. He was a six-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year in 1977, and Comeback Player of the Year in 1984. Alec Peters, who had 36 points in one game, Zion Williamson, who averaged 31.7 points in three games, and Jalen Harris, who had a 31-point game, all vote for Dantley.
Michael Jordan, Denver Nuggets (29.4 PPG, 26 Games)
With 28.8 points against the Nuggets, Dantley came close to winning this accolade. Kevin Durant comes close with 28.4 points in 43 games in the modern era. Durant may reach the top in roughly ten more matchups. Jordan has the distinction for the time being.
Wilt Chamberlain, Detroit Pistons (33.9 PPG, 108 Games)
On a number of levels, the leaderboard for this is incredible. For starters, Luka Doncic has a 34.3 lifetime average in three games versus Detroit, while Williamson has a 29.0 mark in two games. In 108 encounters, though, Chamberlain averaged 33.9 points. Even if Doncic or Williamson take over, nothing compares to what Chamberlain accomplished in his prime.
Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors (30.3 PPG, 32 Games)
Let’s see how ironic this is. For joining the Warriors, everyone wants to condemn Durant. He is, at the end of the day, the Warriors’ worst nightmare. Durant is the first player in NBA history to score 30.0 points per game versus the Warriors in 32 games. With 28.9 points in 30 games, Damian Lillard is second, and Jordan is third with 28.6. With 28.6 points in little play, Doncic is in the mix.
Michael Jordan, Houston Rockets PPG (30.4)
Jerry West held the previous record with 27.8 points, although Kobe Bryant came close with 26.6 points in 61 games. Trae Young has a 26.5 average in five games, so keep a watch on him in the future. Given the Rockets’ current condition, it’s not out of the question that Young might take over the club in a few years and surpass Jordan.
Michael Jordan, Indiana Pacers (30.0 PPG, 26 Games)
Jordan and Reggie Miller used to be competitors on the field. The Bulls and Pacers faced off often throughout the regular season and in the playoffs, with Jordan always coming out on top. With 28.7 points, Durant is just behind Embiid, who has 28.0. LeBron James has a lifetime average of 27.1 in 60 games, while Dominique Wilkins has a career average of 26.8 in 65 games.
George Gervin, Los Angeles Clippers (29.6 PPG, 39 Games)
In approximately a year, Embiid will be the NBA’s best player. Against the Clippers, Embiid has a 32.0 point average in six games. Blake Griffin, a former Clipper, has a 29.0 average in three games. For the time being, Kevin Durant has the second-most points with a 28.0 average in 52 games, while George Gervin has 39 appearances.
Wilt Chamberlain, Los Angeles Lakers (39.5 PPG, 86 Games)
In 86 games against the Lakers, Chamberlain averaged almost 40 points per game. What an accomplishment! When it comes to competing against the Lakers, no one comes close to Wilt’s brilliance. In six games, Embiid has a 31.2 average, while Kareem has a 31.1 average. Oscar Robertson, who averaged 27.3 points in 105 games, is only one point behind Lillard (28.4) and Jordan (28.3). (28.9).
Kevin Durant, Memphis Grizzlies (26.9 PPG, 38 Games)
Durant has the Grizzlies championship after 38 games, but his overall total is considerably lesser when compared to other teams. Over the years, the Grizzlies have developed a knack for preventing teams from scoring. With the exception of one game when Sean Higgins scored 27 points and Williamson’s average of 26.8 points per game in four games, LeBron ranks second with 25.3 points per game.
Michael Jordan, Miami Heat (30.1 PPG, 38 Games)
The Heat’s three-headed nightmare is Jordan, LeBron, and Durant. Jordan reached his average in 38 games, while LeBron (28.0) came in second in 41 encounters. Durant isn’t far behind, averaging 27.2 points per game.
Michael Jordan, Milwaukee Bucks (32.3 PPG, 66 Games)
Jordan, understandably, has a high scoring rate in a large number of games (66). The Bucks and the Bulls shared a division. LeBron comes in second at 28.7, which isn’t surprising considering how long he spent with the Cavaliers. Given that he spent the most of his career outside the division, Iverson’s 28.2 average in 39 games should be remarkable.
Michael Jordan, Minnesota Timberwolves (29.2 PPG, 18 Games)
Jordan averaged 29.2 points per game in 18 games, but he will most certainly lose this record shortly. Trae Young has a 31.7 average after six games, while Zach LaVine has a 28.9 average through seven games. Durant, who scored 27.4 points in 41 matches, is the guy to watch if you’re searching for a player with a lot of encounters.
Luka Doncic, New Orleans Pelicans (28.5 PPG, 10 Games)
With ten encounters versus the Pelicans, Doncic just gets the nod. With 28.0 points in 14 games, Kyrie Irving is just behind him. Kobe Bryant comes close with 26.6 points in 41 games, while LeBron James is only 0.1 points behind with 26.5 points in 40 games. It will be fascinating to see who retains the championship after this season.
Wilt Chamberlain, New York Knicks (33.7 PPG, 115 Games)
Aside from Mike Taylor’s 35-point performance in a single game, Michael Jordan is the actual runner-up with 31.6 points in 60 games. However, Chamberlain is the King of the Knicks, averaging more points per game than Jordan despite playing in 115 games versus them. Every New York fan should have dreaded Chamberlain when it came to real nightmares.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder (31.9 PPG, 10 Games)
Durant has been his old team’s greatest nightmare in ten games. Durant ultimately departed the Thunder to join the Warriors and Nets after guiding them to tremendous heights. This title has a fun fact about it. Three of the top five are former members of the NBA Finals squad from 2012. In 29 games, James Harden has a 28.2 scoring average, while Russell Westbrook has a 27.4 scoring average in five encounters.
Michael Jordan of the Orlando Magic (29.5 PPG, 33 Games)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker has a 30.0 point per game average in two games versus the Magic, if you want to be technical. With being said, Jordan has been Orlando’s worst nightmare since the days of Penny Hardaway and Shaq. In 33 encounters, Jordan averaged almost 30.0 points per game, while Allen Iverson finished second with 27.7 points in 40 games.
Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 76ers (35.6 PPG, 81 Games)
Although Zion Williamson once scored 37 points against the 76ers, this honor is given to some of the greatest players of all time. In 57 games, Jordan averaged 30.8 points, while Elgin Baylor averaged 30.4 points in a meeting-high 92 games. Chamberlain, on the other hand, dominated the 76ers, scoring 35.6 points in 81 games. No player in the contemporary age has come close to matching these statistics.
Michael Jordan, Phoenix Suns (32.4 PPG, 25 Games)
With a year or two under his belt, Embiid might be the Suns’ next nightmare. Embiid has a 30.6 average in eight games, whereas Jordan scorched the Suns back in the day. LeBron James had the most matches (36), yet his average point total is just 27.0. Elgin Baylor is directly behind LeBron with 27.7 points per game, although he has played in less games (12).
Michael Jordan, Portland Trail Blazers (34.0 PPG, 24 Games)
Jordan not only cost the Trail Blazers a title in 1991, but he is also the franchise’s worst nightmare. Jordan’s brilliance was on show in 24 games. With 29.4 points in 24 games, Larry Bird was just behind him. Doncic, who has a 30.1 average in 11 games, is the modern-day nightmare, apart from LaMelo Ball hitting 30 points once.
Wilt Chamberlain, Sacramento Kings (35.4 PPG, 105 Games)
With his entrance in 105 games, Chamberlain forced the Kings to hide in their fortress. Jordan finished second on the list with 30.6 points after just 26 games. Baylor had a 29.4 average in 97 games with the Kings, making him the second-most dangerous player in franchise history. Given the Kings’ absence from the playoffs since 2006 and the league’s recent offensive surge, you’d think a modern-day player would be among the top five on this list.
Michael Jordan, San Antonio Spurs (32.0 PPG, 24 Games)
With a 28.5 average in 10 games, Doncic is on the verge of seizing this distinction. With 28.0 points in 26 games, Iverson came close to dethroning Jordan. Iverson gets a lot of credit for doing this against teams that included David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker from the Spurs. Those aren’t slouches on the defense.
Allen Iverson, Toronto Raptors (29.7 PPG, 38 Games)
Oshae Brissett scored 31 points against the Raptors once, but Iverson averaged 29.7 points in 38 encounters, so moving Iverson to the front is a simple flex. Only James Harden, who has scored 27.8 points in 20 games, has come close to matching Iverson’s total. With the Raptors’ demise, Harden may be able to go closer to that championship this season.
Michael Jordan, Utah Jazz (32.7 PPG, 26 Games)
Jordan was the Jazz’s greatest nightmare throughout the 1990s. In the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, he guided the Bulls to championships. Aside from that, he had a 32.7 point average in 27 games. LeBron James is in second position with 28.5 points, while Iverson has 27.8 points in 26 games. In two games, LaMelo Ball has a 27.5 average, but he still has a long way to go.
Wilt Chamberlain, Washington Wizards (32.4 PPG, 87 Games)
Chamberlain dominated the Washington Bullets in 87 games, but Jerry West was close behind him with 30.5 points in 76 games. Jordan has 30.3 points in 49 games to round out the 30-point scorers. Harden is on his way to entering the club in the modern era, with a 29.4 average in 21 games.
Michael Jordan’s 16 teams
Wilt Chamberlain, Wilt Chamberlain, Wilt Chamberlain, Wilt Chamberlain
Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Kevin Love, Kevin Love, Kevin Love, Kevin Love,
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Allen Iverson, George Gervin, Adrian Dantley, and Luka Doncic make up the first team.
At the end of the day, it’s fair to conclude that the GOAT was the NBA’s worst nightmare. Given that Jordan has been out of the league since 2003 and is still the league’s worst nightmare against half of the league, his reputation as the best player of all time should speak volumes. LeBron has only had one high-scoring average against one club since joining the NBA in 2003.
Knowing that Jordan has a better average over ten teams than Chamberlain makes you respect him even more. Despite the fact that scoring was plentiful throughout Wilt’s time on the court, Jordan managed to get to the top. Durant’s three teams must be respected since he is still one of the best scorers in NBA history. Keep a watch out for Doncic, who is a darkhorse to go up these rankings, but for the time being, Jordan is still in most NBA fans’ fantasies.
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The number of nba teams is a topic that has been discussed in the past. On the other hand, Michael Jordan was the real nightmare for every NBA team.
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