Michael Jordan would score 'close to 40 a game' in modern NBA, says Charles Barkley

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Virtually ever since Michael Jordan retired in 2003, there has been debate about how the G.O.A.T would stack up in the seasons that have followed. The 2015-16 NBA campaign, though, perhaps more than any other, has been the subject of a huge amount of Michael Jordan hypotheticals.

This is largely thanks to the phenomenal exploits of Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. The reigning MVP's individual performances have been likened to those of Jordan's while the Dubs are closing in on the regular season record currently held by MJ's '96 Bulls team.

In the eyes of Charles Barkley, however, were Jordan playing in the current NBA, he would be setting even higher standards.

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Speaking to ESPN's Mike & Mike radio show, the Hall of Famer said the Chicago Bulls legend would be scoring "close to 40 a game" with the rules that are in place in the league today.

As things stand, Curry is the closest to the 40 mark this season having averaged 31.8 points per game to this point. In fact, nobody has averaged more than 35 points since Kobe Bryant (35.4) in the 2005-06 season.

Jordan, meanwhile, averaged 30.1 points per game through his 15-year career in the NBA, although he did come close to the 40-a-night mark in his third season in the league. He averaged 37.1 points in a 1986-87 campaign where he only made 12 three-pointers all told.

With more stringent rules on defense in the modern game - namely the clamp down on hand-checking - aiding offensive scoring, the idea of the consensus greatest player of all-time adding 10 points a night to his career average isn't unthinkable. In fact, it is very possible.

Reason why

Nevertheless, as Curry and the Warriors are showing with his all-around approach this season, if Jordan was actually trying to compete for a title in the league, getting to 40 points every night would likely be counterproductive.

There is a reason the likes of Steph and Kevin Durant aren't breaking the 40 point barrier on a nightly basis despite possessing the talent to do so.

If they were, the Warriors and Thunder wouldn't be competing at the top end of the Western Conference as teams would be able to lock down the rest of the roster knowing shots would only be coming from one direction.

It is no conincidence that Jordan never aged more than 32.6 points per game in any of the Bulls' six title winning seasons.

Of course, Barkley's comments are likely only meant as a reminder than Michael Jordan remains the best there ever was. Still, even MJ would probably agree that he'd have had to settle for the low 30s had he been suiting up in 2015-16.

Kobe Bryant
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Michael Jordan
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Eastern Conference

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