Basketball’s ongoing NBA GOAT debate

By: Toby Martin-Khols

Ask any casual basketball fan, diehard NBA fan, or network analyst, who is the Greatest of All-Time (GOAT) and you will probably only hear two names surface. 

The first would be Michael Jordan, also known as MJ, who played 15 professional seasons and won 6 championships with the Chicago Bulls in the 80s and 90s. 

The second would be LeBron James, who is currently playing in his 19th professional season for the Los Angeles Lakers. He formerly played for the Miami Heat for 2 seasons and the Cleveland Cavaliers for 11 seasons.

These two players are the consensus debate on who is the GOAT in NBA history. We can use some stats to try and determine who is better, or who will end up being better. Many analysts say the numbers and stats don’t lie. Which I think is partly true, but always know that statistics can pretty much be used to prove any points, even very very bad ones. 

In the professional sports world, playoff success, or lack thereof, can make a huge difference in their respective legacies. For NFL fans, let’s use Calvin Johnson as an example. He was a HOF WR for the Detroit Lions but only played in two playoff games over a very short 9-year career. He is most likely a consensus top 10 or 15 receiver, but if he had any sort of playoff success he most certainly would have climbed spots.

The stats presented in this article can show who is the better player, but whoever is the greatest player factors in accolades as well.

The question facing everybody today is how far LeBron must go to become the majority GOAT. If he stopped his career when Jordan did and only played 15 seasons, MJ would certainly still be the pick among experts. 

The thing that is tricky about this debate is that LeBron is still playing. Not just playing, but playing at a truly elite level, and at such an older age past his prime. He still has time to further cement his legacy as the GOAT.

Image taken from: JxmyHighroller

First, if you know little about basketball, here are some basic stat comparisons. Looking at this graphic, you would think LeBron obviously trumps MJ in almost every aspect of the game. This actually represents LeBron’s impressive longevity. These statistics don’t prove LeBron is a better shooter or defender than MJ, just that he has had sustained success. But is he still the better player?

Next, let’s look at career averages. Has your mind changed at all? Still, at a glance, LeBron seems to have more advantages than MJ.

Image taken from: JxmyHighroller

Let’s take a look at some advanced metrics. 

Image taken from: JxmyHighroller

Without knowing anything about these wacky abbreviated stats but knowing they are more in-depth than the basic stats, who do you think is a better player now? If we are talking about who is a better player, these metrics tell you the story, taking all the accolades, playoff successes, influence on the game, and opinions out of the conversation. I will break down what all these categories mean.

PER stands for Player Efficiency Rating. It was developed by ESPN columnist John Hollinger. John says, “The PER sums up all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance.” 

WS/48 stands for win share per 48 minutes and was invented by Justin Kubatko. He says, “A win share is worth one-third of a team win. If a team wins 60 games, there are 180 ‘Win Shares’ to distribute among the players.”

OBPM stands for Offensive Box +/- and DBPM stands for Defensive Box +/-. The plus/minus statistic is a measure of the point differential when players are in and out of a game. It is calculated by taking the difference in the score when the player enters the game and subtracting it from the score when the player exits the game.

VORP stands for Value over Replacement Player. According to ‘Basketball Reference’s’ glossary, VORP is a box score estimate of the points per 100 TEAM possessions that a player contributed above a replacement-level player, translated to an average team, and prorated to an 82-game season.

TS% stands for Total Shooting percentage, which is pretty self-explanatory. The percentage of all their made shots. 

The advanced numbers are close. LeBron is reaching a point in his career where the majority of people and experts could consider him the new GOAT. 

Now, just raw, crazy, and eye-popping numbers are one thing, but what gets you exposure and reputation is accolades. The numbers compliment the accolades, not the other way around. 

Image taken from: JxmyHighroller

Keep in mind MJ played 4 fewer seasons than LeBron, as of 2022. LeBron leads in All-NBA selections but that can also be argued as just a factor of his longevity. 

Eventually, LeBron may very well reach a point where his sheer numbers, consistency, and longevity past his prime, will vault him over the top among experts for the NBA GOAT title. The question is: when does the longevity of LeBron’s brilliance simply outmatch the slightly greater (opinion, based on the stats provided), but much shorter brilliance (career) of MJ?

Note: All statistics in the article can be found on https://www.basketball-reference.com/

Who is St. Peter’s college? A 2022 March Madness Cinderella

By: Toby Martin-Kohls

March Madness kicked off earlier this month with its first and second-round games, and with it, another Cinderella team was born.

No. 15 seed, Saint Peter’s, was written off as an afterthought coming into this year’s NCAA Tournament, as prior to their win, No. 15 seeds went 9-135 all-time against No. 2 seed foes.

They came into the first round as 18.5pt underdogs. That means that Vegas sports betting casinos thought Kentucky would win by 18 to 19 points.

They beat Kentucky in OT, 85-79, and busted many brackets. According to data from ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, Kentucky was the fourth most popular Final Four choice, with 13% of entries picking the Wildcats.

It was a great story, a small school beats a college basketball blueblood. They played again in the second round against a No. 7 seed, Murray State, that went 30-2 during the regular season, and did the improbable again, winning 70-60.

So, you may be asking like many, what and where is St. Peter’s University?

The private university is located in Jersey City, New Jersey, and was established in 1872 by the Society of Jesus. It is a Roman Catholic school. They are a smaller college, with only 2,600 undergraduate students and 800 graduate students. This is also what makes their run in the tournament so special.

Their basketball facilities are miniature compared to what Kentucky and other D-1 programs offer. St. Peter’s plays in the Yanitelli Recreational Life Center nicknamed the Run Baby Run arena. It holds 3,200 people, compared to Kentucky’s Rupp Arena which holds 23,500.

Because of the many disadvantages these smaller colleges have, it shows that anyone can succeed in the Big Dance. St. Peter’s can join the very exclusive list of No. 15 seeds pulling off major upsets.

As the all-time record indicates, it is a rare occurrence. Hopefully, we can witness more great games from St. Peter’s throughout the tournament.

Sports schedule for Feb 21-26

Sports schedule for: Feb 14-19

ATHLETIC EVENTS SCHEDULE: FEBRUARY 14TH – FEBRUARY 19TH
MONDAYFEBRUARY 14TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
3:45pm2:20pm / 5:00pmBoys/Girls Nordic Ski MeetComo Park Picnic Pavilions
4:00pm / 6:00pm Girls Basketball vs. St. Paul AcademyHOME
TUESDAYFEBRUARY 15TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
7:00pm Boys Basketball vs. HumboldtHOME
8:00pm Boys Hockey vs. KennedyHOME
WEDNESDAYFEBRUARY 16TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
Boys – 2:00pm Girls – 3:00pm Boys / Girls Nordic Ski State MeetGiants Ridge
4:00pm / 5:30pm 7:00pmC/JV: 2:45pm/6:45pm V: 6:00pm / 8:15pmBoys Basketball vs. RooseveltMPLS Roosevelt High School
4:30pm / 6:00pm Girls Basketball vs. MPLS SouthHOME
5:00pm / 7:00pm Boys Hockey vs. SimleyHOME
THURSDAYFEBRUARY 17TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
Boys – 9:00am Girls – 10:30am Boys / Girls Nordic Ski State MeetGiants Ridge
FRIDAYFEBRUARY 18TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
4:00pm / 5:30pm 7:00pmC/JV: 3:15pm/6:45pm V: 6:00pm / 8:15pmBoys Basketball vs. HardingHarding High School
SATURDAYFEBRUARY 19TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION

Sports schedule for: Feb 7-15

ATHLETIC EVENTS SCHEDULE: FEBRUARY 7TH – FEBRUARY 15TH
MONDAYFEBRUARY 7TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
TBD Gymnastics SectionsTBD
5:00pm / 7:00pm2:30pm / 8:45pmBoys Hockey vs. SomersetSomerset Ice Arena
TUESDAYFEBRUARY 8TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
9:00am7:30am / 4:00pmBoys/Girls Nordic Ski SectionsTheodore Wirth Park
4:00pm / 5:30pm 7:00pmC/JV: 2:45pm/6:45pm V: 6:00pm / 8:15pmBoys Basketball vs. Como ParkComo Park High School
WEDNESDAYFEBRUARY 9TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:00pm4:00pm / 6:30pmBoys Swimming and Diving JV Conference MeetHumboldt High School
5:00pm Wrestling Quadrangular vs. Como / Johnson / RichfieldHOME
5:30pm / 7:00pmC/JV: 2:45pm/6:45pm V: 6:00pm / 8:15pmBoys Basketball vs. HumboldtHumboldt High School
THURSDAYFEBRUARY 10TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
4:45pm / 7:00pm Boys Hockey vs. TartanTartan Ice Arena
5:30pm / 7:00pm Girls Basketball vs. CentralCentral High School
FRIDAYFEBRUARY 11TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:00pm3:00pm / 9:00pmWrestling JV TournamentPatrick Henry High School
5:30pm / 7:00pm Boys Hockey vs. SPA/MPADrake Arena
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm Boys Basketball vs. JohnsonHOME
SATURDAYFEBRUARY 12TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
TBD Dance Team SectionsKennedy High School
TBD Gymnastics SectionsWhite Bear Lake High School
9:30am / 11:30am Girls Basketball  vs. Mound WestonkaMound Westonka High School
5:00pm / 7:00pm Boys Hockey vs. Coon RapidsCoon Rapids Ice Arena

Sports schedule for: Jan 13-Feb 5

ATHLETIC EVENTS SCHEDULE: JANUARY 31ST – FEBRUARY 5TH
MONDAYJANUARY 31ST
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:15pm / 7:00pm2:30pm / 8:45pmBoys Hockey vs. CambridgeIsanti Ice Arena
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm Boys Basketball vs. WashingtonHOME
TUESDAYFEBRUARY 1ST
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
3:45pm2:20pm / 5:15pmBoys/Girls JV Nordic Ski RelayComo Golf Course
WEDNESDAYFEBRUARY 2ND
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
TBD Boys/Girls Alpine Ski vs. St. Croix PrepAfton Alps
5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Hockey vs. HopkinsWSP Ice Arena
5:00pm / 7:00pm JV Boys Hockey vs. Breck Varsity Boys Hockey vs. La CrescentHighland Ice Arena
5:00pm Wrestling Triangular vs. Benilde St. Margaret / MahtomediHOME
6:00pm Gymnastics Twin Cities MeetHOME
THURSDAYFEBRUARY 3RD
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:30pm / 7:00pm Girls Basketball vs. MPLS RooseveltMPLS Roosevelt High School
FRIDAYFEBRUARY 4TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Hockey vs. St. FrancisWSP Ice Arena
5:30pm / 7:00pm Boys Hockey vs. St. FrancisHighland Ice Arena
6:00pm Gymnastics  Meet vs. Johnson / Central / Como / OWLHOME
SATURDAYFEBRUARY 5TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
    

Sports schedule for: Jan 24-29

MONDAYJANUARY 24TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
TBD Boys/Girls Alpine Ski vs. St. Croix PrepAfton Alps
TUESDAYJANUARY 25TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
3:45pm2:20pm / 5:15pmBoys/Girls Nordic Ski RelayComo Picnic Pavilions
5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Hockey vs. SimleyVeterans Memorial Community Center
5:30pm / 7:00pm Girls Basketball vs. HardingHarding High School
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm Boys Basketball vs. HardingHOME
WEDNESDAYJANUARY 26TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:00pm Wrestling Triangular vs. Washington and OgilvieHOME
6:00pm Gymnastics vs. Central/Como/OWLHOME
THURSDAYJANUARY 27TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:00pm / 7:00pm Boys Hockey vs. MinnehahaMinnehaha Academy
5:30pm / 7:00pm Girls Basketball vs. HardingHOME
FRIDAYJANUARY 28TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
TBD Boys/Girls Alpine Ski vs. StillwaterAfton Alps
TBD Boys/Girls JV Nordic SkiHyland Hills Ski Area
3:45pm7:30am / 4:00pmBoys/Girls Varsity Nordic Ski Conference MeetTheodore Wirth Park
4:00pm / 5:30pm 7:00pmC/JV: 2:45pm/6:45pm V: 6:00pm / 8:15pmBoys Basketball vs. CentralCentral High School
5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Hockey vs. South St. PaulWSP Ice Arena
5:30pm / 7:00pm Girls Basketball vs. CentralHOME
6:00pm4:30pm / 8:00pmBoys Swimming and Diving Conference ChampionshipsHumboldt High School
7:00pm / 7:00pm Boys Hockey vs. MinnehahaHighland Ice Arena
SATURDAYJANUARY 29TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
10:00am6:00am / 5:00pmWrestling InvitationalRochester Century High School
12:00pm / 1:30pm 3:00pmC/JV: 9:00am/11:45am V: 11:00am / 1:15pmBoys Basketball vs. Saint ThomasSaint Thomas Acadmey
12:30pm JV Girls Hockey vs. HastingsWSP Ice Arena

Sports schedule for: Jan 17-22

ATHLETIC EVENTS SCHEDULE: JANUARY 17TH – JANUARY 22ND
MONDAYJANUARY 17TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
    
TUESDAYJANUARY 18TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Hockey vs. North/TartanWSP Ice Arena
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pmC/JV: 4:30pm/6:45pm V: 6:00pm / 8:15pmBoys Basketball vs. JohnsonJohnson High School
WEDNESDAYJANUARY 19TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
3:45pm2:20pm / 5:15pmBoys/Girls Nordic Ski Classic RaceHyland Hills Ski Area
5:00pm Wrestling vs. QuadrangularHOME
THURSDAYJANUARY 20TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:00pm2:45pm / 8:15pmBoys Swimming and Diving vs. CentralHumboldt High School
5:00pm3:30pm / 6:30pmWrestling vs. TriangularSt. Croix Lutheran Academy
FRIDAYJANUARY 21ST
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:00pm / 7:00pm Boys Hockey vs. Rochester LourdesHighland Ice Arena
5:30pm / 7:30pm Girls Hockey vs. Hill MurrayAldrich Arena
5:30pm / 7:00pm C-Squad / Varsity Boys Basketball vs. HumboldtHOME
6:00pm Girls Basketball vs. HumboldtHumboldt High School
SATURDAYJANUARY 22ND
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
11:00am Gymnastics InvitationalPark High School

Sports schedule for: Jan 3-8

MONDAYJANUARY 3RD
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
    
TUESDAYJANUARY 4TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
3:45pm2:20pm / 5:15pmBoys/Girls Nordic Ski Classic RaceTheodore Wirth Park
5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Hockey vs. VisitationWSP Ice Arena
5:00pm / 7:00pm Boys JV Hockey vs. Simley  Boys Varsity Hockey vs. JohnsonTRIA Rink
WEDNESDAYJANUARY 5TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:00pm3:30pm / 7:30pmWrestling Quadrangular vs. Andover / Irondale / JohnsonJohnson High School
6:00pm Gymnastics vs. Central / Como / OWLHOME
7:00pm5:30pm / 9:00pmBoys Swimming and Diving vs. JohnsonHumboldt High School
THURSDAYJANUARY 6TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:00pm / 7:00pm Boys Hockey vs. MahtomediSt. Croix Rec Center
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pmC/JV: 4:30pm/6:45pm V: 6:00pm/8:15pmBoys Basketball vs. WashingtonWashington
5:30pm / 7:00pm Girls Basketball vs. WashingtonHOME
FRIDAYJANUARY 7TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Hockey vs. South St. PaulDoug Woog Arena
SATURDAYJANUARY 8TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
 7:30am / 3:45pmDance Team CompetitionAnoka High School
9:00am5:30am / 3:00pmBoys/Girls Nordic Ski Classic RaceGiants Ridge
9:00am6:00am / 5:00pmWrestling InvitationalCannon Falls High School
10:00am9:00am / 2:30pmBoys Swimming and Diving InvitationalU of M Aquatic Center
11:00am Gymnastics InvitationalPark Center High School
1:00pm Boys Varsity Hockey vs. St. Francisat East Bethel Ice Arena
5:00pm Girls Varsity Hockey vs. MinnehahaNorth Dale Recreation Center

Sports schedule for: Dec 13-18

MONDAYDATE:  DECEMBER 13TH
TIMEBUS DEPART/RETURNEVENTDETAILS
    
TUESDAYDATE: DECEMBER 14TH
TIMEBUS DEPART/RETURNEVENTDETAILS
5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Hockey vs. North/Tartanat WSP Ice Arena
5:30pm / 7:00pm Girls Basketball vs. Northat North St. Paul High School
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm Boys Basketball vs. River FallsHOME
WEDNESDAYDATE:  DECEMBER 15TH
TIMEBUS DEPART/RETURNEVENTDETAILS
3:45pm2:20pm / 5:15pmBoys/Girls Nordic Ski Skate Raceat Elm Creek Park Reserve
4:30pm2:45pm / 6:45pmBoys Swimming and Diving vs. Como Parkat Humboldt High School
5:00pm Wrestling Triangular vs. Humboldt / Minneapolis SouthwestHOME
6:00pm Gymnastics vs. Cretin-Derham HallHOME
5:30pm / 7:00pm Girls Basketball vs. Simleyat Simley High School
THURSDAYDATE:  DECEMBER 16TH
TIMEBUS DEPART/RETURNEVENTDETAILS
4:15pm / 4:15pm 6:00pm Boys Basketball vs. Patrick HenryHOME
FRIDAYDATE:  DECEMBER 17TH
TIMEBUS DEPART/RETURNEVENTDETAILS
4:00pm / 5:30pm 7:00pmC/JV: 2:45pm / 6:00pm V: 6:00pm / 8:15pmBoys Basketball vs. Two Riversat Two Rivers High School
4:00pm / 6:00pm Girls Basketball vs. Two RiversHOME
5:00pm / 7:00pm Boys Hockey vs. MoraHOME
5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Hockey vs. Northern Lakesat Breezy Point Arena
SATURDAYDATE:  DECEMBER 18TH
TIMEBUS DEPART/RETURNEVENTDETAILS
9:00am7:00am / TBDWrestling Invitationalat Trinity School at River Ridge