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Old 10-19-2023, 01:29 AM   #139
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Re: Its the NBA FINALS: '96 Bulls vs '17 Warriors - Who will win a 7-game series?

Originally Posted by AIRJ23

Understood on the definition of “evolution.” Sure, the game changed. But every single ounce of that change was to openly make scoring easier and points go up. So that in itself to me negates a valid argument for “improvement.” I think of the 98 spurs who lost to the Jazz 4-1 after those Jazz swept Shaq and the lakers, and I have a hard time thinking many of any modern teams could snatch enough rebounds to bear the twin towers.
You're not entirely wrong with the bolded but you're not entirely right either. The primary driving force of the rule changes were to "open the game up." To move the primacy away from lumbering bigs and towards athletic guards. Doing that you would expect to see an increase in scoring and pace 'baked in' just off common sense, run your offense thru fast athletic guards vs slow footed big bruisers, which would result in more possessions and by extension more shots? Yeah they wanted scoring to increase but it wasn't the only or primary driving force. Most of all they wanted to change how the bulk of the scoring was done.

Originally Posted by AIRJ23
I wouldn’t say MJ had trouble with the 98 pacers. He averaged 32 ppg. And those pacers at older age gave prime Shaq/Kobe duo combo trouble too. That’s my point. I’d say that team is sorely underrated because two of the top 3 best teams of the last 30 years were in their way.

Also I agree about how historically weak the East was in the 2000’s. The modern Heat could hang back then for sure. But the 90’s East? I don’t think a team with Gabe Vincent as the third leading scorer would beat the 98 Heat, 98 Bulls, nor the 98 Pacers who had a talent like Jalen Rose coming off the bench.
The bolded is the only part I want to address here. Back in '98 people would have spoke of Jalen Rose the same way you speak of Gabe Vincent.

Originally Posted by AIRJ23
My main point with the “rik smits would be Brook Lopez” analogies is that you can spin that in reverse and say “Kyrie would be Rod Strickland in the 90’s.” That’s why I use hyperbolic examples like that to highlight that hyperbole.

And btw, don’t think there isn’t any accuracy in that. Strickland had absolute game. Another player who played in the wrong era is Abdul Rauf. Watch his clips and blink and you might think you saw Steph.
Personal style I guess lol. I rather avoid battles of hyperbole. That said my most unpopular opinion is that guys like Kyrie and even Steph would not be anywhere close to as effective in the 90s as they are today. As mentioned above the rule changes were specifically designed to allow guys like that to shine because they couldn't shine previously.

But then the inverse is equally true -- guards from back in the day don't have nearly the same skillset or deep of a bag as guards today. One example if you want to be a scoring guard today a step-back game is mandatory and thats a skill 90s guys just didn't have because the game they played didn't allow them to develop it.

Anytime people have this discussion we always kind of go back and forth on one point -- are we magically transporting Giannis as he exists now back to an earlier era or are we dropping a younger Giannis back even further and considering the option of tailoring his skillset to that era? Like I said, we tend to be wishy-washy on this front.

Finally I want to touch on the topic of Hakeem. Hakeem and Kobe are the two GOATs when it comes to footwork. No one is touching them in that category. Beyond that there are some real reasons why footwork today isn't what it use to be particularly among big men and in the post:

1. A domino effect. Rule changes put the spotlight on guards so kids eventually started idolizing and imitating those guards.

2. The downfall of the college game. Maybe downfall is a bit dramatic, but it doesn't really matter as much nowadays. I was watching Gilbert Arenas' podcast last week and they were talking about Duncan vs KG and a hypothetical scenario of them swapping teams. Gil said that the Spurs were a 50 win team before Duncan was drafted and really emphasized that a 50 win team was getting the college national player of the year. Back then guys came up after putting time in the college ranks and thats where the "big fundamental" was born. College taught guys fundamentals like footwork and how not to travel (tongue firmly in cheek) and players coming into the NBA today don't get that. Instead of spending hours with a credible and respected coach doing drills these players are spending hours working on their shot. You don't need a individualized coaching plan to improve your shot. How many guys across all eras came into the league with a wackyass shooting motion and they were left alone because it worked for them? During that podcast conversation someone asked who won player of the year last year and not one of them knew the answer to that. It was quite jarring to see in a single exchange how the prestige of college accomplishments just fell off a cliff over the past 20 years.

The fall of the college game and its impact on the NBA product could be a much larger conversation but its one few have, even though it is very much relevant in these cross era conversations

Last edited by ggsimmonds; 10-19-2023 at 01:33 AM.
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