OT: Would Jordan have won 6 in a row today?

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nelsonmuntz

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I finished the Last Dance last night. I think Jordan is still the greatest player that ever played, but there is now way he would have won 6 in 8 years in today's game. Jordan and the Bulls benefited from 4 major factors in the 90's.

1) Expansion - this is the biggest factor, by far. The NBA went from 23 teams in 1987 to 29 in 1995. The dilution in talent around the league was profound, and made it possible for a Championship team that could hold its core together and make smart supporting cast pickups to dominate. Imagine if Alonzo Mourning, Shaq, Glen Rice, Kendall Gill, Nick Anderson, Isaih Rider, Larry Johnson (in his prime), Steve Smith, Rony Seikaly, Horace Grant, Pooh Richardson, Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby, Walt Williams, Shareet Abdur-Rahim were all taken off expansion teams and consolidated onto the original 23 teams. Somewhere there would be a few teams that were really, really good.

It is not a coincidence that the Bulls' run starts when Charlotte started to get good and accelerated when Miami and Orlando get competitive. The expansion teams all sucked their first couple of seasons, but when they started to collect real talent, it was diluting the rest of the league, and making it easier for the Bulls to win.

2) Zone Defense - You can breakdown the NBA into pre-zone and post-zone basketball in a lot of ways. The illegal defense rules were ridiculous, and the Bulls were not the only team to benefit. The Jazz and Rockets did too. That said, if teams could help away from the ball in the 90's like they can now, Jordan would have been denied the rock a lot, and had to give up a lot more when he got it.

3) Pre-Euro - There were a handful of good foreign players at the beginning of the Bulls run (Olajuwon, Petrovic, Marcilonius, Divac, Shrempf, Smits), and even by the mid 90's there were maybe 10 that were capable of starting or contributing to a playoff team, and the Bulls had one of the best in Kukoc. Since then, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitski and Tim Duncan are first ballot HoFers, the Spurs won 5 titles with 3 foreign players as their stars, and the Lakers won 2 titles with Pau Gasol as their second best player. Today, the best player in the NBA is from Europe, and almost every NBA team has 2-3 foreign players that are at least decent.

Europe was not churning out top talent then like it is now, and some of the best didn't make it to the states in their primes. If Arvydas Sabonis played for Portland starting in 1988 like he was supposed to, (before his knees turned to concrete, he gained 50 pounds, and consumed a few thousand liters of vodka) Portland would have won multiple titles. Sabonis in his prime with Drexler, Porter, Cliff, and Kersey would have been unstoppable.

4) Moneyball - Teams would have played Jordan differently if there were advanced analytics in the 90's, and they certainly wouldn't have left defenders on an island against Jordan for 30 possessions a game like they did then.
 
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Valid points. What about the difference in physicality and lack of travel, etc? Today’s games are painful to watch at times for those 2 reasons alone.
 
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All excellent points - well thought out and supported with facts. When I think logically about it, there does not seem to be any way MJ could do it today. But then you watch the old games, listen to the stories, think about how Jordan is wired, and I think - I would not bet against him. He was, and is, just different. No matter what challenges were put in front of him, I believe he would have done what ever necessary to win. Think about how Bird and Magic respected him - the two of them were the kings of the league for almost a decade, and they both quickly seemed to realize, Jordan is now the king. I don't like getting into the Lebron vs. Jordan stories, athletes have evolved over the last 20 years - they are in better shape, take better care of their bodies, Lebron in particular has treated his body like a temple, yet I still believe that if MJ was in his prime today, he would have changed, done whatever necessary, to be the best. The dude is just wired different than anyone else.
 
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I say yes. If teams like the Warriors and Spurs have won multiples, then I firmly believe Jordan could have done it.

With all due respect to Rodman and Pippen, Jordan did not have the best supporting cast, not like the players of today do. You have super teams in LA, Golden State, even San Antonio, and Miami when they won. Jordan was in a class by himself. Pippen and Rodman are like Esa Tikkanen and Jari Kurri, good players, but not that memorable decades later. Playing with all-time greats etched their names in history.

Jordan would have top guys flanking him today.
 
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We could find out I can do an NBA finals simulation on whatifsports.com. Which Bulls team should I be 96? I can the Bulls in the finals from 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.
 
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Well he most likely would've won 8 in a row had his dad not been murdered, I could see 6 in a row with the no touch, no travel, no carry league of today. The way today's game is played is tailor made to Jordan's talents and yes he would've become a knockdown three point shooter in the current league.

Good points though. Luka is my favorite player but you think he's already better than Kawhi, Lebron, and Giannis?

Edit- I had a brainfart on Giannis being a Euro. The 2 best players in the league in a
couple years are probably Euros.
 
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Well he most likely would've won 8 in a row had his dad not been murdered, I could see 6 in a row with the no touch, no travel, no carry league of today. The way today's game is played is tailor made to Jordan's talents and yes he would've become a knockdown three point shooter in the current league.

Good points though. Luka is my favorite player but you think he's already better than Kawhi, Lebron, and Giannis?
8 in a row wouldve been crazy, the Bulls weren't great in 95, Grant was on the Magic and Rodman wasnt there. The Bulls were pissed after losing to the Magic especially MJ.
 

nelsonmuntz

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Valid points. What about the difference in physicality and lack of travel, etc? Today’s games are painful to watch at times for those 2 reasons alone.
What lack of travel are you talking about? Was Jordan called for a lot of travels? The superstar friiendly calls were much worse under Stern.

Rodman and Jordan got away with murder on defense. Rodman was more wrestling than defending Malone in the two Jazz series.
 

sammydabiz

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Quick answer.... Yes, absolutely
 
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What lack of travel are you talking about? Was Jordan called for a lot of travels? The superstar friiendly calls were much worse under Stern.

Rodman and Jordan got away with murder on defense. Rodman was more wrestling than defending Malone in the two Jazz series.
You can take 3 steps on just about any play nowadays and nobody blinks an eye.

you talk about the a bulls on D but what about the Pistons, etc. They literally dropped MJ to the floor as their official gameplan. A ref dragged Scottie off the court mid play after what would likely be a Flagrant 2 in today’s game.
 

temery

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Why is an article on Jordan showing up everywhere in the past few days?
 

nelsonmuntz

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You can take 3 steps on just about any play nowadays and nobody blinks an eye.

you talk about the a bulls on D but what about the Pistons, etc. They literally dropped MJ to the floor as their official gameplan. A ref dragged Scottie off the court mid play after what would likely be a Flagrant 2 in today’s game.
First of all, I disagree completely about the travels in the 90's vs. today. Refs call the NBA a lot tighter now in every way than they did 25 years ago, for better or worse. Does anyone remember Ewing's post moves in the latter half of his career? It would start with dragging his pivot foot, then be at least 2 full steps, with the pivot foot coming up and back down before he shot. It was two travels in one. Jordan's face up and penetration move was often a travel because he would shuffle his feet, reversing which one was forward, before he started penetration. I wouldn't get too worked up about it, but it was technically a travel.

I won't defend the Pistons. I thought the way they played was an embarrassment to the game, and I am glad that it is not possible anymore. That style is one of the reasons I don't give that team or Isiah Thomas a lot of credit. It wasn't basketball, and if refs were calling it correctly, the Pistons would be getting bounced in the first or second round of the playoffs every year.
 

nelsonmuntz

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I say yes. If teams like the Warriors and Spurs have won multiples, then I firmly believe Jordan could have done it.

With all due respect to Rodman and Pippen, Jordan did not have the best supporting cast, not like the players of today do. You have super teams in LA, Golden State, even San Antonio, and Miami when they won. Jordan was in a class by himself. Pippen and Rodman are like Esa Tikkanen and Jari Kurri, good players, but not that memorable decades later. Playing with all-time greats etched their names in history.

Jordan would have top guys flanking him today.
Look at the teams Jordan was playing against. There were a lot of superstars during that era, surrounded by mediocre talent. You want to complain about Jordan's supporting cast, it won 55 games the season after he first retired, and was a Scottie Pippin temper tantrum from going to the conference finals. That was a good team, and Kukoc does not get nearly enough credit. The Bulls' second run had Ron Harper, a really good player who would be the star for most teams, coming off the bench.

Look what Expansion did to the NBA during the 90's. Look at Olajuwon's Rockets. Who was the second best player on that team? Otis Thorpe? Ewing's best teammate was probably Anthony Mason, and those Knicks teams had no bench. Reggie Miller's teams had a solid starting lineup, but no bench. It took a lot of the secondary starters and dept, and sent it to Miami, Charlotte, Orlando, Minnesota, Vancouver and Toronto. The NBA grew by 17% in two years in the late 80's, but the talent pool didn't grow by 17%. That is one starter a team, gone.

Think about what the Knicks would be like if Ewing had a decent backcourt, or Olajuwon had a second scorer to play with. What if the Utah Jazz had a second defensive stopper at the wing, or the Blazers had a center that could defend? Put Shaq or Alonzo on any of about 8 teams in the NBA in the 90's, and that team is better than the Bulls. The Bulls were able to hold their team together, and add to it with players like Kukoc, Rodman and Harper, while other teams were just thin
 

KembaStepback

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What about hand checking being legal? Jordan people wouldn't have been able to put a hand on him...not to mention they cant hammer him at the rim. He would have gone wild in the lane. Not to mention if he worked on his 3 point shot more he'd have been a good 3 point shooter. He improved as his career went on as it was.
 

nelsonmuntz

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What about hand checking being legal? Jordan people wouldn't have been able to put a hand on him...not to mention they cant hammer him at the rim. He would have gone wild in the lane. Not to mention if he worked on his 3 point shot more he'd have been a good 3 point shooter. He improved as his career went on as it was.
That works both ways. Jordan was a grabbing and hacking machine in the 90's, because he knew he wouldn't get called. Stern wanted the superstars protected, so they were. That is not a focus for Silver, so players like Giannis are in foul trouble on occasion.

Overall, between less superstar favoritism and zone defenses, plus the improvement in overall talent level, it is harder for a single player to dominate today than it was 25 years ago.
 

UChusky916

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With all due respect to Rodman and Pippen, Jordan did not have the best supporting cast, not like the players of today do.

Pippen and Rodman are like Esa Tikkanen and Jari Kurri, good players, but not that memorable decades later.
This tells me you know nothing about basketball. Pippen and Rodman are both hall of famers...

Pippen:
-Hall of famer
-One of the all-time great NBA SF
-3x NBA 1st team
-7x NBA all-star
-8x NBA all-defense 1st team

Rodman:
-Hall of Famer
-Arguably best NBA rebounder of all time, at least this era
-Rebounding champion 7 straight years
-2x NBA defensive POY
-2x NBA All-Star
-7x NBA all-defense 1st team

These guys would still crush it in the league today.
People complain about LeBron having a "big 3 helping get him his ring" but Jordan had a better supporting cast for all 6 title teams than LeBron ever had.
 
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I’d think no. The athleticism and level of play are much higher today than then. Jordan’s toughness and will to win would still set him apart from the rest, but his athleticism could’ve been matched by today’s players. He also would’ve benefitted from the softness in today’s game because he’d be shooting 15 foul shots a game.

Not sure if this has been asked, but for those who saw Jordan in his prime, who would win: Jordan’s Bulls or the Warriors with Durant?
 

KembaStepback

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That works both ways. Jordan was a grabbing and hacking machine in the 90's, because he knew he wouldn't get called. Stern wanted the superstars protected, so they were. That is not a focus for Silver, so players like Giannis are in foul trouble on occasion.

Overall, between less superstar favoritism and zone defenses, plus the improvement in overall talent level, it is harder for a single player to dominate today than it was 25 years ago.
Very true. I was more thinking on the offensive end. I think Jordan would have adapted and still been an excellent defensive player.
 

Chin Diesel

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This tells me you know nothing about basketball. Pippen and Rodman are both hall of famers...

Pippen:
-Hall of famer
-One of the all-time great NBA SF
-3x NBA 1st team
-7x NBA all-star
-8x NBA all-defense 1st team

Rodman:
-Hall of Famer
-Best NBA rebounder of all time
-Rebounding champion 7 straight years
-2x NBA defensive POY
-2x NBA All-Star
-7x NBA all-defense 1st team

These guys would still crush it in the league today.
People complain about Lebrons "big 3" but Jordan had a better supporting cast for all 6 title teams than LeBron ever had.
By what metric is Rodman best rebounder of all-time?
 
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I finished the Last Dance last night. I think Jordan is still the greatest player that ever played, but there is now way he would have won 6 in 8 years in today's game. Jordan and the Bulls benefited from 4 major factors in the 90's.

1) Expansion - this is the biggest factor, by far. The NBA went from 23 teams in 1987 to 29 in 1995. The dilution in talent around the league was profound, and made it possible for a Championship team that could hold its core together and make smart supporting cast pickups to dominate. Imagine if Alonzo Mourning, Shaq, Glen Rice, Kendall Gill, Nick Anderson, Isaih Rider, Larry Johnson (in his prime), Steve Smith, Rony Seikaly, Horace Grant, Pooh Richardson, Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby, Walt Williams, Shareet Abdur-Rahim were all taken off expansion teams and consolidated onto the original 23 teams. Somewhere there would be a few teams that were really, really good.

It is not a coincidence that the Bulls' run starts when Charlotte started to get good and accelerated when Miami and Orlando get competitive. The expansion teams all sucked their first couple of seasons, but when they started to collect real talent, it was diluting the rest of the league, and making it easier for the Bulls to win.

2) Zone Defense - You can breakdown the NBA into pre-zone and post-zone basketball in a lot of ways. The illegal defense rules were ridiculous, and the Bulls were not the only team to benefit. The Jazz and Rockets did too. That said, if teams could help away from the ball in the 90's like they can now, Jordan would have been denied the rock a lot, and had to give up a lot more when he got it.

3) Pre-Euro - There were a handful of good foreign players at the beginning of the Bulls run (Olajuwon, Petrovic, Marcilonius, Divac, Shrempf, Smits), and even by the mid 90's there were maybe 10 that were capable of starting or contributing to a playoff team, and the Bulls had one of the best in Kukoc. Since then, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitski and Tim Duncan are first ballot HoFers, the Spurs won 5 titles with 3 foreign players as their stars, and the Lakers won 2 titles with Pau Gasol as their second best player. Today, the best player in the NBA is from Europe, and almost every NBA team has 2-3 foreign players that are at least decent.

Europe was not churning out top talent then like it is now, and some of the best didn't make it to the states in their primes. If Arvydas Sabonis played for Portland starting in 1988 like he was supposed to, (before his knees turned to concrete, he gained 50 pounds, and consumed a few thousand liters of vodka) Portland would have won multiple titles. Sabonis in his prime with Drexler, Porter, Cliff, and Kersey would have been unstoppable.

4) Moneyball - Teams would have played Jordan differently if there were advanced analytics in the 90's, and they certainly wouldn't have left defenders on an island against Jordan for 30 possessions a game like they did then.
Of course he would, the NBA would see to it.
 
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Lebron made 8 straight finals in today's NBA why would you think that's impossible for MJ?

Get him there and then MJ's finals record speaks for itself...
 

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