Nice question. Today’s NBA players benefit from faster pace which is a byproduct of looser defenses, more perimeter shooting, more focus on spacing and less focus on the interior, which overall leads to today’s game being more beneficial for perimeter players. And in fact the game had already been trending in this direction ever since hand checking rules changed in 2005 (which also benefitted perimeter players).
Here are a few stars of the past who would be even more deadly today:
Think of him as your 1970s KD. He was a 6′9 PF/C who had both an interior and a perimeter game. He would light up the scoreboard from anywhere on the floor. This being in the 1970s made him virtually unguardable as bigs would be reluctant to be guarding him from the wing back then. McAdoo won 3 scoring titles and an MVP in the mid 1970s as an atypical big man with a perimeter game.
Well you expected him on this list right? He was an all time ball handler and playmaker who also had some range. He was basically the Kyrie Irving / Allen Iverson of his era, so of course he would thrive in today’s era.
Great shooter, great scorer, great passer, great competitor, great clutch player. West would fit in any era but would be even better in today’s perimeter oriented game.
Extremely talented in every offensive category, his main fault was that he was an ‘asshole’, but that kind of competitive perfectionist personality would actually be more appreciated in today’s game (they call it ‘mamba mentality’ now)
A great shooter, scorer, ball handler, The Rock was one of the most consistent scorers of the 1990s, and would be even better today. I just can’t think of many ways to stop him. Think of him as a slightly lesser D-wade overall but with better shooting. That’s pretty damn good.
He’s a 6′9 SF who’s an all time great shooter. In today’s game it would be much harder to guard this guy. And he was already fairly effective in the early 00s.
Another guy who was a very good shooter and scorer of his time – but would be even better today with more spacing and no hand checking.
Just like some of the other 90s guys I mentioned.. another great shooter and perimeter scorer who would benefit from today’s spacing and looser defense.
How many people know this guy averaged 27 PPG in 1989 shooting 48% from 3P%? That’s pretty bonkers. This guy was another lights out shooter who would be terrific and hard to guard in today’s game.
Another guy who in his prime was good for 26–27 PPG and able to shoot from anywhere on the floor. Mullin would be quite unguardable in today’s game, almost like a bigger Klay (except without the defense).
I don’t think it’s ridiculous to say he was Curry before Curry. He had the handles, he had the shooting range, he was a great passer, great driver, great leader and of course would be even deadlier in today’s game.
Another wing that could shoot from anywhere on the floor, was already pretty deadly back in the 90s, but of course would be even better now.
I’ll take the Price/Curry analogy back even further and say this guy was the 1970s ABA version.
Slow? yes. Unathletic? Sure. But that doesn’t stop Luka and Jokic from dominating today. Issel would be great today as well. He could score from nearly anywhere from the interior to near the 3 point line, and what’s even more important in today’s game is that he never load managed. This guy was called “The Horse” because he was made from iron. Incredible hustle, durability and longevity. He would thrive today.
Another Sonic on here. Sikma is interesting. He had an unorthodox shooting style that really worked well for him and frustrated defenders and it worked from nearly anywhere on the floor. Although Sikma played more near the interior cause that was the 1980s, I have a hunch he would do fairly well on the perimeter too. Somehow I think he reminds me of what Kevin Love would have been in the 1980s.
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