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Old 07-14-2011, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Wylie, Texas
1,690 posts, read 2,470,475 times
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Just a question that always bubbled in my mind. I always try to put the players of the past and see if they would still be all time greats. Obviously this is a subjective exercise as everyone will feel differently about different players. Here are my thoughts;

Magic Johnson: I think he would still be an all time great today. A great passer is always relevant, no matter what era. And the thing about point guards is that you dont have to be the most athletic to thrive. Look at Steve Nash. He is isnt the quickest point guard around yet he had dominated for a few years. Add in the fact that his height advantage gave him the mismatch even today and I think he would be fine.

Michael Jordan: Yep, he would still dominate. Nuff said.

Isaiah Thomas: See Magic above

John Stockton: Ditto

Larry Bird: Here is the one guy who I think would struggle today. I watch old tape of him on Youtube and he looks slow even back then. No quickness, no hops, just a deadly jumpshot...sorry to say but I think he would get eaten up today. Do you see him scoring 30 against Josh Smith, Lebron, Young KG, Bruce Bowen, Young Artest...the list goes on and on...plus who would he guard on defense??? I see him being at best Peja Stojacovic with balls. But even Peja could only succeed on a team with multiple other options like the Kings had with Webber and Bibby. Make Peja the franchise? disaster. I think Bird got lucky that the era he played in didnt have a whole lot of athletic players yet...hell even his gay lover Bill Simmons admitted it. So what do you guys think?
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Earth
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Bird was probably as good a passer as Magic, believe it or not, perhaps not as flashy but timely and fundamentally sound. IQ-wise, there isn't a player today on his level.

Just the fact that you bring up Steve Nash in an era that features explosive athletes like Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, you can apply the same analogy to Bird. What is the key to Nash's success and longevity. High skill, IQ, fundamentals.... you said Bird has no quickness or hops. Neither does Nash, not compared to some others at his position.

Bird faced athletic players in his day....James Worthy, Dominique Wilkins, Michael Cooper. He didn't beat those guys by out-running or out-jumping them. Consider that Bird was also a knock-down shooter at 6'9. That trait would make him successful today , just as 25 years ago.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Wylie, Texas
1,690 posts, read 2,470,475 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg1977 View Post
Bird was probably as good a passer as Magic, believe it or not, perhaps not as flashy but timely and fundamentally sound. IQ-wise, there isn't a player today on his level.

Just the fact that you bring up Steve Nash in an era that features explosive athletes like Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, you can apply the same analogy to Bird. What is the key to Nash's success and longevity. High skill, IQ, fundamentals.... you said Bird has no quickness or hops. Neither does Nash, not compared to some others at his position.

Bird faced athletic players in his day....James Worthy, Dominique Wilkins, Michael Cooper. He didn't beat those guys by out-running or out-jumping them. Consider that Bird was also a knock-down shooter at 6'9. That trait would make him successful today , just as 25 years ago.

You are right he WAS a great passer...I didnt say he couldnt be good, after all I said he would be a better Peja, and Peja was an allstar at some point, but could he be the franchise guy? MVP winner? I just look at him and think he would be fairly easy to gameplan for...a jumpshooter who cannot beat anyone off the dribble and take it to the hole...he just seems fairly one dimensional..
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:40 AM
 
51,900 posts, read 41,774,553 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg1977 View Post
Bird was probably as good a passer as Magic, believe it or not, perhaps not as flashy but timely and fundamentally sound. IQ-wise, there isn't a player today on his level.

Just the fact that you bring up Steve Nash in an era that features explosive athletes like Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, you can apply the same analogy to Bird. What is the key to Nash's success and longevity. High skill, IQ, fundamentals.... you said Bird has no quickness or hops. Neither does Nash, not compared to some others at his position.

Bird faced athletic players in his day....James Worthy, Dominique Wilkins, Michael Cooper. He didn't beat those guys by out-running or out-jumping them. Consider that Bird was also a knock-down shooter at 6'9. That trait would make him successful today , just as 25 years ago.
Yeah, there were TONS of athletic players in Birds era. We aren't exactly talking about Mikan here people. Nique was every bit as athletic as any modern player....just to name one guy.

Ironically the era after Bird was marred by the recruiting of guys with massive athletic ability with the idea of them learning basketball. Most of them sucked and had marginal carreers.

Bird had a lighting fast release and was a deadly shooter.
He knew what was going on before other players and that lead to better position and a free "first step".

Basically, I'm pretty sure Harold Miner was more "athletic" than a whole bunch of future and current HOF'ers.

There are also a bunch of "more athletic" power forwards in the league RIGHT NOW than Karl Malone or Tim Duncan were in their primes.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:00 AM
 
51,900 posts, read 41,774,553 times
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Originally Posted by biafra4life View Post
You are right he WAS a great passer...I didnt say he couldnt be good, after all I said he would be a better Peja, and Peja was an allstar at some point, but could he be the franchise guy? MVP winner? I just look at him and think he would be fairly easy to gameplan for...a jumpshooter who cannot beat anyone off the dribble and take it to the hole...he just seems fairly one dimensional..
He was the MVP in 1986. Look at the names on the MVP voting list.

1985-86 NBA Awards Voting | Basketball-Reference.com
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Earth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biafra4life View Post

but could he be the franchise guy? MVP winner? I just look at him and think he would be fairly easy to gameplan for...a jumpshooter who cannot beat anyone off the dribble and take it to the hole...he just seems fairly one dimensional..
Yes, he could...imo.

For one thing, Bird was very good at playing off the ball to get himself scoring opportunities. He couldn't really beat anyone off the dribble 25 years ago, so that's a pretty moot point. The thing is Bird mastered the mental aspects of Basketball, he saw plays unfold before everyone else did. So while he was one step behind them athletically, he was 3 steps ahead mentally. That would be the same today, which is why I think he'd be successful in today's era.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
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I hated Bird back in the day because so many Bird fans had no respect (or insight) for the rest of the league (just the stacked Celtics). Bird was the man for white racists too.

But I think he would have been almost as good today. The zones would make him better defensively but maybe a little worse offensively. Bird had those great ball fakes that make up for his lack of quickness.

Bill Russell is a player I think would be far less of a player in the modern game. Too small, shaky scorer.

Who else would be lesser nowadays? Earl Monroe maybe, not necessarily a great athlete or strong in non-scoring areas.

Maybe Mo Cheeks? Might be underwhelming vs today's crop of super athletes.

Probably alot of the players from 50s and 60s whould be a little small and/or slow to do well today.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Earth
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Originally Posted by Back to NE View Post

Bill Russell is a player I think would be far less of a player in the modern game. Too small, shaky scorer.
The funny thing with Russell is, he's 6'9 and 220. That's like your average small forward now. Here's where the argument gets tricky when discussing transferring players across eras; if Russell had come along today, he likely would have developed an entirely different skillset, and played a different position. Or, he'd have been a Ben Wallace-type, Wallace was about 6'7( listed at 6'9) but was built like a tank.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:38 AM
 
9,028 posts, read 16,424,156 times
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I think Bird would of been fine .... he wasn't athletic like a lot of guys, but he was very quick in his own way .... his release and ability to get his show off and create space was superb, his movement in space, precision of footwork, etc

He was very efficient in how he moved around the court ... he understood the angles of the game and was a tremendous defensive player with very quick hands and just an inate feel for positioning

I think he gets underestimated a lot because he did things to efficiently - passes, movement, quick release ... it's easy to overlook the little things that made him so effective .... those skills would hold up just as well today, especially in a league where many don't understand them
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Earth
3,653 posts, read 3,878,428 times
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Originally Posted by Finger Laker View Post

I think he gets underestimated a lot because he did things to efficiently - passes, movement, quick release ... it's easy to overlook the little things that made him so effective .... those skills would hold up just as well today, especially in a league where many don't understand them
Solid points, and this is what I alluded to earlier. Bird didn't jump out of the gym, but MENTALLY, he was so far ahead of everyone else. He thought the game, his anticipation, reflexes were excellent, his ability to read what players were going to do and react was second to none. Bird was playing chess when everyone else was playing checkers.....
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