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View Full Version : Modern players compare to players of old?


DavidDaMonkey
01-12-2007, 11:18 PM
Everyone always likes to talk about the old guys. MJ, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, etc. I'm relatively young (21) and definitely new to following basketball, so I never really saw any of these greats play. My question is this: do you think any players today match up to the top guys of the past?

I know lots of people will say no because everyone always likes to talk about how much greater things used to be (bands, players, video games, generations, etc), but I want to hear some opinions anyway.

If you truly think no one currently matches up, why do you think that is? Is it a change in the game? An issue of class? A different style of training? Something in the water?

dude1394
01-12-2007, 11:32 PM
Shorter shorts.

chumdawg
01-12-2007, 11:46 PM
It's a good question, to be sure. I suspect the answer is that modern players would run circles around the greats of old. To me, it just stands to reason. (After all, you don't see 100-yard dash times going up, you don't see athletes getting less athletic.) Common sense tells me that the current iteration is probably as good as it's ever been.

It could be the case that the stars of yesteryear made their mark against inferior opposition. It could be nostalgia. Or it could be a total degeneration of the game.

I doubt the latter, but I don't guess we will ever know.

dude1394
01-12-2007, 11:49 PM
I do think the older players played a game that highlighted a little more team play, cutting and movement.

Little stevie nash is about the most instinctive passer I've seen since Bird/Magic. He has the same court sense it seems.

Shaq I couldn't and cannot take (cannot believe they continue to let a guy bang people off their feet).

WayOutWest
01-15-2007, 08:27 AM
There are certain guys that can play in any era. The first dynasty of the NBA was lead by a dominant big man, George Mikam, but he wouldn't be able to have the same effect in today's game cause he was only 6'8" or 6'9" and not athletic at all. But on the other hand there are guys who's game could easily translate into the modern NBA game. Mostly big men cause they are rare. Bill Russell's defense would still impact the game today, his game was alot like Mournings without the offense. Wilt can play and be dominant in any era, there isn't a player in the league that could handle him. Kareem is another guy who could still dominate in today's game. Magic, Bird and MJ would still have success today, although the size and athleticism would be more of a hinderence but not enough to cancel out their greatness. Walton and Gilmore would still be all-stars today.

I'm not one of those "it was ALL better in the old days" types of guys but teams back in the 80's were seven to eight deep, NBA starter quality guys sitting on the bench, today's game has bench players as starters, IMO the Lakers only have two, maybe three starter quality guys on their roster. IMO there are a few teams from the 80's that would dominate in today's game, they were alot more complete and tough. On the flip side, having a guy like Dirk or KG back in the 60's, 70's or 80's would be like sending a couple of F-15's back to fight in WWII.

Stranger
01-15-2007, 08:39 AM
It's easy to look at some old grainy photos of white guys with glasses and assume that all players before the 90's were a bunch of stiffs. That would be a big mistake. Though weight training has improved the physiques of a lot of players, there have always been great athletes. Because of scouting and training regimens, Olympic times have improved over the last 50 years or so, but the difference isn't great.

That said, basketball scouting does now draw on an immensely greater pool of potential athletes than it did even 20 years ago. With a much larger US population and international scouting, you have a much greater possibility to find rare talent. Also, it's probably impossible to underestimate the effect of video scouting. With all games now on tape, its so much easier to prepare for opposing teams, and coaching schemes have gotten so much more complex.

dude1394
01-15-2007, 08:41 AM
having a guy like Dirk or KG back in the 60's, 70's or 80's would be like sending a couple of F-15's back to fight in WWII.
I'm stealing this.

Stranger
01-15-2007, 08:43 AM
On the flip side, having a guy like Dirk or KG back in the 60's, 70's or 80's would be like sending a couple of F-15's back to fight in WWII.

I have to question logic like this. People's bodies don't improve like technology.

aexchange
01-15-2007, 08:53 AM
I have to question logic like this. People's bodies don't improve like technology.

But the technology we have to train and condition our bodies has improved.

Five-ofan
01-15-2007, 09:17 AM
I have absolutely no doubt that dirk would be considered the goat if he played in the 80s(assuming he actually got to play) People are SOOOOOOOO much more athletic now. This has nothing to do with grainy photos of white guys. They just are. The biggest difference is size though. People are ALOT bigger now. Specifically pfs and sfs.

Five-ofan
01-15-2007, 09:30 AM
btw on the thing about the teams, the reason they had better depth is that there were 23 teams then. if you get rid of the extra teams and redistribute their teams, alot of teams would look alot better now.

WayOutWest
01-15-2007, 11:01 AM
btw on the thing about the teams, the reason they had better depth is that there were 23 teams then. if you get rid of the extra teams and redistribute their teams, alot of teams would look alot better now.

Totally agree, the 90's era was the weakest NBA since there was an ABA. Durring the 90's the NBA was as watered down as American beer!

WayOutWest
01-15-2007, 11:05 AM
But the technology we have to train and condition our bodies has improved.

Exactly. In the 80's there where not that many chiseled (sic?) players. Guys that looked like Karl Malone and Orlando Woolridge were rare, I can't think of any other NBA guys that looked like body builders. Now almost evey NBA player looks like he hits the gym twice a day, it's now required to supplement your skills.

Stranger
01-15-2007, 11:07 AM
I don't disagree that conditioning regimens have improved, and that better scouting allows for better recruits (especially in terms of easilly measurable traits like height and athleticism). I'm just saying that its easy to overrate the changes. The changes in size are especially over-rated. The average size of an NBA player in 2001 was 6'7", 224 lbs. It was 6'6", 211 lbs in 1963. That isn't a huge change over almost 40 years.

Those stats come from the Association of Professional Basketball research (http://members.aol.com/bradleyrd/apbr-faq.html).

Stranger
01-15-2007, 11:10 AM
Exactly. In the 80's there where not that many chiseled (sic?) players. Guys that looked like Karl Malone and Orlando Woolridge were rare, I can't think of any other NBA guys that looked like body builders. Now almost evey NBA player looks like he hits the gym twice a day, it's now required to supplement your skills.

That's very true. There is definitely more strength in the NBA since the 90's. If you look at the stats on players sizes, there is a big jump of about 10-15 pounds around the early 90's which I assume is attributable to weight training. But muscle-mass doesn't equal athleticism, it can actually hurt your speed and jumping ability sometimes. But I agree that it makes a big difference. I think one of the reasons that Wilt was so dominant was that he was about the only guy in the NBA at the time who was a big weight-lifter.