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KevinLoveFan

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I'm old enough to remember MJ, especially his last three titles (a little too young for the first three -- just some faint memories of the 1993 series against the Suns). I'm an older Millennial, age 35. I think I'm young enough to know and respect the current era, while also old enough to not dismiss the older ones I remember.

It's important to know, in order to remain analytically objective, and also see the big picture -- to understand that the game certainly changes with every era, but not necessarily for better or worse in a blanket fashion. It depends on what angle you're examining the game from.

So, for example, the 1990s were considerably stronger and more athletic than the 1980s, when everyone was bean pole thin and didn't lift weights. The Bad Boy Pistons forced teams to get stronger. By the mid 1990s, you had guys like Karl Malone bulking up to impressive levels. Jordan, then, faced a broad range of competition throughout his career in terms of athleticism and strength. Remember, he played in both the 1980s AND the 1990s. You can't just isolate video clips from the 1980s out of context and leap to the incorrect conclusion that he faced nothing but anorexics throughout his career. His career spanned 1984-2003, not 1984-1988.

That said, his second series of championships, while playing against physically stronger competition, was lessened a bit by the addition of two brand-new expansion teams, the Grizzlies and Raptors. None of the first three Bulls title teams would have won 72 games, but it didn't surprise me when the 1995-96 team did.

Right now, we're in an era where spacing and shooting is at an all-time high, but physicality has decreased since the 1990s and 2000s. Players are stronger than they were in the 1980s, but most assuredly NOT the 1990s or 2000s. Defense is also terrible because of all the rule changes favoring offense. I'm looking forward to a future era when we hopefully have more balance. 20 years from now, provided we're all still around, I think this era in basketball might get a few laughs for its over-focus on shooting. Young people will mock it the way they always do older eras for this thing or that thing.
 

Derek

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I disagree with most of that last paragraph.

You don’t think players are stronger now than in the 90’s? I think today's players are stronger and more physically tough, no doubt.

The defense isn't terrible now either compared to other eras, it's simply tougher to guard now than ever before because of the usage of the 3 point shot. Guarding for 30 feet is way more difficult than guarding for 20.

Plus, as athletes get bigger/stronger/smarter, it stands to reason that scoring would increase since good offense beats good defense.

I don't see why we'd ever laugh at the emphasis at shooting in this era. It's quite clearly the most effective strategy, and that doesn't stand to change until there are major changes to the game.
 
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KevinLoveFan

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I disagree with most of that last paragraph.

You don’t think players are stronger now than in the 90’s? I think today's players are stronger and more physically tough, no doubt.
Seriously?

NO ONE in the modern game looks like this:



It's pretty much common consensus that the '90s and '00s were clearly more physical and muscular than today's game.

Again, I'll acknowledge today's players are more physically built than in the '80s. But no way in the '90s or '00s. Mychal Thompson even had a commentary on today's lack of muscle definition, and Chris Webber gave a response on NBA 2K20 indicating that today's players are indeed less bulky, but that the big guys are more mobile than they were in yesteryear. I'll definitely agree there -- players today have traded muscle and strength for mobility and speed.

As for your three-point commentary, I'll concede that perimeter defense is indeed tough these days, at least.
 

Derek

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Karl Malone was an exception, not the rule.

In terms of average height-weight, the NBA peaked in the early 2010’s, but the league is also younger than ever before right now as well.

Training methods have improved to allow guys to increase strength without adding unnecessary mass to slow them down.

ETA: I’m shocked that former players are trying to act like something was better back in their day.
 
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KevinLoveFan

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Karl Malone was an exception, not the rule.

In terms of average height-weight, the NBA peaked in the early 2010’s, but the league is also younger than ever before right now as well.

Training methods have improved to allow guys to increase strength without adding unnecessary mass to slow them down.

ETA: I’m shocked that former players are trying to act like something was better back in their day.
It's honestly this kind of thesis I was attempting to dismantle in my original post -- you've got people who always insist the fallacy that things are all better today (your argument), or the old folks who always insist the fallacy that things were all better yesteryear. We need to look at eras objectively, and not succumb to either extreme.

If things are all better today, then enjoy it 20 years from now when some Gen Alpha tells you that all the basketball you watched in the 2020s was primitive crap and not worth anything compared to basketball in the 2040s.

I distinctly remember a guy on a sports discussion forum site called FanHome in the early 2000s. His name was WhoRunBartertown, and he was a clever engineer who thought he was always right. I made it a point to remember a thing he said -- that players are so advanced and strong now in the early 2000s, that fast-paced basketball will never return. That was seen as an old way in the 1980s.

Ironically, he was a Phoenix Suns fan, and it was his team that -- a few years later -- led a resurgence in fast-paced basketball.

I'll now make it a point to remember your post, and if RealCavs is still around in 2040, and you still are, I'll keep in memory this post declaring how great basketball was in the ancient 2020s. :)
 

Derek

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It's honestly this kind of thesis I was attempting to dismantle in my original post -- you've got people who always insist the fallacy that things are all better today (your argument), or the old folks who always insist the fallacy that things were all better yesteryear. We need to look at eras objectively, and not succumb to either extreme.

If things are all better today, then enjoy it 20 years from now when some Gen Alpha tells you that all the basketball you watched in the 2020s was primitive crap and not worth anything compared to basketball in the 2040s.

I distinctly remember a guy on a sports discussion forum site called FanHome in the early 2000s. His name was WhoRunBartertown, and he was a clever engineer who thought he was always right. I made it a point to remember a thing he said -- that players are so advanced and strong now in the early 2000s, that fast-paced basketball will never return. That was seen as an old way in the 1980s.

Ironically, he was a Phoenix Suns fan, and it was his team that -- a few years later -- led a resurgence in fast-paced basketball.

I'll now make it a point to remember your post, and if RealCavs is still around in 2040, and you still are, I'll keep in memory this post declaring how great basketball was in the ancient 2020s. :)
My argument is not that all things are better today, you’re creating a strawman.

I’m very willing to admit that the players will continue to improve and that 25 years from now, there will be a greater crop of athletes than there is today.

There’s no telling what the style of play will look like because there will surely be rule changes. So, I won’t try to predict that.
 
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Sebastian

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I know people have talked a good deal about the differences in the game in the late 80s and 90s, and made good points, but I think another salient point with regard to Jordan's six titles to LeBron's three is the NBA during Jordan's reign was the epitome of parity.

There were a lot of good teams in the early-to-mid 90s. Lots of teams had two All-Stars and strong regular season records. Looking at 91-92 and 92-93, we see teams like the Blazers, Jazz, Warriors, Spurs, Sonics and Rockets who had two solid All-Stars (or in the case of the Rockets and Spurs two GOATs) and winning 50 games. Out East you have the Knicks, the Cavs, the Magic, the Pacers, the old Celtics and rising teams that never really made it like the Hornets and Nets. Lots of teams winning 50 games in that period. Lots of small markets competing.

That said, that era lacked in GREAT teams. The Bulls were clearly the favorites in every Finals they played and only faced a team with three All-Stars twice, and one team, the Lakers, were way over the hill. The only other true WC great team to emerge in that era was probably the Rockets in 1995.

LeBron's era is characterized by a lack of parity, somewhat, and a series of All-Time great dynasties in the West. While it IS true that the East was weaker once the Pistons fell before him and the Celtics aged out, the West saw an unprecedented period of dominance. From 2003-2012, the West always had three teams that were title worthy: Teams that won multiple titles, the Lakers, the Spurs and then usually another team having their best year ever like the Mavericks, the Hornets, the Run & Gun Suns or the Thunder. And then of course the Cavs ran into the Warriors and behind them were still great teams in the Spurs, Thunder and Rockets, or even Clippers.

Long story short, Jordan never faced a single team as good as the weakest team LeBron did. The Mavericks and the Thunder were both better teams than the 90s Sonics, Suns or Jazz. The Blazers or old Lakers were more akin to the LeBron 2.0 Era Jazz, Nuggets or Clippers than the Spurs or Warriors.

So I have no doubt that Jordan's run would not have been 6-0 had the West had the types of teams the WC has seen the past two decades. And in the present era, it is entirely possible that the Bulls would win only 1-2 titles, or none, and probably against the Mavs and Thunder because I think Jordan does not beat the Spurs or the Warriors even once.
 

brownsbuck6

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I still have to watch episode 10 - I was interested that they highlighted Kerr in episode 9. What annoyed me about that is Kerr did credit the Cavs for giving him his first real opportunity in the NBA, which is great and all. But then he said something to the affect of how he watched and emulated John f'ing Paxson from afar, with no mention of Mark Price with whom he was a teammate of and a far superior player to Paxson. Kerr, as he usually does, annoyed the eff out of me with that omission.
 

prf100

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I still have to watch episode 10 - I was interested that they highlighted Kerr in episode 9. What annoyed me about that is Kerr did credit the Cavs for giving him his first real opportunity in the NBA, which is great and all. But then he said something to the affect of how he watched and emulated John f'ing Paxson from afar, with no mention of Mark Price with whom he was a teammate of and a far superior player to Paxson. Kerr, as he usually does, annoyed the eff out of me with that omission.
To be fair, depending on the questions asked by the producers, they could have easily focused his answers to something Bulls specific. Alternatively, the same producers could have just as easily not used footage where he did credit Price.

All that said - why would Kerr look back on his career with the Cavs as anything other than a start? It was just that. He won championships with the Bulls and the Spurs.
 

The Human Q-Tip

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To be fair, depending on the questions asked by the producers, they could have easily focused his answers to something Bulls specific. Alternatively, the same producers could have just as easily not used footage where he did credit Price.

All that said - why would Kerr look back on his career with the Cavs as anything other than a start? It was just that. He won championships with the Bulls and the Spurs.
I'm just going to say that I fucking still hate MJ, and would not watch one second of that show.
 

prf100

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I'm just going to say that I fucking still hate MJ, and would not watch one second of that show.
I was in the camp of "not watching one second of that show" but given the lack of options, I started watching.

And I think I hate MJ even more.

ETA: Okay, maybe I don't hate MJ more, but I was very much reminded of why I really didn't like him. All the media adulation, constant talk of his greatness. GREAT, I GET IT. And now its back in my face. What put me a bit over the edge was the baseball episode where Terry Francona talked about how his hitting .200 in AA was actually really good because they had plenty of prospects that couldn't do that, and CERTAINLY didn't have prospects hitting .200 that could drive in 50 runs. WELL, NO SHIT. You hit .200 you aren't gonna be in the lineup every day sucking up at bats from actual legit players.

/rant
 

Derek

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I was in the camp of "not watching one second of that show" but given the lack of options, I started watching.

And I think I hate MJ even more.

ETA: Okay, maybe I don't hate MJ more, but I was very much reminded of why I really didn't like him. All the media adulation, constant talk of his greatness. GREAT, I GET IT. And now its back in my face. What put me a bit over the edge was the baseball episode where Terry Francona talked about how his hitting .200 in AA was actually really good because they had plenty of prospects that couldn't do that, and CERTAINLY didn't have prospects hitting .200 that could drive in 50 runs. WELL, NO SHIT. You hit .200 you aren't gonna be in the lineup every day sucking up at bats from actual legit players.

/rant
Plus, we all saw Space Jam. The catchers were tipping pitches :chuckle:
 

The Human Q-Tip

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I was in the camp of "not watching one second of that show" but given the lack of options, I started watching.

And I think I hate MJ even more.

ETA: Okay, maybe I don't hate MJ more, but I was very much reminded of why I really didn't like him. All the media adulation, constant talk of his greatness. GREAT, I GET IT. And now its back in my face. What put me a bit over the edge was the baseball episode where Terry Francona talked about how his hitting .200 in AA was actually really good because they had plenty of prospects that couldn't do that, and CERTAINLY didn't have prospects hitting .200 that could drive in 50 runs. WELL, NO SHIT. You hit .200 you aren't gonna be in the lineup every day sucking up at bats from actual legit players.

/rant
In 1989, I was stationed in Virginia. My brother calls me late Friday night, after the Cavs OT Game 4 win in Chicago, and says he has two tickets for Sunday. So I hop in my car, and drive the 400+ miles to Ohio. We got to the game, and MJ hits that fucking shot. I then had drive back 400 miles -- no way I was turning on that radio -- to be back in time for a 0400 departure for a field exercise.

So yes, I hate him.
 

prf100

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In 1989, I was stationed in Virginia. My brother calls me late Friday night, after the Cavs OT Game 4 win in Chicago, and says he has two tickets for Sunday. So I hop in my car, and drive the 400+ miles to Ohio. We got to the game, and MJ hits that fucking shot. I then had drive back 400 miles -- no way I was turning on that radio -- to be back in time for a 0400 departure for a field exercise.

So yes, I hate him.
Ouch.
 

Bob_The_Cat

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I was in the camp of "not watching one second of that show" but given the lack of options, I started watching.

And I think I hate MJ even more.

ETA: Okay, maybe I don't hate MJ more, but I was very much reminded of why I really didn't like him. All the media adulation, constant talk of his greatness. GREAT, I GET IT. And now its back in my face. What put me a bit over the edge was the baseball episode where Terry Francona talked about how his hitting .200 in AA was actually really good because they had plenty of prospects that couldn't do that, and CERTAINLY didn't have prospects hitting .200 that could drive in 50 runs. WELL, NO SHIT. You hit .200 you aren't gonna be in the lineup every day sucking up at bats from actual legit players.

/rant
This is where this shit just gets crazy to me. Francona was likely talking about 18,19, and 20 year old kids putting up those numbers, not a grown ass man. Jordan was 33 or 34 at the time. Anyone else in the same position wouldn't even get a roster spot let alone actual burn. Given another year, Jordan probably would've improved pretty rapidly since he was out of the game for so long and then quickly hit a brick wall where he wasn't going to get any better. I think the only reason he would've made it to AAA was because of his name.

I have a friend who is currently 27 and was in the White Sox minor league system. The highest level he hit was AA. Basically from what he said is that if you don't hit AAA by 24 or 25 the organization just bypasses you for the 18-22 year olds even if you're outperforming them. After a minor shoulder injury caused him to miss some time at 26, he realized he was likely stuck at AA for the rest of his baseball career if he wanted to keep playing.
 
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