The Hibernia Reit chairman holds the same position at Applegreen, Workspace Group and Sirius Real Estate, and is a non-executive at LXB Retail Properties.

What NBA leading players from yesteryear translate well enough to the offensive league of today to lead their team to a championship and what leading players from today translate well enough to the defensive league of the 80s-90s to do this?

Thank you for you A2A.

In my humble opinion it would be easier for players from past decades (80s and 90s) to translate to modern NBA then other way around. That being said of course it won’t be a case for all former stars and superstars. For example dominance of Wilt Chamberlain during his time couldn’t be achieved in the same way today, but he would still be a force to be reckon.

As many basketball analysts said many time before NBA Legends would be NBA Legends in any era because of their pure talent and work ethic. I truly believe in this assumption.

So now on to business. I have decided to find 10 players from 80s and 90s who would be perfect for today’s game, and 5 active players that would be perennial All Stars 25 or 35 years ago.

5 players from 80’s who would thrive today

  • Larry Bird – Bird skill set would be perfect for today’s game. 3 point shooting era would bring Bird some exceptional scoring numbers. It’s astonishing how little he had opportunities to shoot from deep in his career, but in 2019 he would have a chance to fire like 10 shots behind the arc per game. Also don’t forget he was great rebounder and good passer so his rookie season would be even better then the one Doncic is having, and without physicality his career would last couple more years.
  • Magic Johnson – Best point guard ever would be even better point guard ever (if that is even possible 🙂 ). Finding guys running of screens would be his specialty. Controlling pace and space of the game, and finding now more athletic basketball players on the run would be so easy for Magic. He was so dominant with Kareem and now imagine him running with Capela, Davis, KAT or even D. Jordan. That would be Showtime Lob City Lakers.
  • Isiah Thomas – Now you are getting Kyrie Irving on doping treatment. With less physicality in 2019 NBA basketball Thomas would accomplish much more. I have opinion that smaller players such as Thomas 2.0, Lillard, Kemba Walker have now easier path to greatness. So leader of old Bad Boys would have more space to show his big heart and best effective handles we ever saw.
  • Dominique Wilkins – Imagine Human Highlight Film having more space to jump over bodies, and having less dominant centers then back in the old days. Mozgov, Baynes, Gortat, Pachulia and Nurkic would need much much MUCH bigger rooms for all the posters they would be on. So just imagine a guy 20% better the DeMar DeRozan.
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar– So you have a center that scored most points in NBA history. And then you take that center and put him in a league where dominant center don’t exist or exist in trails. And then put that same center in a middle of the paint with 3 or 4 good shooters so he has much much more space to dominate because of reduced double teams. It would be like 15 made Skyhooks a game. Damn, I still don’t realize why there is no one with skyhook in NBA right now!

5 players from 90’s who could win championships in this decade: (I have counted O’Neal, Duncan and Iverson as players of 00’s so they aren’t on this list)

  • Michael Jordan – As Tweety Bird would say His Airness is best basketball player ever to play the game. He wasn’t scared of Piston Bad Boys so there is none who would scare him now. People don’t give enough credit for Jordan defense and I think his speed and consistency would prove unstoppable now. And then that is just first part of the story, cause he was best offensive player to ever play the game. So these 30 ppg that Harden was streaking this season would be done in no time. Give him more floor spacers like every team has now and that tongue would be out of his mouth all the time.
  • Hakeem Olajuwon – Now imagine better Joel Embiid who is not firing annoying triples but dominating with footwork, assists, post moves, rim protection and leadership. Nobody could have stop him then (ask Ewing, Robinson and young Shaq) nobody would stop him now. Olajuwon is that kind of a talent that translates in any situation. Swap Clint Capela and Chris Paul for Olajuwon in Rockets uniform right now and be sure him and Harden would win like 5 of next 8 titles.
  • Reggie Miller – Now we have come upon a man that was shooting triples before it was modern like today. And he was doing it in some great percentages. Also the big heart of a one franchise player would be a nice counter to these superteams today. Klay Thompson and Harden would fight for second place in SG hierarchy. And some rapper would repeat more often: “In a jersey of Reggie Miller I would go to my drug dealer.”
  • Penny Hardaway – Penny would probably have longer Russell Westbrook lookalike career. His pace, ball handling skill and attacking the basket mentality would translate nicely today. We would probably have 1 Top 10 highlight from Penny every night he plays. Also I trust that Magic team from mid 90s would be a massive force in 2019.
  • Grant Hill – When you think of a best combo forwards of 90’s, 2 guys come to my mind. Scottie Pippen who would have qualities of Kawhi Leonard and prime time Grant Hill that will convey qualities similar to LeBron James. He is not long as James or Durant but he would still lead his team in rebound, points and assists while putting highlights all over the place.

Honorable mention: Patrick Ewing, Glen Rice, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Ralph Sampson, Julius Erving, Sidney Moncrief, Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen

Active players that would be among the greatest in 80’s and 90’s

  • LeBron JamesHand down James is that kind of a talent that would be the best even against Monstars just like Jordan in Space Jam. His skill set is so deep that he can dominate games in many different ways. And I don’t think that check defense or more physicality would reduce his effectiveness in any way.
  • DaMarcus Cousins – Him and Embiid are the only center today that I feel would have a chance to be dominant during 80’s. (Cousins before injury). Coaches would give him more touches to work down low, and that outside-inside mentality of 80’s would make him more important for his team. Points, Rebounds and Blocks would translate for sure, and even I believe he would win much more.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo– Has that body that probably could play any sport he would like from track, to NFL to 80’s NBA. His “bad” shooting wouldn’t be a factor at all. And he could develop even more Magic like skills. They would fear the dear. Unstoppable!!
  • Paul George Scottie Pippen won 6 NBA titles with Jordan, I just think if you swap Pippen and George you will get same result. I think that is enough to justify his placement here.
  • DeMar DeRozan – I spoke of Dominique Wilkins today. Now we can go other way around, in an era where mid range jumpers were popular DeRozan would fit just nicely. Maybe he wouldn’t be a superstar, but he would still get All Star invites, and same consistency that he has shown during past decade of regular seasons.