Players From the 80's/90's That Would Thrive in Today's NBA

Of course you're probably thinking that I'm just going to list a bunch of shooters that didn't score much when they played but would fit well in today's style of play. Well, I will, but I will also list other players who were already good during their time, but would be even better if they played now.

The first one is simple and I know that everybody has heard people talk about Steve Kerr's three point shooting ability. I don't think people realize how good he actually was though. I will first say that Kerr was very inconsistent with his three point shooting. He would have a season where he went 0% from three (yes, 0%!) then would go for a season with 52.4 3P%. All together, he averaged a percentage of 45.4 from three point range, which is an excellent percentage even for today's NBA.

Reggie Miller was obviously great in his day, he also shot an excellent percentage from the field, most seasons. I say that only because he slowed down a little bit at the end of his career. He shot a percentage of 39.5 from behind the arc throughout his entire career. This isn't exactly an accurate average because he played until he was 39, and obviously he wasn't as good then as he was in his prime. In his prime, which lasted from about the 1988-89 season to the 1967-68 season he averaged an average of 40.2% from three point range. Not much of a difference, but still important to include.

Shawn Kemp's energy I believe would destroy today's NBA. The pure strength that Kemp had was impeccable and the way he could navigate through the defense and dunk was also insane. I think this type of offense would really work well in today's NBA where hand checking is illegal. This means Kemp could easily back down his opponent or just drive at or around them for the dunk. Kemp's athleticism was amazing and I think we would see that even more in today's NBA.

Peja Stojakovic is one of the most underrated players to this day, people just don't talk about him enough. Stojakovic was obviously a great three point shooter but he could score in other ways as well. He never shot great from the field but he always kept it over 40% throughout his whole career besides his rookie year and his 2008-09 season where it was 39.9%. His best FG% was 70% though, so it's definitely important to include that stat. When people talk about Stojakovic being a shooter, people don't realize how good he actually was, especially in his time. He was also an excellent free throw shooter. He often shot above 90% but when he didn't it was normally in the high 80%s. Now, Stojakovic is known for his great shooting, but people don't realize how good he actually was at shooting threes. Besides his rookie year, if his 3P% wasn't 40% or above it was always above 37.5%. His highest 3P% was during his 2010-11 season where he shot 66.7% from three, the whole season. If Stojakovic played in today's NBA, he would improve on driving to the basket because of his great free throw shooting. His three point shooting would obviously help him under the NBA's defensive regulations, so he would eventually master the step back and other moves to get even more space on his shots.

Given the fact that Shaq absolutely dominated in his era with more big men that were even stronger and taller than the big men of today's NBA, it's safe to say that he would dominate even more going up against centers like Jokic, Lopez, Sabonis, and Vucevic. The offensive rebound has declined in the past decade, but Shaq would be one of the few still going after offensive boards, fighting for the rebound, and boxing out. Shaq would also control the inside with inside shots and post ups. There would be few players in today's NBA that could even compete with the 325 pound Shaq and those players would be among Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Anthony Davis.

Please let me know who you would put in this list and let me know what you think of mine, but just remember, this is just a very short list, there is many, many more.

23 views5 comments

An Underage sports journal for students of the game

© 2020 by The Up Dawg

  • f2ea1ded4d037633f687ee389a571086-youtube
  • reddit-logo
  • discord-512
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Share Your Views on the Sports World