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Old 02-01-2020, 08:59 AM
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Today's version of the NBA is a superior version of the game than it was when Jordan was playing. Don't get me wrong: the individual one-on-one game was more entertaining, and the rivalries and physical intensity during the playoffs were must-see TV. It's strictly my opinion based on memory, which is admittedly fading, but it seemed that teams like the Knicks, Heat, Pacers, and others just started copying what the Pistons did, and it just made for a bad product in terms of fundamentals. The game devolved into hard fouls and dunking, but the perimeter shooting and passing was just crap.

Consider the example of the Lakers and Kings during their rivalry. Going back to the early 2000s, the Sacramento Kings nearly defeated the Lakers twice during their championship run. The Kings were not really cut out to compete in the more physical late 1990s version of basketball, and yet they still pushed the Lakers to a decisive game 5 in their first round playoff series. Two years later, with the introduction of the zone, the Kings nearly defeated the two-time champion Lakers in a controversial 7-game series that went into overtime, and some observers felt that had there been different referees on the court, the Kings might have actually won that contest. Those Lakers were in their prime, and yet they really struggled to keep up with a team that frankly didn't have any real superstars but instead had good players at each position who were skilled in the fundamentals and knew how to move the ball. When I look at the Kings-Lakers match-up, I can't help but think that a team like the Warriors from 2015-19 would have torched L.A.