You may not have noticed this, but the NBA has changed quite a bit in the last 60 years o so. For instance, everyone doesn’t play in black and white anymore. More color. The game is a lot faster and more outside-oriented than it ever has been before. Lots of players from bygone eras would not be able to keep up – athletically or skill-wise – in today’s game. There are some who’s games were so far ahead of their time that they would mesh better than ever today.
For this article, the players being transported to the modern NBA will have been raised in the present, so they will have access to all the modern training techniques and advantages available. Their skill set will remain what it was, just with a modern twist to it.
For instance, if Shaq was in this scenario he would not all of the sudden be shooting threes, but rather would stay his leaner Orlando self to better run the floor and switch onto guards. The players must also be retired for a minimum of 10 years. Without further ado, let’s get started.
5. George Gervin – 25.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists
The Iceman’s silky-smooth game would transition well into any era. In the modern NBA, he would thrive in an offense like Houston’s, where he could play iso-ball and kick when the double team inevitably came. With great size at the 2 – being 6’7 – Gervin had the necessary length to defend point guards to small forwards.
4. Drazen Petrovic – 15.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists
If Klay Thompson is the “SwishBot 2000” (Very original name I know), then Drazen Petrovic was the blueprints used to create Thompson. His shot, Like Klay’s, is a beautiful sight. Also like Klay’s shot, you could swear no human could replicate such perfect form time and time again. Petrovic shot nearly 44% from three during his career, a number that I can only assume would improve with modern training and ideologies. He would be the perfect off-ball guard in today’s game.
3. ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich – 24.2 points, 5.4 assists
When it comes to creative genius, Pistol Pete must be the greatest in NBA history. The only current comparison to the moves he made and passes he dished is Kyrie Irving, but if Kyrie was playing with a Yo-Yo and reciting Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ backward at the same time. Pete was playing at a time where two-hand chest passes and set shots dominated the league. It was like he was a modern player who hopped in a time machine to play in the seventies. In the modern NBA – with new training methods – he could thrive in the pick and roll. He could shoot the three at a high clip – 67%, albeit shooting 0.3 a game – drive past you and make plays with the best of the best.
2. Reggie Miller – 18.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists
First off, Reggie Miller is one of the most overrated players in NBA history. Sorry. But putting that aside, he would thrive – and I mean thrive – in today’s game. Put him on a team like Houston or any LeBron-lead team as the third option, and he would be like Klay Thompson minus the defense. Only averaging 4.7 three-point attempts in his career, you know Reggie would love to put up twice that many if he could, and with Harden or LeBron drawing attention then kicking to him he would hit at an even higher rate than his career 39.5%.
1. Michael Jordan – 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists
Duh. Michael Jordan would dominate in any era. Would he dominate more than LeBron? That’s an argument for another time, but he would be either the best or second-best player today. Imagine him on the Pelicans. He and Anthony Davis would be the best defensive duo in the NBA. With Jrue Holiday at the point guard position and a few shooters around them, that team is a title contender instantly. Jordan’s three would be better as well, probably increasing from 32.7% to around 36%.