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View Full Version : Old School Question of the Day: What if Houston had Jordan and Chicago had Hakeem?



JasonJohnHorn
02-26-2014, 12:30 PM
In 1984 the Rockets, in the first lottery draft which featured the debut of David Stern, picked Hakeem over Jordan. In all fairness, that was the clear cut choice at the time and it paid off with 2 banners in Houston.


But what is Chicago had the first pick and grabbed Hakeem with Houston getting MJ? Assuming each stayed with the respective teams and other picks and trades kept the rosters similar, what do you think would have happened?


Houston: Jordan, Sampson and Lucas early on and later Jordan, Thorpe, Floyd, Horry, Smith Maxwell Cassell? Would the 86 Rockets have won it all? Or not even made the finals?


Chicago: Hakeem, Pippen, Grant and later Hakeem, Pippen Rodman, Harper and Kukoc? Would Hakeem have won more than Jordan? As much? Or less?

P&GRealist
02-26-2014, 12:32 PM
What if girls had a penis and boys had a vagina?

kozelkid
02-26-2014, 12:36 PM
I have never seen someone try so hard to be elected a moderator on an online forum.

Ebbs
02-26-2014, 12:48 PM
I have never seen someone try so hard to be elected a moderator on an online forum.

This. Lol

But I do enjoy these threads.

Pippen + Hakeem wins 3-4 titles in Chicago. Keep in mind Hakeem doesn't take a hiatus to go play baseball.

Jordan would be lucky to squeeze out one with the Houston teams. He just didn't have the overall impact at both ends Dream did to hold a lesser team together. Not to mention does Drex really go to Houston if Jordan is there?

Heediot
02-26-2014, 12:52 PM
Butterfly effect. The drafts following '84 would have brought them different supporting casts since those drafts were catered to build around each guy. Who knows how those teams would have looked. Switching those two would of changed a lot not only for those two teams but others as well.

P&GRealist
02-26-2014, 12:58 PM
I have never seen someone try so hard to be elected a moderator on an online forum.

Have you met shep33?

Hellcrooner
02-26-2014, 01:15 PM
Jordan will have probably butted heads with Sampson, and never met Phil.

Could have perfectly gone ringless but be the top scorer all time.


For me the real question is what would ahve happened if Blazers Accepted the deal Houston got them

Drexler for Sampson.

Basically, Houston woudl ahve had Drexler and Hakeem in their primes.
And portland would have then Drafted Jordan and pair him with sampson, OR maybe even Draft Barkley and have a barkley+ sampson fc.
Crazy as it sounds, if Bowie had fallen to the third pick bulls would ahve most probably picked him .

mightybosstone
02-26-2014, 01:25 PM
Good thread, JJH. The funny thing is that after I kept reading these threads, I was totally going to post this exact same thread sometime this week.

It's a really great "what if?" especially when you throw in the issue of differences in past drafts and different personnel. The funny thing to me is that MJ would have made a lot of sense for Houston at the time, because they had just drafted a 7'4" Ralph Sampson a year prior. However, the city of Houston was in love with Dream and probably would have rioted had they not taken him.

But let's make a few assumptions here. First off, assume that Sampson's knees still fail him and that great 86 Rockets team still falls apart because of his knees and a cocaine problem among many of its players. Second, let's assume Hakeem does pair himself with Pippen, Grant and Rodman over the years. Finally, It doesn't make sense to pair Jordan with Maxwell and Drexler in the 90s, so let's say he gets players of equal value, but at different positions.

With Jordan's supporting cast, no way does Hakeem not win at least 3-4 titles in Chicago. Those defense with Hakeem, Pippen, Grant and/or Rodman would have been insanely stifling. Also, playing with Hakeem would have given Pippen more freedom from a scoring perspective. Olajuwon also would not have taken a sabbatical, and given how weak the East was some of those seasons, I think Chicago could have made as many Finals appearances as Jordan's Bulls did in the 90s, and with more postseason dominance comes more MVPs. We could very well be talking about Hakeem with 4-5 rings and 3-4 MVPs as arguably the GOAT today.

With Hakeem's supporting cast, I think Jordan would have gone through the same growing pains Hakeem did. It took Olajuwon until 93 to finally break out with a decent supporting cast, and he didn't get a legitimate No. 2 after Sampson's knees killed his career in the late 80s until Houston traded for Drexler in 94. However, no way does Jordan leave basketball for two years after his father's death if he hadn't just won three straight titles, which he does not accomplish if he's playing with a mediocre supporting cast in Houston. Once Jordan got paired with an elite No. 2, though, I think the Rockets would have definitely won some titles, especially if he gets Barkley in the late 90s. Jordan still probably gets 2-3 rings in Houston, but I think they would have happened later in his career after Barkley came aboard, sort of like a John Elway-esque ending to his career. But I don't know that it affects his number of MVPs, his all-time numbers probably would have been greater and I still think he would be viewed as the GOAT.

Two other things worth mentioning in this discussion are the rest of the league and societal changes. With a different team makeup, I wonder if another team might have broken out for a title here or there. Maybe the Zo/Hardaway Heat, Ewing's Knicks, Barkley's Suns or the Stockton/Malone Jazz pull off a title. As for societal changes, Jordan might not have been the global icon that he turned into. Maybe Air Jordans don't become a thing and Space Jam never happens. Instead of all kids growing up and wanting to be him, maybe kids model themselves after Hakeem instead and we have more elite bigs in the league today.

Sorry for such a long post, but this is something that has been bouncing around my head the last couple of weeks. I could write a novel on this idea alone.

mightybosstone
02-26-2014, 01:29 PM
For me the real question is what would ahve happened if Blazers Accepted the deal Houston got them

Drexler for Sampson.

Basically, Houston woudl ahve had Drexler and Hakeem in their primes.
And portland would have then Drafted Jordan and pair him with sampson, OR maybe even Draft Barkley and have a barkley+ sampson fc.
Crazy as it sounds, if Bowie had fallen to the third pick bulls would ahve most probably picked him .

Ugh... I try not to think about this, because it frustrates the hell out of me. Sampson had just come off a damn good rookie season, but the Rockets were inevitably going to take Hakeem with that pick. Why wouldn't you want to pair him with his college teammate, one of his best friends and one of the best young wings in the NBA? I understand the concept of wanting to have two 7-footers on both ends of the floor, but history has shown that you need balance in a starting lineup to win championships, and Houston's front office should have known better.

The Rockets would have won a hell of a lot more titles with a prime Hakeem and prime Drexler, especially if Portland had taken Jordan and had to deal with the fallout of Sampson's knees.

Hellcrooner
02-26-2014, 01:32 PM
Also, i was going to eventually post this old question.

Why does blazers get all the fire for their selección at number two and no one ever traces the thing back to the REAL screw up.

Wich was PACERS dealing THAT PICK some years before, for a Past his prime role player that retired the following year.

:facepalm:

Swashcuff
02-26-2014, 01:35 PM
I have never seen someone try so hard to be elected a moderator on an online forum.

Considering how dead the NBA Forum has become at least he's bringing life back to it a bit. Someone now needs to do the same for the comparisons forum.

Swashcuff
02-26-2014, 01:38 PM
I predict all hell breaking loose in this thread if JB sees it. He and the Rockets fans are going to have it out :laugh2:

Kaner
02-26-2014, 02:18 PM
Not sure about about Rockets but I could see Pippen never developing into a hall of famer and then the bulls losing to first the Pistons and then Knicks every year.

kozelkid
02-26-2014, 02:26 PM
I have never seen someone try so hard to be elected a moderator on an online forum.

Considering how dead the NBA Forum has become at least he's bringing life back to it a bit. Someone now needs to do the same for the comparisons forum.

I mean, I'm not complaining. They're certainly more thought provoking than the garbage that certain trolls have posted in the past. It's just very funny.

Ebbs
02-26-2014, 02:30 PM
JB hasn't been seen in a long time

JasonJohnHorn
02-26-2014, 02:36 PM
I have never seen someone try so hard to be elected a moderator on an online forum.

I have no interest in being a moderator. Your presumptions make you look like an ignorant tool.

I post these because I like talking about basketball and hearing what others have to say and for no other reason.


Cheers!

JasonJohnHorn
02-26-2014, 02:41 PM
Not sure about about Rockets but I could see Pippen never developing into a hall of famer and then the bulls losing to first the Pistons and then Knicks every year.

If Phil Jackson was still in place, I can see Pippen developing and perhaps being even better.

Playing next to Jordan helped Pippen win, but it didn't always facilitate his growth as a player. Pippen gave a lot of credit to Jackson during his time as an assist, spending time with Pippen and helping him develop his game, and then doing that more so once he became head coach. We saw how well Pippen played in Jordan's absence for a year and a half, imagine if Hakeem has Pippen on the wing to bring the ball up. Pippen would have had the ball in his hand a lot more than he would have playing with Jordan... and he would have been setting Hakeem up, which I think would mean more assists for Pippen. This opposed to Jordan taking most ball-handling duties and letting Pippen run the plays when he was off the court or working off screens.


I think Pippen's numbers would be better playing alongside Hakeem than Jordan. I'm not sure that means that Chi-town wins more? But I do think statistically Pippen would have higher career totals.

JasonJohnHorn
02-26-2014, 02:51 PM
Good thread, JJH. The funny thing is that after I kept reading these threads, I was totally going to post this exact same thread sometime this week.

It's a really great "what if?" especially when you throw in the issue of differences in past drafts and different personnel. The funny thing to me is that MJ would have made a lot of sense for Houston at the time, because they had just drafted a 7'4" Ralph Sampson a year prior. However, the city of Houston was in love with Dream and probably would have rioted had they not taken him.

But let's make a few assumptions here. First off, assume that Sampson's knees still fail him and that great 86 Rockets team still falls apart because of his knees and a cocaine problem among many of its players. Second, let's assume Hakeem does pair himself with Pippen, Grant and Rodman over the years. Finally, It doesn't make sense to pair Jordan with Maxwell and Drexler in the 90s, so let's say he gets players of equal value, but at different positions.

With Jordan's supporting cast, no way does Hakeem not win at least 3-4 titles in Chicago. Those defense with Hakeem, Pippen, Grant and/or Rodman would have been insanely stifling. Also, playing with Hakeem would have given Pippen more freedom from a scoring perspective. Olajuwon also would not have taken a sabbatical, and given how weak the East was some of those seasons, I think Chicago could have made as many Finals appearances as Jordan's Bulls did in the 90s, and with more postseason dominance comes more MVPs. We could very well be talking about Hakeem with 4-5 rings and 3-4 MVPs as arguably the GOAT today.

With Hakeem's supporting cast, I think Jordan would have gone through the same growing pains Hakeem did. It took Olajuwon until 93 to finally break out with a decent supporting cast, and he didn't get a legitimate No. 2 after Sampson's knees killed his career in the late 80s until Houston traded for Drexler in 94. However, no way does Jordan leave basketball for two years after his father's death if he hadn't just won three straight titles, which he does not accomplish if he's playing with a mediocre supporting cast in Houston. Once Jordan got paired with an elite No. 2, though, I think the Rockets would have definitely won some titles, especially if he gets Barkley in the late 90s. Jordan still probably gets 2-3 rings in Houston, but I think they would have happened later in his career after Barkley came aboard, sort of like a John Elway-esque ending to his career. But I don't know that it affects his number of MVPs, his all-time numbers probably would have been greater and I still think he would be viewed as the GOAT.

Two other things worth mentioning in this discussion are the rest of the league and societal changes. With a different team makeup, I wonder if another team might have broken out for a title here or there. Maybe the Zo/Hardaway Heat, Ewing's Knicks, Barkley's Suns or the Stockton/Malone Jazz pull off a title. As for societal changes, Jordan might not have been the global icon that he turned into. Maybe Air Jordans don't become a thing and Space Jam never happens. Instead of all kids growing up and wanting to be him, maybe kids model themselves after Hakeem instead and we have more elite bigs in the league today.

Sorry for such a long post, but this is something that has been bouncing around my head the last couple of weeks. I could write a novel on this idea alone.

Great comments!


For Jordan, I still seeing him being a global icon. My question is flawed in that is supposes that Jordan stays and his supporting cast is the same as Hakeem's. Obviously, as you said, there would have been many differences. I'm not sure Jordan stays in Houston. LAL? NY? That's my guess, and then he would win.

But even before winning, I remember that Jordan was HUGE! I mean HUGE! On the video rental market, Jordan videos were number 1 for sports for literally years on end, starting in his pre-championship days. Nike was making millions off his shoes before he was even in the playoffs. Sports Illustrated use to encourage subscriptions to SI by giving away a Jordan video. This guy was hugely popular before he won. Up through to 1990, many questions whether or not he had what it takes to win, much like McGrady and Nique and Melo, and many thought he wouldn't be able to dominate the ball the way he did and win a title. I think had Houston failed at building a team around him, they would have traded him, or he would have signed elsewhere and still eventually won. But the Jordan hype machine was in full effect before he won.

It is interesting to consider how drafting position for a single season can change the entire league for a generation to come.