View Full Version : A Star Studded Finals that never happened in 1997

09-04-2015, 03:12 PM
Its been a few years since this topic has come up but I know JB dreams of an alternate reality where this Finals actually took place. It was the 50th Year Anniversary of the NBA, the Bulls were just starting their 3-repeat, defeating the Sonics the year prior. The Rockets were dethroned by those same Sonics in embarrassing fashion, thus they made the decision to add Charles Barkley to a core already featuring 2 HOF'ers.

It seemed to energize the team as they wound up tying the Sonics for the 2nd best record in the West and even defeated them in a thrilling 7-game series with the Big-3 averaging 60PPG. So they were every bit the contender they expected to be with the trade. Then came the Jazz, who avoided an elimination game 7 with a dirty screen from Malone and a clutch 3pter at the buzzer from Big Balls Stockton (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_BYT9RB5Ss). But lets pretend Malone gets called for that foul and the Rockets steal G7 in Utah.

Isn't that a far more intriguing Finals? Think of all the story lines they would have hyped up. The past 2 champs going at it, Rox wanting to prove MJ wouldn't have stopped them from winning B2B. MJ vs Drexler part II. Dream vs Wennington, Chuck vs Rodman.

But the question remains, would they have fared better against the Bulls than the Jazz did? If theres one team MJ's Bulls usually struggled against, it was the Rockets, though that was when Dream was bouncier and in his defensive prime. His offense was still spectacular at this stage tho.

Heres their regular season encounter if you want a glimps at what this series would look like:

Also, according to the players that were traded for Chuck (Horry+Cassell). The Rox would have been better served keeping them and growing within than trading for a superstar. Anyone agree with them?

09-04-2015, 03:42 PM
I really like those storylines/matchups except for...Dream vs Wennington? Wtf?

Wennington was a mere backup C anyway. Longley was the starter.

Big Zo
09-04-2015, 04:07 PM
MJ was already back for Houston's second ring, and the Bulls lost to the same Orlando team that got swept in that second championship, if i'm not mistaken.

09-04-2015, 04:08 PM
Man I was so heated when Malone pulled that fast one! I absolutely hated Utah during the 90's, they were notorious for cheap stuff like that especially in the playoffs.

Was looking forward to that Finals too, I have no idea who would've won.

09-04-2015, 06:28 PM
Rodman vs Barkley in the Finals would have been pure epicness.

Same goes for Dream vs Wennington.

09-04-2015, 08:31 PM
Rodman vs Barkley in the Finals would have been pure epicness.

Same goes for Dream vs Wennington.

Why is Wennington vs Dream epic? Was Wennington a dirty player or something?

09-05-2015, 01:13 AM
Prolly an inside joke that I havent heard yet.

Russell vs Wilt or Hakeem vs Wennington? Gotta go Hakeem vs Wennington.

09-05-2015, 02:34 AM
I really like those storylines/matchups except for...Dream vs Wennington? Wtf?

Wennington was a mere backup C anyway. Longley was the starter.

I was going to make a joke about the highlighted Dream vs Wennington matchup.

Phantom Dreamer
09-05-2015, 04:41 AM
Poor Bill Wennington, he was injured in '97, he would have had good seats though.

09-05-2015, 12:21 PM
Wennington was the greatest Canadian center to ever wear a Chicago Bull uniform! He would have destroyed the Dream!

09-05-2015, 01:08 PM
Love the comment about the dirty screen haha, he was about a half a mile from Stockton. Gotta take shots at the Mailman at all times!

I think a better "what if" is in the 98 finals in game 6. What if the refs didn't blow two calls on three point shots resulting in the Jazz being screwed out of 6pts and then getting a game 7 in Utah and winning it. My oh my how that would have changed the historical outlook on those Jazz teams/players.

I have always hated these kinds of topics. It didn't happen because the Jazz won in 6. So really who cares? I also doubt the Rockets would have fared any better than the Jazz did.

09-06-2015, 06:44 PM
This would have been more interesting in 1996 than in 1997. 1997 the Rockets barely got by Seattle.

Phantom Dreamer
09-07-2015, 05:08 AM
This would have been more interesting in 1996 than in 1997. 1997 the Rockets barely got by Seattle.Well, Barkley wasn't on the Rockets in 1996...

09-07-2015, 12:53 PM
This would have been more interesting in 1996 than in 1997. 1997 the Rockets barely got by Seattle.

They did much worse the year prior. What's wrong with you? You're not the real jb. The rumors of your demise were true. Werent They

09-21-2015, 10:16 AM
Pretty much it's like this... Rockets wouldn't have been able to deal with Pip and MJ... Those two were terrible matchups for pretty much everyone. Just way to versitle on both sides of the ball.. Phil had a stacked roster with great roles players..

What truly separated the Bulls of 97 and 98 was MJ down the stretch of a game could control it on the offensive side. Those clutch baskets to extend a lead or make a comeback. I'm sorry but no one has ever been better at final push to close a game then MJ.

09-21-2015, 11:37 AM
Wennington FTW.

09-21-2015, 07:04 PM
Wayyy more intriguing finals. If MJ would have only taken one year off, I bet we would have gotten this match up in 1995.

In the 90's Hakeems Rockets, Drexlers Trailblazers, and the Kemp/Payton Supersonics all eliminated the Jazz in two separate post-seasons. If you count 1999, the Trailblazers actually eliminated the Jazz three times between 1992 and 1999.

Between 1993 and 1996 the Jazz were eliminated in the close out game of three out of four series, be it best of sevens or best of five first round match ups (in 1995 against Houston and against the Sonics twice, in 1993 and 1996). they also needed the closeout game 5 against the Drexlerless Trailblazers in 1996 (a team that would probably be a lottery team in todays western conference) to advance. but generally the Jazz had some rough luck in the close out games of playoff series.

And what all of that being said, consider how Stockton and Malone eliminated Robinson and the Spurs three times between 1994 and 1998, while never needing a close out game to do so.

If we want to be technical about it, Clyde Drexler is possibly more responsible for preventing Stockton & Malone from winning a ring than MJ. He eliminated them twice with Portland in 1991 and 1992, and in the 1995 post season while wearing a Rockets uniform, averaging 20/7/5 in that post season.

But whats amazing about 1997 is that the Jazz finally got it done. But that doesn't change the fact that we'd all give an arm and a leg to see the real bulls against the real rockets in that era.

09-22-2015, 02:20 AM
the Bulls would have beat the 97 Rockets, but it would have been cool to see the matchup, just to show that indeed the Bulls(full strength, MJ full year,and an actual PF since they didn't have Rodman or H Grant in 1995. they used SF Kukoc as their PF, bad news there, he's no PF. also they were using BJ Armstrong as their starting PG, when they should have been using Ron Harper like they did the next 3 title years. they were in an odd transitional period, rusty MJ, wrong roster mix, no PF, chemistry not settled yet, & still were a huge threat) anyway, this would have shown that the Bulls would have beat them too

the Jazz were just so underrated, & really were superteam killers. beat the superteam 97 Rockets. they also kicked the hell out of the Lakers with Shaq, Kobe, Van Excel & Eddie Jones 2 straight years, & they beat Tim Duncan & David Robinson in 98 when Robinson was still in his prime(last prime year, but still, to take them both out with Robinson still awesome offensively as well is nuts)they were so much better than the sum of their parts/roster. insanely good chemistry, great fundamentals & great coaching, etc. just couldn't beat the unbeata-bulls at full strength, but no one else could either