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View Full Version : 80's Small Forwards today: How would they fair?



JasonJohnHorn
11-27-2015, 11:41 PM
I started watching basketball in the late 80's, so I caught the tailend of some great wing players: Adrian Dantley, Mark Aguirre, James Worthy, Rolando Blackman (more of a shooting guard), Alex English, Bernard King, and of course Dominique Wilkins.

These guys posted some impressive scoring averages, shot a high volume of shots, took a lot of jumpers (long range inside the arc) and all managed IMPRESSIVE FG%s (most shot over .500 from inside the arc). Some of them didn't have three-point shots, but others, like Aquirre, did. But most of these guys were considers borderline All-Stars, and those who were regular all stars (Nique, Worthy, King), were considered second tier stars.

Today, though, with FG% like they had, I feel like these guys would eat the league up and really excel, and that their skills were ill-suited to a generation that focused on centers and power forwards (though each of these guys had great post up moves).


Would guys like Mark Aguirre (or other SFs of your choice) be seen as ranking higher among all-time greats if they played in this generation? Compared to, say, Melo? Obviously KD and LBJ would still be ranker at the top, but how would other SF's compare to those form the 80's?

tredigs
11-28-2015, 12:14 AM
So what's your argument, that they had a high FG%?

If you want a comparison, Nique and Melo would have a really similar impact. And I feel like they had equal standings in their respective leagues.

ewing
11-28-2015, 01:28 AM
So what's your argument, that they had a high FG%?

If you want a comparison, Nique and Melo would have a really similar impact. And I feel like they had equal standings in their respective leagues.

i agree in terms of impact in the their eras but i don't think Nique would transition well to todays game.

ewing
11-28-2015, 01:35 AM
I do think Mark Aquire gets buckets anywhere anytime and think today he would more versatile then a tweener. I also think Ro Blackman would be better in todays game. He was 6'6 and fantastic without the ball and played D. Ro was a guy that benefits in a spread floor and lack of holding. King would have been great in both eras if healthy. Guys like James Worthy are interesting b/c i his offensive game was funky. I'm not sure how he was has good as he was. He ran the floor like demon and finished, i remember him working the swim/hook move in the post a lot but he as much as i appreciate his impact i never really got my head around his game. Dantley is another guy that was a tweener in his age and had both power and finesse so like Aquire i think he profiles real well for todays game. He is actually underrated for his time so i don't know if he would be better. the one thing i would worry about is the fact that even in his time i kind of thought of him as a ball stopper.

Redrum187
11-28-2015, 02:05 AM
The ability to spread the floor cannot be overrated or overstated. I think they would be okay-to-good in today's league, assuming they had players who could space the floor.

ewing
11-28-2015, 02:13 AM
The ability to spread the floor cannot be overrated or overstated. I think they would be okay-to-good in today's league, assuming they had players who could space the floor.

most of these guys are players that would space the floor in todays game.

mrblisterdundee
11-28-2015, 05:06 AM
I think they'd do pretty well in this era. Larry Bird was sort of an amalgam of Kevin Durant's shooting and LeBron James' passing, with more rebounds than either.

Bostonjorge
11-28-2015, 03:43 PM
Worthy would be a really good PF in this era of basketball. Give him one of the many good PG's in today's NBA and watch him run the floor and finish.

PurpleLynch
11-29-2015, 06:23 AM
Worthy would be amazing in current Nba as a pf. He could pass,rebound,defend and finish at the rim with viciousness against anyone. Also,he has the plus of playing out of his mind during playoffs time.

Scoots
11-30-2015, 01:50 PM
I thing SG and C are the weaker positions now compared to what they were then ... There are a lot of great SFs in todays game.

Those great SFs from the past would still be great players but the game is SO different now their uses would change too.

FlashBolt
11-30-2015, 02:53 PM
I thing SG and C are the weaker positions now compared to what they were then ... There are a lot of great SFs in todays game.

Those great SFs from the past would still be great players but the game is SO different now their uses would change too.

Yeah, but I also think the word SG has been changed as well. PG's of this game could play SG interchangeably these days. Don't think the SG pool is bad but more-so that PG's have just taken over the game to the point where you're not seeing many SG's develop the way they should. As for C, yeah, it's weaker but it can also be attribute to how far the game has changed since then. SF pool today is insane. PG, Melo, KD, LeBron, Kawhi. Man, these are some real special players out there. It's the toughest it has been in some time. Kawhi has easily become a top SF (3-4th), and four SF's are top ten (LeBron, Durant, PG, Kawhi). Just so happens that three of them are also elite defenders >> LeBron has been amazing defensively this season.

Scoots
11-30-2015, 04:17 PM
In the modern positionless NBA the SF is king. A 6'8" guy who can shoot a 3, handle, pass, rebound, and defend up and down a position. I think to some extent the shorter college career is making shooters take opportunities from post players in college, they are not getting as much coaching in back to the basket game, and they are not staying in college long enough to develop those skills and when they come to the NBA if they don't already have good post scoring skills they will never be asked to develop them over other skills more valued now like rim defending, passing and shooting from the outside.

Draymond Green, a "PF", has focused on developing 2 skills in the off-seasons of his career thus far ... shooting straight on 3s, and ball handling. He's still a terrible scorer (getting better, but slowly) but they don't really ask him to do anything else.

The modern NBA doesn't value big men scoring in the post nearly like it did 30 years ago when it's what drove most teams.

On the SG front, you are probably correct ... I suppose the players we used to consider SGs are now playing SF if they are tall enough, or PG if they can handle well enough.

0nekhmer
11-30-2015, 04:50 PM
I can't really say as I was born in 93 but the importance of spacing and the 3 ball is key in this era. Perimeter team defenses have improved tremendously through the years. Guys who can't shoot well from deep become high volume scorers (low fg%). The only exceptions are players who are great slashers and facilitators (wade, LeBron) who don't rely on their shooting can produce high FG%. Guys like DeRozan who aren't great shooters and poor to mediocre facilitators are examples of a borderline star who is considered a 2nd tier at best.

JasonJohnHorn
11-30-2015, 05:11 PM
In the modern positionless NBA the SF is king. A 6'8" guy who can shoot a 3, handle, pass, rebound, and defend up and down a position. I think to some extent the shorter college career is making shooters take opportunities from post players in college, they are not getting as much coaching in back to the basket game, and they are not staying in college long enough to develop those skills and when they come to the NBA if they don't already have good post scoring skills they will never be asked to develop them over other skills more valued now like rim defending, passing and shooting from the outside.

Draymond Green, a "PF", has focused on developing 2 skills in the off-seasons of his career thus far ... shooting straight on 3s, and ball handling. He's still a terrible scorer (getting better, but slowly) but they don't really ask him to do anything else.

The modern NBA doesn't value big men scoring in the post nearly like it did 30 years ago when it's what drove most teams.

On the SG front, you are probably correct ... I suppose the players we used to consider SGs are now playing SF if they are tall enough, or PG if they can handle well enough.

I think it's the rules that changed that. In the 80's the introduced the 3, and it took a while to catch on, but Rudy T's Rockets took advantage of it, and then the Bulls' second three-peat relied heavily on the 3-ball.

Coupled with that, the back-to-the-basket rule mean that guys like Barkley couldn't take up 6-10 seconds backing up to get position. The league wanted faster game, and the post-up game stops the ball and slows the game down. Jordan sold tickets; they wanted more Jordans to sell more tickets, because at the end of the day, Hakeem didn't get ratings like Jordan.

Put those two rule changes together, and all of a sudden you have a generation of players practicing 3', and the average guys can hit .333 now, which means he's scoring as many points for every 20 shots as a guy who posts up and hits at .480. And should you get a guy who shoots .400 from behind the arc, now your C/PF has to shoot 60% to get as many points from 10 shots as your 3-point shooter.

You still need a guy with a good post-up game to draw defenders in and open the wing; they are important. But unless there are rule changes, or somebody as dominant as Shaq, not C's or PF's in the future are going to be scoring as much as Karl Malone with a post-up game.

Scoots
11-30-2015, 06:30 PM
I think it's the rules that changed that. In the 80's the introduced the 3, and it took a while to catch on, but Rudy T's Rockets took advantage of it, and then the Bulls' second three-peat relied heavily on the 3-ball.

Coupled with that, the back-to-the-basket rule mean that guys like Barkley couldn't take up 6-10 seconds backing up to get position. The league wanted faster game, and the post-up game stops the ball and slows the game down. Jordan sold tickets; they wanted more Jordans to sell more tickets, because at the end of the day, Hakeem didn't get ratings like Jordan.

Put those two rule changes together, and all of a sudden you have a generation of players practicing 3', and the average guys can hit .333 now, which means he's scoring as many points for every 20 shots as a guy who posts up and hits at .480. And should you get a guy who shoots .400 from behind the arc, now your C/PF has to shoot 60% to get as many points from 10 shots as your 3-point shooter.

You still need a guy with a good post-up game to draw defenders in and open the wing; they are important. But unless there are rule changes, or somebody as dominant as Shaq, not C's or PF's in the future are going to be scoring as much as Karl Malone with a post-up game.

You are correct. IIRC it was the 79-80 season the 3 line was added ... that alone didn't change the game, but the back to the basket pound it in iso post game was outlawed in, I think, 96 because the 2 Jordanless years were sooo horrible to watch. Strangely I think it was the guards backing guys down in the post that was the biggest cause of the rule change. With man defense being required a team could move all of the bigs away from the paint and have a guard back down your guard for 15 seconds and shoot a 3-5' shot.

Karl Malone wasn't even scoring most of his points with a "typical" post up game. He was scoring on feeds from Stockton on one of several two man games ... over and over and over.

Olajuwon was the last great post scoring players. Al Jefferson has that kind of post game and even he is moving further from the hoop now.

IKnowHoops
12-01-2015, 01:36 AM
So what's your argument, that they had a high FG%?

If you want a comparison, Nique and Melo would have a really similar impact. And I feel like they had equal standings in their respective leagues.


i agree in terms of impact in the their eras but i don't think Nique would transition well to todays game.

I would throw Vince Carter into that same group. I disagree though that Nique wouldn't translate. He was to big strong and athletic not to translate. If he played with Lebron in Cleveland they would of been Magic and Worthy Heavy Weight version. Nice could average 30 in his prime in any era.