Re: Rank The Eras
1) '89 - '95
2) 2008 - Current
3) '84 - '88
4) '96 - '98
5) 2004 - 2007
6) '99 - 2003
I think the way the OP described the eras is a bit too vague for my liking. I also can only judge what I've seen in context ('84 - '88 being seen mostly on replay)
I didn't see much else prior ... but I can say that from what I've seen ... I feel '89 - '95 had the best distribution of talent through out the league. No top heavy super teams like '84 - '88 or 2008 - current. True superstars, and IMO the greatest balance of athleticism, size, positional talent, skill, and basketball IQ of all the eras in discussion.
Also, 1999 till 2003 is easily the worst era of basketball I've ever seen.
The game at that time was sloppy, basketball IQ and skills eroded with the inclusion of massive amounts of premature HS draft class players, who were selected off potential and versatile athleticism instead of actual basketball skills and abilities. All that in clash with a generation of talent trying too hard to be like MJ, instead of playing solid team basketball killed the quality of the game for a good period of time. Not to mention simple basketball skills like defensive fundamentals, ability to hit jump shots were all evaporating from league play.
2004 - 2007 was only slightly better, but all the weak rule changes made the game even more difficult to watch for a period of time. I think things started picking up for the better in 2008 once the super Celtics squad formed, the Lakers improved w/ the addition of Gasol, and the rules and caliber of play all balanced out. Plus then in turn forcing the likes of the individual stars of smaller market teams, with bad rosters, such as LeBron / Wade and Bosh to coming together to stay competitive in a rapidly changing top heavy league.
2008 - Current is very much like the league was from '84 - '88.