Originally Posted by BlueandGold
The expansion era argument has been discussed at length on this forum. The argument is that since the NBA drastically increased, the number of teams as well as the market of the NBA that the teams were somehow less talented or competitive as compared to the 00s.
This statement to me is ridiculous to me and i'm sure for anyone who's watched basketball in the 90s. This isn't like the 60s where steals and blocks weren't even counted stats. Every single regular season and playoff game that jordan played in past 85 or something whenever the NBA signed that huge TV deal has been documented. The level of play was noticeably more physical/violent. Flagrant fouls didn't exist.. players essentially got a flagrant thrown on them every time they drove to the paint. Remember the "no-layup" rule that Riley implemented? Or how about the Jordan rules with the pistons?
Like i stated before that bulls team was constructed perfectly. Not only was that team insanely talented but they were insanely talented at just the right skill/talent sets with no overlap of skills. Rodman was and still is the GOAT defensive and rebounding specialist. Rodman out-rebounded Shaq by an average of 5 rebounds per game in the 96 ECF. Pippen was and still is the ultimate swingman and glue-guy who nearly led the bulls to a finals berth without MJ. They also had the goat scoring threat off the bench in Kukoc.. essentially the precursor to manu ginobli except not utilized as much as manu. Finally there was the perfect if not only coach that could fully utilize the incredibly diverse and ego-driven personalities that were on the team in Phil Jackson, in what arguably was his best coaching performance of all time that year.
It wasn't only that this team was talented it was because the talented meshed so well together. There have been arguably equally as talented teams that didn't get anywhere near as far as that bulls team. Just look at the 2011 heat vs the dallas mavs.
A lot of the talent argument boils down to what we're talking about. Guard play and ball handling have clearly improved since then; meanwhile, off ball play and passing skills have declined.
I would guess that the league is slightly more talented overall now, based mainly on the influx of international players. However, I don't think that would necessarily translate into a worse record for the 96' Bulls. Like I mentioned earlier, the Bulls were weak against teams like Orlando and the Knicks who featured great big men. The outside-in style of play today would play right in to the Bulls strengths.