Today’s NBA is as skilled as the league has ever been. There is a plethora of players that can do so many things on the court, it’s crazy. It got us thinking. Which players from the past would thrive in the modern era?
For the purposes of this list we will call the modern era from the 2011-2012 season forward. The pace and space era, where the premium on shooting is at an all-time high.
To be considered you can’t be a Hall of Fame player or of that ilk. Sorry. That will lead us down a whole discussion of comparing greats of a specific era and we don’t have time for that.
Let’s get it!
#5. Detlef Schrempf
Detlef Schrempf was a career 38 percent three point shooter who played for the Mavericks, Pacers and Blazers, though his six seasons with the Sonics are how most people remember him.
He was a three-time all star, two-time sixth man of the year, and made an all-NBA team during his career. His career eFG percentage and TS percentage are 51 and 58. At 6’9″, he was a stretch four before there was such a thing.
Schrempf could also get you in the post with an up fake and a fade, and he could dish the rock. Had he entered the league in the 2008-2009 season and followed the same trajectory, a smart coach would’ve unleashed him and had him shoot a ton more threes!
#4. Mark Price
The Cavaliers legend is not a Hall of Famer, but was a four-time all star and four-time all-NBA selection. His career eFG percentage and TS percentage are 53 and 58.6 respectively. He shot 90 percent from the free-throw line for his career. Dude could shoot!
In an era where three pointers were largely seen as ways to get back into a game when behind, Price attempted five threes per game in the 1989-90 season. That was a lot for that time! He shot 40 percent from deep for his career.
The one thing you can never have enough of in today’s game is shooting. Not to mention, he could get to the rack and dish the rock too! Ask Larry Nance Sr. and Brad Daugherty about the easy buckets they scored. Price would be excellent in today’s NBA.
#3. Glen Rice
The three-time all star and two time all-NBA selection averaged roughly six three point attempts per game for six seasons between 1991-1997, and shot a little over 40 percent.
At 6’7″ with a high release, Rice could get his shot off against most defenders and he was strong enough to get to the rim and finish with contact.
As with many players, he spotted up late in his career but a Glen Rice in today’s NBA with freedom of movement and a dynamic point guard would be deadly.
#2. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
Some have referred to Abdul-Rauf as the original Steph Curry. We won’t say that. But he was taking off the dribble threes at a time when that was just unheard of in the NBA.
Born Chris Jackson, he burst onto the scene at Louisiana State University, where he played one season with a player by the name of Shaquille O’Neal. Even in his college days, he would pull up off the pick and roll. Something that is very common today but was not the norm in the late ’80s early ’90s.
When he got to the NBA, he was stuck behind players he was better than and had a skill that wasn’t truly appreciated. That all changed by his third season when he became the Nuggets starting point guard.
We saw a little flash of his brilliance but antiquated coaching and a league that wasn’t quite ready for his brand of basketball limited him. He’s what ball players refer to as a walking bucket. In today’s NBA, he’d be incredible.
#1. Gilbert Arenas
A three-time all star and three-time all-NBA selection. From 2004-2007, he was maybe the best show in the NBA. This dude could light it up from everywhere. Agent 0 averaged seven three point attempts per game during that three year run and shot 37 percent.
He could get to the rack and was an above average playmaker. A tough cover in isolation situations, due to his perimeter accuracy and his unpredictable offensive attack.
Agent 0 could attack from any side of the floor, was explosive and had the strength to finish through contact. He was a career 80 percent free throw shooter as well, the other valuable spot on the court to score.
There is no doubt in today’s NBA, he would excel.
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