The 1990s NBA was much different than the game you see today. Defense was at a premium, the 3-pointer was not as important, and certain players were able to thrive playing tough, physical basketball the ‘90s way.
Fast forward and the game features a bit more athleticism, especially in the front court. Here’s a pretty solid 1990s starting lineup that would have trouble getting on the floor in the current NBA.
Guard: Mark Price
Price is Cleveland’s all-time assists leader and while he could certainly make plays but at 6-feet, he just wouldn’t be able to keep up with the bigger, more athletic guards of today. Price was small in the ‘90s. He’d be even smaller today.
Guard: John Starks
Starks was an outstanding trash talker, but that would only get him so far in 2020. Undersized at 6-3, Starks would have trouble defending the bigger guards of today. He would simply be too small and too slow to have an effect on the floor. Starks was able to average 12.5 points a game for his career in the much slower-paced game of the ‘90s. Not today.
Center: Bill Laimbeer
There’s no question Laimbeer was big, physical defender. He was crucial to the “Bad Boys” in Detroit and two NBA titles. He was a great rebounder – 9.7 boards a game for his career – but his lack of athleticism would be a liability in today’s game. Plus, many of his fouls would have had him ejected from games in 2020.
Forward: Anthony Mason
At 6-7, Mason would be a very undersized power forward in today’s game. Now, there are power forwards that are not all that big, but most of them are able to do something Mason was not – shoot from the perimeter. Mason was an awful outside shooter. Plus, he’d likely be too slow to guard opposing small forwards and not big enough to battle the bigger power forwards and centers of today.
Forward: Larry Nance
Nance senior was an athlete ahead of his time. He could definitely compete in that category with the best of today. The problem for Nance is that in the ‘90s he was just another big guy that could dunk. Nance’s son, Larry Nance Jr., is a much more complete player than his father which is why he has been able to have a strong career in the league.