The landscape of the NBA has changed drastically throughout the decades. Some players were ahead of their time, some players were before their time. We’re going to take a look at a few names that might have been better suited playing in a different era. This will be a recurring segment, so don’t be alarmed if there are some names missing from the list.
The 3rd overall pick of the 2015 NBA draft had many scouts flustered with his ability to maneuver in the post, but in today’s era, a player with his skillset is not as valued as before. He’s had to adapt his game by adding more athleticism and mobility, but he hasn’t quite become the star he was projected to be. If he played in any era before 2010, he would have been a star for sure.
The pass-first point guard is a dying breed. Before entering the league, Ricky Rubio was drawing comparisons to the great Pete Maravich. His vision and willingness to pass is among the best in the NBA, but his lack of scoring is his biggest flaw. If he played in an era before 2005, his ability to run an offense and distribute the ball would have been heralded by critics.
He is still a capable starting center in the NBA, but the skill, strength, grit and finesse he possesses would have made him an All-Star or maybe even a Hall of Famer in the past. If he had played in the 1990s, he would have commanded the ball on nearly every possession while sitting in the post. He probably would have averaged at least 25 points per game.
During a time where the NBA was transitioning from a slow-paced game, to a more up-tempo spectacle, Arenas was one of the driving forces that induced that change. In an era where pass-first guys like Rubio were the prototypical point guards, a scoring machine like Arenas was an anomaly. He was casually shooting half court shots before it became the norm. The NBA today favours a player with his style because now guards are asked to score more than centers or forwards.
The big man entered the league right as the need for a traditional center started evaporating. His first few years were full of promise, but the more teams wanted centers who could shoot, the more his value began to diminish. He’s still a former All-Star and a commodity in the league, but had he played in a different era, he probably could have become a Hall of Famer.
Let’s keep the dialogue going! Who else should (or shouldn’t) be on the list? Share your thoughts below.
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