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“I do think if I played in 2022 I would do well” - Muggsy Bogues believes he could succeed in the modern NBA

Bogues' offensive skillset would help him succeed in any era of the NBA, but his defensive limitations would probably deter his impact in the modern NBA.
I do think if I played in 2022 I would do well” - Muggsy Bogues believes he could succeed in the modern NBA

Bogues knew early on the odds were going to be stacked against him in his quest to make it to the NBA. While short players can make it into the NBA, Bogues took being undersized to a new level

Muggsy Bogues is one of the most captivating players in NBA history, primarily because he is the shortest player to ever play in the NBA, standing at just 5’3. The fact that Bogues was able to not only make it to the NBA but have a successful career despite being a whole foot shorter than most people he went up against made him one of the greatest success stories in basketball history.

Bogues may not have been the tallest, but nobody played with a bigger heart than him

Bogues knew early on the odds were going to be stacked against him in his quest to make it to the NBA. While short players can make it into the NBA, Bogues took being undersized to a new level. But he often found ways to use it to his advantage.

Bogues’ diminutive frame and speed allowed him to get to spots others couldn’t. Bogues’ quickness and craftiness helped him create open shots for himself and others. Bogues was so crafty and skilled that opposing defenses couldn’t ignore him, and when he drew attention to himself, he was a good enough passer to hit his teammates for open looks.

He also used his quickness to rack up a ton of steals on defense too. Bogues averaged 1.5 steals per game throughout his career, and he knew he would have to be a pest on defense to stay on the court. Otherwise, he would get targeted every play and find himself out of the league in no time.

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Bogues’ play style helped him during the 1990s, but would it have translated to a successful career in the modern NBA? Bogues himself seems to think so:

“I feel if you ask any player (they) would say they could play in any era. I appreciate what I was able to do during my time in the league. I do think if I played in 2022, I would do well. The fast gameplay would fall right into my wheelhouse.” - Muggsy Bogues, NBA Reddit.

Could Bogues truly have succeeded in the modern NBA?

It’s no secret that the NBA is radically different from what it used to be. Nowadays, three-point shooting is the name of the game. 30 or 40 years ago, though, it was all about paint scoring and physical play. Some of the stuff that was common in the NBA in the 1980s and 90s certainly wouldn’t fly nowadays.

It also leads to discussions about whether players would be able to translate their game to different eras of basketball. For example, a player like Ben Simmons seems to have a playstyle that fits a more old-school brand of basketball. On the other hand, how would a guy like Larry Bird fare in the NBA nowadays, where players take upwards of ten threes per game?

Bogues’ playstyle of a pass-first point guard would suit any era of basketball. There’s always a need for playmaking, and Bogues brought a unique style of it to the game. His quickness and passing helped him become a dynamic offensive threat, even as his size limited his full offensive capabilities.

Bogues’ limitations would be exposed nowadays on defense. As teams like to hunt mismatches, Bogues would be taken to town repeatedly. You can’t hide an undersized player on defense nowadays, and while Bogues had a habit of being a pest on defense, players would find ways to score against him over time.

Bogues probably would remain a solid offensive player in the modern NBA while struggling more on defense. He wouldn’t start every game, but if his team needed an offensive spark off the bench, he would be the guy, even if he struggled on defense. Bogues’ was always counted out throughout his career, though, so who knows, maybe he would be practically the same player he was back then too. I certainly wouldn’t put it past him.

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