It seems a lot of the great players from the '80s and '90s don't get enough recognition among NBA fans today. One of the reasons behind that is because fans haven't had the opportunity to watch some of these players perform and the second reason is the mere fact Michael Jordan outplayed most of them. He was by far the most popular player from that era, so naturally, he took a lot of the attention because of his success with the Chicago Bulls.
One of these underappreciated players is a 10-time NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, the second-best shooting guard behind Jordan for over a decade. In an interview for the Heavy podcast, former NBA player Rod Strickland talked about Drexler's impact on the game and how he is underrated among the fans today.
Strickland played with Drexler for two seasons in Portland, and even before he came to the team, Drexler was one of the most respected players in the league. Strickland saw firsthand what made Drexler such an influential player during their time playing together, and it was his incredible basketball IQ that stood out.
Obviously, he had great athleticism, but Clyde doesn't get enough credit for his IQ. When he had the ball on the court, you better have your eyes open because he is going to make the right play, he's going to anticipate it, he is going to create for others. He also has this will; Clyde is a stubborn guy, which all those great players are. He would will the team and be like, just give me the ball and get out of the way, but if you are open, I will give it to you. I think his IQ is underrated.
Rod Strickland, via Heavy
After his tenure with the Blazers, where he took the team to two NBA finals, Drexler left the team after the 93/94 season to join the Houston Rockets. Alongside Hakeem Olajuwon, he won his only NBA championship in 1995 after beating the Orlando Magic in a four-game series.
What made Drexler one of the best shooting guards in NBA history is that he was highly versatile and could do multiple things equally well on the basketball court. That is something that stuck with him until the end of his career in 1998, and even though he was always in Jordan's shadow, real fans know how great of a player he was. That is something that Strickland wanted to emphasize since he had the opportunity to watch Drexler perform every day in practice. Drexler remains underrated to this day, but the real NBA fans know how great and dominant Clyde was, especially in his prime when there was an actual debate whether he is better than Micahel Jordan himself.