Is there anything better than comparing players and teams from different eras when the NBA offseason spikes upon us, and we need something to argue about? Of course not. Thankfully Charles Barkley gave us a great interview on the Dan Patrick Show, sharing, amongst other things, why Stephen Curry couldn't hang in the old-school era of NBA basketball.
Draymond Green made headlines recently when he concluded that the 2017 Warriors team would beat the 1998 Bulls, as it sparked debates about which was the better team. Many agreed that the difference in the way the game was played then and now makes it impossible to pick the right choice, but it also sparked further conversations.
Charles Barkley was asked by Dan Patrick, what he thinks about Draymond's statement, and the "Chuckster" used Curry as an example of why comparing eras is pointless:
"I love what the Warriors are doing. Them little bodies they have, they wouldn't last in the 70s' and the 80s'. You know how much I love Steph Curry? You think he could take that beating Michael got against the Bad Boys Pistons? Come on, Dan. Please stop it. I mean, the game was so much more physical."
Charles Barkley, The Dan Patrick Show
The battle of styles
By any means, this was not a hate speech from Charles, who clearly pointed out how much he loves Curry and the players today. But Barkley tried to elaborate how the game in the 70s and 80s was simply much more physically demanding for players, while today, it is much more free-flowing and relied upon the outside game.
I mean, there has been nothing close similar to what the Detroit "Bad Boys" Pistons presented to the NBA in the 80s with their rugged style of play that didn't really win them many fans or respect from opponents. What Jordan went through in his playoff losses before finally overcoming them in 1991 might just be the hardest challenge any superstar had to overcome.
The fast pace and openness of today's game are precisely why Curry has been one of the best players in the past decade, having a skillset ideal for today's NBA. If you put him into the old-school era with his slight frame, he would have a much harder time getting to his spots and doing what he does best. But that's precisely why it's impossible to say with 100% certainty one modern team would crush a team from the 80s or vice versa.