Can old-school players hang with modern ballers? The Detroit Pistons are at the center of the eternal NBA debate: could Michael Jordan, the 90s Bulls, and other legendary teams, like the Bad Boys compete with the superstars of today's game? It's like arguing about which sandwich is better: PB&J or grilled cheese. They're both delicious, and the only way to settle it is to enjoy both.
Why it matters: Bad Boys are often overlooked in NBA History
Some NBA fans act like they're too good to appreciate the classic teams and players, but they're missing out on some serious hoops history. The Detroit Pistons, specifically, are known as the Bad Boys for their physical style of play, but they were also incredibly skilled and could score with the best of them. They just didn't shoot as many threes because, you know, they were busy dominating every other aspect of the game.
What they're saying: Gilbert Arenas discusses Bad Boys
Gilbert Arenas recently said that old-school players couldn't hang with modern ballers, and used Bill Laimbeer as an example of someone who would struggle.
Clearly, he didn't do his research. If you think the Bad Boys were just a bunch of goons who fouled people, he probably only watched a highlight reel on YouTube.
“Bad Boys” by the numbers:
Bill Laimbeer, one of the Pistons' most infamous players, was a great shooter who could easily be considered a stretch-five in today's game. Laimbeer set the record for centers by making over 200 three-pointers in his career, despite the fact that the three-point shot wasn't as emphasized back then. The Pistons' defense was legendary, but they were also an offensive powerhouse. They led the league in scoring during the 1986-87 season and finished in the top five in scoring four times during their championship run.
- The Detroit Pistons were the first team in NBA history to have five players score over 1,000 points in a season (1986-1987 season).
- The Pistons won back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990, and have won three NBA championships overall.
- Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, and Dennis Rodman all won NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards.
- The Pistons were known for their physical defense and led the league in the fewest points allowed per game for three consecutive seasons (1988-1990).
- The Pistons have 11 players in the NBA Hall of Fame, including Thomas, Dumars, Rodman, and head coach Chuck Daly.
One thing Arenas also forgot to mention, conveniently, is how soft the modern players are. “Load management” and “rest” designations on lineups were reserved for trash collectors and preachers teaching about the Sabbath in the eighties.
The Bottom Line:
Look, it's pointless to argue which era of basketball is better. The game has evolved and changed, but that doesn't make one era inherently better than the other. The Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys” were an incredible team that could compete in any era of the NBA, and anyone who says otherwise just hasn't done their homework.