[Everyone is chatting about the Cubs. But as the NBA season kicks off, it is time to look back at the 1996 Bulls. How would the best team in NBA history perform against the much ballyhooed Golden State Warriors? DC-based Ezra Troy gives a fun comparative analysis of the two teams with his prediction about who would win a conceptual head-to-head.]
The 1996 Bulls, widely considered the greatest NBA team of all time (they had the best regular season record at 72-10 until the Warriors went 73-9 last season) were in the midst of six NBA titles in eight seasons. Lead by Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, the Bulls stormed through the regular season and playoffs, beating the Seattle Supersonics (now OKC Thunder) in six games in the NBA finals to start a three year streak of NBA championships.
PG: Steph Curry vs. Ron Harper
Harper a vet in his ninth year, started 80 games at PG for the Bulls, but it isn’t even a question. Stephen Curry is setting records and is having one of the best three season stretches for a basketball player in recent memory. Advantage: Warriors
SG: Klay Thompson vs. Michael Jordan
A high scoring threat is how to describe Thompson. One of the “splash bros”, he and Curry… wait MICHAEL JORDAN. The greatest basketball player ever. It isn’t even close: Advantage: Bulls
SF: Kevin Durant vs. Scottie Pippen
Another one of the greats of our generation, Durant decided to go to the Warriors and form a super-team. His resume includes an MVP, four scoring titles, a rookie of the year award and two Olympic gold Medals. Pippen is a seven time all-star and Hall of Famer, but his stats and chances for recognition were diminished by the fact he played second fiddle to MJ. I have to give KD a slight advantage here, but it is really close. Advantage: Warriors
PF: Dennis Rodman vs. Draymond Green
Rodman, after a successful run with the bad boy Pistons, landed on this Bulls team and was immediately a star, leading the league with almost 15 total rebounds and was a monster in the paint and on defense. He is in the Hall of Fame and averaged 7 points and 13 rebounds a game. Green, in his second full year last year, was a stat machine, averaging 1.5 blocks, 1.5 steals, 9.5 rebounds, 14 points and 7.5 assists per game last year. Still, by having teams worried about the splash brothers, Green’s stats are inflated and show him to be a much better player than he actually is. Advantage: Bulls
C: Zaza Pachulia vs Luc Longley
Both pretty run of the mill players, Pachulia and Longley both never made an all-star game, but Pachulia averages one more rebound per game over the course of his career and had a couple of decent seasons, while Longley never amounted to much. Advantage: Warriors
Bench: Andre Igoudala and Shaun Livingston vs. Steve Kerr and Toni Kukoc
Andre Igoudala could start for many NBA teams right now and Livingston is one of the best backup point guard’s in the game today. Kerr came off the bench and shot three’s (just like everyone on Golden State can do today), while Kukoc had a very solid career. Advantage: Warriors
Prediction: Golden State in Seven
The addition of Durant, a top five NBA player to go along with another top fiver (Curry) and two more in the top twenty (Green, Thompson), pushes Golden State over the hump. Though they lost much bench depth, this team is better than last year’s (who I think would have lost in seven) and can be considered better than the 1996 Bulls.