"The history book inspires them to be some of the best," said Jordan. "Rules have changed to help them. I could have averaged 50 points today!"
Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks was asked about the handchecking rule during the summer of 2010: "It benefits me," said Joe Johnson, one of three players (Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford are the others) on the Hawks' roster who have averaged 20 or more points in a season. "It definitely changes the game because it gives every guy that extra step. "If we could hand check now, the game would be totally different," Johnson said. "If they couldn't hand check back in the day, there are some guys that would have been even better than they were. It would have been nuts for some of the big-time scorers and perimeter players from the 1980s and 1990s. Can you imagine what [Michael] Jordan would have done in a league where you couldn't hand check."
During a 2007 L.A. Lakers pre-season broadcast, Phil Jackson was asked how he thought Michael Jordan would perform today, Phil said: "Michael would average 45 with these rules."
"You can't even touch a guy now," says Charlotte coach Larry Brown, who also coached the 2004 Pistons defense... "The college game is much more physical than our game. I always tease Michael [Jordan], if he played today, he'd average 50."
Question for Clyde Drexler:
In the current league where there is no hand checking and no ruff play how much better would your numbers be?
Clyde Drexler: Oh, tremendously better, from shooting percentage to points per game everything would be up, and our old teams would score a lot more points, and that is saying something because we could score a lot back then. I do think there should be an asterisk next to some of these scoring leaders, because it is much different trying to score with a forearm in your face. It is harder to score with that resistance. You had to turn your back on guys defending you back in the day with all the hand checking that was going on. For guys who penetrate these days, it's hunting season. Yes, now you can play (floating)zone(legally), but teams rarely do.
"The defensive rules, the hand checking, the ability to make contact on a guy in certain areas .... [have] all been taken away from the game. If Kobe could get 81, I think Michael could get 100 in today's game." - Scottie Pippen January 2006
Craig Hodges is the Lakers shooting coach, get a look at what he said:
Q: If you could take one player in their prime, would you take Michael Jordan or Kobe?
A: M.J., all day. There's no comparison. M.J. could score 100 points in this era. You can't hand-check now. Imagine that trying to guard M.J. It would be crazy.
Hall of Famer Rick Barry, a keen observer of the game, said he would love to see players of the past getting to attack the basket under the new officiating. "They'd score a lot more," he said.
Tex Winter said: "Players today can get to the basket individually much easier."
Asked if he could defend Jordan under today's interpretation of the rules, Joe Dumars first laughed, "It would have been virtually impossible to defend Michael Jordan based on the way the game's being called right now."
Question for Dominique Wilkins: Seeing that you played in one of the greatest eras in NBA history, what has changed the most in the NBA since your days as a player?
Dominique Wilkins: "The power forward position had the license to kick your butt and the game was very physical. I think the physical aspect of the game, some of it has been taken away with the rule changes."
Do you think you could take them?
Dominique Wilkins: "I don't believe in comparisons, but I look at the era I played in. Like I said, when you have to play against a great player every night, that defines who you are if you can compete on that same level night in and night out. That tells you where your place is in the whole, I would say, history of the game. You put yourself in a very high spot."
Dominique Wilkins: "When you can compete on that level against the greatest players every single night, and when you can play just as good or better, that really defines who you are as a player. So if you're asking me what would I have done [today], well, put it this way, if you couldn't touch me [because of the rule changes], instead of averaging 25 or 30 [points], I'd probably average 40."
Tim Grover, who has trained Kobe, Lebron, and Jordan, was asked who would win a 1-on-1 battle of Jordan vs. either of the other two:
Tim Grover: "Oh, Michael. No question. From a physical and mental standpoint, he's the best I've ever seen. If he were playing now, with the way the refs call everything, and with all the padding these guys wear, he'd average 40 or 50 a night if he wanted."
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