Originally posted by LA9erFan:
There's no point in disputing everything in this post, because my response would be a mile long. Like I said, every measurable sport has been improved significantly in the last 20 years. And it's not just about bigger/stronger/faster. It's about training, preparation, knowledge, coaching, etc. as well. But if there wasn't a stopwatch to objectively tell people otherwise, people would be arguing about who was better at the 100m dash....Usain Bolt or Carl Lewis. But somehow, you think that despite the massive growth that the sport has taken in that period of time...much more than other, measurable sports, which have still seen enormous upticks in their achievements despite not enjoying similar growth...basketball has taken a step backward, making it somehow different than every other athletic endeavor in human history.
The initial point of contention was the quality of today's defenses. If you don't see how the improvement in scouting and preparation, along with superior size & athleticism, translates to better NBA defenses, I don't know what to say.
I think that it's telling that 6 out of the 10 players on your all time teams were in their primes between 1985-1995. What an incredibly anomalous 10 years that must have been. And the idea that Jerry West was a better basketball player than Kobe Bryant is obscene to me.
You gave an example of 100m track race...and yes Usain Bolt and others have run faster times, but there are plenty of track and field records which stand from 80s and 90s. If you look at other US sports - NFL tackling has gotten worse and worse. It took steroids and PEDs to break Morris and Hank's HRs records. Nolan Ryan has over 5500 strikeouts and no one has come close...and you can go on and on.
I really don't think one can say that NBA defenses are better than they were in 80s or 90s simply because today's athletes are faster, stronger, bigger and have access to better coaching and scouting. In fact, I'm not sure if coaching is better today. It is more efficient with the use of technology and what not, but not necessarily better.
The biggest reason why I feel 92 dream team beats current team is because majority of the players during that era played with the right mind-set. They played the team-sport as a team-sport - therefore it was a lot easier back then to put together a team of top players. Today, most players on the 2012 team don't know what to do when the ball is not in their hands.