So my question is this...
Take MJ out of the 90's, which of today's stars has the best chance to replicate (or come closest to) his success?
Taking into account the physical play, the lack of athleticism (as compared to today's NBA), which impacts the game offensively and defensively, and mental toughness that's required to survive in that era.
Just to name a couple with some key points for consideration:
Kobe: It's often said that he's the closest thing to MJ, and my argument is that this could be used against him for this particular question. Without MJ, does Kobe's game mature to the level it has? Obviously not, but on the other hand he's clearly a student of the game, would have still developed into the great shot-maker he is, but maybe doesn't have the post game he has learned. I think he has the competitive nature no matter what, so he would definitely survive and propel given that he makes his adjustments to that era. I think he isn't the same player that he has become though...
KD: There's nothing you can do about height, especially when it becomes to basketball. I think KD is also still effective, he has the jumper no matter what era, and his length allows him to create chaos on defense. The obvious knock here against him is his frame. Being skinny would definitely hurt him, he'd get beat down constantly, and does it get to his head? Debatable, what we've seen in our modern KD is some pretty good mental toughness, but is it sufficient in the 90's?
Lebron: So MJ was clearly waaaaay ahead of his time, and if Lebron is placed in the 90's the same should be said. I think one difference between LBJ and KD + Kobe is the mental toughness. In our NBA today, Lebron can make the game look like child's play at times and I think it's entirely different in the 90's. He, too, despite being his size, would get knocked over, pushed, etc... For Lebron, I think it would get to his head, but maybe that would instill the "killer will" that people always wish he had. Or, it could go the other way, where he just breaks down and his game no longer progresses to the level it has risen to. Lebron does still have his unselfishness, and given that his teammates (whether he literally filled MJ's shoes or not) can shoot or can constantly make cuts to the basket, he could be effective in a Magic Johnson kind of role.
You could throw D. Wade & Melo in the question as well, but these guys are the best candidates IMO.
[ Edited by rEspEctdA49ers on Apr 13, 2014 at 6:25 PM ]