Ron Harper: ’95-96 Bulls would sweep today’s Warriors

Jordan documentary origin

With the Warriors off to an 11-0 start and the chance for a 15-0 start possible — which would tie the fastest start in NBA history, the 93-94 Rockets — there has been talk about the Warriors chasing the 72-win Bulls record. That despite the Warriors’ GM saying that is an impossible goal. That despite the fact the Warriors have only beaten one team so far with a record currently above .500 (Clippers), the toughest parts of their schedule are ahead. That despite the fact we know as the season wears on Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and other Warriors will get nights off for rest, with the team willing to potentially sacrifice games to be fresh for the playoffs.

Chasing records is all well and good, just don’t tell Ron Harper of that 95-96 record-setting Bulls team that Golden State could hang with Michael Jordan’s Bulls.

This is a fun little barstool discussion, but nothing more. Three quick thoughts.

1) I have little use for the “back in my day” arguments of former athletes in any sport. They bore me.

2) Comparing teams across eras in the NBA is nearly impossible because the defensive rules were different. When the Bulls were racking up titles you could hand check on the perimeter, which allowed you to push, grab, and clutch the guy with the ball in a way you can’t now. Defenses today have gotten more sophisticated in their help schemes to compensate for this — I’m not saying Jordan wouldn’t have had success against a Thibodeau overload style of defense, but the Bulls would have adapted to have more Warriors-like ball movement to get guys open shots.

The game evolves — if you think that the basketball of the 1990s (or 1980s or whatever era) is better than today it’s because you have an emotional attachment to that era. Which is fine, but recognize that things evolve and not always for the worse. I don’t miss NBA bench clearing brawls, or the Pat Riley Knicks defenses that dragged the game down to a halt, personally. Things change, and that’s okay.

3) Watching Scottie Pippen guard Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green on Michael Jordan, would be fun. But it exists only in the world of 2K Sports.