Oh boy, here we go again with this. Let’s play a Mad Libs. I’ll give you the bulk, you fill in the blanks.
(NBA veteran player) says that his (team from the last three decades) would beat the Golden State Warriors because (reason they’ve not fully vetted).
You’re sure to reuse this template often over the next few years. Today’s fully executed NBA veteran Mad Lib comes to us courtesy of the eternal Rasheed Wallace, who says that his championship 2003-04 Detriot Pistons team would not only beat the 2017 Warriors, they would dismantle them.
Wallace said as much recently on a podcast called Timeout with Taylor Rooks.
The quote comes courtesy of Slam:
Sheed: “Oh, we’d run through them. Not even close. We play defense.”
Mike Brown compared the defense of today’s Warriors and that Pistons team. Do you agree?
Sheed: “I’d agree to a certain point. But I think the Warriors’ defensive strategy is, I’ma put up more shots than you. And if you try to match that, then you assed out because they got exceptional shooters.
“So that’s their whole defensive thing. I don’t call it good defense if the man came down and he shot a jump shot or shot a three and missed it, and the Warriors went back down to the other end and scored it.
“That’s not good defense, and that’s what happens a lot in this game now. They’re not shutting nobody down. Even though you can’t shut a scorer down—you can slow him down.
“With the way that we played in Detroit, we’d lock [players] down. The things that we did in Detroit will never be done again.
This was a topic of discussion on Wednesday on Twitter despite the thrilling-but-inevitable win by Golden State over Cleveland in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals. It’s nice that Wallace put in his two cents.
But again, this is obviously just a thought experiment and probably one that smooths the wrinkles in our brains instead of adding to them. Since we don’t have a time machine, or even some kind of scientific chart to correlate rule and style changes from a decade ago to the modern NBA, it’s all moot.
I have a hard time thinking any team from history could beat the Warriors in the modern game given their dominance and the amount of trophies on their roster. Last season you could make an argument, but adding Kevin Durant pushes them over the top for me.
Then again, that’s an opinion and Wallace is due his. Of course, saying the Warriors don’t play defense is patently false. If you’re not seeing the Warriors play defense (the second-best team in the league at it, according to Basketball Reference) then you’re not watching the games.
In any case, feel free to link back to this article and use the aforementioned Mad Lib template whenever it seems necessary. I’m sure we’ll need it here again soon enough.