Obviously Michael Jordan is one of the greatest players of all time so I'm not writing this to argue that point, but I've been thinking about how good Portland was in 80s and early 90s and they did this all without their #1 pick in the 1986 draft, Arvydas Sabonis.
During his prime, Arvydas Sabonis had all the tools to be one of the greatest centers of all time. He could play in the post, perimeter, steal, block shots, run the floor and hit 3 pointers. Go back and watch how he mauled David Robinson during the olympics in the 80s during his prime and you'll see how much potential he could have had if the Russians let him come to the US when he was drafted.
Personally, I think portland would have been unstoppable with by adding Arvydas Sabonis to an already great team. Do you think Jordan would have had as much success in the playoffs if had to battle this portland team year after year? I think Jordan would still be considred the greatest player ever, but he would have had a much tougher time getting through Portland in the finals. Who knows how many championships they could have won with Arvydas Sabonis playing center
TBH, no one could stop Jordan in his prime.
He was great but I'm not sure it could have been so decisive in the nba... in Europe URSS played zone 40/40 but in NBA you could not play zone def... he was a bit slow and following his man could have been a problem sometime. Even in Europe he had some bad days. Of course he was a fantastic player... he and Drazen Petrovic made european basket much better
Sabonis was an amazing player with all the tools a C would need, including athleticism. The problem with hypotheticals involving Sabonis was that his physical prime was very short. He had major injuries really early in his career, so even during what would've been his prime as a player, he was already past his physical prime.
Now if he didn't experience those major injuries eary, then we could've been talking about a legit ATG.
What's more amazing is Portland could have EASILY had Jordan! Imagine that..it would have really been a legitimate powerhouse team.
Bill Walton had knee problems, they draft Sam Bowie instead of Jordan and he was an epic bust, brandon roy was great for a few years until his knees gave out, greg oden over durant and his knees gave out, they lose out on sobonis' prime years because of politics, Martell Webster 2005 6th pick bust, Sebastian Telfair bust, Qyntel Woods bust, Erick Barkley BUST. Thats some track record the blazers have.
Sabonis had serious knee issues when he joined Portland eventually but still put up 16 and 10 as a 33 year old, so it shows how good an NBA career he might have had if he had come over a decade earlier and he had received proper treatment for his knee issues. I don't think he alone would have stopped Jordan's dominance but I believe he'd have been a minimum 18/10 career player.
Anybody going to mention his passing? Excuse me if you already have but it was the best part of his game. One of the best passer I've ever seen out of the post? Passes were on time and on target, phenomenal player despite injuries.
Sabonis had very impressive assist and steal stats for a big man and was also an elite blocker. Looking at his last season NBA stats he was 11th in steals per 48 minutes and that was as a 38 year old, so that shows what an outstanding reading he had for the game.