Which NBA Record Was Better? The Warriors or The Bulls?
As the saying goes, “records are meant to be broken.” This year, the Golden State Warriors did just that, eclipsing the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls record for most team wins of 72 in a single season. Now, this is a terrific feat and congratulations to the Warriors, who won 73 games, but is it a better accomplishment than that of the Bulls 20 seasons ago? Let’s take a look at the comparisons.
If we look at the depth of talent in the league then and now, it is heavily favored to the older generation. Not only did Chicago have all-time greats Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but the plethora of NBA legends in their prime was astounding, especially the big men: Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’neal, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, just to name a few. All Hall of Fame players who knew how to protect the paint and do whatever it took to win games. Which including, but was not limited to, knocking an opponent to the ground if they drove the lane; sending a message each time.
That is something you definitely will not see in the game today. In fact, some of the hardest regular fouls of the past would be ejections by today’s soft standard of what is and is not considered a foul. Back then, throwing an elbow at a guy was showing toughness in the heat of the moment; now, it would not be tolerated and probably reviewed for 5-minutes to make sure the call was made correctly. On top of that, some of the best players in today’s NBA, James Harden, LeBron James and Chris Paul, are known more for their ability to fake a foul and get to the free-throw line than their ability to take a hard foul and earn those points. It’s just a different league.
Digging a little deeper, the game today is more established on the play from beyond the 3-point arc. Players are heaving up three point attempts in greater numbers than ever in the game now. Look at the Golden State Warriors, who have sharp shooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson – they made over 1,000 three pointers this season and set another NBA record. I get that it is a more efficient way of scoring, but it is a lower percentage shot and nobody wants to go to a game that features two teams going back and forth throwing up missed shots from deep.
The NBA game is trending further towards outside shooting and referees protecting high profile players. There is nothing against Golden State for being most efficient at playing the game to today’s standards, but their record-setting season just doesn’t seem like it will be as well respected as that of the Chicago achievements during the 1995-96 season. The Bulls earned every win with tough play from great players who were battered and bruised from not being afraid of taking a hit for driving the lane, and that is why their historic season is more impressive than that of the Warriors.