The 'Big Three' in Miami have already received praise for potentially being the next team to establish a dynasty, and being the best team in history.
While they may be able to rack up the rings, the Miami Heat would have to compare with the best team the NBA has ever seen: the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
The idea of comparing the two seems a little far-fetched considering that the 2010-11 Heat have yet to break a huddle together. But, with the idea that the comprised players are who they were last year, a comparison can be made.
Note that the comparison with the 1995-96 Bulls will only include those season's stats, and not be based on entire careers.
Each position comparison will have comparable splits of each team's starting five's and how their role in the team effects the outcome of a game. Each team's ability, or potential ability to run an offense and defend s a team will also be weighed.
One last thing, we are playing this in the 1990's when you could bang and crash a little more. The NBA today is a joke. If you look at a guy wrong, a foul is called.
This match-up has the potential to either be an epic battle, or a complete blowout.
Here. We. Go.
Note: All statistics courtesy of the NBA and basketballreference.com.
Longley: 62 Games played and started, 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1.5 blocks, 48% Field Goal, 77% Free Throw, 2 turnovers in 26.5 minutes a game.
Ilgauskas: 64 GP, 6 GS, 7.5 pts., 5.5 reb., .8 ast., .8 blk., 44% FG, 74% FT, 1 TO in 21 minutes a game.
For both Chicago and Miami, this is conceivably their weakness, center. Longley was more of finesse center that contributed and played big when he had to, Big Z used to be a similar finesse center before injuries take away some of his mobility.
Their stats are comparable, and even looking at their height and weight (Z taller by an inch, Longley heavier by 5 lbs.), you cannot tell a difference.
It comes down ability, and with Longley being only 27 and shooting well, he would have an upper hand in a starting role against Ilgauskas. Plus, Longley was healthier at this point in his career than Z is now.
Edge: The man from down under.
Harper: 80 GP and GS, 7.5 pts., 3 reb., 2.5 ast., 1.3 stl., .4 blk., 47% FG, 27% 3-Point, 70.5% FT, 0.9 turnovers in 23.5 minutes a game.
Chalmers: 73 GP, 22 GS, 7 pts., 2 reb., 3.5 ast., 1 stl., .2 blk, 40% FG, 32% 3-PT, 74.5% FT, 1.5 turnovers in 25 minutes a game.
Let's face it, Ron Harper would keep Mario Chalmers in check. Harper was the point in the Triangle offense, and the man who covered the opposing point like a hawk.
If anything, Chalmers would go up to Harper mid-game and say, "Thank you for being a role model as a defensive point guard." Chalmers has showed that he can be a decent point with solid defensive skills, but Harper, even at age 32, was superior defensively in 95-96 than Chalmers is today.
Almost forgot, Harper is 6'6'', a whopping five inches taller than Chalmers (6'1''), and had the same quickness and agility.
Edge: Master Harper over young grasshopper Chalmers.
Photo: Phoenix Celebrity
Rodman: 64 GP, 57 GS, 5.5 pts., 15 reb., 2.5 ast., .6 stl., .4 blk., 45% FG, 26% 3-PT, 53% FT, 2 turnover in 32.5 minutes a game.
Bosh:70 GP and GS, 24 pts., 11 reb., 2.5 ast., .6 stl., 1 blk., 52% FG, 36% 3-PT, 80% FT, 2.5 turnovers in 36 minutes a game.
High volume inside scorer, meet high volume defensive presence.
Chris Bosh, despite his ability to light up the paint, has not seen a defender as rough as Dennis Rodman. Bosh has an edge away from the rim, but if Bosh, or anyone else, got too close in the paint to Rodman, you were going to lose most of the time.
If you expect Bosh to score with number 91 on him, you would be sadly mistaken. Bosh can take his height advantage, but Rodman would take his manhood on the court.
Funny thing to think about: Rodman may be the only person Bosh could guard down low, and 'The Worm' does not contribute that much offensively to be a factor outside of offensive rebounding.
Edge: Rainbow hair, all day.
Photo: Ultimate NBA
Pippen: 77 GP and GS, 19.5 pts., 6.5 reb., 6 ast., 1.7 stl., .7 blk., 46% FG, 37% 3-PT, 68% FT, 2.5 TO, and 37 minutes a game.
James: 76 GP and GS, 29.5 pts., 7 reb., .5 ast., 1.5 stl., 1 blk., 50% FG, 33% 3-PT, 77% FT, 3.5 TO, and 39 minutes a game.
If there was a ever a match-up in the last 15-20 years, this may be it.
The ultimate 'Robin' and the new 'Robin' would square off against each other almost all game. Both are 6'8'', have an all-around game, and can hit the big shot in a minute.
LBJ would get his, and the same for Pippen. Pippen fit in well with the Triangle, and James just did his own thing. We have yet to see James play with another superstar for a period of time, but it appears with his arrival in Miami, he has no problem playing second fiddle to someone.
Scottie, for most of his career, was a great team player. Even when he ranted and raved over not being the guy, he got his reassurance from Phil Jackson, played, and was rewarded on few occasions with the chance to be the man.
This match-up is almost a coin flip...
Edge: James, who is arguably the most talented player ever.
Jordan: 82 GP and GS, 30.5 pts., 6.5 reb., 4.3 ast., 2.2 stl., .5 blk., 49.5% FG, 43% 3-PT, 83% FT, 2.5 TO, and 38 minutes a game.
Wade: 26.5 pts., 5 reb., 6.5 ast., 2 stl., 1 blk., 48% FG, 30% 3-PT, 76% FT, 3 TO, and 36 minutes a game.
MJ was the two once Ron Harper replaced John Paxson. Did not matter much, because Michael Jordan was "it." His sheer dominance on both ends of the court would have Chicago's Dwayne Wade in major trouble.
Wade himself is no slouch. His up-and-down play on both ends of the ball have earned him a great deal of respect as one of the better two-way players in recent history.
Despite Wade's ability to be a force, MJ could beat him two ways: driving and shooting three-pointers.
Wade could drive, but is not who you want shooting 3's as constantly as Jordan.
Jordan is the epitome of drive, force, and dominance. He has transcended the game, business, and pop culture in a way maybe a handful of athletes have in history. MJ would talk trash, and then make you look like garbage.
Wade can do that, but not to the level MJ did. Just look at Pippen's face in this photo. That is what anyone who ever saw him played did.
Edge: Your starting shooting guard from North Carolina, Michael Jordan.
Chicago- Toni Kukoc (G/F), Steve Kerr (G), Bill Wennington (C), Jud Beuchler (F/G)
Miami- Joel Anthony (C), Udonis Haslem (F), Mike Miller (G/F), Carlos Arroyo (G)
Those are arguably the best four guys coming off of each team bench. Anthony and Haslem can play better defense than Wennington, but being the only seven footer off of either bench poses a major threat for Miami.
Wennington also shot an uncharacteristic 86% from the charity stripe in 95-96.
Kukoc, Kerr, and Buechler all shot over 40% from behind the arc, dwarfing Miami's outside presence. Mike Miller puts up solid stats in up to 30 minutes off the bench, but would have his hands full with the pairing of Kukoc and Buechler, who could create their shot or sneak around the court better than any Miami bench player.
Toni was one of the earlier Europeans players to come to the NBA and leave a lasting impression.
His style of finesse shooting, while being able to play around the rim, gave a new facet to the forward's game. Players today like Dirk Nowitzki show what Kukoc brought to the Association almost 20 years ago.
Kerr was absolutely golden from three-point territory, shooting an astounding 51.5% from the rainbow. His counterpart, Carlos Arroyo shot well, low enough from the arc to not want to embarrass him but posting his percentage.
Edge: Size, depth, talent, Bulls.
Photo: Giant Bomb
The Chicago Bulls.
As much as the Miami Heat pose a threat to go on a long championship run, there will never be a team like the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
An offensive scheme that was almost unstoppable, combined with a defensive tenacity that was unmatched equals the 72-10 season of 15 years ago.