The landscape of the NBA has changed significantly over the past 20 years, and we all know it.
Depending on where you stand on the subject, it can either be a good or bad thing. Purists will say the game has become weaker with the lack of physicality and change in rules while other would argue the spectacle has become more entertaining.
But there is no question about it, the league has transitioned more to a small ball approach. That was encapsulated by the Golden State Warriors taking their first ring in 40 years last season. Dub Nation took the style to a whole new level in the Finals as Steve Kerr opted to remove center Andrew Bogut for Andre Iguadola and introduce Draymond Green at the five.
It worked to perfection and the Warriors were able to overcome LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in six.
Their game has reached a different stratosphere this season. The Warriors, with a combination of their small and team ball approach, have left the league playing catch up as the 29 other franchises try and create a way to emulate the game plan in the Bay.
Draymond Green has been central to their start, as the Dubs –led by Steph Curry – make a charge at 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ regular season record. The 25-year-old second round draft pick from Michigan State is considered a big man in today’s league at just 6’7 and dominates his opponents. He is also a devastating option at the four.
But small ball is not a new trend. One man who saw it grow during the 1990s believes he would be perfectly suited to the NBA in the 21st century.
Robert Horry won seven NBA Championships during his career, including a starring role in the Houston Rockets back-to-back titles in the 90s and a big contribution off the bench during the Los Angeles Lakers three-peat in the early 2000s, and he believes he would be akin to Green, who is dominating the league right now.
Speaking exclusively to GiveMeSport, the now-retired Horry said: “I would've been perfect for it, you know. If you look back in 1995, we kind of started the small ball thing with Houston and put me at the small forward. Next thing you know we are running the gun and doing what they are doing now. We had three-point shooters all around; Clyde, Mario, Kenny, myself then we had the big man in the middle; Dream - he just went up and down.
“If I was in this era now, I would fit fine. I would be one those guys that fit like Draymond Green. Coming down, passing and getting people involved. Just having a good time, because these days the physicality is not as there as it used to be. It's still there, but not as much as it used to be. It would've been exciting times if I'd have played today.”
Seeing Big Shot Rob play in this era would have been very exciting, the same could be said for a lot of guys who compete during the 1990s and even before that. But the argument of ‘would they be successful’ could go back and forth forever.
With three-point shooting such a big part of today’s game, Horry’s 34 percent from deep throughout his career would have made him a huge weapon. But it wasn’t just his shooting that made him such a threat. His clutch plays defined his career; where do you think the nickname ‘Big Shot’ came from?
Who can forget his shot from deep against the Orlando Magic with 5.9 seconds remaining to give the Spurs a one-point lead, before going on to score 21 in the fourth and overtime to give them a 3-2 lead? Or his game-winning three in game four of the Western Conference Finals for the Lakers against the Sacramento Kings.
There is no defining way to compare generations as the game has changed so much, but having attempted 2329 three-pointers during his career, the distance shot is one barometer where we can dip our fingers into the water and cross generations.
As far back at 1993, he has been a deadly shooter and there is no doubt about it, he had the 'new' style way before it became all the range.