Could Michael Jordan have won more rings during his career? Some NBA fans reading this from the title are assuming that I’m referring to if M.J played today. I’m not.
I’m referring to if he played exactly when he did against the same competition but with today’s rules. Could Michael Jordan have won 7-8 rings?
Table of contents
Today’s NBA is different
Today’s NBA is different. I know that younger fans out there accept this. Do the majority really understand the difference that the changes created with increased scoring?
The photo to the right is of Maurice Lucas squaring up with Darryl Dawkins in game 2 of the 1977 NBA Finals.
This looks like two fighters squaring up in the ring or an octagon. Some fans out there are thinking “come on, that photo probably looks worse than what the situation really was”
What this photo looks like is exactly what it was. Maurice Lucas punched Dawkins in the back of the head and then they squared up.
What I’m going to do is provide the video of this incident, so you know what this looks like is exactly what it is. BTW there weren’t any ejections made or suspensions handed down either.
Marcus Morris’ Flagrant 2 on Luka
If you didn’t watch it live or hear about it on SportsCenter later that night, then you knew about it because every sports outlet in every arena of journalism talked about it incessantly for 3 days.
This play wouldn’t even be considered a hard foul back in the day, let alone bringing about cause for a player to be ejected.
What was a hard Foul?
This was a hard foul back in the day
No ejections. No suspensions. This type of thing happened more than you think. You’ll see more examples soon.
Bulls Vs Pistons: NBA East Finals
The Detroit Pistons defeated the Chicago Bulls in the 1989 & 1990 NBA Eastern Conference Finals.
In 1989 Detroit was down 2-1 to Chicago before advancing to the NBA Finals in 6 games. In the Finals, The Pistons swept the Lakers in the Finals. This was revenge for the Bad Boy Pistons as they had lost in seven games the year prior to Los Angeles.
The Pistons went up 2-0 vs the Bulls in the 1990 East Finals. The Bulls would lose again but after falling behind the defending NBA champions, Chicago stretched the series, losing it in 7 games.
The Pistons went on to win in the NBA Finals again. This time they defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in 5 games to claim back-to-back championship rings.
The Chicago-Detroit playoff series’, were games of players squaring up, clotheslining the opposition, and every thing in between and beyond.
To give you a good grasp of the climate of these games check out the video of the most physical plays this series delivered from 1988-1991 below.
Many people don’t realize the Jordan Rules were effective in making things very tough for MJ but it didn’t stop him from getting his.
In the 1989 series, Jordan averaged 29.7 points-per-game, 5.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.5 blocks.
In 1990 against the Bad Boy Pistons violence and double teams, Mike averaged 32.1 points-per-game, 7.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.1 steals, and 0.6 blocks.
What’s it all mean
I believe Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls would have reached the NBA Finals in 1989 and/or 1990. Basically the Bulls boasted the same roster that won the NBA championship in 1991.
Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen weren’t as refined offensively in 1989 as they would be in 1991.
Defensively and athletically both players were who they were in the three championship seasons of 1991-93.
Bill Cartwright was probably better in the seasons prior to 1991.
In 1989, Magic Johnson got injured in game 2 of the Finals. He would miss the final 9 quarters of the Pistons four game sweep.
It would be unintelligent to say Magic would still get injured against Chicago.
I can however make an educated opinion that Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan would give Magic more trouble than he faced ever before defensively.
The Chicago wings would have done in 1989 what they wound up doing in 1991, when nearly every expert thought the Lakers were going to defeat the Bulls in the same fashion that the Bulls beat them.
It took Detroit 7 games to dispose of the Bulls in 1990. They turned around and soundly beat the Blazers in five games.
The Portland lineup was basically the same lineup that Chicago beat for their second title in 1992.
What about Detroit?
If the game was played back then and called by the referees how it is today, the Pistons wouldn’t be able to use their physicality the way they did.
Do you want to know what would happen if they tried?
The Bulls would have been on a power play. I don’t know how else to explain it. It would be most of Chicago facing off against Isiah Thomas, Vinny Johnson and Mark Aguirre because the rest of the Pistons would have been hit with flagrant 2’s. Most of them probably facing suspensions to boot. The Jordan Rules couldn’t be used in today’s game.
This isn’t a joke, I’m not playin
Bill Laimbeer would be suspended more than he’d be on the floor playing. Dennis Rodman, John Salley, and Rick Mahorn would get hit with a flagrant 2 ejection almost every game. James Edwards and Joe Dumars would miss some time too. Isiah Thomas would walk off stomping his feet like he did after being swept by the Bulls in 1991.
I’m Not saying the Bulls would beat the Pistons
I’m not saying the Bulls would beat the Pistons, not necessarily.
I believe under the rules of today’s NBA that the Detroit Pistons might not make the Eastern Conference Finals at all.
I was going to say the Bulls who barely lost in 1989 & 1990 would have defeated the Pistons.
As I broke down this scenario down deeper, I really don’t think Detroit would make it to face Chicago in the ECF.
Watching Isiah play Bernard King in 1984, Detroit wasn’t too tough defensively yet.
If the Bad Boy Pistons played under today’s rules the things that made Laimbeer, Mahorn, Salley, and Edwards so effective in the regular season and playoffs wouldn’t be allowed.
Jordan at least 7
Michael Jordan gets at least 7 championship rings. At least. It’s not insane to think he wins eight. I feel strongly that in both 1989 & 1990, Michael would have been playing in the NBA Finals.
Maybe Michael Jordan doesn’t win the championship in 1989 or 1990. The Lakers relied mostly on Magic and Worthy in 1989, as they did in 1991.
The Blazers were very much the same team in 1990 that they were in 1992. I find it unlikely Jordan doesn’t snatch one of those away. Chicago didn’t have much trouble with either western conference champions when they actually faced them.
In my opinion, Michael Jordan is getting one of those rings. He’s probably getting both.
Michael Jordan would definitely be playing for those championship rings. MJ was nearly in the Finals playing against the Jordan Rules. These games from the late 80’s played with 2020 referees and rules means the Bulls dominance starts sooner than it did.