The Los Angeles Lakers may not be a great basketball team currently, but they have an incredible history that includes some of the greatest teams to ever lace up the high tops. The question that frequently gets debated is how teams from different eras would do against each other, and while it’s difficult to come to a conclusion with any certainty, that doesn’t stop people from debating. Even Magic Johnson gets in on the act.
At a recent event presented by American Express celebrating the Showtime Lakers, Johnson weighed in on how his team would have fared against the current juggernaut, the Golden State Warriors. Not surprisingly, Johnson saw his team coming out on top, per Mark Medina of the Southern Calfornia News Group:
Magic on Showtime Lakers vs Warriors: "We would probably sweep them. They're too small."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 6, 2017
Of course, given the way that the Warriors are rolling through the NBA playoffs currently, most will probably be skeptical of Johnson’s claim, and rightfully so. The Warriors do have a lineup that is much smaller than the Showtime-era Lakers, but their ability to shoot the three and stretch the floor while also defending at a high level could present some problems. Kevin Durant, in particular, would be a problem, as A.C. Green and James Worthy would struggle to defend him on the perimeter.
That said, Johnson isn’t completely wrong. The Warriors would have no answer for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar down low. Both Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia are excellent defenders, but they haven’t had to match up with anyone on the level of Abdul-Jabbar. Johnson would also possess a massive size advantage over Curry and could exploit that in the post.
Additionally, the rules of the game would make a big difference, as the way the game is officiated now is very different compared to the 80’s. In theory, Curry might not be as effective if hand checking is allowed.
Ultimately, since time travel isn’t a thing, we can’t really know who would win between the two great teams, but it’s still fun to speculate.