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5 NBA players from the 90s who would be much better if they played today

5 NBA players from the 90s who would be much better if they played today

With everyone getting nostalgic for throwback hoops these days, here's a look at five 1990s players who would be better fits for today's NBA than the were in the era they played in...

Glen Rice, SF

Rice wasn't so underrated that he didn't make All-Star teams or even All-NBA. He made a few of those and was even a household name for many fans given his college career and the NBA markets he played in. But looking back at his numbers, it seems like he should have received a lot more credit for being a star.

Rice had some years he didn't make the All-Star team that make you scratch your head, like in 1994-95 when he averaged 22.3 points and shot 41 percent from three. At his peak, he was averaging nearly 27 points and shooting a ridiculous 47 percent from long range. Despite being such a great shooter, he only averaged 3.9 three-point attempts per game for his career. If he played today, he would have had the green light to attempt many more.

Dale Ellis, SG/SF

Ellis made All-NBA and the All-Star team once, but that doesn't seem like enough. From the 1986-87 season through 1998-99, so 13 years, he averaged 17.9 points per game while shooting 40.6 percent from three (4.0 attempts) with a 54.2 effective field goal percentage.

Ellis didn't fill up the box score in many other categories, but the efficiency suggests he would have been relied on a lot more in today's game. He was regularly among the NBA leaders in eFG%, he just didn't get the credit for it he would if he played now.

Walt Williams, SF

'The Wizard' was a three-point specialist for a long time in the NBA, but back then it was easy to be boxed in by that role. If Williams played now, some team would likely unlock his range to turn him potentially into an All-Star. Williams was 6-foot-8 and in 1996-97 hit 40 percent from three on 6.0 attempts per game.

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While Williams sometimes fell into the category of 'tweener,' nowadays he would be an ideal fit as sort of a positionless sharpshooter. And given he shot 39.9 percent from three in his last three seasons, maybe he would have played past the age of 32.

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, PG

Those who didn't watch Abdul-Rauf, who was formerly known as Chris Jackson, play perhaps know him from when Phil Jackson drew a comparison between him and Stephen Curry. Abdul-Rauf had plenty of acclaim in college and early in his NBA career, but it seems like he would have had more success in the pro ranks now because players like him are more commonplace.

Abdul-Rauf was undersized, but made up for it with his range and at his peak shot just south of 40 percent from three. Though Curry is much better, he along with Trae Young and others are disciples of Abdul-Rauf. Abdul-Rauf also likely would have been given more leeway nowadays for the political stances he took as a player.

Toni Kukoc, SF/PF

On one hand, more people probably know who Kukoc is than the average player of his caliber from the 1990s era simply because he played on three title teams with the Bulls. But Kukoc is viewed as a good role player and not a star. If he played now in the right situation, he could have made a much larger impact and probably made a few All-Star teams.

In his prime, he regularly held an eFG% over 50 and filled up the stat sheet in a variety of ways. The 1998-99 season, the first after Michael Jordan's second retirement, is a good example. Kukoc averaged 18.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.1 steals. At 6-foot-10, he had some unicorn tendencies before they were popular.

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Wizards' losing has created bizarre situation in NBA standings, lottery odds

Wizards' losing has created bizarre situation in NBA standings, lottery odds

The NBA only taking 22 teams to Orlando for its restart had the potential for some really strange things to shake out in the standings and now that the Wizards have started out 0-4, those possibilities are being realized.

Just look at the East right now. The Wizards are technically not eliminated from the playoffs, yet they have a worse record than the Charlotte Hornets, who are eliminated from postseason contention.


ESPN.com

Notice the 'e's.' When else would you see something like that? Maybe in college football, if a team loses postseason eligibility, but continues on playing games. 

Those standings, though, are just an odd element of some extraordinary circumstances as the NBA did what it could to resume playing basketball. Things could get much more real when it comes to the draft lottery.

By losing to the Sixers on Wednesday, the Wizards dropped below the Hornets in terms of win percentage, as you see above. Washington now has the eighth-worst record in the NBA.

RELATED: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM WIZ-SIXERS

But because the league changed the lottery rules for the restart, the Wizards would have the ninth-best lottery odds if the season ended today. The bottom eight teams, including Charlotte, are cemented in where they stood when the league shut down on March 11.

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What that would mean if it holds up is a strange situation on lottery night. The Wizards could have fewer ping pong balls than a team that has a better record than them. They could even slide past the Bulls if they keep losing and have worse odds than two teams with better records than theirs.

On lottery night, it will be the difference of a few percentage points, which on the face of it might not seem all that important. Here is how the odds break down for the No. 7 through 9 teams:

7th-best odds - 7.5 % chance at No. 1 pick, 31.9 % chance at top-4
8th-best odds - 6.0 % chance at No. 1 pick, 26.2 % chance at top-4
9th-best odds - 4.5 % chance at No. 1 pick, 20.2 % chance at top-4

As you see there, the Wizards would only be missing out on either 1.5% or 3.0% in terms of odds to get the No. 1 pick. But when you add the percentages up for the top-four selections, their odds are affected by as much as 11.7 percent. That is fairly substantial.

The thing is, however, it could work both ways. The Wizards could be hurt by the lottery odds, but still end up getting lucky by staying at ninth. The ninth spot in the lottery could yield them a really high draft pick and therefore make Chicago or Charlotte wish the rules were different.

But just consider how things went in last year's draft lottery, the first under the new system of rules. The No. 1 pick went to the team that had the seventh-best odds, the New Orleans Pelicans. The No. 2 pick went to the team with the eighth-best odds, the Memphis Grizzlies. And the team with the ninth-best odds, the Atlanta Hawks, fell a spot to land at No. 10.

The No. 1 pick was Zion Williamson, the No. 2 pick was Ja Morant and the No. 10 pick was Cam Reddish. That is a huge difference.

If the same class was available this year, and the lottery shook out the same way, the Wizards would pick 10th and come away feeling like they got robbed of Williamson or Morant, both of whom appear to be generational players. That would be a stroke of bad luck that would take years, if not decades, to get over.

This draft does not seem to have that type of talent at the top, depending on how you feel about guys like James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball. But it's still an NBA draft and every year there are future All-Stars available. Most years there are future Hall of Famers to be had.

All of this may not matter much, or it could matter a lot. In the most extreme scenario, it could legitimately have a major effect on the future course of the league.

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GM Tommy Sheppard says John Wall dunk video only a glimpse of what he's able to do

GM Tommy Sheppard says John Wall dunk video only a glimpse of what he's able to do

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard has been following John Wall's recovery from Achilles surgery every step of the way and continues to now even though he is inside the bubble in Orlando while Wall is working out near his offseason home in Miami.

Sheppard gets daily updates on Wall's progress, so he wasn't surprised to see Wall throw down a 360-degree dunk the other day in a video that went viral on social media. Sheppard has seen much more than that, as he explained on NBC Sports Washington's Wizards Postgame Live on Wednesday night.

"The video that John posted is nothing compared to what he's doing behind closed doors, which we're very tuned in with. We have a coach down there working him out," Sheppard said.

Sheppard isn't necessarily making some big proclamation there. What he likely means is Wall is looking good playing in scrimmage situations, that he's in good shape and gearing up to start training camp in just a few months.

RELATED: WALL'S LATEST INSTAGRAM WORKOUT AS AMAZING AS EVER

Sheppard has been keeping tabs on Wall, plus Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans. Beal is out of the NBA's restart due to a shoulder injury and Bertans sat out to preserve his stock for free agency. 

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All three have been in contact with players and coaches to offer their thoughts on how the team has fared in their games so far.

"[I see] what Bradley's doing to get his shoulder right... Davis, he's working out with his national team in Latvia and doing what he's supposed to do," Sheppard said. "I have a great deal [of confidence] in that when we leave here, we have three pretty good players who aren't here. We have a good idea of what we need to do in the offseason with those guys being there."

Wall and Beal will be back next year, that we know. Bertans is a question mark given he is set to be an unrestricted free agent. The Wizards consider him their No. 1 offseason priority, NBC Sports Washington was told.

If he does come back, he will play on a team that should have Wall and Beal back fully healthy and ready to go.

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