The 1997-98 Chicago Bulls could win championships “in any era” and would stack up well against today’s Los Angeles Lakers or Milwaukee Bucks, Rusty LaRue has said.
ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ – a 10-part docuseries on the Bulls team that won a sixth championship in eight years in 1998 – has now concluded after reporting huge ratings across the past five weeks.
Throughout most of the 1990s, no team could stop Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman as the Bulls became one of the most dominant outfits in sport.
The NBA has changed significantly, though, with three-point specialist Stephen Curry spearheading the Golden State Warriors’ run to the previous five NBA Finals.
However, LaRue, a rookie point guard with the 1997-98 Bulls, is adamant the Chicago team he was on would be able to mix it up with Curry, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“I certainly think that team is going to be competing for the championship, probably win it,” LaRue told Stats Perform.
“The one thing that you can’t forget is the Bulls were a little ahead of their time.
“While they weren’t necessarily the three-point barrage teams of today, the multi-position guys were basically big guards who could play all over the court – that was their roster.
“You had Steve Kerr who was a normal-sized guard but Jordan’s 6ft 6ins, Pippen’s 6ft 8ins, [Toni] Kukoc’s 6ft 10ins, Ron Harper was 6ft 6ins.
“Those guys could guard multiple positions, play multiple positions. I think that lends itself well to today’s game where you go out and you have multi-faceted people.
“Pippen could guard about any position on the court, so could Dennis Rodman, Jordan pretty much could, so I certainly think that team would be at the top of the echelon and probably be winning consistent championships in any era.”
The Lakers is the only team to have three-peated since the Bulls, with former Chicago coach Phil Jackson leading it to a trio of championships between 2000 and 2002.
Golden State’s bid for three Larry O’Brien Trophies in a row was dashed by the Toronto Raptors last year.
However, the 2015-16 Warriors team broke the 1995-96 Bulls’ record for most regular-season victories when they went 73-9.