JJ Redick Says Was ‘Watered Down’ During Michael Jordan’s Prime


JJ Redick, former NBA player and current basketball analyst, recently shared an interesting take on the level of competition during Michael Jordan’s heyday. In a conversation on ‘The Big Podcast with Shaquille O’Neal’, Redick delved into the impact of expansion teams on the league’s overall competitiveness during the ’80s and ’90s.

When Michael Jordan entered the NBA, the league featured 23 teams, with the latest addition being the Dallas Mavericks in 1980. However, from 1988 to 1995, the NBA underwent significant expansion, adding six new teams:

1. Charlotte Hornets (now New Orleans Pelicans)
2. Miami Heat
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
4. Toronto Raptors
5. Vancouver Grizzlies (now Memphis Grizzlies)
6. Orlando Magic

These expansion teams went through years of rebuilding, constructing bare-minimum rosters via the expansion draft. As a result, the overall talent pool across the league became diluted. Critics often point to this era as one where the top teams faced less competitive opposition during the regular season.

JJ Redick raised a thought-provoking question: Did the influx of expansion teams water down the NBA during Michael Jordan’s prime? While he acknowledged that the playoffs were a different story (where the best teams faced off), he emphasized the impact on the regular season.

Redick stated,


“A lot of times, we’re comparing eras. I’ll say this with Michael Jordan, and I don’t mean this to be controversial. During his heyday, six teams were added to the NBA. There were 90 players added to the NBA. Does that not water it down? I’m not talking playoffs, by the way—no chance. But you’re not telling me that the league, for a little bit, wasn’t watered down.”



While Redick’s argument highlights a valid point about expansion, it’s essential to consider the context. Michael Jordan’s impact extended beyond the regular season. His performances in the NBA Playoffs against the absolute best the league had to offer remain legendary. Championships, clutch moments, and iconic plays define his legacy.

The NBA hasn’t expanded since 2004, when the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) joined the league. For the past two decades, the NBA has maintained a stable roster of 30 teams. However, rumors persist about future expansion, with cities like Las Vegas vying for a franchise. LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal have expressed interest in owning an NBA team in Vegas.

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