For stat junkies, it’s entertaining to determine who would’ve been fantasy studs during different eras. The offseason is the perfect time to analyze this, and we’ll venture all the way back to the 1980s and consider the All-Time Fantasy Starting Five for this decade.
We’ve previously considered under-the-radar fantasy greats from this period, and it’s now time to highlight the big names who were absolute statistical monsters. Just imagine what it’d be like to have one of these guys on your fantasy roster today.
Point Guard: Magic Johnson
Magic won five titles during the 1980s, so he was by no means just a fantasy force. He racked up big-time numbers while guiding the “Showtime” Lakers to the NBA pinnacle in ‘80, ‘82, ‘85, ‘87 and ‘88. He was a constant triple-double threat with his flashy playmaking abilities, and his infectious personality brought needed energy to the game in the early-80s. Statistically, he showcased a great deal during this decade, leading the league in assists per game four times, ranking at the top in steals per game twice and averaging a double-double in seven seasons. He’s one of the greatest to ever roam the hardwood, and the rings on his fingers and the individual statistics are clear evidence of this.
Best stat line (1986-87): 23.9 PPG, 52.2 FG%, 84.8 FT%, 0.1 3PM, 6.3 RPG, 12.2 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan
When people think of M.J., they typically reminisce upon his dominance during the 1990s, when he won six titles. People often forget that, from an individual standpoint, he was also remarkable during the ’80s. Truthfully, his best statistical seasons came during the ’80s, when he was an extra springy scoring machine. He put up 37.1 PPG during 1986-87, and from the time he entered the league in 1984, there was seemingly nobody who could slow down His Airness. The Bulls couldn’t get over the hump in the playoffs during this decade, but Jordan’s magnificence was still on display. His line below is simply amazing, especially when you consider that you could subtract 20 PPG from his scoring average and his numbers would still position him as an elite fantasy weapon.
Best stat line (1985-86): 35.0 PPG, 53.5 FG%, 84.1 FT%, 0.1 3PM, 5.5 RPG, 5.9 APG, 3.2 SPG, 1.6 BPG
Small Forward: Larry Bird
Larry Legend and Magic were the faces of this era, and similar to Magic, Bird wasn’t just a statistical beast. He was a gritty competitor who vaulted the Celtics to three championships (‘81, ‘84, ‘86). Bird’s basketball intelligence was through the roof, and this enabled him to contribute in a variety of ways. He shooting ability was unquestioned, but he also added sneaky value as a rebounder and distributor. He was a remarkably efficient player in every era. There’s nobody in this day and age who can compete with his crazy numbers across the board, and these were figures he tallied consistently throughout the decade. It was quite difficult selecting a best line because he registered an assortment of eye-popping ones. The Hick from French Lick was one unforgettable hooper.
Best stat line (1984-85): 28.7 PPG, 52.2 FG%, 88.2 FT%, 0.7 3PM, 10.5 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG
Power Forward: Charles Barkley
Sir Charles is now a goofball on television, but he was once a dynamic threat on the basketball floor. He stood only 6’6 at the power-forward position, but he played much bigger than his height suggests. He earned the nickname “The Round Mound of Rebound” because he owned the boards. He banged against opposing bigs like a bowling ball. During the ’80s, he averaged over 20 and 10 (points and rebounds) four times after entering the league in 1984. He had more success from a team standpoint later in his career, but his best fantasy days came as a youngster with the Philadelphia 76ers. In his best line below, he showed he was more than just a phenomenal scorer and rebounder, as he posted nearly five APG as well as decent defensive figures.
Best stat line (1986-87): 23.0 PPG, 59.4 FG%, 76.1 FT%, 0.3 3PM, 14.6 RPG, 4.9 APG, 1.8 SPG, 1.5 BPG
Center: Moses Malone
You may be wondering why Kareem Abdul-Jabbar didn’t make this spot. He did win five titles with Magic and the Lakers. However, his best statistical years came during the ’70s. During the ’80s, he only averaged a double-double on two occasions. Moses Malone, on the other hand, averaged a double-double each season throughout the decade, doing this with four different teams. He simply had better fantasy value than Abdul-Jabbar. Malone’s numbers compared to Barkley in terms of scoring and rebounding. Although, his best line reached a level that Barkley never attained. Moreover, he didn’t just compile big numbers, as he won a title with the pre-Barkley 76ers in 1983.
Best stat line (1981-82): 31.1 PPG, 51.9 FG%, 76.2 FT%, 14.7 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.5 BPG