The decade of the 1990s was prime for statistical value. Minutes weren’t restricted like what they are today, leading to consistently amazing stat lines.
There were so many sensational fantasy assets during the ’90s that it made it difficult to select a fantasy starting five. This was especially difficult at the center position, as these years featured a bevy of Hall of Fame big men.
We previously touched on the starting five from the ’80s, and now it’s time to see who made the cut for the golden era of the ’90s.
Point Guard: John Stockton
John Stockton ranks as the NBA’s all-time leader in assists, and the majority of these dimes came during a remarkable run amidst the ’90s. He and Karl Malone formed a pick-and-roll machine, creating a masterpiece of how to operate the two-man game. This sparked an absurd amount of assists for Stockton, including the 14.5 assists per game he tallied in 1990. He did more than dish, though, evidenced by his stellar PPG and shooting percentages, not to mention the fact that he’s also the career steals leader. One could perhaps gripe about limited rebounds and threes, but the positives here are too overwhelming to consider any other floor generals.
Best stat line (1989-90): 17.2 PPG, 51.4 FG%, 81.9 FT%, 0.6 3PM, 2.6 RPG, 14.5 APG, 2.7 SPG
Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan
There’s no big shocker here. Despite retiring twice during the ’90s, M.J. still owned this decade. Six rings, seven scoring titles, and four Most Valuable Player awards accompanied him during these years. The greatest of all time made it impossible to speculate other options. Statistically, Michael Jordan’s best individual seasons came during the ’80s, but his ’90s production was still downright filthy. It’s fair to say he could’ve carried your fantasy team to glory.
Best stat line (1989-90): 33.6 PPG, 52.6 FG%, 84.8 FT%, 1.1 3PM, 6.9 RPG, 6.3 APG, 2.8 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Small Forward: Scottie Pippen
Jordan’s sidekick was more than just a sidekick. Scottie Pippen was a Hall of Fame wing who showcased All-Star abilities on both ends of the floor. The strength of Pippen’s statistical value lies in what he notched across the board. The PPG, RPG and APG are all solid. These figures alone provide top-tier value. But when you throw in his superb steal mark (which he led the league in during 1994-95) and impressive BPG (from the small-forward slot), you really begin to grasp the depth of Pippen’s versatility. Grant Hill could snag this spot, but Pippen gets the nod because he was a stud throughout the whole decade (Hill didn’t hit the NBA scene until 1995).
Best stat line (1994-95): 21.4 PPG, 48.0 FG%, 71.6 FT%, 1.4 3PM, 8.1 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2.9 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Power Forward: Karl Malone
The Mailman knew how to deliver the ball to the basket, and he did this at an extremely high rate throughout his career. He ranks second all-time in points, and his banner seasons during the ’90s played a large role in this. Karl Malone didn’t supply a great deal outside of scoring, rebounding and percentages, but similar to his teammate Stockton, what he did contribute was so impressive it vaulted him above alternatives such as Charles Barkley.
Best stat line (1989-90): 31.0 PPG, 56.2 FG%, 76.2 FT%, 11.1 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Center: Hakeem Olajuwon
You could take a handful of centers from the ’90s and they’d easily be the best fantasy centers today. This position was that loaded. It ultimately came down to Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson, and Olajuwon boasts a slight edge. He provided a smidge more consistency. Olajuwon’s line here is completely insane, and it was customary throughout the ’90s. The scoring and rebounding is enough, but then add the gaudy defensive categories and quality percentages, and The Dream’s fantasy value genuinely feels like a dream. Despite how freakish Anthony Davis’s stats were last year, they still don’t compete with Olajuwon’s insanity.
Best stat line (1992-93): 26.1 PPG, 52.9 FG%, 77.9 FT%, 13.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.8 SPG, 4.2 BPG