In case you missed it, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist said that this year's Hornets could be like part two of the Detroit Bad Boys during Monday's Media Day. He said this in reference to the team's defense (in particular he and Lance Stephenson on the wings), and not in reference to the team's offense or anything like that. There is also no way that the NBA would allow another Bad Boys team in today's league. I mean, take the time and watch a couple minutes of this video.
How many of those fouls would be called flagrant and lead to ejections, fines, and suspensions today? Ever since the infamous Malice at the Palace, the league has laid down the law when it comes to violent, physical play. I think it is universally accepted that today's NBA is a much softer league than in years past. So, there's no way we will see a repeat of the Detroit Bad Boys anywhere in the near future.
MKG was talking more about a mentality than anything else. In the video, you'll notice a fair number of first punches are thrown by the teams facing the Pistons and not the Pistons themselves. That is because the Pistons played physically and didn't take anything from anyone while on the court — which sounds a lot like Lance Stephenson if you think about it.
Jason Maxiell was asked about MKG's comments and he agreed to a certain degree. He mentioned how physical the Hornets could be, particularly in a league that has moved away from physicality and towards finesse and speed. So perhaps there is something to this.
The Pistons were second in the league in defensive points per game in 1988-89 (100.8) and led the league in that statistic during the 1989-90 (98.3), 1990-91 (96.8) and 1991-92 (96.9) seasons. The team's defensive ratings were almost as high during that time frame as well. In the 1988-89 season, the Pistons' defensive rating was 104.7, which was good enough for third best in the league. In 1989-90, they were second best with a 103.5 rating. In 1990-91, fourth-best with a rating of 104.6. In 1991-92, a 105.3 rating saw them finish sixth-best.
So where did the Steve Clifford's team fall in those categories last season? Not as good as the Bad Boys, but close — they were fourth in defensive points per game (97.1) and fifth in defensive rating (103.8). Their opponents' Effective Field Goal Percentage of 49.1 is not as good as the Bad Boys', either. But again, this is comparing one year to four years, so it not exactly a fair process.
No, the Charlotte Hornets are not the Detroit Bad Boys. That is obvious. But with the right mental attitude and physicality on both sides on the ball (particularly defense), this team could usher in a new era of Bad-Boyesque basketball. Kemba Walker will steal balls, MKG and Lance Stephenson will shut down the wings, and Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller, Jason Maxiell and Al Jefferson will be down low as enforcers. Okay, that may be a stretch, but you get the point. The Bad Boys were more than just tough defense. They were a mentality, and one that the Hornets could certainly emulate if they so choose.
Now the question remains — will they?