1986 was a very interesting NBA season with the upstart Houston Rockets with their twin towers Hakeem and Ralph Sampson. And their very good and up incoming backcourt Mitchell Wiggins Louis Lloyd and of course the Rockets upsetting the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Finals. And of course the 1986 Boston Celtics who had the MVP in forward Larry Bird who was the best player in the NBA in 1986. And leading the Celtics to the 1986 NBA Finals Championship over the Houston Rockets.
And perhaps the 1986 Celtics were the best passing team and big team of all-time. With all of their stars and former stars upfront, in Larry Bird a 6’9 small forward who was big and strong enough to be an all-star power forward. But with great passing, ball handling and shooting skills of the great small forward and the best small forward of all-time that he definitely is. And the two great big man down low in power forward Kevin McHale and center Robert Parish. And if that is not great enough, Bill Walton off the bench.
But 1986 wasn’t just about the Celtics and Rockets. You also had the Lakers taking a step back and not just failing to defend their 1985 championship, but not even getting back to the NBA Finals. You had the emergence in the Eastern Conference Playoffs with the Atlanta Hawks. Who looked like they were going to be an Eastern contender for years to come led by Dominique Wilkins and the emergence of the Detroit Pistons as a serious Eastern Conference contender as well.
1986 was a great year for the NBA, because it proved that the NBA was more than just the Lakers and Celtics and even Philadelphia 76ers. That there were other very good if not great teams that were perhaps just one or two players away from winning the NBA Finals as well. Like the Rockets, Hawks and Pistons and even the Dallas Mavericks. That the future of the NBA was going to very good if not great.
Lakers Dynasty: NBA 1986- 1986 Boston Celtics: Sweet Sixteen