Commentary

How Bernard King would fare today

Translating the former star's stats to see where he'd rank in 2003 draft class

Updated: October 6, 2011, 12:26 PM ET
By Kevin Pelton | Basketball Prospectus
[+] EnlargeBernard King
Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty ImagesWhat would Bernard King's stat line look like if he played today?

In ESPN Insider's "What if they played now?" series, we'll translate the statistics of stars of the 1980s and 1990s to the present-day environment to give an idea of how they might have stacked up to their contemporaries. Each season's stat line is compared to league average at the time, then projected using the current NBA averages. We begin with Bernard King.

A quarter-century before Carmelo Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks, another high-scoring small forward made Madison Square Garden his personal playground. Like Anthony, Bernard King was born in Brooklyn, and he honed his game not far from where he would eventually star. King played for five teams during his 14-year NBA career, but it is his stint with the Knicks -- which included leading the NBA in scoring in 1984-85 at 32.9 points per game -- that is most memorable.

In many ways, King was the quintessential 1980s player. He benefited from playing in a fast-paced league in which small forwards were asked to score and save their energy on defense. Though translating King's stats to the present day means taking a bite out of his high scoring averages, his numbers remain impressive. We've imagined that King joined Anthony and LeBron James as the third great small forward in the 2003 NBA draft, and placed him on the same teams for which he actually played: New Jersey, Utah and Golden State before landing in New York, as well as Washington and finally the Nets again after his comeback from a devastating ACL tear suffered at the height of his powers late in the 1984-85 season.

Here are King's translated stats: