The highlight I guess depending on your perspective of the 1985 NBA season, was the Los Angeles Lakers doing what they should’ve done in 1984, but let too many opportunities get away, which was to beat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. But there were a lot of other highlights as well like Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon playing their rookie seasons. And of course the Lakers and Celtics in June playing one of the best NBA Finals of all-time.
1985 is the season for the Lakers to learn from what they did wrong in the 1984 NBA Finals. And especially Earvin Magic Johnson, that he needed to be more of a leader of the team and not just the quarterback. And not always worry about having to make the perfect pass and make his teammates look great. But at times that he had to look good himself on offense and actually score when he either had the best shot, or the best chance of scoring especially in critical moments. Which meant fewer turnovers by scoring when he had the good shot.
But again the NBA even back in the mid-1980s wasn’t just about the Lakers and Celtics. And even Larry Bird and Earvin Johnson. There were twenty-four or so other clubs in the NBA that also had great players. Like in Philadelphia with Moses Malone and Julius Erving. And in Atlanta with Dominique Wilkins and in Detroit with Isiah Thomas, Salt Lake with Adrian Dantley and many other places. And 1985 had a great rookie class with Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley Hakeem Olajuwon and many others.
The 1985 season was a chance for the rest of the NBA to start catching up with the Celtics and Lakers, because of the 1984 draft. And because of this we saw the Houston Rockets make a big leap in 1986 and winning the Western Conference and getting to the NBA Finals. And with the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks steeping up and starting to become real contenders in the Eastern Conference.