I challenge everyone to a NBA 7-game series. I want to see how my twelve guys match up against yours. I won’t have who I think are the 12 best players although I definitely will have a few. I am starting 3 guards, but don’t think you can take advantage of me at the small forward spot. And I have a fortress in the paint, starting 2 centers.
Coach – Chuck Daly – Why? Because he coached the greatest team ever assembled – the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. He has also proven himself by winning back-to-back NBA championships with the Pistons.
Guard – Michael Jordan – This is my killer. His competitiveness and will can carry an entire basketball team. MJ in my opinion is the best player ever to grace a basketball court, no question (Bill Russell is a close 2nd). Some may say that statement is debatable. And the main player people like to argue (not even close) is Wilt Chamberlain, since he is probably the only guy who would vote for himself as the greatest anyway. Just about every other hall-of-famer or greatest-ever comparable would tell you themselves that MJ is the best. That by itself should be enough to end that argument.
Guard – Oscar Robertson – This is my all-purpose stud. The big O spawned the bigger combo guard who can do everything. Score from everywhere on the court, rebound and dish. He did something that will never be duplicated EVER. Not only did he average a triple-double in a full season (1961-62 – averaging 30.8 points, 11.4 assists and 12.5 rebounds per game), but if you put together his first 5 seasons (400+ games), he averaged a triple-double from 1960 to 1965. That is freakin’ ridiculous! And people are in awe of King James…
Guard – Magic Johnson – My floor leader and the best point guard of all-time – and he was really a power forward at 6′ 9. Can play all 5 positions, sees all the passing angles and can thread the needle in every situation. At that size he can score on anyone and is the perfect guy to run the fast break with MJ (think 1992 Dream Team). Not to mention completely unselfish and all about winning.
Power Forward – Bill Russell – My second and third line of defense and the best big man and greatest winner in the history of the game. He matches up well vs. some of the quicker bigs because he was very agile for his size and clearly held his own against the bigger guys (Wilt Chamberlain) as well.
Side note: I have to take a moment to explain why The Big Dipper is not on my team. Think back to game 7 of the 1970 NBA finals. With a severely torn muscle in his thigh Willis Reed made a heroic appearance from the locker room to match up against arguably the most dominant big man ever. Reed went on to score the first two buckets of the game vs. Wilt and inspired his team to victory. An immeasurable display of leadership that in my opinion should never have happened. Basketball, and any sport, is about winning, taking advantage of every (allowable) edge you have and not giving anyone a free pass. And that is exactly what Chamberlain did in that game. He should have PUNCHED those two shots into the 3rd row seats sending a message to the Knicks that in no way, shape or form was it their day to win. That has always bugged me and for that reason I cannot have Wilt on my team.
Center – Moses Malone – This is my bruiser. My relentless rebounder, shot blocker and post defender. I had to start him because he was the missing piece that led the Sixers to the 1983 championship; he is my hometown guy. He is going to make sure nobody comes down the lane for any freebies and dominate the boards. This guy actually had 15 OFFENSIVE rebounds in a playoff game. Wow.
Isiah Thomas – This was a tough pick for me. It was between Isiah and A.I. (check his career playoff numbers and you won’t be as surprised why this was a bit of a dilemma). Ultimately it came down to winning, and although Iverson is my dude, Isiah is the proven champion. Not that I would be losing much as Thomas was just as electric with the rock as the “Answer”.
Reggie Miller – In this day and age you can’t win without a consistent threat from beyond the 3-point line. You saw how the US team struggled in the last Olympics because they didn’t have a shooter. Well, here is the best in the history of the NBA. And if somehow I end up down 3 late you can be assured Reggie will be ready to nail that clutch triple at the buzzer. That is if MJ lets someone else shoot with the game on the line anyway!
Larry Bird – This quote sums up why Larry “Legend” (not to mention it’s Larry “Legend”) is on my team – “The one thing that always bothered me when I played in the NBA was I really got irritated when they put a white guy on me,” Bird said. “I still don’t understand why. A white guy would come out (and) I would always ask him: ‘What, do you have a problem with your coach? Did your coach do this to you?’ And he’d go, ‘No,’ and I’d say, ‘Come on, you got a white guy coming out here to guard me; you got no chance.’ For some reason, that always bothered me when I was playing against a white guy.” “Disrespect,” Magic said. Said Bird: “Yeah, disrespect.” Full 2-on-2 interview
Kevin Garnett – I had to have at least one current player on my team, and right now this is my favorite. His energy, unselfishness and ability to do just about everything from the power forward spot are the reasons he fits well on this team. I needed a strong passing big man to play the high-low game. As well as hit the pick-and-pop jumper when he sets perimeter screens.
Hakeem Olajuwon – This was a toss up between Hakeem and Shaquille O’Neal. The deciding factors were free-throw shooting and versatility. I didn’t want to have any weak links on this team. The Diesel opens this team up to the Hack-A-Shaq strategy and bigger defensive mismatches against pick-and-rolls. Really though, I just want the “Dream Shake” on my team!
There you have it. Can anyone think of a better, more well-rounded team?
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