ALTTAB’s MOST EPIC BASKETBALL TEAMS OF ALL TIME (Part 2)

alttab most epic basketball teams of all time

And now for Part 2 of ALTTAB’s Most Epic Basketball Teams of All Time!

Perviously, a buddy of mine and I got into an impromptu gchat draft of the best possible all-time teams of NBA players as a way to pass both a long work day and the long, barren sports month of August. We forwarded our rosters on to Dano for detailed analysis and the determination of a clear-cut winner. After weeks of pulling his hair out, this is his submission in answer to what we’re now calling “The Most Dangerous Game”:

Team A back court:

1. Lebron James

2. Michael Jordan

3. John Stockton

4. Reggie Miller

5. Allen Iverson

6. Steve Kerr

Team A front court:

1. Karl Malone

2. Dirk Nowitzki

3. Shaquille O’Neal

4. Kevin Garnett

5. Kevin Love

6. Julius Erving

Team A starters:

1. Lebron James

2. Michael Jordan

3. Karl Malone

4. Dirk Nowitzki

5. Shaquille O’Neal

Team has the two most freakish specimens ever with Lebron and Shaq. There isn’t a player on Team B that can guard them one-on-one, so Team B would have to game plan a vast array of help-and-recover, matchup zone, or a mixture of both to contend when they are both on the floor (and this is WITHOUT me mentioning the de-facto GOAT, which is kinda amazing). Team A could go big (meaning ENORMOUS) with a lineup of Lebron at the one, Reggie at the two (since he’s bigger than Jordan), Garnett at the three, Dirk at the four, and Shaq at the five. That’s a legit lineup with no holes and no one shorter than 6’7”. Holy balls. That line-up would work against Team B

ESPECIALLY because Team B doesn’t have a PG that can shoot. Isaiah may be faster than Lebron, but I’d like to see him get a shot off inside the three point line against that lineup. It also has two best-ever sharpshooters in Reggie and Dirk (and Lebron isn’t too shabby anymore), and KG can operate at 20-ft easily. Meaning plenty of space for Shaq to go to work, and plenty of shooters to make Team B pay for doubling.

Team A can also go small (meaning blazing fast) with a lineup of Iverson at the one, Jordan at the two,mDr. J at the three, Malone at the four, and Love at the five. That’s a line-up with the best PG finishermever, plus three of the top five finishers ever, and the best current-day rebounder. I haven’t even usedmStockton yet. And I didn’t use a player more than once. Jesus. If I wanted to re-use players, I could throwmShaq easily into this, or Garnett, or Lebron, or MJ. For the big line-up (or half-court lineup), Stockton would be the perfect PG (and he lead a break with Malone his whole career, he knows how transition works).

As for last shot responsibilities, I think we all know who that would go to. If not him, Iverson, Reggie, and Dirk are pretty good back up plans. Kevin Love might even have something to say about it as well. Chemistry-wise I really don’t think this team would have many issues except one: Jordan/Shaq. Everyone else (KG, Dr. J, Dirk, Malone, Stockton, Love, Kerr) are all known to be great teammates. Iverson and Reggie would back off because they all respected Jordan so much. That’s the aspect that I think is most important. The two ways to get people to fall in line in the NBA is respect and sheer talent. And no one was/is more respected/revered than Jordan. And Lebron is more talented than everyone. But Lebron would be so amazed by Jordan’s competitiveness, fire, intensity, and the fact that he’s JORDAN that he would immediately relinquish control to Jordan. I also think this would work with Shaq. Shaq’s thing was that he was so huge that no one challenged him. Jordan would eat Shaq’s children if Shaq didn’t fall in line. Jordan may not be the beloved leader that Magic was/is, but that doesn’t make MJ’s way of domination and intensity not effective. He does have six rings after all.

 

Team B back court:

1. Magic Johnson

2. Kobe Bryant

3. Gary Payton

4. Jerry West

5. Isaiah Thomas

Team B front court:

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

4. Dennis Rodman

5. Bill Russell

6. Hakeem Olajuwon

7. Robert Horry

Team B starters:

1. Magic Johnson

2. Kobe Bryant

3. Larry Bird

4. Tim Duncan

5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Team B has the best floor general ever, and perhaps the best front court ever assembled. Kareem, Olajuwon, and Russell would be crazy playing together. (Although combined weigh for 21+ feet of human? 715 pounds. Yikes.) Team B also has the greatest white player ever (for what that’s worth), and the greatest PF ever.

Team B’s big squad would be Magic at the one, Kobe at the two, Bird at the three, Duncan at the four, and Kareem at the five. Now that I look at it, that might not even be Team B’s best big line-up. You can throw Olajuwon in there at either the four or the five as well. Team B’s small lineup(s) would be Isaiah at the one, West at the two, Payton at the three (maybe Magic or Kobe here), Rodman at the four, and Duncan (or Olajuwon or Russell) at the five. I do have an issue with Team B’s size. After Magic, its other PG’s are Payton at 6’4” (I’m not that worried about GP) and Isaiah at 6’0”. And after Kobe, Jerry West is only 6’2”. How does 6’2” West guard Jordan or Reggie? Or keep up with Iverson? I only can see him checking Stockton. And like I said before, it’s not like Magic was even a GOOD defender. If you want to hide Magic with GP, that means either taking out Magic all together, or taking out Kobe and having Magic guarding a two (in this case Jordan or Reggie or Iverson).

Team B’s advantage is in its frontcourt, what with its insane size. (Average height? 6’11”. Although Team A’s average front court height is 6’10”. Still insane, just less insane.) In Duncan, Russell, Rodman, and Olajuwon, Team B has four of the best post defenders and rebounders ever. There’s really only one person I can think of that would give any of those guys problems. That guy? Shaquille O’Neal. Last shot responsibilities would go to either Larry or Kobe, with Magic either bringing it up or passing it in. After that it would be Duncan-West-Kareem in that order, with Horry sitting in the corner with his hand up. Chemistry wouldn’t be an issue except maaaaybe between Russell and Magic. (I agree that Kobe would know his place because of who he was playing with.) You say Magic was the greatest leader ever? What about Russell, the OTHER greatest leader ever? He was the last player-coach in NBA history, and basically NEVER lost. Ever. And I don’t think Russell would even like Magic’s managing style, what with the smiling and laughing and making friends outside of basketball. I also think that Isaiah would make things weird from time to time. Especially if he wasn’t starting. And Rodman is Rodman. Only two people to ever get to him were the best player ever and best coach ever. Team B has neither of those.

Conclusion:

Alright, now that I parceled everything out. I must say that my final verdict is that, while yes these teams are mostly evenly matched, I like Team A a little bit MORE now. The Lebron/Shaq factor, the terrifying small AND big lineups, no defensive liabilities in the main rotation, the even distribution of specialty skills, complete skillsets covered (defense, penetration, shooting, postgame, etc.). I also think that Team B has more chance to have chemistry issues because of the issues being potentially between more than two players.

Now, a twist!

My turn!

I’m picking my own team, with all the other players remaining:

1. Chris Paul

You guys picked the only 6’8” and 6’9” PGs ever. What was I supposed to do? CP3 is the best pure PG today, and thusly, is more athletic, stronger, and has a more well-rounded game because of it.

2. Oscar Robertson

This is more of a jack-of-all-trades thing. CP3 and Big O make up more of a backcourt than of a normal this is the PG this is the SG in terms of the offense.

3. Scottie Pippen

Only person anyone ever says could have potentially guarded Lebron one on one. Obvious best-secondbanana-ever reasoning for why he’s a good teammate.

4. Moses Malone

Top five rebounder ever (since you guys picked the others, assholes.)

5. Wilt Chamberlain

The myths of a young Wilt are legendary. Young Wilt may be the only one who could have kept up with young Shaq.

6. Charles Barkley

Just a freight train of a human being. Good teammate. Stories of him conceding to Moses and Dr. J when he was drafted by the 76ers means he falls in line under the right circumstances. Everyone on the Dream Team says he was the best player in Barcelona.

7. Kevin Durant

6’10” with unlimited range, can handle, can penetrate, and is becoming a good defender.

8. Dwayne Wade

It should go MJ, Kobe, then Wade, in that order.

9. Clyde Drexler

Poor man’s MJ. All the other great back court players are taken?

10. David Robinson

Athletic freak of a dude. Once scored 70 points in a game on nothing but two pointers and free throws.

11. Chris Mullin

Only other Hall of Fame sharpshooter I could think of.

12. Elgin Baylor

Created the modern game. Is big enough to hang with modern players. Was dropping 40 a night after taking a bus across three states and not being able to sleep in an accommodating hotel room. Imagine what he could do if he wasn’t treated like shit. My big line up would be Big O at the one, Durant at the two, Pippen at the three, Moses at the four and Chamberlain at the five. I think that’s pretty fierce. And can match up with either of Team A’s or Team B’s pretty well. (With Pippen guarding either Lebron or Magic.) My fast lineup would be CP3 at the one, Wade at the two, Baylor at the three, Barkley at the four, and Robinson at the five. We would be super small (other than Robsinson, no one taller than 6’5”), but I think I could handle it with the athletes I have. Chamberlain, Durant, Drexler, and Pippen could also be in this lineup.

Last shot responsibilities would be interesting. It would be by committee, with Durant, Wade, and CP3 getting dibs. I don’t really see an issue with chemistry. I hear that CP3 is as homicidally competitive as Kobe and MJ, but as long as he plays with guys that are tough and take it seriously , I don’t see him getting nuts. Mullin, Chamberlain, Durant, Malone, Robinson, Drexler, and Pippen are all known to be good teammates. That leaves Barkley, Paul, Wade, Robertson, and Baylor. I don’t know enough about Robertson or Baylor to know what kind of teammates they were (plus they dealt with some much racism that I think they would have completely different personalities now). So between Barkley, Wade, and Paul, clearly Wade and Barkley can play with other great teammates. (And Barkley has said before that as long as you could play he wanted you on his team.) So I think CP3 would be the leader. I think my team would have a legitimate chance against Team A and Team B, especially considering the circumstances under which I had to pick my team.

About the Author: Gus Caravalho is the editor of ALTTAB Radio, a blog and podcast about sports. Go Lakers/Chargers/Tar Heels. Boo dook/olives/Mario Chalmers. Get more from Gus on ALTTAB Radio and Google+.

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