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My all-time NBA team: Can you beat me in a 7-game series?

The Big O invented the fade awayI 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 DalyWhy? 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 ThomasThis 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 BirdThis 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 GarnettI 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 OlajuwonThis 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!

Utility Guys:

Scottie Pippen

Robert Horry

There you have it.  Can anyone think of a better, more well-rounded team?


39 Responses

  1. Oh come on ! How does Wilt not crack the team? And I’ve always been amazed how Kareem doesn’t get more respect.

    With this much star talent, you’d be crazy not to have Pat Riley or Phil Jackson manage the egos

    Otherwise pretty good you did make an effort to get some defense on the team, which is always the temptation to miss on teams like this.

  2. It was a tough call on the center spot there were a lot of choices. If I had just picked the best then Wilt and Kareem would have been on the team for sure. As you saw from my side note I have a reason for leaving Wilt off. Hakeem was a better defender than Kareem that is why I went that route.

    My first thought was Phil or Pat but like I mentioned the only coach EVER in the history of the NBA to coach this hypothetical level of talent was Chuck Daly.

  3. any consideration for the Doctor? Surely, he’s better than Pippen.

    and i’m with Mike, you need a defensive presence…Wilt would have provided that.

    note about The Big O… i’m pretty sure he averaged a triple-double for his CAREER!… That is impressive.

  4. A1 – The Doctor isn’t better than Pippen for where I have him – super versatile role player. Like I said I set out to build a real team NOT just pick the best players. Every team must have those unselfish role guys and who better than Pippen and Horry (13 championships combined playing that role) both can play and defend 3 or 4 positions on the court.

    A2 – Bill Russell arguably the best defensive big man ever. Hakeem is the NBA leader in blocks (by 599) – I have plenty of defensive trust me, not to mention MJ and Pippen on the perimeter.

    A3 – Big O career stats – 25.7ppg, 9.5apg, 7.5 rpg

  5. Great Choice of Players, I have to say…
    well for me..I have to start wit the Big man….

    Center: Wilt Chamberlain….the greatest…not just Center but Player. He developed and changed the game in ways people will never understand. He’s not as big of a winner like Bil Russell but there is a difference between a winner and player. Peyton Manning is great Player, Tom Brady is a great winner!

    Power Foward: Karl Malone….Yeah Moses was good and other power forwards could play but I’m a dirmative debater and to be honest…Karl could play but couldn’t win. One of the greatest scorers ever. So many awards…the mailman always delivers!

    Small Foward: Julius Erving…The Genius mind that put Philly on the map around his era and time. Philly didn’t have as dominate player in him since Wilt. Basically there has only been 3 players that are crazy enough to crown a dominators and he’s one of them. The others are Allen Iverson and Wilt. Dr. J. awards list is longer than my arm and you can really put him down as the man that did Michael Jordan before Michael Jordan.

    Shooting Guard: Jerry West….He’s Mr. NBA..what else should I say. The man known for hitting every shot basically taken. If it was clutch time..you gave him the ball..It’s only 2 and yeah..i said two guys that can make clutch him this crucial..Yeah there was some great clutch people..Robert Horry, Michael Jordan and even Pistol Pete..but Reggie Miller (who is the all time 3 point shooter) and Mr. West….nothing like him..the beginning and the end!

    Point Guard: John Stockton…This one was hard..I was thinking between him and Jason Kidd..both outstanding players but on the real….This two can’t be stopped. Stockton average a career double double and can’t be stopped. Defensive all league player 5 years. He gave you everything….Dishes, Defense and scoring when needed.

    No disrespect to your team..They are great…but with this team and oh yeah my cousin….Mr. Red Auerbach….The greatest coach ever..yeah he had great player but so did alot of ther teams and couldn’t take out Boston..you gotta be good to understand what’s really behind the coaching vail. To be be good is very hard, to be great is even harder…It’s starts with determination and planning and Phil Jackson was great and so was Chuck..but had nothing on Red putting together some of the greatest players to win 9 championships and has the greatest winning percentage ever….try 66%!

  6. Nice team. But the way I structured my starting line-up it matches up very well against yours. Russell vs. Wilt give the edge in stats to Wilt and winning to Russell. Malone/Malone is a push to me with Moses doing a much better job on the boards. Dr. J vs. Magic I take Magic in that match-up all day. Then you would get completely dominated at the guard spot. Stockton is great but becomes a liability against either MJ or Oscar, where-as MJ has and can effectively guard John. Same holds true for West great offensive player not quick or athletic enough to guard either MJ or Oscar. 7-game series my team wins 4-1.

  7. I notice people rarely consider chemistry when putting these teams together. You have three people in your starting lineup who all need the ball in Michael, Oscar, and Magic while there’s only one ball to go around. Magic needs the ball to distribute, Oscar dominated the ball and Jordan needs the ball. Russell’s the only guy who doesn’t need the ball to be effective. I see potential problems there.

    As far as klkatz’s comment about needing a defensive presence, what do you think Russell provides?

  8. Chemistry was considered. Just because players dominated the ball on there real NBA team doesn’t necessarily mean they would on a hypothetical dream team like this. Look at the best example of this which was the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. Magic ran the show and MJ was the star – perfect chemistry and no fighting or problems. Magic is a distributor not a shooter so he plays the perfect role on this team. Russell is all defense and rebounded as will Malone be on this team. MJ and Oscar are my scorers who can score with and without the ball. And please don’t forget Oscar is 4th all-time in assist which means he can also play a passing role where needed.

    More important than anything else is the do whatever it takes winning mentality of all these guys in question. Michael started winning rings when he played within the offense and made his teammates better. I don’t even think I need to speak for Russell and Magic. But in a situation like this great players adapt their games that is why they are great.

  9. I try to think in terms of players playing an 82-game season together, how would they mesh together competing against other teams of all-time greats. The ’92 Olympic Dream Team is a misnomer because they brought together for that particular Olympics, and there was no way in hell they were in any danger whatsoever of losing a game. It was like a series of exhibition games. However, when you’re going against other teams composed of some of the greatest players ever to play the game as well, it becomes a different matter. You’re not going to be blowing the competition away.

    Magic is the distributor, and as I said, he needs the ball to do so. I’m quite aware that Oscar is 4th all-time in assists, and _he_ needs the ball as well. He would use his size and strength to back defenders in towards the basket, and if you tried to double team him, he could pick you apart with passing. As New York Knick guard Dick Barnett said, “If you give him a 12-foot shot, he’ll work on you until he’s got a 10-foot shot. Give him six, he wants four. Give him two feet and you know what he wants? That’s right man, a layup.” “and if you tried to rush him or tried to help someone else cover him as he was making his move, he’d nail the open man with a perfect pass almost every time.”

    “Oscar was a great stylist, and, from an artistic point of view, extremely graceful and beautiful to watch. But he dribbled too much. […] [I]n the proportions of the twenty-four-second clock the guard shouldn’t be holding the ball for fourteen to eighteen seconds and then make the play at the last moment. […] [T]here was not enough general fluency in the motion of his talents” (The Pro Game: The World of Professional Basketball, p. 43). From ’61 to ’69 he ranked second or third in the league in scoring seven times while also finishing either first or second in assists because he had the ball in his hand the majority of the time and scored or made the pass. Yet if Magic is distributing, then Oscar won’t have the ball. The fact that he averaged a triple double is irrelevant on this team because with Magic, #2 on the list–who also came the closest of anyone other than Robertson himself of averaging a triple double in a season, they would take stats from each other and neither would be averaging triple doubles. They’re kind of redundant.

    Then you’ve got Jordan who needs the ball. Scottie Pippen was the primary ballhandler for the Bulls’ championship teams; they didn’t have a traditional point guard. Someone who could hit the open shot worked best with Jordan. But here there are two other people who are used to having the ball the majority of the time, so just how often is he going to get it? I just think you don’t really need Magic AND Big O in the starting lineup together, unless you have Magic run the offense on the break and have O run it in the halfcourt. But if you plan to have Oscar without the ball, then you’re not fully utilizing his talents, and I don’t really see the point of having him there when there are plenty of players who actually DID play their careers working without the ball, and who did it well.

    Russell I like. He doesn’t need the ball to be effective, and he can do what he does best without taking anything away from anyone else, and he makes people better. Russell’s my first choice for a team like this, as he’s proven he has no problem playing with stars, and he was all about doing whatever it took to win. He rebounds, plays D, blocks shots, stops anyone from coming to the basket, helps out on D, starts the break with outlet passes, passes in the halfcourt, sets picks, does everything to make sure the team functions smoothly.

    Moses Malone however, didn’t have the defense some of the other great centers of all time like Russell, Chamberlain, Kareem and Hakeem did. He wasn’t much of a shot blocker, averaging 1.3 for his career; in 19 ABA and NBA seasons he only reached 2 blocked shots in a season twice. And he was only a 2-time All-Defensive Team selection in a 19-year career, so though he was a relentless rebounder, he shouldn’t be portrayed as if he was this great shotblocker and post defender, because he wasn’t.

  10. I can not argue with any of your selections and think it is a solid team…however I may have added a player like Tim Duncan instead of KG (Just my preference as they are similar players but Tim has the edge in terms of playoff experience and championships!). Also, do you really need Reggie and Larry on the bench? why not take out Reggie and add in a Lebron James to have a Jordanesque player to come off the bench when MJ needs a break (Lebron as a bench player HAHAHAHA). My team normally would include almost all the players you have selected but since we cant have MJ vs. MJ in a 7 game series here is my team! To be honest I think since you had the luxury of picking players first this team will be exceptionally hard to beat but I think these selections would provide a close series (we’ll give you the edge because of MJ enough said?)

    Point Guard- Steve Nash, an active player with great ball skills and passing ability, although not as infamous as a Magic Johnson I think Nash vs. Johnson would be an incredibly close and exciting matchup in a 7 game series

    Shooting Guard- HMMM id love to put a Larry Bird here but as you have already selected him ill go with Ray Allen…exceptional 3 pt shooting and a clutch performer, a solid choice in my opinion.

    PF- Tim Duncan! The Big Fundemental would work great with Nash and would also create space for mr. 3 pointer Ray Allen. As well he is an extremely coachable level headed player how can you go wrong here!

    Centre- I’ll take Wilt here 100% as I believe he and Duncan will cause all kinds of problems for your exceptionaly talented but slighty undersized starting 5.

    Small Forward- I’d have to put Lebron James here to match up (somewhat hehe) with the athleticism and dexterity of MJ- As well Lebron is more of a point forward and will be able to distribute as well as score.


    Kareem- You did not take him so i did- great point producer and a sweet hook!

    Bob Cousy- Let’s bring it way back now!

    Jerry West- Great shooter a must have on this bench

    Elvin Hayes- Great player who is tough, durable and resistent to injury a great sub for Duncan!

    Julius Earving- A great player; could arguably be a starter

    Shaq- now im talking about a young healthy Shaq not the one we have seen in the past 3 years…arguably the most dominate player in NBA history when he is healthy

    Kobe Bryant- Jordanesque with a great jumper (but a bad attitude)

    I think this team is great and could compete with your lineup but in reality the combo of Jordan, Oscar, and Magic (o so sweet) is probably almost undefeatable…

  11. ThaRegul8r – You make very good points and I am curious to see who your 12 would be and how they would match up vs. mine.

    Also, my preface was a 7-game series not an 82 game season (although I think results would be similar). And in a short series I think this team poses too many mismatches and problems for any team they would face.

    On any hypothetical team like this stats will be decreased – you just have too many stars. That is understood, but I also think you don’t give these players enough credit for being able to adapt if they were put in a situation like this. It’s about winning and each of them would do whatever it takes to win – especially if they are facing tough opposition like other all-team great collaborations. So if that means MJ plays more of a off the ball scoring role he will sacrafice to win – MJ could clearly have been a 40pt per game scorer if he wanted to on the Bulls and he didn’t start winning until he focused more on team in the Triangle. Of course he took over when the time was needed and he would do so on this team. He is still my designated closer.

    Your right I have 3 players that in their time dominated the ball and were effective doing so. On this team those 3 guys will dominate the ball as well, only difference is they have to share. So Magic, MJ and Oscar will have to pick and choose their spots to dominate the ball and also be effective without the ball. I envision this team playing in a fast-break, motion type offense where everyone touches the rock and looks for openings to attack with Magic running the show. He will get the ball to MJ and Oscar in spots where they have that advantage because that’s what he does. But I do see your point in having Magic and the Big O in the line-up at the same time has redundancy and I forsee Bird mixed in their often to add the shooter – but I argue it also has distinct advantages as well.

    Malone is in there for muscle and rebounding and I think he is pretty adequate defensively. And although he did score he can play the back-seat role in on this team and do most of his scoring from the boards.

    Great comments.

  12. Steve – I like your team and as you mentioned matching up with my 3 guards is a problem for most teams. Nash and Cousy wouldn’t be able to guard any of my guards with the exception of maybe Isiah for height reasons alone.

    KG like Duncan for you was a personal preference. My belief is that KG is a better all-around player than Duncan – who unfortuantely like many NBA superstars was stuck on a terrible team for the majority of his career. Does Duncan win a chip on that Wolves team? NO would KG have one a chip on those Spurs teams? My opinion absolutely! That’s why I am waiting, hoping, praying we get a Spurs/Celtics Finals so we can really see who shines. And I will be writing a post on that specific individual match-up regardless once the playoffs start.

    I like Reggie for the reasons ThaRegul8r has pointed out – I need a purely off the ball offense player preferably an outside shooter. Lebron would be another redundant player to Magic and the Big O.

    You definitely have the edge at Center with regards to size. But with the size of my guards I believe my team’s help defense would be adequate to compensate. Worst come to worst we could foul Wilt and Shaq and espect half their free throw attempts to be bricks! (Part of the reason I omitted them both – it is a weakness)

    Thanks for the great comment – look forward to many more. Sign up for our email or RSS feed so you can get updates when we have new posts.

  13. my startin 5: magic, jordan, bird, kareem, duncan

    my bench: Shaq, Kobe, Karl Malone, Reggie, Stockton

    utilitiy: Rodman, Ewing

    play me!!!

    no need to get into a summary… u guys know who they all are. took Ewing bcuz his jumper was crazy from outside… i wanted Jerry West and Hakeem.

    Coach: although i like Pat… since he won with miami, and he took other teams after the Lakers to the championship, i hafta go with Auerbach… Phil hasnt shown me nothin bcuz he’s had legends… never saw Red coach, but i like an ol’ skool guy to head the team.

    i just wanna say, if this was a draft, we all know u couldnt get Jordan, Magic, Bird and a few others on the same team… if u took Jordan 1st, obviously i might take Magic, Kobe, Russel or even the Big O 2nd, and thats why our teams are a bit similar, Magic, Jordan and Bird would probably be on 95% of the teams.

    da relic

  14. just wanna say a few more things… Pippen’s a crybaby, he’s not on my team… i thought about taking Kevin McHale (13th player)… Shaq is carreer 50% FT shooter, but he rarely struggled during crunchtime, and at that time, he wont be in… Duncan can hit shots at any angle off the glass… Kobe subs for Mike ALL the time, no one else…Reggie is in when its a 3 gaurd lineup… Stockton and Malone will play together when i sub, and Duncan or Shaq will play center… u put in Russell, i bring in Kareem: Skyhook, Skyhook, Skyhook… Rodman is my pest on the boards and in ur ear… Ewing will take his defender out of the paint… and Bird will be Bird… him and Reggie will ALWAYS have the green light… even though they are all stars, its Magic’s team, and he will play the most minutes… doesnt matter who dont have rings, this team will get them… check your ego at the door… thats why Red will coach.

    da relic

  15. […] My all-time NBA team: Can you beat me in a 7-game series? 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 b […]

  16. […] My all-time NBA team: Can you beat me in a 7-game series? 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 b […]

  17. […] My all-time NBA team: Can you beat me in a 7-game series? 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 b […]

  18. First Five: C – Bill Russell; PF – Tim Duncan; SF – Larry Bird; SG – Michael Jordan; PG – Magic Johnson

    Second Five: C – Wilt Chamberlain; PF – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; SF – Julius Earving; SG – Oscar Robertson; PG – Jerry West

    Reserves: SG – Kobe Bryant; PF – Karl Malone

  19. Moses Malone!??? Come on! Wilt, Kareem or Shaq would crush him! Robert Horry!??? He is big shot, but he can’t hold the jock strap of 150 other players!!!

  20. Shaq, Russell, Bird, Jordan, Majic 1st team.
    Wilt, Duncan, Erving, Robertson, Cousy 2nd team.
    West, Bryant reserves.

    Bring it on! Play me!

  21. Moses Malone has 3 MVPs and dominated in the ’83 Finals vs. Kareem (26ppg 15.8rpg [more than double Kareem on the glass] in that playoffs including Finals MVP). Malone is the reason the Sixers finally got over the hump and beat the Lakers in the finals.

    Shaq and Wilt will get fouled and taken out of the game after shooting 50% from the line.

    Scottie and Horry are utility players with size and the ability to play muliple positions well, not greatest ever players. They also are guys that don’t need to dominate the ball to be effective which is important on a team like this. If I could do it over I would only replace Horry with Dr. J.

  22. My starting 5 – Magic, Jordan, Bird, Karl Malone, Bill Russell

    My bench – Stockton, Bryant, Julius Earving, Duncan, Wilt Chamberlain

    Reserves – Robertson, and Shaq

  23. Kareem has 6 MVPs!!!!!!!!!!! In the 1983 finals, Kareem was 36 yrs old and in the downswing of his career and Moses was 28 and in his prime. Don’t kid yourself thinking that Moses was a better player than Kareem.

    I do like Kevin Garnett though. If he had better talent in Minnesota, he would go down as one of the greatest. The only thing he is lacking is championships.

  24. Bill, I gotta agree with Dannie on this one…Moses is definitely the best selection for the starting lineup.

    1. Kareem Abdul Jabar was an ATROCIOUS defender. ATROCIOUS. I’ll take a bruising rebounder/defensive type over a defensive ghost any day, no matter how consistent of a scorer and passer Kareem was for 15+ years.

    2. Shaq, while the most dominant player of the 90s, and basically unstoppable when he turned his game on, was less of a guy that could still take over a game if his scoring was held in check. Moses, like Pippen, Stockton, or Kidd, could score 0 points in a game and still be the MVP. Shaq couldn’t.

    Moses Malone is probably the most criminally underrated NBA player of all time. If you go back and look at his stats, they are absolutely eye popping. It’s basically like taking the toughness and rebounding prowess of a Dennis Rodman or Ben Wallace in their prime, and adding the potential to score 25 ppg offensively to that every night. (aka: What Dwight Howard is starting to do).

    Not only that, but Moses was probably THE single most intimidating player for a decade as far as having a “swagger” and attitude about him. NO ONE wanted to come near the paint with that guy in the middle. He could shut down big time centers one on one, and was a model team defensive player as well.

    The other thing about Moses is that, unlike many of today’s crybabies like Joe Johnson that need to be the man on their own team…Moses had no problem sacrificing stats for the good of the team as a whole. In his prime, Moses could have dropped 30 and 15 a game along with 3 blocks and assists without an eyes blink…but on his great teams he never needed to do that because he understood when to pass and when to defer to his teammates.

    Shaq and Kareem would never, EVER “crush” Moses. In fact…I’d guess that Moses Malone might be in a select crew of exactly three centers (the other two being Bill Russell and Dream) that would be able to stop Shaq without resorting to fouling the hell out of him every play. And if there was one type of player that Moses WOULD eat alive, it would be finesse type scoring machines such as Kareem Abdul Jabar, or a Dirk Nowitzki type.

  25. Dave T,
    Since you think Kareem is an “ACTROCIOUS” defender, let’s compare career stats:

    Moses Malone: 20 pts per game, 12.3 rebs, 1.3 blocks, 1.3 assists
    Kareem: 25 pts per game, 11.2 rebs, 2.57 blocks, 3.6 assists

    You tell me who the better player is? If you say Kareem is only an offensive player, then why are his DEFENSIVE STATS better than Moses Malone. And another stat is that Kareem averaged 2 or more blocks in a season 11 times, Moses did it 2 times. Kareem averaged 15 or more boards 4 times in a season, Moses did it 3.

    The numbers do not lie! Kareem was a better all around player than Moses! He CRUSHES Moses in every stat except boards per game and that is close.

  26. Dave T,

    And if you think that Moses would stop Shaq without fouling him, you are out of your mind! Moses almost gives up 100 pounds to Shaq. Shaq would dispose of Malone just like any other center that has tried to guard him!

  27. Bill…you’re basing your arguments on stats alone. Often times, stats lie. This is the case with Kareem. I think you’re looking at Kareem’s rebounding (and Kareem was a GREAT rebounder), and equating that with good defense. Good rebounding means good rebounding…often times it has nothing to do with defense. Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudamire and Chris Webber have all gotten 10+ boards a game plenty of times in their career…and all three are terrible defenders. Kareem was not a good defender. This is acknowledged by most NBA players, fans, and KAREEM HIMSELF has joked about his lack of defense.

    You’re also bringing up Kareem’s longevity vs. Moses…and I’m with you there, no one can argue that Kareem was a shocking Cal Ripken like talent in the NBA…its mindboggling just how many seasons of good numbers he put up as a force.

    But im saying, when you WATCH the two play, understand how they approach the game, and take them at the peaks of their careers…Moses is unquestionable the player you’d want on your team. Sometimes you have to go deeper then just stats…other wise you’d see that Jerry Stackhouse once upon a time averaged 29 ppg for the Pistons, and might think he was one of the best players of that era…obviously laughable. I will say it again…Moses could not score a point in a game, and be the MVP. That’s a rare trait.

    And no, Bill, I’m not out of my mind for saying Moses would be one of the few that “might” be able to contain Shaq. Christ, I’m not saying he’d shut Shaq down, that would be absurd. But he’s a 6’11 tank that is immovable in the post…Moses has the perfect body and approach to the game to give Shaq more of a headache then other centers.

    Shaq would definitely (and did) crush everyone from David Robinson, to Patrick Ewing, Mourning, Mutumbo, etc…but Bill Russell, Dream and Moses in their primes could probably keep Shaq a bit more under control (and certainly a WHOLE lot better then, say, Kareem Abdul-Ja-matador-defense-Bar ever could)

  28. Dave,
    Our whole debate started when you said that Dannie was right starting Moses Malone at center. I am not saying that Kareem is a better overall defender. I’m just saying that Kareem’s numbers are better and that Kareem is a better all around player. Stats DO NOT lie. Kareem dominates in every category except rebounds.

    If you are arguing that Moses Malone simply fits that lineup better, that is fine. But if you are arguing that Moses is your first team center on any team, that is absurd! Wilt, Russell, Kareem, Shaq and even Hakeem are better! I will guarantee you that most people agree with that.

  29. And 6’11 230 pounds IS NOT an immovable tank. Hell, Kevin Garnett is 6’11 230. The Diesel would absolutely CRUSH Moses in his prime!

  30. Kareem is a better career player than Moses, but for this team I think he fits my line-up well. And I agree with Dave I think people vastly overlook him when talking about historically great big-men. He doesn’t have 3 MVPs and a finals MVP for no reason.

    The other reason I like Moses is he was in the top 8 in free-throw attempts for 12 straights years (1st five times) and shot 76% that is a big advantage in the 4th quarter of close games.

  31. Dannie,

    I agree with the fact that Moses is overlooked. And he may be the best fit for your lineup. And your posting was your “best lineup”. That is a great team with possibly good chemistry. It seems to me that Dave thinks Moses is the best center ever. I hope he does not think that! He may be in the top 6.

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  33. Try this team:

    Coach: Phil Jackson
    Guard: Magic Johnson
    Guard: Michael Jordan
    Guard/SF: Kobe Bryant
    PF: Jerry Lucas
    C: Kareem Abdul Jabbar

    With Phil, this team would be unstoppable running out of the triangle in the half court set. The team also boasts the three most competitive and cold-blooded killers of all time in Magic, Michael & Kobe.

    Guard: Oscar Robertson
    Guard: Pete Maravich
    SF: Larry Bird
    SF Scottie Pippen
    PF: Karl Malone
    PF/C: Tim Duncan
    C: Shaquille O’neal

    Only omission I think should be mentioned is Bill Russell. However, I put an emphasis on being able to be a scorer as well as a defender. In Phil’s triangle, I see Malone and Duncan dominating the post and hitting the open jumper where Russell would struggle. Duncan’s defense is close to on par with Russell, but has a big edge on offense.
    This team would be fun to watch run!!!

  34. This is always my most fun debate. Thanks for letting me play…
    1) Magic – distributor, runner winner, not shooter
    2) Kobe – score and all around everything
    3) Jordan – score and all around everything
    4) Russell – D and speed
    5) Olajuwom – D plus O plus speed.
    Bench, or 2nd five:
    Oscar – Mr. Triple Double
    Ray Allen – best long distance stats all time
    LeBron – not in prime yet, but a bet 3 yrs out.
    Kareem – Skyhook O
    Shaq – when you need girth of all girth

    Extras: with plenty of size, I need shooting, slashing, versatility:
    Jerry West
    Scottie Pippen

    I usually only go 8 deep since that is who would dominate mins per game a game, so:
    Hakeem (better D than Kareem, so starts. plus, this is a quicker team and jordan and kobe handle scoring. Hakeem would be great cleaning up underneath and accepting transition from Magic)

    1 – Kareem (better half court center. Nobody could stop the skyhook)
    2 – Lebron (in a few years, I think it will be concensus his combination of ‘stuff’ has to be on any team. maybe he’ll never get the “winning” part of the equation and I’ll be wrong, but he sure can do a lot)
    3 – Ray Allen (strictly serves as designated long range, a la Michael Redd on Redeem Team.)

    but it often changes, except for Jordan and Kobe. Both are always on any team I make. They both play passionately, can score from anywhere, and play great D. How come nobody mentioned Rick Barry? Where’s Bird in my list?

  35. My team is similar, but of course, I like the way mine’s assembled better, or else I’d just be saying “amen” here:

    PG Magic
    SG MJ
    SF Bird
    PF Bill Russel (where he would play today)
    C Shaq

    PG Oscar Robertson
    SG Jerry West
    SF Elgin Baylor
    PF Tim Duncan
    C Kareem

    G Pete Maravich
    F Dr J

  36. You picked 7 of my all-time top 12. I’ll pick 6.. I’ll start Olajuwon, Russell, Jordan, Magic and a surprise Bernard King. King took Bird to 7, and he didn’t have Mchal, Parish, and Maxwell. Bird was obviously greater, but you get the point. I’ll run the ball the ball down your throat.

    My other 2 guards are Isiah and DPOY Gary Payton.

    My replacement for Bernard King is imo the greatest scoring outside threat at small forward the game has ever seen-better than Reggie– Rick Barry. I only need 6 players for these 3 positions which means I am going to stock up with post players.

    My backup pf’s to Russell are Garnett and McHale. Russell and KG are the same. Play d and run the ball. McHale was all-defense 6 times, but he offers a different type of offensive threat in the paint. Debatably, the greatest scoring low post pf ever (maybe Duncan?).

    At center my backups are Jabbar and Walton. Both fabulous passing big men. One more offensive, the other more defensive. We’re tied with mvp awards and finals mvp’s. I’ve got one more DPOY – Gary Payton. Frankly, Walton would have been DPOY. Maybe Malone would have gotten two for you, but Jabbar probably would have gotten 1 for me as well. I’d beat you in 7.

  37. I just started reading the other posts. I see soemone mentioned Barry. Good for you! I agree.

    Then I am also reading the “myth” that Jabbar was awful defensively? You talk about revisionist history! No way! There is a reason why he was all-defense 11 times (5 times 1st team). If you saw the games in his prime and not when he was shot from age, you’d notice his size and quickenss in the 4th quarter created havoc. Moses was a short center. great rebounder, but certainly was no super-stopper. either.

  38. PG: Magic Johnson (or whatever position he feels like playing)
    SG: Michael Jordan
    SF: Lebron James
    PF: Wilt Chamberlain
    C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    Bench: Pete Maravich PG/SG, Oscar Robertson SG/PG, Kobe Bryant SG, Larry Bird SF, Bill Russell C/PF, Shaquille O’Neal C, Charles Barkley SF/PF

    Ok, Magic on Magic cancels out and MJ on MJ cancels out. Both a battle all game. But Lebron is motivated, hungry, and playing the best defense we have ever seen from him after the Olympics and is definitely able to handle the Big O, especially at 6’8″ 245 (and has bulked up to around 270). And sure Russell ruled Chamberlain in the Finals every single year, but frankly with so many versatile players and the best cut to the hoop guys ever on my team, Russell is having to help on drives all day, and if Wilt isn’t open for the last-second dish, Lebron just wings it back to MJ for the open three. Russell is just flat-out out big-butted (especially when Shaq comes in at PF). And Moses should be no where near an all-time NBA starting 5, and Kareem eats him up, even on D. My Bench is also very versatile, with Pistol and Robertson as two 1/2 guards. They came in on Isiah, Miller, and Bird and go to work on threes. I don’t care when you played, 44 ppg and a triple double for 5 years is impressive. And just in case Larry decides to outhustle me, i’ll just put Larry on him. Same with Bill Russell. And, well, my 6th man (Kobe) is the best scorer in the era with the best athlete’s ever playing the game of basketball. So put my team against yours in a 7-game series for a championship. But don’t come cryin’ to me when you have to take down your column here after a 15 year old from Idaho took you down.

  39. i got
    PG=magic johnson,SG=pete maravich,SF=michael jordan,PF=larry bird,C=wilt(the stilt)chamberlin. BENCH=Julius Erving, chris paul,oscer robertson,shaq,DR.J,lebron,and charles barkley.

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