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Who Would Be Your NBA Franchise Player? Survey Says…

NBA Franchise Player Survey Results
If you were building an NBA team, which player would you start with?

Lebron James 32.0%
Dwight Howard 27.0%
Kobe Bryant 18.0%
Tim Duncan 9.0%
Dwyane Wade 3.0%
Greg Oden 3.0%
Yao Ming 3.0%
Chris Paul 2.0%
Kevin Durant 2.0%
Carmelo Anthony 1.0%
Total Responses 100

Dwight Howard is my personal choice. Traditionally you try to build a championship franchise around a Hall of Fame-caliber big man. Obviously there are exceptions to this philosophy, which started when MJ showed up. LeBron has the same type of abilities that can carry a team to a championship as well being the #1 guy on a team with no All-Star big. But when you have a choice (which is almost never the case – think 1984 draft) between a great big and a great perimeter player most GMs default to taking the big man which history bares this out.

Howard reminds me of the first great center that skipped high school for the NBA, Moses Malone. The difference; Howard is much more athletic than Malone with better overall defense and shooting %. When people think NBA center, the first guys that usually come to mind are Wilt, Russell & Kareem with Hakeem right behind them. Just to emphasize how good I think Dwight Howard will be if he stays healthy and continues his development, here are some Moses Malone facts. (#’s don’t include 2 ABA seasons)

  • Champion: Led the Sixers to a 12-1 championship run
  • All-around player: 3 MVPs and 1 Finals MVP
  • Beast on the boards: 16,212 boards (5th all-time)
  • Great inside scorer: 27,409 points (5th all-time)
  • In good company: Only Wilt, Kareem & Karl Malone have a greater sum of points and rebounds than Moses.
  • Longevity: 19 NBA seasons, 2 ABA (2nd longest career to Robert Parish)

You just don’t find big men of this caliber very often so in my opinion I couldn’t pass Howard up. Here is Pete’s take on Dwight Howard in previous post.

Here are some reader comments for a few of the players. My comments are in red italics.

LeBron James
LeBron James
Because you can count on him in the crunch, he’ll score the winning basket or pass it off. For being such a young talent, his maturity level exceeds all of the other attributes required.

Any player as young as LeBron with the talent to be as good as or better than MJ who can make a bunch of nobodies (like the Cavs) a contender can start my team any day. I guess you could say the same for Kobe although he is almost 30. LeBron is younger with more upside.

I would take LeBron for obvious reasons. He has shown the ability to make others around him better, which is hard to come by these days. You get the best of both worlds with LeBron, he can run the point and score at will, which no other player in the league can do. Don’t get me wrong, there are others in the league that can score when they want (Kobe…), but they can’t run the point like LeBron. [I don’t agree with this.] He is only 23-years-old and is already a top 5 player in the NBA and has yet to reach his full potential, not to mention he has that ‘it’ factor.

Toss up between D-Howard and LeBron, but I choose LeBron because I’ve never seen another player with the same combination of athleticism and strength. There is no ceiling for LeBron. I’m certain he could average a triple-double in the right situation with the focus he’s shown this season.

Dwight Howard
Dwight HowardFirst, young; second, has steadily shown highest quality basketball for a considerable row of games; third, no doubts about character or health. Gets a little nod over LeBron James and Chris Paul because of: First, his position (center); second, perfect physical data for his position as compared to Chris Paul. Chris Paul is shorter than most pgs. Not a big thing now, but what about early 30s, when his amazing speed decreases?

You have to start a team right at the center position. I was going to take Oden, but who knows how he will turn out. Dwight is already established as a 25-10 guy, and is really young, what 23? [22, actually]

I have to look at it from the idea that all of the great NBA teams have had the great big man (exception: Michael Jordan, sorta).

He is the best in the league in terms of game impact. Unstoppable post presence. If I recall, that is what it takes to win a championship.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant
He is an elite NBA player, probably the best in the business. He has won NBA titles as well. [There is no question he has what it takes but Kobe needs to win a few playoff series without Shaq or he will have a HUGE monkey on his back and a question mark on his career. This season we are seeing a different Kobe in that he is relying more on his teammates and the Lakers are feeding off this newly found trust.]

Tim Duncan
Tim DuncanBest there is – a good defensive player and good scorer as well.

He has proven it time and time again.[What more can you say?]

I love Kobe but if you want someone to start a team you need a big man, and Duncan does everything well and has won in the past and probably will keep winning in the future.

Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade
Because he is a do-it-all player… just give him enough support from his teammates, he can bring a championship on that team. [He definitely proved he can carry a team through the playoffs and finals, but now he has questions about his durability considering his style of play.]


Greg Oden
Greg Oden
Big men win championships. [No – Good-to-great big men win championships. People always seem to leave out the most important phrase in that philosophy. With that said many analysts liken Oden to David Robinson and Bill Russell based almost solely on his defensive potential. Time will tell whether he even comes close to those impossible expectations (won’t happen). The big question is can he also dominate on the offensive end. He has one post move (jump hook) and will need a lot of development before he becomes a reliable option in the low block on the pro level. Luckily for Portland they already have Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge who are both solid scorers.]


Chris Paul
Chris Paul
Point guard is by far the most important position in the NBA. Chris Paul has qualities of Isaiah Thomas, Jason Kidd, is a true pass-first point guard, already plays like a savvy veteran, has a great work ethic, is mature, and makes everyone around him better. You can have a great scorer like Kobe, or a great all around SF like LeBron on your team, but still not have enough pieces and never go far in the playoffs. If you have a PG of Paul’s character, it’s easier to line up any remaining talent you’ll need, as their skills will be maximized. [I agree with this comment in that a point guard this good extracts all the strengths mediocre teammates have and negates their weaknesses. You could put a great wing player like Kobe or big man like Shaq on his team and he will make even those caliber players better. I think great point guards are the 2nd toughest to find behind Centers.]

Honorable mention: Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, Baron Davis.

What other NBA players that aren’t listed would you make a case for?  Check out what NBA.com writer Dave McMenamin thinks about the topic and the Recliner GM Sports Blog.


14 Responses

  1. […] Dannie wrote a fantastic post today on “Who Would Be Your NBA Franchise Player? Survey Says⦔Here’s ONLY a quick extractHoward reminds me of the first great center that skipped high school for the NBA, Moses Malone. The difference; Howard is much more athletic than Malone with better overall defense and shooting %. When people think NBA center, … […]

  2. No love for Amare?

  3. […] post by Dannie Bookmark and Share:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and […]

  4. Out of 100 people in the survey no one mentioned Amare in the comments. I mean he is young and a good player, but how good would he be and his numbers be withough Nash? I don’t think he is as dominant as Howard or as skilled as Duncan or KG. That right there has him starting at best 4th in the big man category in the league right now in my opinion.

  5. my pick would be Dwight Howard’s kid!

  6. Cool site. I’m a huge Philly fan as well, but venerable Kevin Willis also belongs in the discussion when it comes to NBA longevity. The well-traveled power forward has appeared in 21 seasons.

  7. SEJ-3D – I agree Willis was also an iron man of the NBA.

  8. LeBron hands down is the best bet for the next decade. Durant, Howard, Paul, they’re all great, but over their careers they’ll probably never be as good as King James is right now–and that’s no slight against them. He’s a generational talent. And he’s got plenty of time to harness the jumper to make up for lessening athletic ability as the minutes pile up on his body.

  9. While it’s pretty unarguable that LeBron is the best (Kobe aside) and most versatile player in the NBA now and for years to come…I think this one comes down to position, and if you were to truly pick one player to start a team with, I’d never, ever choose a SG or SF.

    How many times have we seen teams with one amazing, top 5 talent at the 2 or 3 spot that had either another swingman all star, or not much around them, play mediocre ball or 2nd round playoff ball? Our own Sixers with AI; T-Mac’s Magic team, Kobe’s Lakers team until this year; LeBron’s Cleveland teams; these teams can’t be successful largely because when the chance arises to get another all star, usually it’s another swingman, as they are the most common. Toss a Ray Allen, Michael Redd, Vince Carter, Caron Butler, Richard Jefferson, etc…with any of the above teams, and I see them getting better but not amazing.

    You get a generational PG or big man? You’re set for life. Chris Paul or Dwight Howard is without a doubt the way to go. But Chris Paul especially…we’re talking about a Jason Kidd/Isaiah/Magic level talent as far as IQ of the game, knowing the court, and passing. If you take a guy as good as Chris Paul and throw him on a team with any one other all star, you’ve got your core set for life, just add defenders and a couple other minor scorers. You can’t do that with a Bron, Wade, etc.

  10. Well said Dave T. My sentiments exactly. Hope to see more comments from you on the blog.

  11. […] Who Would Be Your NBA Franchise Player? Survey Says… […]

  12. Ok, you gotta take a step back from “survey says” when you see something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIz7sYjp1Sc

    That doesn’t look like second best to me… Right on, Howard.

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