This one is real straight up. Not much to say. Five contributors, five picks each. We have each participant’s team, their case, and at the bottom, we have the draft. In part two, Dodson and Cody will evaluate the teams and declare the winner of the best $15 NBA Team of the Century!
[One note, at the end of the draft the money didn’t quite line up so we did an auction. Sasha had the most money so he selected CP3, followed by Ethan who took Dwight, and Steven got Marc.]
Oh also I’ll say this, and this is Sasha by the way, initially, the plan was for everyone to just make the best team—with repeated players and everything—before ultimately electing to go the snake draft route. But here’s the original team I made:
PG: LeBron ($5)
SG: Paul Pierce ($1)
SF: Kevin Durant ($4)
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($2)
C: Anthony Davis ($2)
Can’t beat it and only $14! Damn. Still a buck to sign Kidd as your backup PG. Anyway, anyway, here we go:
PG: Steve Nash
SG: Kevin Durant
SF: Al Horford
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Yao Ming
With likely the tallest starting 2-5 of all-time, basketball’s greatest facilitator of all-time in Steve Nash, the game’s best scorer of all-time in KD, and the best team-defender of all-time (do I need to specify?) to glue everything together, this squadron is an ominous enemy. We not only are proportionally superior, but superior in IQ and shooting. Each star, 1-5, can shoot the lights out for their position, and with prolific efficiency.
Kevin Garnett had three-point range; he intentionally chose to camp at the top of the key, the spot from which he slung his patented mid-range jumpers (but he has divulged that he neglected the three solely as a spacing strategy for Ray-Ray). But I didn’t select the Big Ticket because of his smooth jimmy or his emphatic jams; I chose him because he is undoubtedly one of the greatest competitors to ever play the game. He not only elevated his teammates with his fervor but scared opposing offenses.
Al Horford is essentially KG lite, which will only add to their cohesion as a unit on both ends of the floor.
We have both the length to swarm the perimeter and Yao, the greatest 7’3”+ player of all-time, swatting any weak s**t in the lane. Good luck, fellas!
In this day and age, I needn’t make an argument for why Kevin Durant is an all-time great. Why? Because he produces at an unprecedented clip AND makes his teammates better. Like MJ and Bron, he is a perennial MVP and DPOY candidate. How many other players can you say that for?
“Yeah, yeah yeah,” you say. “He’s got a lot of size and grit. Where’s the dribbling?”. The dribbling lies here and here only.
With capable/experienced rollers at 2-5, this offense is a nightmare for any man-to-man coverage. With 5 unselfish, “winning-time” hall of famers, it’s hard to lose. Especially when their average height is 6’ 10”. Take your pick judges but I don’t see anyone feasibly stopping Team Rao.
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Jason Kidd
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Tim Duncan
God I love this team. A lot of twists and turns to get here with the last pick in the draft, but I couldn’t be happier. I was sure I was getting stuck with Dwight or Marc Gasol and I’d be crazy big, but because of the auction at the end, I’m rocking the Point God and I actually have a hyper-modern team.
Ball handling up and down the roster. CP3 AND J Kidd??? Are you kidding me? We’re getting the BEST shot every time down the court. We’re somewhat light on shooting, but we have two sharpshooters in CP3 and Kawhi and everyone knows Timmy’s midrange is as reliable as Questlove’s time.
Defensively we’re absolutely LOADED. Switchable, long, flexible. One of the best one on one defenders of all-time in Kawhi. The reigning DPOY in Giannis… oh and Tim Duncan with a casual 15 All-Defensive team selections. We may be smaller than a team like Charlie’s, but Giannis is huge and can guard centers and everyone on this team is a gamer.
We have multiple closers, we’re always getting a fantastic final shot and I feel amazing about putting the ball in Kawhi, CP3, or Timmy’s hands with everything on the line. I bet you’ll find teams that are bigger, maybe have more shooting, but this team is balanced, this team plays both ends. I think on a real basketball court, winning real basketball games, this is the team.
PG: James Harden
SG: Kobe Bryant (5x champion)
SF: Ray Allen (2x champion)
PF: Anthony Davis (1x champion)
C: Pau Gasol (2x champion)
Look, am I happy about the core of my team being two-and-a-half Laker legends and the guy who left the Celtics for a ring in Miami? I am not. But the goal here was to draft the best team, not your favorite. And as long as you win a basketball game by scoring more points, there’s not a team in our league that can touch us. We’ve got three of the greatest bucket-getters in the history of the game, two of the most dominant defenders on the board, an astronomically high collective basketball IQ, and the ability of all five players to space the floor.
We can pick and roll you to death, we can iso you until your ankles turn to dust, we can mess around with some triangle for shits and giggles. We can lock you up on the perimeter, we can bang with you in the post (even Harden!), we can swat you at the rim. Your guards can’t guard us (RIP Steve Nash, can’t wait to see where they try to hide you), your bigs can’t keep up (and any who can are getting dragged out past the 3 point line), and if all else fails, we can always count on our sixth man—the 20+ points a game we get from the line between Harden & Kobe.
It’s a roster that works fluidly together within a real-life modern context (though best of luck to my dudes out there trying to draw up an offense where your 2+ non-shooters aren’t taking each other out of the game), adaptable enough to switch the playbook around and attack every team’s unique weakness, and defensively savvy enough to counter any assault you throw our way. And above all else, we’ve got the most collective championships on our squad of any other team (a ring for every finger), a winning culture that can only help to elevate every member of our squad to their fullest potential.
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Steph Curry (3x champion)
SF: Paul Pierce (1x champion)
PF: LeBron James (4x champion)
C: Dwight Howard (1x champion)
This is the most ridiculous team I could come up with and I know for a fact we are winning things. Starting off with Westbrook, we have an MVP and two-time scoring champion who is the modern triple-double king. His shooting can be poor at times but surrounded by the likes of Curry, Pierce, and LeBron, he has opportunities to facilitate the ball and drive and dish. Did I mention he averaged a triple-double for three straight seasons?
Next up we have Steph Curry. Do I need to say more? The best shooter in NBA history. Period. I mean did you see him against the Celtics the other night? This man is lethal. Next up, as a Celtics fan, I had to scoop The Truth. He may have shit his pants during the 2008 NBA Finals, but this man was the real deal. Pierce brings grit to the court, with great shooting and ice in his veins during clutch moments. The Truth has contributed to the most walk-off buzzer beaters in NBA history with 12 (7 buckets, 5 assists). Also, we can’t minimize that Pierce is an above-average defender. Underrated if you ask me.
Next, we have LeBron. He’s LeBron. You know what you’re getting and you know he is going to make every player around him play at an above-average level. Team player. Always wants to win and finds a way to do so. Finally, we have Superman. He is 3x DPOY and in his prime, this man was a PROBLEM. Arguably the best center of his era. Good luck beating us.
PG: Allen Iverson
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: Marc Gasol
PF: Dirk Nowitzki
C: Shaquille O’Neal
The most dominant big man to ever play keeping tabs on the interior defensively and hammering every slam and AI/DW assisted alley-oop that comes his way. Dirk meanwhile spaces the floor, can nail a clutch 3 anytime, and cannot be blocked. Also provides a help defense/shot-blocking presence to compliment Shaq (not that it’s needed).
Then we have Marc Gasol who can also serve as a floor spacer but can absolutely get his in the post while probably being even more under the rim than Dirk. Lots of boards, toughness, and grit that plays well with Shaq, but a soft touch that plays well with Dirk and the remaining two slashers…Wade, an unstoppable force in his prime, obviously known as Flash. Wade will be getting up and down the floor finishing Shaq outlets and dishing to shooters on the outside and bigs on the inside for easy finishes. All while getting to split ball-handling/playmaking duties with The Answer and with clutch shooters all across the squad, tested and proven (Dirk, Wade, Marc, AI). No shot is too tough, no team is too much, and no moment is too big. Come at us.
Those are the teams and each GM made their case. Who do you think won??
For the diehards, here’s how the draft went down:
1. Nate: Anthony Davis ($2)
2. Charlie: Kevin Durant ($4)
3. Steven: Shaquille O’Neal ($5)
4. Ethan: LeBron James ($5)
5. Sasha: Kawhi Leonard ($3)
1. Sasha: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($2)
2. Ethan: Steph Curry ($5)
3. Steven: Allen Iverson ($1)
4. Charlie: Steve Nash ($3)
5. Nate: James Harden ($3)
1. Nate: Ray Allen ($1)
2. Charlie: Kevin Garnett ($3)
3. Steven: Dirk Nowitzki ($4)
4. Ethan: Paul Pierce ($1)
5. Sasha: Tim Duncan ($5)
1. Sasha: Jason Kidd ($1)
2. Ethan: Russell Westbrook ($2)
3. Steven: Dwyane Wade ($4)
4. Charlie: Yao Ming ($2)
5. Nate: Kobe Bryant ($5)
1. Nate: Paul Gasol ($1)
2. Charlie: Al Horford ($1)
3. Steven: Marc Gasol ($3)
4. Ethan: Dwight Howard ($4)
5. Sasha: Chris Paul ($4)