with Cody Tannen-Barrup, Chris Dodson, Nate Mondschein, Steven Strong, Charlie Rao, Sasha Klare-Ayvazian, Ethan Smith –  Last week five of us took this “Build Your $15 Team of the Century” graphic and drafted teams. Today we bring you the epic conclusion of the competition! Hoops scholars Cody and Dodson evaluate each team and select the winner.

We return with the epic conclusion of our $15 NBA Draft! Last week five of us took this graphic and drafted teams.

For complete draft results and each participant’s case for their team, check out pt. 1! But today we bring this competition to a close. This is game seven. Hoops scholars Cody and Dodson evaluate each team and select a winner.

Steven’s Stringers:

PG: Allen Iverson
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: Marc Gasol
PF: Dirk Nowitzki
C: Shaquille O’Neal

Dodson – 4th place: As Coach Strong gave the lineup, he has Marc Gasol at the 3 and Dirk at the 4. Those two should be interchangeable, giving just enough multiple stretch looks to confuse the defense and while giving Shaq space to dominate the paint as planned. Allen Iverson will actually have help leading the offense up the court and attacking the rim, something he never had in Philadelphia. However, when compared to the top squads, this team is undersized and slow-footed at all points in every career.

Cody – 5th place: Putting a team with Shaq on it in last position feels totally nutso to me. He’s the best big man on this list. Unfortunately, the Big Fella is affected by a few factors outside of his control. For one, his GM spent $17 in a $15 draft. I know it was cause and effect and I read about the auction at the end, but still, it’s an advantage. This team has a dominant interior defense. I would play Dirk at the 3 if you’re stuck with positions. He did play that early in his career. Even with Dirk, shooting will be an issue. I know their bigs can punish teams, but other squads have great centers too so small margins matter. Neither Wade or AI could really shoot it. On the other side, they were not elite perimeter defenders, especially if you’re also playing Dirk on the wing.

Charlie’s Astrobulls

PG: Steve Nash
SG: Kevin Durant
SF: Al Horford
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Yao Ming

Dodson – 5th place: Charlie’s AstroBulls finish last. Even Charlie admits his best ball handler was born to dribble with his feet first. KD cannot be the focal point of this team, as there would be no spacing at all. KD would be battling the other four paint clogging players like supermassive black holes dancing around a supernova star. Nash cannot guard the other point guards listed and this team has no way to keep up or closeout effectively on the perimeter.

Cody – 3rd place: This team that Charlie put together is wild. I really want to see them play a real game. They have size on size on size. Normally that means a team would have to sacrifice staying with smaller players. However, this team has two of the most unique defenders in NBA history. Both KD and KG can guard such a wide range of players that I’m not actually that worried about it. Al Horford should not have been on this board. I mean seriously, who made this list?

That being said, even he was a versatile defender in his prime. On offense, Steve Nash would be setting the table for these guys like it was Thanksgiving dinner. I have to make this team third because I did hear that Yao is struggling with a stress fracture. He was an incredible post anchor when healthy.

Ethan’s Eternals:

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Steph Curry (3x champion)
SF: Paul Pierce (1x champion)
PF: LeBron James (4x champion)
C: Dwight Howard (1x champion)

Cody – 4th place: It is partially on a technicality. It’s right there in the name of the game that you can only spend $15 and Ethan chose two $5 players, throwing a wrench in the works. The benefit of doing that is that Ethan has two incredible cornerstones in Steph and LeBron. The Steph/Westbrook backcourt is incredible. It can’t guard some of these other teams, but they’ll have no problem scoring. LeBron James is no worse than the second-best player of all-time. Pierce as a complementary player is insane. He could spend more energy on defense where I feel he was underrated when he really tried. Dwight is the weak link of this group, especially when held up against the other centers on this list. He can’t guard prime Shaq, Timmy D, or Yao in the post. He could handle Pau well enough as he did in the ‘09 finals.

Dodson – 3rd place: You got the triple-double machine in Russell Westbrook. The last time he played with another All-Star on the right side of an unfortunate injury, he was leading the Thunder to the NBA Finals and a 3-1 lead that KD cupcaked away. Steph and The Truth provide all the spacing any team will ever need. LeBron gets to play the bully ball stretch four spot that he seems most suited for.

Wait, Dwight Howard? Should have gave that dollar to a person needing a Natty Light. Let’s pretend this is peak DH12. This team has the interior defense and surefire buckets from the 1-4 spot. Howard will gather 20 rebounds as opposing defense scramble to find Steph, losing sight of Russ, and get bled out by the perimeter daggers of the cold honest Truth. Any team covering all of those options leaves LeBron isolated against an overmatched defender. How do I know that defender is overmatched? Um…because he is trying to stop LeBron.

Nate’s Nightcrawlers:

PG: James Harden
SG: Kobe Bryant (5x champion)
SF: Ray Allen (2x champion)
PF: Anthony Davis (1x champion)
C: Pau Gasol (2x champion)

Dodson – 2nd place: This team will fall just short of a championship in this draft. James Harden will miss too many step-back threes in crucial moments. He came up short in the NBA Finals with the Oklahoma City Thunder and dropped the knife when CP3 all but presented the Warriors’ throat on a platter. Anthony Davis is great but also soft when things aren’t going his way. Kobe Bryant is not as coddling as LeBron James. AD will shrink in the moment equivalent to how Ray Allen came up big in Game 6 for Miami. Pau Gasol, great as he is, will have trouble with Tim Duncan and Shaq. Still, I think Nate’s Nasties could squeak by Ethan’s Enigma of a team in a seven-game series. Let LeBron get his while Harden proves better than Westbrook thanks to three-point shooting. Kobe will hound Curry and Steph could never bother the Black Mamba as a defender.

Cody – 2nd place: This is an awesome team and Nate gets a bump for bargain hunting for sure. Still, you’re supposed to spend $15 for a reason and this squad just falls short. That’s something James Harden is very familiar with so he can explain it to the other champs on this team. The good news for him is that he has one of the best closers by reputation in Kobe. Just pass the rock, James. Prime Ray Allen could do more than people remember because of his spotlight days in Boston and Miami. Pau was the real key to those Laker titles and Davis just showed how important he can be for a championship-winning team. This is also a very complete group on both ends of the court as they have dominant defenders in key spots. Also, the value difference between the Gasol brothers is insane.

Sasha’s Sounders

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Jason Kidd
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Tim Duncan

Dodson – 1st place: Sasha drafted the most sound team, so his name is apt. Ironically, the two most lethal players on this team seemingly never make a sound. Kawhi may never be heard from again after he retires. He may only chuckle at his next championship, seeing how he already went through the grind in San Antonio and Toronto. The Big Fundamental has never been one to really be a brash kind of loud. However, his smile and nod to dismiss Dwight Howard was all that was needed to know Duncan took pleasure in dunking on people in many ways, as does the Point God Chris Paul. CP3 has the attitude to keep Jason Kidd in check, there will be no power moves like Kidd made as a coach cavaliering through a front office. With Giannis free of ball-handling duties and Duncan able to step back to 18 feet, this team can attack and defend every spot on the court. It is the most sound team in this draft.

Cody – 1st place: Looks like Dodson and I have a unanimous winner! Not only did Sasha actually spend $15, but his team is the most complete on the board. Let’s start on the defensive side of the ball. Two defensive players of the year winners in Kawhi and Giannis, another guy who led the league in defensive rating throughout his prime in Duncan, and one of the most dogged on-ball defenders in CP3. Kidd was no slouch either. On offense, Paul can run a well-oiled machine, Kawhi is a shot-maker, and Giannis creates mismatches all over the place. Timmy just gets buckets like it’s an assembly line task. I just love the feel of this team. They are a group of silent assassins outside of Paul. I feel like they would get along. Well done, fearless founder.

Congratulations Sasha! You win…well bragging rights on the MMH Slack for sure. Who do you think won??