The NBA lockout sucks.
For the first time in nearly a decade, the Timberwolves actually make some exciting offseason moves, and of course, the work stoppage threatens to force the cancellation of the season. But if you’ve followed the Wolves for any number of years, you can’t be surprised by that kind of fortune.
But if there is any sort of silver lining during all this, it has been kind of cool to watch some of these exhibition All-Star games and leagues that are going on around the country featuring some pretty impressive NBA star power.
A two-week, multi-game world tour has been announced and will feature the NBA’s absolute best players: Kobe, LeBron, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, John Wall and the Wolves Kevin Love to name some.
This news sparked a conversation I had with a friend: Which collection of NBA players would make up “the perfect basketball team?”
As my friend so colorfully put it, “If aliens challenged Earth to a game of basketball, like in the movie Space Jam, and our planet’s fate would be determined by the very best team of NBAers we could field, who would be on that team?”
Obviously, all the big names were discussed. But as past United States Olympic teams and more recently, the Miami Heat, have shown us, simply putting all the best individual players together on the same team doesn’t necessarily mean success. So our discussion went a bit deeper than that.
Here is who I came up with for my “Earth defense All-World Team”:
Center – Dwight Howard
Deciding on a starting 5 would be simple. Howard is easily the most physically imposing player on the planet. He would be the perfect foundation to any team with his dominance both down low on the offensive end as well as on the defense as the NBA’s ultimate rim protector.
Power Forward – Dirk Nowitzki
Blake Griffin is more explosive and powerful. Kevin Love would be a better rebounder. And there are any number of better defensive 4’s than Dirk, but playing in tandem with Howard, I can’t think of a better fit. Dirk can play all over the court, giving the big man space and stretching the court with his shooting.
Small Forward – LeBron James
Kevin Durant was the other logical choice, and LeBron has proven that he can struggle in crunch time, but on a team like this, James’ passing ability, unselfishness and defense would be key. Someone else would easily be able to take on the go-to role in the clutch at which James struggles, but overall, you can’t leave the best overall talent off a team like this.
Shooting Guard – Ray Allen
This is clearly an unorthodox pick for an All-World type of discussion, but like I’ve said, simply teaming up the best individual players at their position don’t necessarily make up the best team. And on a squad with ball dominaters like James, Dirk and the point guards, a superior spot-up shooter would be necessary. And who better than Ray Allen? He’s precise in his mechanics, experienced in big situations and is used to playing on star-studded teams. With Howard in the post, it makes sense to surround him with as many great outside shooters as possible.
Point Guard – Steve Nash
Who else would you want quarterbacking this superstar team? His court vision is unmatched. He is a master at finding teammates for embarrassingly easy baskets. And he’s one of the most underrated and best three point shooting point guards ever. Not a defensive stopper, but on a team with Howard erasing mistakes in front of the hoop, I’ll take Nash.
Again, it hard to say that guys like Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul should be left off any sort of All-star team, but that’s the fun of the argument.
Would a more ridiculously talented team (CP3/Kobe/Durant/Bron) beat my team? Would a more dynamic scoring point guard (Derrick Rose or John Wall) be better than Nash? Would assembling too many stars backfire? How much would you stress defense, rebounding and team chemistry?
It’s these and other questions that make this an interesting talking point, in my opinion.
What does your team look like?