The league is still on lockdown with a smattering of hope that the 2011-12 NBA season commences. We’ll see what tomorrow brings, but NBA fans across the world are hoping for some good news. In the meantime, we all wait. So, what better time to ask a bunch of NBA bloggers to participate in an all-time NBA fantasy draft. We all need to bide our time productively, right?
The rules were the following: every NBA player from the beginning of time was eligible to be drafted, there were only five rounds for each of the starting positions, and if a player started at a position, he was eligible to be drafted as such. Also, this was a snake draft, meaning that in the first round, it goes picks 1 through 10 then picks 10 through 1 in the second round, etc.
Those are the results. Each manager’s comments about their team are below.
Zach Harper, ESPN/TrueHoop
Unfortunately, Zach was not able to comment on his team, so I’ll step in briefly and let you do your thing in the appropriate section below. Michael Jordan with the first pick makes a lot of sense. Jordan contributes in every way possible. He’s a stat-filler. It was a shrewd move to put Jordan at the point guard position after taking Kobe Bryant in the third round. Taking Scottie Pippen in the second round almost seems like a given considering the Bulls duo’s history, but with his first three picks, Zach has a pretty solid core of players that will contribute in every basketball category. He finished up with Bill Walton and Dennis Rodman, but with Patrick Ewing available, I’m not sure how I feel about the Walton pick. Rodman will obviously do it big in the hustle statistics, so I can’t hate on that.
Wilt’s pretty obvious, yes? I mean, the man averaged 50 points and 26 rebounds at one point. Jabbar’s the all-time scoring leader, but Chamberlain may have been the ultimate fantasy player. He shot over 50 percent from the field, only missed a handful of games throughout the course of his career before he turned 32, and basically destroyed everyone. With Nash I’m aiming for assists plus shooting. Being a multiple-time member of the 50-40-90 club gives me a boost in perimeter shooting, while Nash’s ridiculous assist rate boosts me there. Wilt’s rebounding allows for McAdoo, who’s just contributing scoring and some decent rebound figures. I’m looking to aim the team without a discernible weakpoint outside of Iverson. Iverson? Pure volume scoring. Since Nash is much more of the efficiency mark, I’m looking for AI to fill in by just putting up numbers. It’s coverage if Chamberlain has a bad night. Dantley gives me support in multiple areas. The team’s short on superstar defenders, but Nash and Chamberlain give me the edge.
Mike Prada, SB Nation
Kareem is obviously the offensive centerpoint and the kind of guy who is unstoppable in the low post, so I preferred to grab him over Bill Russell for that reason, even though Russell’s defense is outstanding. I decided I needed a physical guy to grab tough rebounds and play a bit out on the floor in the high post to protect against Kareem’s so-so rebounding and lack of a perimeter game, so Karl Malone was an obvious second-round pick. I took Havlicek needing a guy to shoulder the load on the perimeter, and took King to have a guy who could isolate on the other box when the entry pass to Kareem is cut off. Finally, I needed a guy who could get everyone the ball easily and control tempo. After much deliberating, I took Paul over Jason Kidd because of Paul’s ability to run pick-and-roll with Malone if Kareem wasn’t getting the ball. It was a tough choice there, but Paul’s more of an offensive threat, so it made sense for me.
Scott Sargent, Waiting For Next Year
Everything sort of fell into place once I decided to go with Oscar Robertson with my first pick, smack in the mid-section of the opening round. Had this been a draft that included a bench and depth was of concern, I would have drafted Olajuwon and went on from there; I’d consider The Dream first overall if this were a standard two-center league. That said, I couldn’t pass up the all-around production from a guy like The Big O. Fantasy leagues are won by guys who can dish 10 dimes from a forward spot or pull down 10 boards as a guard. You can’t go wrong with the all-around production and would-be guard/forward eligibility.
When all of the top-flight bigs were gone by the second round, I opted to lock up assists and uniform length by nabbing Stockton. Point guards, especially those that can add two-plus steals and stellar percentages on to double-digit assists are just as valuable as a big man given the settings. Filling in my center role, I took a guy who may very well be the most underrated big to go in the draft with Robinson. Did the fact that Tim Duncan is still playing with the Spurs make people forget that, in his prime, the Admiral was a 24 and 10 guy while blocking three shots per game?
Finishing things up, I locked up a guy who may very well be one of the best rebounders to play the game in Pettit along with some scoring, free throws, threes and low turnover totals with Reggie Miller. Those that want to say this squad is weak in buckets can take that one category. The other eight will be in good hands with these five guys.
Devin Kharpertian, Nets Are Scorching
From a fantasy perspective, my team’s got everything: points, assists, steals, blocks, three-point shooting, free throw shooting, and rebounds (to be fair, I’m projecting Sabonis back a bit to his Euro days — I would have picked Yao or Ewing if I wanted pure NBA stats, but screw it, it’s my team). With that said, I headed into this with the idea of building a team that I could be proud of from both a fantasy perspective and a real-life perspective. That meant great players, regardless of how their context inflated or deflated their numbers. In this scenario, I think I’ve succeeded.
Just imagine the ball movement on this team! The open shots this offense creates would be devastating. Magic and LeBron, aside from being a fast break terror, are arguably the two best passers ever to play their positions. Sabonis too (again, projecting back). Dirk just won a title as the best player on a team that relied on its ball movement for offense. Ray did so three years earlier. Whether you’re playing fantasy or real basketball, I think my five stands up well against any other five in this draft.
Michael Tillery, The Starting Five
I went with Bird first because I needed grit. In my soul rock soul Doc would have been my pick 100 percent of the time because of the jazz he was stepping out of UMass, and specifically because I’m unapologetic in being a Philly guy when I wrote this piece. Bird became the hate that basketball made growing up for this fan, and while I loved him at Indiana State, I abhorred him as a Celtic. It wasn’t until Doc left the game that my respect for Larry Legend became common place in my basketball world. I’ve spoken to him a few times and you always have a sense Bird was just a baller.
Moses Malone was the treasure defining competitor. The clandestine cager. Subconsciously, Moses could be one of the reasons “Let your game do the talking” came to be. Moses was relentless when your body was rocked to sleep late in the fourth with your name on the line. In 1983, it was Christmas all day every day because the city of Brotherly Love finally welcomed our true brother … adopted, Pat Williams gift wrapped and championship customized.
“GP are ya wit me?” The Glove. 9-time All-NBA Defensive team stalwart. Defensive Player of the Year in 1995 -96 at the point guard position despite those being the days of Mike. Champion hero gum chewer. Will talk smack to your Momma with your Daddy in the room … but enough safe feet away. The Rubberband Man. That patented jump stop in the lane was murder on big men clod hoppin’ over, arms straight up for the help. Gary Payton could do anything on the floor. Would rather lay it up left than dunk despite having the ability and size to do so in traffic. Hit the two shots that Miami needed to secure a ring. The alley to Sean Kemp’s oop. Will rip you if caught sleepin’ on your stoop. Could guard Mike, Scottie and Toni Kukoc in any day of hoops.
George Gervin. The Iceman. Kevin Durant’s basketball maternal past. Silky with his. Put the jazz in the finger roll oh so pretty. The Mad Bomber. Imagine a team of he and Doc ABA superstar killing you and leaving you holding your jock. Put the Spurs on the map. The poster of Gervin sitting on his ice throne is classic in sports. Being from Philly, I simply proclaimed Gervin great because of the letters in his name … because of Doc. He had the height to shoot over you, the skill to blow right by you and the chill to put the ball in the cup right in front of you with the coolness of ice. George Gervin was nice.
Spencer Haywood is special to me. Kobe told me his turnaround jumper is Wood’s, not Mike’s. 30 and 20 his rookie year. Would have been the greatest power forward of all time if not for some personal mishaps. Wood credits my interview with him for getting the ball rolling and eventually becoming the reason his jersey was retired in Seattle. Averaged a triple-double in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics despite being the youngest player in the world at the time. He’s poetry is jazz framed in my mind:
Jazzy turnaround jumpers with Common like words that he would eventually sing to a beautiful Somali paradise bird. Fought the power fantastic in a case that many would deem futile and drastic. Celebrated with Black fists and bare feet on Olympic ringed Mexican soil that made most of the nation’s blood boil. Iverson, Magic, Bird, Flash and King James lives will never be the same without the fame that he gave as he courageously broke the historic NBA Supreme Court Case power chain. Scotty beamed and socialite dreams that seemed to crown Wood king to his Iman queen. Paranoid days that blurred into nights until the Father said son, get up and fight! Four daughters later says the good Lord was right. Heaven watchin’ Mississippi burnin’ reminiscent bare soles ironically took their toll on a devilish role and helped Wood reclaim his God fearing soul…
Going in, I knew I wanted to take a big man first because it’s one of the hardest positions to fill, both in fantasy basketball and reality. I was lucky enough to have my favorite center of all-time, Hakeem Olajuwon, fall to me. With his cat-like quickness from years of playing soccer, phenomenal defensive instincts, and myriad of ways to score in the low-post including the Dream Shake, I was ecstatic to start my team off with Olajuwon.
The Round Mound of Rebound would have been my first pick overall if I was just going by personal favorites, so getting him before in the second round seemed like destiny to me. Barkley gives numbers across the board, supplementing the Dream’s dominating statistics. Dwyane Wade at the point guard position also is a contributor in every category and would be my attack the basket from the perimeter guy in real ball. Or dump it off to Barkley or Olajuwon who would finish ferociously.
In the fourth round, I was considering point guards, thinking of Wade as my shooting guard, but Clyde Drexler was too good to pass up and put him at the two and Wade at the one. Drexler is another player that does everything and becomes the fourth cog in this machine of a versatile team. At the end, I wanted a perimeter shooter/scorer, so I took Kevin Durant, who I believe not only has great taste in backpacks, but still has brighter seasons in front of him.
Jeff Clark, CelticsBlog
This was a fun exercise in discovering just how much of a homer I am. Heading into the draft I was pretty sure I could come out with more than one Celtic, since there was such a large pool to pick from. However, I did want to stay somewhat subjective and pick the best players available, regardless of team affiliation. I had the ninth pick, so I had to watch with agony as Bill Russell and Larry Bird were both picked before I could get them. My first choice was essentially between Shaq and Tim Duncan. Centers were flying off the shelves quickly, so I decided to take the most dominant big man of the modern era. I was hoping to game the system by getting Timmy on the wrap around 12th pick, but Greene wisely snatched him up before I could.
That left me with a heart wrenching decision. The next highest guys on my list were two Lakers: Kobe and Elgin Baylor. Obviously I couldn’t stomach picking Kobe — I have had him in fantasy basketball leagues in the past, it wasn’t fun — so I went with Baylor, who was Kobe before there was Kobe. Of course that left me with two guys that spent their most productive years in Laker “forum blue and gold.” I consoled myself, knowing that in the third and fourth rounds I could most likely pick up some guys in green. Sure enough, there were Cousy and McHale waiting for me to pick them. But who to pick first? This is where the wrap around pick helped me. I knew that Greene had already taken Duncan so he didn’t need a power forward. So I picked Cousy confident that McHale would be there for me.
My final pick had to be a shooting guard and I was hoping for either Ray Allen or Allen Iverson but I had to “settle” for Pistol Pete Maravich. So my lineup includes two of the best post players ever, and three guys that pretty much redefined their positions forever. Not bad for starting out with the ninth pick I think.
Lang Greene, HOOPSWORLD
I definitely believe in the saying a great big man will triumph over the great little man more times than not. So it was my intent from the beginning to establish a great presence down low, unless Michael Jordan miraculously fell to the tenth pick in the first round, which wasn’t going to happen.
Picking at the tenth spot I went with Tim Duncan arguably the best power forward of all-time … of all-time. With the 11th pick I decided to roll with the logo, Jerry West. I think West’s dominance is being taken for granted and I’m not just talking about scoring. He was a menace defensively throughout his career, averaging a crazy 2.6 steals per game at 35 years old!
I knew not going center with the No. 10 and 11 picks would make the pickings slim, so I decided to tackle my point guard need at 30. I went with another guy whose greatness has been reduced over the years – Isiah Thomas. I was completely shocked Steve Nash and Gary Payton went ahead of Zeke, but Thomas’ off the court issues probably has most shying away. Not me, I remember him in his prime and he was a beast. Period. At No. 31, I wanted to add more firepower with Dominique Wilkins on the wing.
With the last pick of the draft I went with Patrick Ewing at center. I truly believe Ewing ranks much higher, but I also thought about selecting Yao Ming or Dwight Howard here. Ultimately, Ewing’s longevity got the nod. He would get his stats against any center in any era.
How do you rate the teams? Whose would be the best? What picks surprised you. Get to it in the comments section below. You can always put me on blast on Twitter as well. Yay, social media!