My dad and I got to talking the other day about famous people from our lovely hometown of Oakland, California. Now that two more Oaklanders have won an NBA championship ring (Paul Pierce and Leon Powe), we started to wonder: What would the NBA All-Oaktown team look like?
I'm not talking about guys who played for Golden State for a long time, or guys who moved here during their careers. I'm talking about real, born and/or bred Oaklanders. Well, let's find out.
C - Bill Russell. Do I really need to justify this? One of the NBA's 50 greatest players, Russell invented how to play center. He won 11 NBA championships, made twelve All-Star game appearances, and was named NBA MVP five times. He averaged an insane 22.5 rebounds per game over his career. Most guys will never see that many rebounds in a night's work. He once ripped down 51 boards in a game. His 15.1 PPG and 4.3 APG are also a nice addition, as well as his countless blocked shots.
PF - Paul Silas. Outside of Russell, good big men are hard to come by in this town. Although his numbers pale in comparison to Russell's, Silas's 9.4 PPG and 9.9 RPG make him a solid pick for this position. Silas was also a two-time All-Star and won three NBA Championships. The fact he went on to coach doesn't hurt, either.
SF - Paul Pierce. Now we start putting some points up. No disrespect to Mr. Russell and Mr. Silas, but you don't win games putting up 25 PPG combined. Pierce's 23.1 career PPG are a nice addition to this squad, and Pierce can even hold his own on the glass (6.4 RPG) and give the ball up to his teammates (3.9 APG). He's also a six-time All-Star and an NBA Champion.
SG - Gary Payton. I know Payton spent most of his career at the point, but I thought he'd be better suited to the off-guard spot on this squad. Payton's 16.3 PPG and 6.7 APG are solid for a two-guard, and his 3.9 RPG and 1.8 SPG are a nice touch. The Glove is also a nine-time All-Star, an NBA Champion and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1996.
PG - Jason Kidd. I thought Kidd's skills made him a better true point guard for the team. His 14.2 PPG make him a credible scoring threat, but the real draws are his 9.3 APG, 6.7 RPG, and 2.0 steals. Kidd is a nine-time All-Star and was named High School Player of the Year in 1992. Good luck getting the ball across half court with Kidd and Payton in the backcourt.
Now, on to the reserves. Not everyone can be an All-Star. Every team needs role players, right?
G/F - Isaiah Rider. J.R. would provide a nice spark off the bench. His numbers weren't flashy—16.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.7 APG—but he'd do well coming off the bench. Besides, how could I leave off the guy that showed the world that a between-the-legs dunk was possible?
F/C - Antonio Davis. Davis's 10 points and 7.5 rebounds per game would make a solid sub for either Russell or Silas. Plus, he'll charge into the stands and knock someone out if you want him to.
F/C - Drew Gooden. Same story here as with Davis, minus the fighting. Gooden averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game.
F - Cliff T. Robinson. Cliff T., not to be confused with Cliff R. Robinson, averaged 17.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and also added 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Possible alternate starter to Silas.
G - Nate Williams. Williams had 12 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game over his eight-year career.
G - Brian Shaw. A cagey veteran and roleplayer, Shaw's 6.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 4.2 APG can give Payton or Kidd a breather.
G - Demitrius Mitchell. Who? Hook Mitchell. The greatest player never to reach the NBA. Hook was an Oakland streetballer of epic proportions. So, if he never made it to the Association, why am I including him? Because I can't really leave a guy who's 5'9" but can dunk over a Volkswagen off my team.
Player-Coach - Paul Silas. I was really reaching here, but I guess I'll hand the reigns to Silas. I know he's starting at forward, too, but that's the young Paul Silas. Old Paul is on the bench calling the shots.
Honorary Coaches - Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks. I'm sure one of these guys could win an Oscar playing head coach if Silas starts to stink up the bench too bad.
So there you have it: my NBA All-Oakland Team. Would we win games? Who knows. But with Bill Russell patrolling the lane, Kidd and Payton locking down the opponents in the backcourt, and Hook and J.R. doing aerial stunts, I'm sure we'd sell some tickets.