The NBA's Best Starting Lineups of All Time: Are the Los Angeles Lakers on Top?
Throughout the history of the NBA, every franchise has seen some of the best players don its jersey and represent the team oh so well. Many fans dream that all of those players could be on the court, in their prime, at the same time for their team.
Well, thanks to ESPN, that's now possible.
Sans going all Doc Brown on us, the ESPN brass has built "The Greatest Team of All-Time" Machine, which allows fans to vote on the best starting fives for each franchise.
Needless to say, a mental image of some of these teams would make staunch NBA followers go from six to noon.
However, now that the fans have voted for each team's best ballers of all-time, it's time to see which starting fives are truly the best. Who would win an NBA Title if these rosters hit the hardwood?
Let's find out.
30. Charlotte Bobcats
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PG: Raymond Felton - 13.3 ppg, 6.4 apg, 3.4 rpg; franchise leader: assists 3-pt FGM
He's good, but sadly, I wouldn't want him running my franchise.
SG: Jason Richardson - 21.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 41.0 3-pt pct, 21.8 ppg in '07-08 (team record)
Eventually, this will become Stephen Jackson. But J-Rich was strong in Charlotte.
SF: Gerald Wallace - 16.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 48.2 FG pct; CHA leader: points, steals, games
Franchise's best player of all-time, no questions asked.
PF: Boris Diaw - 12.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 48.9 FG pct; 15.1 ppg in first season with CHA
Someone has to play Power Forward, right? Sean May can't win.
C: Emeka Okafor - 14.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 50.6 FG pct; CHA leader: reb., blk.; '05 ROY
It's hard to believe someone this injury prone could be the best big man this team has ever seen.
Charlotte is disadvantaged because they haven't been around very long. Too bad.
29. Toronto Raptors
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PG: Damon Stoudamire - 19.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 8.8 apg, franchise apg leader
Clearly a stud, until the only thing he passed was a blunt.
SG: Vince Carter - 23.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.9 apg, franchise ppg leader
One of the most watchable players of all-time. As long as it's not the playoffs.
SF: Jalen Rose - 16.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.4 apg; 2004-05: led team in points
Confusing pick, considering he's not even the best ex-NBA player at ESPN.
PF: Chris Bosh - 20.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg; franchise leader: pts., reb., blk.
And, now he's gone.
C: Antonio Davis - 12.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 2001 All-Star
Very solid career, not many folks average that close to a double-double.
I'd say that Toronto was in the same boat as Charlotte, but NBA players just don't like living in Toronto. So they are kind of screwed.
28. Memphis Grizzlies
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PG: Jason Williams - 11.9 ppg, 7.2 apg, 497 3-pt FGM, franchise assists leader
Not many embrace the nickname "White Chocolate," but he sure loved it.
SG: Mike Miller - 14.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2005-06 Sixth Man of Year
Have to imagine O.J. Mayo will take this spot soon enough. And if you are a Grizzlies fan, you have to hope.
SF: Rudy Gay - 17.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.3 spg. No. 3 in team history in points, steals
Still can't believe this only cost them Shane Battier.
PF: Shareef Abdur-Rahim - 20.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.9 apg, franchise ppg leader
I'm sure you didn't know his numbers were near this good.
C: Pau Gasol 18.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.8 bpg, MEM points leader, 2001-02 ROY
They traded their best player of all-time for Kwame Brown. He's a bonafide scrub!
Are you as shocked as I am that Bryant "Big Country" Reeves didn't make this list? He was awesome in NBA Jam!
27. Minnesota Timberwolves
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PG: Stephon Marbury - 16.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 8.3 apg, franchise apg leader
This must be where he learned to eat Vaseline.
SG: Isiah Rider - 18.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 82.2 FT pct; 1993-96: led team in points
He was a professional scorer. Like Don Draper.
SF: Tony Campbell - 20.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, franchise ppg leader
It's hard to lead a franchise in points and while everyone think you work at a McDonalds.
PF: Kevin Garnett - 20.5 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 4.5 apg, 2003-04 NBA MVP
Franchise's best player ever, traded for two sets of three stooges.
C: Al Jefferson - 20.1 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg, third most ppg in team history
He's gone too.
The 'Wolves have never been a fan of keeping their best players around. Nearly all of them leave when they realize winning isn't a preferred stance in the city.
26. Los Angeles Clippers
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PG: Norm Nixon - 14.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 9.0 apg, franchise apg leader
A city favorite, playing for both teams and looking great while doing it.
SG: Ron Harper - 19.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.9 spg, franchise spg leader
No wonder Phil Jackson liked him so much.
SF: Danny Manning - 19.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.5 spg, two-time All-Star
Another tough break for the Clippers.
PF: Elton Brand - 20.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 2.3 bpg. LAC rebounds leader, No. 2 in blocks
Just a sad day when A) he's your best big man and B) you let him leave for nothing in return.
C: Bob McAdoo - 28.2 ppg, 12.7 rpg, 50.0 FG pct, 1974-75 MVP, 1972-73 ROY
An amazing center who is constantly underrated.
McAdoo would probably start on this team, at his current age, today.
25. Sacramento Kings
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PG: Oscar Robertson - 29.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 10.3 apg, 1963-64 MVP, 1960-61 ROY
One of the best players to grace the league. Averaging triple-doubles isn't human.
SG: Mitch Richmond - 23.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.1 apg, six-time All-Star
Silky smooth shooter, and a crowd favorite.
SF: Peja Stojakovic - 18.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 39.8 3-pt FG pct. SAC leader in 3-pt FG, FT pct
Another outstanding shooter, but played defense like a quadriplegic.
PF: Chris Webber - 23.5 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 4.8 apg; 1998-03: led team in ppg, rpg
Give him the ball for the first 47 minutes, and he's money.
C: Vlade Divac - 11.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.7 apg, three-time All-Star
The inventor of flop.
Sacramento should be proud of their starting five, as they have a good strategy of keeping their best players in their primes.
24. Phoenix Suns
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PG: Steve Nash - 14.6 ppg, 9.0 apg, 44.2 3-pt FG pct, two-time NBA MVP
Making white people look good for years, so he gets my love.
SG: Paul Westphal - 20.6 ppg, 5.2 apg, 1.6 spg; 1975-80: led team in points
Great scorer, not enough love.
SF: Shawn Marion - 18.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.9 spg, four-time All-Star
This is kind of saddening. Sure, he was good, but c'mon!
PF: Charles Barkley - 23.4 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1992-93 NBA MVP
Yes, he was great, but I'm all for Connie Hawkins. Barkley won on his name.
C: Alvan Adams - 14.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 4.1 apg; franchise leader: gms., reb., stl.
Personally I'm a Neal Walk fan. But you have no idea who either of these people are.
Nash makes the squad a challenge for anyone. Then Marion undoes it.
23. New Orleans Hornets
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PG: Chris Paul - 19.3 ppg, 10.0 apg, 2.4 spg, 2005-06 Rookie of the Year
So young, and already arguably the franchise's best. Runner-up? Muggsy Bogues.
SG: Kendall Gill - 15.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.2 apg; 1991-92: led team in ppg
He won the run off with Dell Curry on hairstyle alone.
SF: Glen Rice - 23.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 44.4 3-pt FG pct, franchise ppg leader
A quintessential Hornet. So trading him for Eddie Jones was so smart.
PF: Larry Johnson - 19.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1991-92 Rookie of Year
One of NBA's baddest dudes around, and had the game to back it up.
C: Alonzo Mourning - 21.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.2 bpg. NO leader in blocks, No. 2 in ppg
The only thing that tops his basketball skill is his level of class.
This team has a mean streak in it. But that applies to any team with L.J., including his retirement home shuffle board crew.
22. New Jersey Nets
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PG: Jason Kidd - 14.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 9.1 apg; NJN leader: assists, steals, 3-pt FGM
He averaged nearly a triple double, and he got with Hope Dworaczyk. Bravo.
SG: Vince Carter - 23.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.7 apg, three-time All-Star
Hard to believe he made two teams' top 5's. He barely made a CBA one during the 2010 postseason.
SF: Julius Irving - 28.2 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 5.2 apg, three-time ABA MVP
This goes without saying.
PF: Derrick Coleman - 19.9 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 1990-91 Rookie of Year
His stats are surprising, and many certainly don't realize how dominant he was.
C: Billy Paultz - 15.6 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 50.1 FG pct, two-time ABA All-Star
Great numbers, but still a shoo-in. His runner up was Sam Bowie.
If we know one thing about this team, it's that they would score more than Hugh Hefner.
21. Dallas Mavericks
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PG: Steve Nash - 14.6 ppg, 7.2 apg, 89.8 FT pct, two-time All-Star
Mr. Canada leads two franchises, and it's not even close.
SG: Michael Finley - 19.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 44.6 FG pct, two-time All-Star
His number should be revered down in Dallas. A class act, and a Mav at heart.
SF: Mark Aguirre - 24.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 49.2 FG pct, 3-time All-Star; Mavs leader: ppg
An absolute machine. He had moves that made Baryshnikov cry.
PF: Dirk Nowitzki - 22.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 87.6 FT pct, '06-07 MVP; franchise pts. leader
He's done everything the franchise can ask of him. Other than win.
C: Roy Tarpley - 12.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 48.3 FG pct, 1987-88 Sixth Man of the Year
Winner by default. Competition included Erick Dampier and Shawn Bradley.
Without Tarpley, this team would be much higher. Sadly, you can't just start four players.
20. Indiana Pacers
PG: Mark Jackson - 8.4 ppg, 8.1 apg, 36.2 3-pt FG pct, franchise apg leader
Stats aren't flashy, but he's one of the best floor generals of the 90s.
SG: Reggie Miller - 18.2 ppg, 39.5 3-pt FG pct, 88.8 FT pct; IND leader: pts., ast., stl.
Eight points, 8.9 seconds. Most people can't do that with layups.
SF: Chuck Person - 19.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1986-87 Rookie of Year
Should have been Clark Kellogg. He had three straight years leading Indy in points and boards.
PF: Jermaine O'Neal - 18.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 2001-02 Most Improved Player
Damn kids and their new-fangled garbage. George McGinnis was statistically better in almost every category.
C: Rik Smits - 14.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 50.7 FG pct, 1998 All-Star
Another awful choice. Two-time ABA MVP Mel Daniels averaged 19.4 ppg and 16.0 rpg.
This team is held down by the young voters who have no love for the classic ballers. Pacers would skyrocket if the front court wasn't all wrong.
19. Denver Nuggets
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PG: Chauncey Billups - 17.0 ppg, 5.3 apg, 90.9 FT pct, two-time All-Star
Another clear fan favorite. However, Fat Lever beats him in almost everything, including better name.
SG: David Thompson - 24.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1975-76 Rookie of Year
Close victory of ABA's Larry Jones, but Thompson's offense was a threat to national security.
SF: Carmelo Anthony - 24.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.1 apg, three-time All-Star
A lot of good picks here, but the man who may be dealt soon wins. Maybe that can convince management to keep him.
PF: Antonio McDyess - 18.2 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 2001 All-Star
If it weren't for injuries, he'd have way more All-Star appearances.
C: Dikembe Mutombo - 12.9 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 3.8 bpg, 1994-95 defensive POY
Built many houses in the Congo with all those blocks.
Nothing bad to say about this crew, just a hard-nosed bunch. You can add any other clichés you want.
18. Cleveland Cavaliers
PG: Mark Price - 16.4 ppg, 7.2 apg, 40.9 3-pt FG pct; CLE leader: 3-pt FG, assists
Just so solid, and with the looks of Cleveland, not many people will want to break his records.
SG: World B. Free - 23.0 ppg, 3.9 apg, 45.4 FG pct, 2nd best ppg in team history
Best name ever, and he wasn't a half bad scorer either.
SF: LeBron James - 27.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 7.0 apg, two-time MVP, 2003-04 ROY
Cavs' best and most hated player ever. Possibly a first for that title.
PF: Shawn Kemp - 18.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 1997-00: led team in ppg and rpg
On list of people to never meet in a dark alley. In broad daylight.
C: Brad Daugherty - 19.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 53.2 FG pct, five-time All-Star
Surprisingly good numbers for someone who never gets much credit.
Any team with LeBron James is going to compete. But with the egos on this team, they'd be better off playing on VH1.
17. Oklahoma City Thunder
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PG: Gary Payton - 18.2 ppg, 7.4 apg, 2.1 spg, 1995-96 defensive POY
If the Sonics had put him on Jordan earlier in the 1996 Finals, the Bulls might not have won.
SG: Ray Allen - 24.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 89.9 FT pct, four-time All-Star
Prettiest shot in the game. His mother, not so much.
SF: Kevin Durant - 25.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 88.2 FT pct, franchise ppg leader
Going to be the team's best player ever. So if Dan Gilbert was running this team, he'd be gone.
PF: Shawn Kemp - 16.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 52.1 FG pct. Franchise blocks, FTA leader
Twice on the list, and for good measure. But Spencer Haywood was a better all-around player.
C: Jack Sikma - 16.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 83.6 FT pct, seven-time All-Star
Won by name alone. No one knows Bob Rule, but he averaged 21.4 ppg and 10.0 rpg on his way to fourth on the franchise's all-time scoring list.
Some replacements would make this team better, but not much to complain about. Other than their lack of titles.
16. Miami Heat
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PG: Tim Hardaway - 17.3 ppg, 7.8 apg, 1.8 spg, two-time All-Star
He bleeds Heat red. Or maybe that's his normal blood.
SG: Dwyane Wade - 25.4 ppg, 6.6 apg, 1.8 spg, 2006 Finals MVP
Not a tough choice here, he's the only reason people actually attend Heat games until now.
SF: Glen Rice - 19.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 83.5 FT pct, 1991-95: led team in pts., 3-pt FG
Will soon be overtaken by LeBron James. Unless he has another Decision in 2012.
PF: Udonis Haslem - 10.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 49.9 FG pct, 2nd-most games in team history
Soon to be replaced by Chris Bosh. But still, Brian Grant is a better player, hands-down.
C: Alonzo Mourning - 16.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.7 bpg. MIA leader: games, rebounds, blocks
A stud in every facet of the game.
These Heat would bully around people until the NBA changed the rule to 7 fouls per game. And even then, they wouldn't leave the court.
15. Orlando Magic
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PG: Penny Hardaway - 19.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.3 apg, four-time All-Star
Close battle between him and Scott Skiles, but Skiles didn't try to comeback with the Heat. I prefer non-traitors.
SG: Tracy McGrady - 28.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 5.2 apg, four-time All-Star
Hard to believe someone this good could be wanted by virtually no one. Except Detroit.
SF: Grant Hill - 16.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 50.0 FG pct, two-time All-Star
One of the NBA's sadder stories. Could easily be a Hall of Famer without injuries.
PF: Rashard Lewis - 16.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 40.1 3-pt FG%; 2007-10: led team in 3-pt FG, stls
Horace Grant seems like the classic choice, but people must love guys who play defense like they are allergic to the ball.
C: Shaquille O'Neal - 27.2 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 2.8 bpg, 1992-93 Rookie of Year
The original Superman will not give up this throne easily.
If the Magic could throw this team out there today, they'd be in the 150s every night. And the other team would have more fouls than an aviary.
14. Golden State Warriors
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PG: Tim Hardaway - 19.8 ppg, 9.3 apg, 2 spg. Franchise apg leader
Some of his best years were in the Bay.
SG: Mitch Richmond - 22.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 35.7 3-pt FG pct, 1988-89 Rookie of Year
Strangely enough, Latrell Sprewell is very similar to him, minus the "turning down $14 million and strangling his coach" thing.
SF: Rick Barry - 25.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1975 Finals MVP, 1965-66 ROY
Prolific scorer and one of the NBA's best shooters. However, this is no landslide, as the Warriors have a lot of good players at this position.
PF: Chris Webber - 16.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.0 bpg, 1993-94 Rookie of the Year
Via the numbers, he's a monster. Via the eyes, not so much.
C: Wilt Chamberlain - 41.5 ppg, 25.1 rpg, 1959-60 NBA MVP, 1959-60 Rookie of Year
A top five player of all time, and those averages will never be matched.
It's hard to say how this team would land. I say if they give the ball to Wilt, they do just dandy.
13. Milwaukee Bucks
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PG: Oscar Robertson - 16.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 7.5 apg; franchise apg leader
I'd say he won on name recognition here, but his best competition is Sam "Gollum" Cassell.
SG: Ray Allen - 19.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1,051 3-pt FGM, three-time All-Star
Sad was the day he got traded from Milwaukee, only to find a title elsewhere.
SF: Glenn Robinson - 21.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 81.2 FT pct, 2nd most points in team history
Marques Johnson is a better player, but people just love the Big Dog.
PF: Vin Baker - 18.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.3 bpg, three-time All-Star
Close battle with Terry Cummings, but Baker takes the cake. Sadly, he took too much cake.
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 30.4 ppg, 15.3 rpg, 4.3 apg, three-time MVP, 1969-70 ROY
Best center of all-time, and put up numbers only Wilt could dream of.
The Robertson-Abdul-Jabbar connection would elevate almost any team, but this team would just rough up the competition.
12. San Antonio Spurs
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PG: Tony Parker - 16.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.6 apg, 2007 NBA Finals MVP
France never looked so good.
SG: Manu Ginobili - 15.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2007-08 Sixth Man of Year
An amazing feat to make this list, and generally be a bench player.
SF: George Gervin - 26.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 11-time All-Star (ABA/NBA)
The Iceman didn't average a double-double like Larry Kenon, but with that nickname, he can't lose.
PF: Tim Duncan - 21.1 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 3-time Finals MVP, '02-03 MVP, '97-98 ROY
Possibly the best power forward ever. And he's not finished.
C: David Robinson - 21.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.0 bpg, 1994-95 MVP, 1991-92 def. POY
The two guys he beat made other franchises' top fives. So he must do something right.
This five may be the most boring five around, but their fundamentals are unparalleled.
11. Houston Rockets
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PG: Calvin Murphy - 17.9 ppg, 4.4 apg, 89.2 FT pct; franchise ast. leader, No. 2 in pts.
Bias showing here, but Steve Francis should be the choice. He out-scored and -assisted Murphy.
SG: Tracy McGrady - 22.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.6 apg, No. 2 ppg in team history
Injuries kept him from being the best Rocket ever.
SF: Rudy Tomjanovich - 17.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 50.1 FG pct, five-time All-Star
One of the best players to don the Rockets' red, and one of the best to coach in it, too.
PF: Charles Barkley - 16.5 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 3.9 apg, No. 2 rpg in team history
As much as I love Chuck, Elvin Hayes should get the nod. Same number of rpg, but more ppg.
C: Hakeem Olajuwon - 22.5 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 3.2 bpg, 2-time Finals MVP, 2-time def. POY
Statistically, the pick is Moses Malone. But Olajuwon defines the Rockets and Houston.
Could use some retooling here, but one thing's for sure: The Rockets would have one of the deeper benches out of any of the franchises.
10. Portland Trailblazers
PG: Terry Porter - 14.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 7.0 apg. Franchise leader in assists, 3-pt FG
Rod Strickland is statistically better, but coaching the Suns into the ground kept Porter's name alive.
SG: Clyde Drexler - 20.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.7 apg. Franchise leader in pts., reb., stl.
Brandon Roy may well steal this spot, but it's going to take a while after what the Glide did in Portland.
SF: Kiki Vandeweghe - 23.5 ppg, 40.8 3-pt FG pct, 88.1 FT pct. Franchise leader in ppg, FT pct
Great to see a fellow Palisades High School alum make this list.
PF: Rasheed Wallace - 16.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.3 bpg, two-time All-Star
Name only. Sidney Wicks averaged six points and three board more, and 40 technicals less.
C: Bill Walton - 17.1 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 1977-78 NBA MVP, 1977 Finals MVP
Hampered by injuries, Walton still managed to be one of the greatest interior players ever in the NBA.
It'd be interesting to see how these five would get along on the court. Of course, that could be said about everywhere Rasheed stops.
9. Washington Wizards
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PG: Gilbert Arenas - 25.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.7 apg; 2003-07: led team in ppg
As hard as it is to believe, Arenas blew past all the Wizards' past floor generals via the numbers.
SG: Earl Monroe - 23.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1967-68 Rookie of Year
Great nickname and great facial hair made him a lock. Sorry, Don Ohl.
SF: Bernard King - 22.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.9 apg; 1988-91: led team in points
An underrated scorer who did a little of everything. Including score. A lot.
PF: Elvin Hayes - 21.3 ppg, 12.7 rpg, 2.1 bpg. Franchise leader in points, blocks
He sneaks past Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Antawn Jamison and Gus Johnson. That is a nasty fivesome.
C: Walt Bellamy - 27.6 ppg, 16.6 rpg, 51.6 FG pct. Franchise leader in ppg, rpg
Just a filthy player near the rim who worked harder than almost everyone around him. And it worked.
If no one brings firearms to the arena, this squad could go toe-to-toe with anyone.
I'm looking at you, Pearl.
8. Detroit Pistons
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PG: Isiah Thomas - 19.2 ppg, 9.3 apg, 1.9 spg, 1990 NBA Finals MVP
Give him a basketball, not a clipboard. Or a desk. Or even a pen.
SG: Joe Dumars - 16.1 ppg, 4.5 apg, 38.2 3-pt FG pct, 1989 NBA Finals MVP
The Finals MVP locked him in here, despite being outperformed by Jerry Stackhouse.
SF: Grant Hill - 21.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 6.3 apg, 1994-95 Rookie of Year
Beating out Adrian Dantley and George Yardley is hard to do. But in Detroit, he looked like a second coming of MJ.
PF: Dennis Rodman - 8.8 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 53.7 FG pct, two-time defensive POY
Clearly a fans' decision. Bailey Howell out-scored and -rebounded him, while Dave DeBusschere and Ray Scott were just better all-around players.
C: Bob Lanier - 22.7 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, seven-time All-Star
Those numbers can never tell how destructive Lanier was down low. Only his victims can.
The Pistons have always been known for their edgy and nasty demeanor, and this team makes Brock Lesnar the successor to Mother Teresa.
7. New York Knicks
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PG: Walt Frazier - 19.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 6.3 apg, seven-time All-Star
With mutton chops like his, there isn't a contest he can't win.
SG: Earl Monroe - 16.2 ppg, 3.5 apg, 47.8 FG pct, two-time All-Star
Richie Guerin looks better on paper, but not on the court.
SF: Bernard King - 26.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 54.3 FG pct, second-best ppg in team history
Not much of a contest here, as the real King was a menace in MSG.
PF: Dave DeBusschere - 16.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 3.1 apg, five-time All-Star
DeBusschere was great, but Willie Naulls was better. People just don't know him.
C: Patrick Ewing - 22.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.7 bpg. NYK leader in points, rebounds, blocks
The Knicks have had Willis Reed, Bob McAdoo and Walt Bellamy play center for them, but Ewing will never be dethroned.
Suck it, Amaré.
6. Atlanta Hawks
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PG: Pete Maravich - 24.3 ppg, 5.6 apg, 80.9 FT pct two-time All-Star
If the shot was inside the half-court line, the Pistol became an automatic rifle.
SG: Joe Johnson - 21.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.5 apg, four-time All-Star
Not tough competition, but he's statistically a monster. Just not against Orlando.
SF: Dominique Wilkins - 26.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 81.3 FT pct., franchise leader in points & fgm
'Nique redefined high-flying. He could have scored 2 ppg, and still made the list with his fierce dunks.
PF: Bob Pettit - 18.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 7.6 apg, two-time MVP, 1954-55 ROY
Lots of talented power forwards in the Dirty South, but the white one takes the cake. T.I. would be embarrassed.
C: Moses Malone - 16.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 48.2 FG pct, two-time All-Star
He comes in just barely ahead of Mutombo, which is like picking between children.
This could be one of the most balanced teams around, as everyone seems to have a good role. Now just don't draft Marvin Williams...
5. Utah Jazz
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PG: John Stockton - 13.1 ppg, 10.5 apg, 2.2 spg. Franchise leader in assists, steals
Deron Williams may never eclipse what Stockton did in Utah, which is great, because no one should forget his name.
SG: Pete Maravich - 25.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.6 apg; 1974-79: led team in ppg, apg
Getting nicknamed after a weapon shows how deadly he was.
SF: Adrian Dantley - 29.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 56.2 FG pct. Franchise leader: ppg, FG pct
Another unconscious scorer.
PF: Karl Malone - 25.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, two-time MVP
He was a lock with his statistics, but the cowboy hat made him immortal.
C: Mehmet Okur - 15.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 38.2 3-point FG pct, 2007 All-Star
Slim pickings for Utah centers, but Al Jefferson will be taking this role very shortly.
While Okur may seem out of place, his role on this team gives them a little bit of everything. Except athleticism.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
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PG: Maurice Cheeks - 12.2 ppg, 7.3 apg, 2.3 spg; franchise leader: assists, steals
Not the world's greatest coach, but do not underestimate his leadership skills on the court.
SG: Allen Iverson - 27.6 ppg, 6.1 apg, 2.3 spg, 2000-01 MVP, 1996-97 ROY
Worked harder than anyone to get his shot, and his scoring ability for that size won't be matched.
SF: Julius Erving - 22.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1980-81 NBA MVP
No questions asked.
PF: Charles Barkley - 23.3 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 57.6 FG pct., six-time All-Star
Here's where Barkley belongs.
C: Wilt Chamberlain - 27.6 ppg, 23.9 rpg, 6.8 apg, three-time NBA MVP
Which is a bigger accomplishment: Scoring 100 points in a game or scoring with 100 chicks after?
The only thing any one should do is ask this team to practice. None of these five has the time.
3. Chicago Bulls
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PG: Norm Van Lier - 12.2 ppg, 6.9 apg, 4.7 rpg, 3-time All-Star, 7-time All-Defense
His contributions don't show up in the scorebook, but he was the original Glove.
SG: Michael Jordan - 31.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.4 apg, five-time MVP, six-time Finals MVP
There shouldn't be a vote for this one.
SF: Scottie Pippen - 17.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 5.3 apg, six-time NBA champion
PF: Dennis Rodman - 5.2 ppg, 15.3 rpg, 45.2 FG pct, franchise rpg leader
No one hit the boards like the Worm. But he doesn't beat out Bob Love in my book
C: Artis Gilmore - 19.3 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg; franchise leader: FG pct, blocks
Double-double average for a career, and a defensive machine. People get fat contracts for doing one of those nowadays.
If Jordan, Pippen and Rodman can win so many titles alone, adding these two might be unfair.
2. Boston Celtics
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PG: Bob Cousy - 18.5 ppg, 7.6 apg, 1956-57 MVP, franchise leader assists
So many greats have led the way in green, but Cousy defined the position.
SG: John Havlicek - 20.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.8 apg, 1974 Finals MVP
It's hard to believe this may be the weakest of the five. That's how good the franchise is.
SF: Larry Bird - 24.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 6.3 apg, three-time MVP
Not sure anyone can knock the Bird from his perch.
PF: Kevin McHale - 17.9 ppg, 55.4 FG pct, two-time Sixth Man of Year
His hustle won him this spot, but he locked it up by sending Garnett to Beantown.
C: Bill Russell - 15.1 ppg, 22.5 rpg, 4.3 apg, five-time MVP, 11 NBA titles
Sorry Robert Parish, but let's do a ring check on your toes. Russell one, Parish zero.
Could anyone stop these five?
1. Los Angeles Lakers
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PG: Magic Johnson - 19.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 11.2 apg; three-time MVP, Finals MVP
Nearly averaged a triple-double, played every position and changed how point guards will play for eternity.
SG: Kobe Bryant - 25.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2007-08 MVP, two-time Finals MVP
One of the best wing players ever, on offense and defense.
SF: Elgin Baylor - 27.4 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1958-59 Rookie of the Year
When Kobe says he patterns his game after Baylor, it's clear that Baylor was doing something well.
PF: Pau Gasol - 18.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 55.8 FG pct, two-time All-Star
It may be a recent pick, but he's one of the best offensive big men in the NBA.
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 22.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.5 bpg, 3-time MVP, 2-time Finals MVP
All-time scoring champions get automatic bids.
Sure, be upset that this seems like a homer pick, but think of it this way. The Lakers next best starting five goes like this:
PG: Gail Goodrich - 19.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.2 apg, four-time All-Star
SG: Jerry West - 27.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 6.7 apg, 1969 NBA Finals MVP
SF: James Worthy - 17.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 52.1 FG pct, 1988 NBA Finals MVP
PF: Clyde Lovellette - 17.1 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 1.6 apg, two-time All-Star
C: Shaquille O'Neal - 27.0 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 2.5 bpg, 3-time Finals MVP, 1999-00 MVP
After that, there next five includes Wilt Chamberlain and Jamaal Wilkes. Who wants to play against that 12-man roster?