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NBA Power Rankings: Ranking Each and Every Team's All-Time 12-Man Lineup

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 6, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Ranking Each and Every Team's All-Time 12-Man Lineup

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    I've seen all-time starting fives for teams assembled and even all-time 12-man lineups put together before for individual teams, but never all 30 teams in the NBA

    Well, that all changes here as you can find the best 12-man lineup for each and every team that currently exists in the league. And, I've even taken it one step further and ranked them from worst to best. You can probably guess which franchises will be high up in the rankings though (Celtics and Lakers anyone?) and which will kick them off (the newest franchises of course). 

    But first, a few ground rules. 

    1. Players are not eligible to join more than one team. This is particularly relevant to players like Shaquille O'Neal, who made an impact on the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers

    2. If a player has played for multiple teams in his career, he is only eligible on the team with which he spent the most seasons. In the event of a tie, games played becomes the tiebreaker. If that is the same for two franchises...well, don't worry about it because it never happened.

    3. Players are eligible for positions that they played at some point and are listed at. Larry Bird may have been a small forward, but he dabbled at power forward and remains listed as a forward and not an exclusive small forward for example. 

    4. All players are taken during their primes. Yes, obviously even Adam Morrison could beat George Mikan right now, but that's not the way this works.

    With that taken care of, read on and enjoy!

30. Charlotte Bobcats

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    Point Guard: Raymond Felton

    Shooting Guard: Matt Carroll

    Small Forward: Gerald Wallace 

    Power Forward: Emeka Okafor

    Center: Primoz Brezek

    Bench: DJ Augustin (PG), Melvin Ely (PF/C), Ryan Hollins (C), Brevin Knight (PG), Sean May (PF), Adam Morrison (SF), Bernard Robinson (SF)

    Don't spend too much time looking at this team as the rest are all infinitely better. Adam Morrison actually making the squad should say it all. 

29. Toronto Raptors

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    Point Guard: Jose Calderon 

    Shooting Guard: Vince Carter

    Small Forward: Morris Peterson 

    Power Forward: Chris Bosh

    Center: Sharone Wright

    Bench: Andrea Bargnani (PF/C), Doug Christie (SG/SF), DeMar DeRozan (SG), Joey Graham (SF/PF), Jason Kapono (SF), Anthony Parker (SG), Alvin Williams (SG)

    While much better than the Bobcats, the Raptors are too weak to compete with any of the big boys in this league. 

28. Miami Heat

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    Point Guard: Dwyane Wade 

    Shooting guard: Eddie Jones

    Small Forward: Jamal Mashburn

    Power Forward: Glen Rice

    Center: Alonzo Mourning

    Bench: Bimbo Coles (PG), Kevin Edwards (SG), Briant Grant (PF), Udonis Haslem (PF), Voshon Leonard (SG), Grant Long (PF), Rony Seikaly (C)

    Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Mourning should be able to carry this team against normal competition, but this is no normal competition. 

27. Memphis Grizzlies

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    Point Guard: Jason Williams

    Shooting Guard: OJ Mayo

    Small Forward: Shane Battier

    Power Forward: Shareef Abdur-Rahim

    Center: Pau Gasol

    Bench: Mike Conley (PG), Michael Dickerson (SG/SF), Marc Gasol (PF/C), Rudy Gay (SF), Mike Miller (SF), Bryant Reeves (C), Hakim Warrick (PF)

    With White Chocolate running the show, this team would be entertaining. They would also have great team unity with both Gasol brothers on the same roster joined by Shane Battier.  

     


26. Los Angeles Clippers

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    Point Guard: Gary Grant

    Shooting Guard: Randy Smith

    Small Forward: Corey Maggette

    Power Forward: Blake Griffin

    Center: Bob McAdoo

    Bench: Elton Brand (PF), Eric Gordon (SG), Chris Kaman (C), Bob Kauffman (PF/C), Danny Manning (PF/C), Ken Norman (SF/PF), Eric Piatkowski (SG/SF)

    Blake Griffin is already good enough to start on this team, which is both an insult to the team as a whole and a compliment to Griffin at the same time. 

25. New Orleans Hornets

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    Point Guard: Chris Paul

    Shooting Guard: Dell Curry

    Small Forward: Larry Johnson

    Power Forward: David West

    Center: Jamaal Magloire

    Bench: Mugsy Bogues (PG), PJ Brown (PF/C), Baron Davis (PG), Kenny Gattison (PF/C), JR Reid (PF), Marcus Thornton (SG), David Wesley (PG)

    Chris Paul would have to stay on top of his game with a bunch of good point guards waiting behind him. The rest of the starting lineup, though, is rather safe. 

24. Orlando Magic

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    Point Guard: Jameer Nelson

    Shooting Guard: Penny Hardaway

    Small Forward: Nick Anderson

    Power Forward: Hedo Turkoglu

    Center: Dwight Howard

    Bench: Darrell Armstrong (PG), Terry Catledge (SF/PF), Pat Garrity (SF/PF), Marcin Gortat (PF/C), JJ Redick (SG/SF), Dennis Scott (SF/PF), Scott Skiles (PG)

    While the entire starting lineup is very solid, the bench is quite weak. Redick is a valuable role player for example, but he has no business on a team's all-time 12-man lineup. 

23. New Jersey Nets

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    Point Guard: Jason Kidd

    Shooting Guard: Drazen Petrovic

    Small Forward: Richard Jefferson

    Power Forward: Buck Williams

    Center: Brook Lopez

    Bench: Otis Birdsong (PG/SG), Albert King (SG/SF), Kerry Kittles (SG), Bill Melchionni (PG), Brian Taylor (PG), Keith Van Horn (PF), John Williamson (PG)

    With Jason Kidd and Drazen Petrovic in their primes, this backcourt would be capable of absolutely lighting up the scoreboards. The frontcourt is a little bit weak though. 

22. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Point Guard: Micheal Williams

    Shooting Guard: Tony Campbell

    Small Forward: Wally Szczerbiak

    Power Forward: Kevin Garnett

    Center: Christian Laettner

    Bench: Troy Hudson (PG), Al Jefferson (PF), Kevin Love (PF), Sam Mitchell (SF), Anthony Peeler (SG), Isaiah Rider (SG), David West (SG/SF)

    Kevin Garnett is good enough to carry this team even though his supporting cast is not quite as good as the past few teams. 

21. Indiana Pacers

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    Point Guard: Mark Jackson

    Shooting Guard: Reggie Miller

    Small Forward: Danny Granger

    Power Forward: Jermaine O'Neal

    Center: George McGinnis

    Bench: Ron Artest (SF), Roger Brown (SG/SF), Mel Daniels (C), Dale Davis (PF), Clark Kellogg (SF/PF), Billy Knight (SG/SF), Chuck Person (SF/PF), Rik Smits (C)

    The last of what I would call the lower-tier teams, the Indiana Pacers are solid across the board but by no means great. 

20. Denver Nuggets

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    Point Guard: Fat Lever

    Shooting Guard: David Thompson

    Small Forward: Alex English

    Power Forward: Antonio McDyess

    Center: Dan Issel

    Bench: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (PG), Carmelo Anthony (SF), Byron Beck (PF/C), Marcus Camby (PF/C), TR Dunn (SG), Nene Hilario (PF/C), Ralph Simpson (SG/SF)

    This team of underrated players (Fat Lever, Alex English, Antonio McDyess, Dan Issel and Nene Hilario all qualify there) is good enough to force Melo to the bench. 

19. Dallas Mavericks

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    Point Guard: Derek Harper

    Shooting Guard: Mark Aguirre

    Small Forward: Michael Finley

    Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki

    Center: James Donaldson

    Bench: Rolando Blackman (SG), Erik Dampier (C), Brad Davis (PG), Josh Howard (SG/SF), Sam Perkins (PF/C), Jason Terry (SG), Jay Vincent (SF/PF)

    It's hard to doubt Dirk Nowitzki after he willed the Dallas Mavericks to a championship. What could he do with an even better team surrounding him? 

18. Phoenix Suns

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    Point Guard: Steve Nash

    Shooting Guard: Walter Davis

    Small Forward: Dick Van Arsdale 

    Power Forward: Shawn Marion

    Center: Amar'e Stoudemire

    Bench: Alvan Adams (PF/C), Rex Chapman (SG), Connie Hawkins (PF/C), Kevin Johnson (PG), Dan Majerle (SG/SF), Charlie Scott (SG/SF), Paul Westphal (SG)

    With Thunder Dan and KJ coming off the bench, this team ushers in a new tier of teams—the ones that can actually compete with almost anyone in this hypothetical league.

17. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Point Guard: Mark Price

    Shooting Guard: Austin Carr

    Small Forward: LeBron James

    Power Forward: John Williams

    Center: Brad Daugherty

    Bench: Terrell Brandon (PG), Jim Chones (PF/C), World B. Free (PG), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C), Campy Russell (PF), Bingo Smith (SG/SF), Anderson Varejao (PF/C)

    This team wins the prize for best collection of names. Who else has a LeBron, World B. Free, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Campy Russell and Bingo Smith?

16. Milwaukee Bucks

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    Point Guard: Sam Cassell

    Shooting Guard: Ray Allen

    Small Forward: Marques Johnson

    Power Forward: Terry Cummings

    Center: Andrew Bogut

    Bench: Lucius Allen (PG), Bob Dandridge (SG/SF), Sidney Moncrief (SG), Paul Pressey (SG/SF), Michael Redd (SG), Glenn Robinson (SF), Brian Winters (SG/SF)

    Ray Allen is as deadly as they come from the three-point line and he'd get a lot of open looks playing with this group. 

     


15. Portland Trail Blazers

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    Point Guard: Terry Porter

    Shooting Guard: Geoff Petrie

    Small Forward: Clyde Drexler

    Power Forward: Maurice Lucas

    Center: Bill Walton

    Bench: Lionel Hollins (PG/SG), Jerome Kersey (SF/PF), Jim Paxson (SG/SF), Cliff Robinson (PF/C), Brandon Roy (SG), Mychal Thompson (PF/C), Rasheed Wallace (PF/C)

    With Clyde the Glide leading the way, this collection of great—but not too great—players could make some serious noise despite the fact that we're only halfway through the rankings. 

14. Washington Wizards

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    Point Guard: Gilbert Arenas

    Shooting Guard: Jeff Malone

    Small Forward: Gus Johnson 

    Power Forward: Elvin Hayes

    Center: Wes Unseld 

    Bench: Caron Butler (SF), Juwan Howard (PF), Bernard King (SF), Antawn Jamison (SF/PF), Jeff Ruland (PF/C), Rod Strickland (PG), John Wall (PG)

    A solid group across the board, we all know that Gilbert Arenas can shoot. At least the rest of the team only has that ability on the court. 

13. Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Point Guard: Gary Payton

    Shooting Guard: Dale Ellis 

    Small Forward: Kevin Durant

    Power Forward: Jack Sikma

    Center: Detlef Schrempf

    Bench: Fred Brown (PG/SG), Tom Chambers (PF/C), Spencer Haywood (PF/C), Shawn Kemp (PF/C), Rashard Lewis (PF), Russell Westbrook (PG)

    Gary Payton is a stud on both ends of the court and Kevin Durant is one of the most talented scorers we've seen in a long time. This team is very very dangerous on both sides of the floor. 

12. Utah Jazz

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    Point Guard: John Stockton

    Shooting Guard: Pete Maravich

    Small Forward: Adrian Dantley

    Power Forward: Karl Malone

    Center: Mehmet Okur

    Bench: Thurl Bailey (PF/C), Mark Eaton (C), Rickey Green (PG), Darrell Griffith (SG), Jeff Hornacek (SG), Andrei Kirilenko (SF/PF), Deron Williams (PG)

    Karl Malone and John Stockton were great together without a bunch of stellar players around them. The result when you add in Maravich, Dantley and the rest could be scary. 

11. Sacramento Kings

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    Point Guard: Tiny Archibald

    Shooting Guard: Oscar Robertson

    Small Forward: Peja Stojakovic

    Power Forward: Chris Webber

    Center: Jerry Lucas

    Bench: Bob Davies (SG/SF), Wayne Embry (PF/C), Tyreke Evans (PG), Sam Lacey (C), Mitch Richmond (SG), Jack Twyman (SG/SF), Bobby Wanzer (PG)

    Don't forget how good Peja Stojakovic was in his prime. This guy wouldn't be too out of place hanging out with the other greats on this team. 

10. San Antonio Spurs

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    Point Guard: Tony Parker

    Shooting Guard: George Gervin

    Small Forward: Manu Ginobili

    Power Forward: Tim Duncan

    Center: David Robinson

    Bench: Bruce Bowen (SF/PF), Sean Elliott (SF/PF), Avery Johnson (PG), Larry Kenon (PF), Mike Mitchell (SF), James Silas (PG), Alvin Robertson (PG/SG)

    With the exception of the Iceman, most of this team already played together and was quite successful. Adding in Gervin just makes them all the better. 

9. Atlanta Hawks

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    Point Guard: Lenny Wilkens

    Shooting Guard: Lou Hudson

    Small Forward: Dominique Wilkins

    Power Forward: Bob Petit

    Center: Dikembe Mutombo

    Bench: Walt Bellamy (C), John Drew (SG/SF), Cliff Hagan (SG/SF), Joe Johnson (SG/SF), Josh Smith (SF/PF), Steve Smith (SG), Kevin Willis (PF/C)

    The defensive ability of this team would be something to marvel at thanks to the overall athleticism. The backcourt here is particularly strong with Walt Bellamy and Josh Smith coming off the bench. 

8. Philadelphia 76ers

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    Point Guard: Allen Iverson

    Shooting Guard: Hal Greer

    Small Forward: Julius Erving

    Power Forward: Charles Barkley

    Center: Billy Cunningham

    Bench: Bobby Jones (PF), Maurice Cheeks (PG), Samuel Dalembert (C), Andre Iguodala (SG/SF), Neil Johnston (C), Red Kerr (PF/C), Chet Walker (SF/PF)

    The 76ers bring it up yet another notch with The Answer running the show. If the bench were a bit better (I can't believe I just said that about a bench that includes Maurice Cheeks and Chet Walker!), then this team could be really competitive. 

7. Chicago Bulls

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    Point Guard: Derrick Rose

    Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan

    Small Forward: Scottie Pippen

    Power Forward: Horace Grant

    Center: Artis Gilmore

    Bench: Tom Boerwinkle (C), Ben Gordon (PG/SG), Toni Kukoc (PF), Bob Love (SF/PF), Jerry Sloan (SG/SF), Reggie Theus (SG), Norm Van Lier (PG)

    While the bench isn't that great to be quite frank, I do not question Michael Jordan's ability to carry a team. This is especially true when Artis Gilmore, Horace Grant, Scottie Pippen and Derrick Rose are playing alongside him. 

6. Houston Rockets

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    Point Guard: Calvin Murphy

    Shooting Guard: Steve Francis

    Small Forward: Tracy McGrady

    Power Forward: Moses Malone

    Center: Hakeem Olajuwon

    Bench:  Vernon Maxwell (SG), Yao Ming (C), Cuttino Mobley (SG), Mike Newlin (SG/SF), Ralph Sampson (PF/C), Otis Thorpe (PF/C), Rudy Tomjanovich (SF)

    The Dream Shake worked well enough without Moses Malone playing alongside Hakeem Olajuwon. And if either of them get tired, Yao Ming can just get up off the bench and replace them. 

     


5. New York Knicks

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    Point Guard: Earl Monroe

    Shooting Guard: Walt Frazier

    Small Forward: Bill Bradley

    Power Forward: Willis Reed

    Center: Patrick Ewing

    Bench: Dick Barnett (SG/SF), Harry Gallatin (PF/C), Richie Guerin (SG), Allan Houston (SG), Dick McGuire (PG), Willie Naulls (PF/C), Charles Oakley (PF/C),

    If I had to pick one of these teams to root for, this one would be pretty high up on the list. Earl the Pearl, Walt Frazier and Patrick Ewing would be a pleasure to watch and Harry Gallatin is one of the most underrated players in the history of this league. 

4. Detroit Pistons

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    Point Guard: Isiah Thomas

    Shooting Guard: Joe Dumars

    Small Forward: Grant Hill

    Power Forward: Dennis Rodman

    Center: Bob Lanier

    Bench: Chauncey Billups (PG), Dave Bing (SG), Dave DeBusschere (SG/SF), Richard Hamilton (SG/SF), Bill Laimbeer (C), Ben Wallace (PF/C), George Yardley (SG/SF)

    Rip Hamilton is the worst player on this team, which is truly amazing. This Detroit bench could form a killer starting lineup for many other teams in these rankings. 

3. Golden State Warriors

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    Point Guard: Tim Hardaway

    Shooting Guard: Paul Arizin

    Small Forward: Rick Barry

    Power Forward: Nate Thurmond

    Center: Wilt Chamberlain

    Bench: Joe Fulks (PF/C), Tom Gola (SG/SF), Chris Mullin (SG/SF), Jeff Mullins (SG/SF), Jason Richardson (SG/SF), Guy Rodgers (PG), Latrell Sprewell (SG/SF)

    Nate Thurmond and Wilt Chamberlain were once traded for each other, but here they get to play on the same team. Oh, and Rick Barry, Tim Hardaway and Paul Arizin also get to start. How does it get better than this again?

2. Boston Celtics

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    Point Guard: Bob Cousy

    Shooting Guard: John Havlicek 

    Small Forward: Paul Pierce

    Power Forward: Larry Bird

    Center: Bill Russell

    Bench: Dave Cowens (PF/C), Tommy Heinsohn (PF/C), Dennis Johnson (SG/SF), Sam Jones (SG), Kevin McHale (PF/C), Robert Parish (C), Jo Jo White (PG/SG)

    Is it any surprise that this team in in the top two? Paul Pierce does belong in the starting lineup of this All-World laden lineup and the rest of the squad isn't too shabby. But in the end, the bench pales in comparison to the final team in the rankings. 

1. Los Angeles Lakers

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    Point Guard: Magic Johnson

    Shooting Guard: Jerry West

    Small Forward: Kobe Bryant

    Power Forward: James Worthy

    Center: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    Bench: Elgin Baylor (SF), Michael Cooper (SG/SF), Derek Fisher (PG), Gail Goodrich (PG), Robert Horry (PF), George Mikan (C), Shaquille O'Neal (C)

    Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are all arguably among the top five players of all time. Jerry West may be a top 10, but he's definitely in the top 20. James Worthy kind of stinks in comparison as he's only a top 50 player. 

    Then on the bench we have Shaquille O'Neal (arguably top 10 but stuck behind Kareem), Elgin Baylor (top 20 but stuck behind Kobe), George Mikan (top 50 but stuck behind Kareem), Gail Goodrich (top 100 but stuck behind Magic). Also on the squad are Michael Cooper and Derek Fisher, great players but not all-time greats. 

    As for the final roster spot, Robert Horry claims it thanks to his penchant for making big shots. There are better players in Lakers history but he deserves to be on this team for that reason alone. 

    This lineup isn't even fair. 

     

    Adam Fromal is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer. Follow him on Twitter: @Fromal09.

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