All-Time NBA Teams: The Ultimate Draft, Part 1

Zander FreundSenior Writer IApril 12, 2007

IconA few weeks ago, three of my Bleacher Report compatriots and I got together to select our all-time NBA rosters in a mock draft.
The goal was to draft a five man roster that—if they stepped on the court today—could do the most damage. 
Four of us participated: myself, Trey Bradley, Mike Bell, and David Finocchio.  We drew names out of a hat to determine drafting order.
Here are the results of the first two rounds.  I highly recommend that all you NBA fans get together with a few of your friends and do something like this if you ever have the chance.
DF: "Mike Bell—drum roll if you will"
1st pick in the  Awesome."
MB: "Awwww."

AF: "Bullshit."

DF: "Alright, with the second pick...Trey Bradley."

TB: "OK."

DF: "Third pick—Mike Bell."

AF: "Come on!"

DF: "Zander with the fourth pick."

AF: "I already got the last pick in the fantasy draft this year man...what is this?"

DF: "Hey man—what can you say—life sucks. 

Alright well I'll go ahead and kick things off.  With the first pick, I am going to select Michael Jordan.  I'm taking MJ because I think there is a bigger margin between Michael Jordan and any other player at his position.  He's a tenacious defender and probably the best winner in the history of basketball.  All the Bill Russell talk aside, there's no one else I'd want taking a shot at the end of the game.  I think Michael Jordan speaks for himself and I'm proud to build my team around him. 

Trey, number 2, where it's at—go for it"

TB: "You better be ready to take Steve Kerr or Scottie Pippen with that 8th pick."
DF: "How about Randy Brown—a whole different direction—"

TB: "Alright that leaves me with Shaq then.
He's the consensus pick for center in today's NBA and probably the most dominant center ever.  I like high field goal percentage in my center—career 58 percent for Shaq, top five all time." 
MB: "57.9"

TB: "There ya go. Also—in terms of building a team around the most unstoppable force left on the draft board, I think Shaq has dominated his position and revolutionized his position in a way that only Michael Jordan had before him.  In terms of career accomplishments, Wilt and Kareem would be ahead of him—but in terms of ability to dominate a head-to-head game, you'd be foolish not to take Shaq."

AF: "It will be interesting to see what Mike Bell does with the third pick."

MB: "Just give me about twenty seconds to gather myself here"
With the third pick, I'm going to select Larry Bird."
TB: "Wow."

MB: "As far as centers go, I agree that Shaq is above and beyond a lot of the rest.  And as far as two guards go, same with MJ.  After that, there's a lot of directions to go in here. 
There's not one clear point guard who is above and beyond the rest—same with power forward.  But looking at the small forwards, I think Larry Bird is the best of em', so he's my choice."
AF: "Give me one second here guys—two big picks ahead.  What to do...

OK, with the fourth pick in the draft, I'm going with Magic Johnson.  I believe he's the most well rounded player to ever step on the court.  He's 6'9", and can play small forward or point guard.  He's clearly the best passer ever, better than Stockton or Nash—perhaps not as many assists as Stockton, but that's because Magic was too busy scoring 20 a game. 

When Kareem was down late in the '81 Finals, Magic stepped up and dominated at center, scoring 42 points.  He could play any position on the court.  I don't think I need to justify this any further, and I'm pretty thrilled to get him with the fourth pick—Magic Johnson, my man.

With the fifth pick, I'm gonna go with Bill Russell.  Although he's a player from ancient lore, he's gotta be the best defender in NBA history.  Now that Shaq is on Trey Bradley's team, I think perhaps Bill Russell could teach him a thing or two on the other side of the ball. 
Watching him play on tapes, looking over his numbers, and reading about how he is regarded by his contemporaries, there's no question that if you need defense on your team—which, seeing as the first three picks in this draft were MJ, Shaq, and Larry Legend—you gotta go with Mr. Bill Russell.  Also, if you want to talk about having a magic touch as a winner and leader, this guy won 11 NBA championships, more than anyone in the history of the game."
MB: "I am going to select Tim Duncan."

AF: "That's a good pick."

MB: "Not that I need to justify this, but eight times all defense, over 50 percent career shooting, and has pretty much been unstoppable except when he gets into a head game with himself at the free throw line.  More importantly, he's got a great sense of humor."

AF: "I've also noticed over the years that he can do all the little things."

DF: "He's a terrific swimmer too."

AF: "And he finished college—pretty rare these days."

DF: "Trey Bradley—who you got?"

TB: "I'm going to make a draft decision here more than anything else.  Knowing Dave is in need of a center, I'm going to make my center pick and hope there's a decent point guard left later. 

So I'm gonna go with Wilt—and have him play power forward."

AF: "Oooohh—."

TB: "I'll have the biggest front line in this just can't pass on Wilt.  50.4 POINTS A GAME?"
AF: "Truly unbelievable." 

DF: "You gonna draft Manute Bol and Shawn Bradley next?"

AF: "I think it's safe to say that Trey's team will set the record for most children out of wedlock."

TB: (laughs)

DF: "I'm gonna have to go with no-tip Pippen, as he's known now in Chicago.  It all starts with defense for me—and I love how he can play both shooting guard and small forward.  He's long, he's athletic—and on the other side of the floor, he practically invented the point-forward position.  He can hit outside shots and is great at controlling the tempo of the game.  Great rebounder as well. 

And obviously, he complements my shooting guard—"


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