Building the Perfect NBA Team

Anthony HigginsContributor IJanuary 7, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 18:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets drives around David West #30 of the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena on December 18, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Hornets defeated the Nuggets 98-92.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

I saw an article on CBS in which a writer described his perfect team of NBA players while keeping the team under the salary cap.

I enjoyed the article so much that I decided give it a try and assemble me own team.

The only rule—choose a team of 12 players, while staying below the $57.7 million salary cap.

Let's get started.


Point Guard: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics, $2.09 Million

Every team needs a point guard who is a capable leader and who takes care of the ball.

Rondo has an assist/turnover ratio of 3.29, good for seventh among qualified point guards in the NBA and ahead of some point guards regarded as better players, such as Deron Williams, Steve Nash, and Chauncey Billups.

Rondo is also an outstanding rebounder for his size. He also ranks seventh among point guards with four rebounds per game.

He really sets himself apart from other point guards on the defensive side of the ball.

He leads the league with 2.6 steals/game. His on the ball pressure is relentless as he is one of the quickest players in the league.

Many people have questions about his shooting abilities because he doesn't shoot well from outside or the free throw line, but Rondo has learned to use his quickness to his advantage and drives to the basket more often than not.

He is a very durable player, having missed only 12 games over his whole NBA career.

He is the perfect team player and is a great building block to any team.

Shooting Guard: Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers, $3.91 Million

Brandon Roy isn't extremely great at one thing, but he is extremely good at a lot of things.

First, he is an excellent leader and the closer for his team. He almost always has the ball in his hands at the end of close games.

Roy ranks fourth in scoring among shooting guards, behind Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and Monta Ellis. He is also an underrated passer, averaging over five assists per game.

He is an average shooter from behind the three point line, but he always seems to find a way to put the ball in the basket. He is a good free throw shooter as well, making just under 80 percent of his shots.

Roy is capable of playing three different positions—point guard, shooting guard, and small forward.

He has the ball-handling capabilities of a point guard, and, at 6'6" he is big enough to play small forward.

Small Forward: Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets, $15.78 Million

The position of small forward came down to either LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony.

With the other players selected for this team, Carmelo Anthony would be a much better fit.

LeBron needs to have the ball in his hands to be effective, while Carmelo is a much better shooter and can spot up while other players handle the ball. And, when needed, Carmelo is fully capable of taking the game over himself.

He is one of, if the not the most, well-rounded scorers in the NBA today.

He has a great touch on his outside shots, but he can also post up smaller players and has a pretty good arsenal of post moves that will either allow him to make a shot or drive to the basket and get to the free throw line.

In addition to his scoring, Carmelo has shown more dedication to the defensive end.

It shows, as he is in the top ten at the small forward position in both rebounding (6.4/game) and steals (1.16/game).

He showed this dedication in the playoffs last year by guarding Kobe Bryant in the Western Conference Finals.

Power Forward: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers, $5.84 Million

At the power forward position, I wanted to find somebody who was a good rebounder who could also spread the floor by knocking down the outside jumper. 

I ended up choosing LaMarcus Aldridge to play the four.

He isn't the greatest rebounder at the position, but he gets the job done. With the rebounding abilities of Rondo and Anthony, I am able to sacrifice a little bit in the rebounding category in order to get ahead in some other areas.

Aldridge runs the floor very well for a big man and when he gets the opportunity, he knocks down his free throws (77 percent in his career).

Aldridge is also a scrapper.

He does things that don't show up in the box score, and that is what I want in my power forward position. He can score when needed, knock down the open jumper, is a capable rebounder, and hustles every play.

Center: Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets, $2.26 Million

At center, I want someone who will play strong defense and who will make the shots he needs to.

With that in mind, I chose Brook Lopez.

Lopez is only in his second year in the NBA, but he has already shown that he is a star in the making. During his rookie season, he posted very respectable numbers of 13 points, eight rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game.

People must keep in mind that he is playing for the New Jersey Nets, meaning he does not have much help to carry the team other than Devin Harris.

He is a career 51 percent shooter with a career free throw percentage of 81 percent, showing me he can make shots and be an efficient offensive player.

Payroll for Starters: $29.88 Million

This starting unit is very capable offensively, with Rondo running the show for four very capable scorers.

Roy and Anthony will the be main offensive focal points and will take a majority of the shots.

The starters are also very active and efficient defensively.

Rondo is one of the best defensive point guards. Roy and Anthony are both above average defensively and both have good size and length.

Down low, Aldridge is quick enough to guard a few different positions, while Lopez gives the team a shot blocker at the heart of the defense.


Guard: Shannon Brown, Los Angeles Lakers , $1.99 Million

Brown is one of the most explosive players I've ever seen.

Even though he doesn't get much playing time with the defending champion Lakers, he makes the most of what he gets.

Phil Jackson has started bringing him in as the first wing off the bench because of Brown's ability to penetrate the defense and put the ball in the basket.

Guard: JJ Barea, Dallas Mavericks, $1.66 Million

Barea is one of the most overlooked players in the NBA.

He plays with his heart on his sleeve and has the emotion a team needs coming off the bench. Despite being drastically undersized, Barea is a great outside shooter and is very good at getting into the heart of the defense and either drawing a foul or finding an open teammate.

G/F: Shane Battier, Houston Rockets, $6.94 Million

Every bench needs a defensive stopper, and that is exactly what Battier is.

He is the most fundamentally sound defender in the game today. Even if the player he is guarding is having a good night, Battier continues to battle and make his opponent work for everything.

Forward: Anthony Randolph, Golden State Warriors, $1.84 Million

Randolph is basically a pick for the future.

He has loads and loads of potential, but he has not gotten nearly enough playing time.

He ranks 35th in the league in points per 48 minutes, so he knows how to score; he just doesn't get the opportunities.

Forward: Shawn Marion, Dallas Mavericks, $6.64 Million

On this team, Shawn Marion would be Mr. Do-It-All off the bench.

He is a very good defender and is capable of guarding four different positions. For his size, he is a very good rebounder.

Marion is the definition of an ultimate team player and he doesn't need to score to make an impact on the game.

F/C: Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks, $4.31 Million

This team needs another player who is capable of guarding low post players, and Al Horford will do just that. He is a very good defender down low and he also doesn't need the ball to be effective.

His impact on the game is with his defense, rebounding, and tenacity.

Center: Chris Andersen, Denver Nuggets, $3.65 Million

Chris Andersen would provide this team with two very specific things—off the ball shot blocking and a tenacity that is unmatched in the NBA.

He is one of the best off the ball shot blockers in the game today, and when he does get one of these blocks, he energizes the crowd and his teammates with his passion.

Payroll for Bench: $27.03 Million

Total Payroll: $56.91 Million Overall

(All salaries and statistics used from )


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