NBA All-Time Starting 5: “Selfless Around Selfish”
In wake of Karl Malone announcing his NBA all-time starting five on the Dan Patrick Show this week, I decided to make my own NBA all-time starting five. Karl Malone, infamously at this point, left MJ out of his starting five. That is a mistake that I will not make.
The name I have dubbed this team is “Selfless Around Selfish.” There is one clear cut selfish ball player on this team (you can determine it for yourselves) surrounded by four of the most selfless players to play in the NBA. The idea is that if one player is going to get all of the points/shots, the other players need to understand and contribute in a multitude of other ways.
Point Guard: Magic Johnson. What could be better than a 6’9″ point guard? A 6’9″ point guard that can play any position on the court, get everyone involved, and run the fast break. He averaged 11.2 assists per game over his ENTIRE CAREER. Just imagine the fast break alley oops to MJ and LBJ. One of the best basketball minds to play the game. It was sad that his NBA career was cut shorter than he deserved.
Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan. The person this team was built around. All shots go to MJ unless MJ chooses to pass the ball, take the play off, or go golfing mid-game only to show up later to win it at the buzzer. People forget that he was also on the NBA All-Defensive team for nine seasons, while also being the ten time scoring champion. MJ was going to beat you and laugh at you at both ends of the court. The only thing that stopped him from winning eight straight titles was himself. If he would have played for 3 of the seasons in which he “retired,” then MJ would have broken the league’s all time scoring record. There is no possible reason that Malone left MJ off of his team except for the Mailman is a sore loser. Don’t disrespect MJ.
Small Forward: LeBron James. Let’s just put this out there. LeBron isn’t Michael. He’s just not. Stop comparing the two like they play the same position or have similar traits or mindsets. I could go on and on about this but back to the team. LeBron doesn’t want to be the main vocal point of a team if he doesn’t have to. He likes being a facilitator and getting his teammates involved. He also likes playing defense, running the floor, and dunking. This team would probably not have to be in a half-court set often with all of the fast breaks that Magic and LeBron would be leading. The one knock on LBJ has been his jump shooting ability, but that knock was utterly destroyed (see 2013 NBA finals game 7). The size and athleticism of LeBron makes him one of the best athletes to ever play the game. Add in his skill, drive to get better each season, and willingness to let Michael take all the shots and you have the best SF for this team.
Power Forward: Tim Duncan. This was the toughest spot to fill. Originally, I had Moses Malone here. I thought long and hard on the power forward position. I came up with various options. Move LBJ to power forward and put Oscar Robertson at small forward. Or, put Kareem or Wilt at the power forward and play with two centers. If I had needed points, Kareem would be the pick. If size is what I wanted, Wilt or even Shaq. I went with Moses Malone because he added points and rebounds, as well as has 3 MVPs and 1 Finals MVP. But I needed a selfless player who is willing to do anything for the team. Tim Duncan is that player. Duncan was selected to the All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams during each of his first 13 seasons. He was 2 MVPs and 3 Finals MVPs. Most pundits think he is the greatest power forward of all-time, rivaling the instigator of this debate: Karl “Mailman” Malone.
Center: Bill Russell. 11 NBA championships. I could really stop there, but where’s the fun in that. The only player to stop Wilt Chamberlain’s ridiculous scoring record was Bill Russell. The guy was a dynamite defender and rebounder. In his time in the NBA he AVERAGED 22.5 rebounds PER GAME. IN HIS CAREER. How many times does a player get 20 rebounds in the NBA these days? Not a whole bunch. Yes, his scoring was lackluster for a guy of his size, but why does that matter when you have MJ taking all the shots. All you need Russell to do is to get any missed shots and kick them back out to Magic or MJ.
Coach: Phil Jackson
Off the bench: Oscar Robertson (Fantastic all around player.), Shaq (Just for his dunk on Chris Dudley. YouTube it.), Larry Bird (Because we don’t want to get sued for not having a white guy.) and I guess Karl Malone can be brought in during a blowout for mop up duty.