All-Time Starting NBA Five

Stealing this idea from SI. Who wrote:

On the heels of naming our 50 greatest players in NBA history, paneled its NBA writers to ask them who is in their alltime starting five. Some went with pure star power, others with personal favorites, and almost everyone went with Air Jordan. Scroll down to check out the five-man lineups and explanations from Lee Jenkins, Chris Ballard, Ben Golliver, Rob Mahoney and Andrew Sharp.

So lets look at their team, then I’ll present mine.

Andrew Sharp’s five: Stephen Curry, Ray Allen, Scottie Pippen, Kevin Garnett, Hakeem Olajuwon

— Ok, this is a joke right?
Curry and Allen? I’m going to destroy this backcourt with a half dozen lineups. I do love Hakeem and KG, and Pippen is going to be a top 2 or 3 small forward on any team, but I just can’t handle this backcourt. Stephen Curry

Chris Ballard’s five: Stephen Curry, Ray Allen, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan

See Andrew Sharps. I have Duncan at the 5, and Bird to go with Pippen. I love having Bird on here, and the passing is going to be great, but again, that backcourt . . .geez.

So now that we got the two teams that make me upset that I have to have a regular job out of the way, lets get to the contenders.

Rob Mahoney’s five: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, LeBron James, Bill Russell

— Pretty much a standard GOAT team. I can flop Bird and James based on who gets hot, and I can slide them all over the place. The main problem is does a low post center really hurt Jordan and Magic? Volumes have been written about Jordan playing with a low-poster, but Magic might run into the same issues. This team will be a killer in transition though.

Ben Golliver’s five: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Bill RussellAndre vs LeBron

Lee Jenkins’s five: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Bill Russell

— GOAT 2.0, I just take Duncan over Bird, and to me, thats an upgrade, and I love Bird. To be honest, if I was going the GOAT route, I might swap Russell out for Bird and slide Duncan down.  But two writers did pick the same team, so that should say something.

I will ask a question though, with 5 writers, why not do a draft or dump a writer and have a mini-tournament? We did one at the old site I’m gonna have to dig up one day.

So lets look at my team.

As I have mentioned, I’m going with personal NBA history. So 1980-ish. I’m going strictly with who I saw play and who I would put with this team.

Jordan and PippenLets start off with the easy ones. MJ and Duncan have to automatic. I actually would listen to an argument for someone like McHale, since there is only one ball and players have to share. I need players that will kill you on defense and not have to dominate the ball to be awesome on defense. MJ does dominate the ball, but it doesn’t hurt my feelings to have him there. I can put MJ on any player under 6’8 and ya’ll have a nice night. This is also why a Magic/Jordan pairing for the backcourt works so well, Magic is a great player, but he’s a minus defender- so you have to have someone there that can cover for him (I.E Cooper) My issue with having Magic on an All-Star team like this is who do you cover him with, if I have  5 scorers, then the one that Michael is covering is getting 10, and the one Magic is on will drop 35+ on you easy, you almost have to hope only one gets hot at a time. If both get hot, good luck.

So I need a point that can defend. I’m going to plant my flag for someone that’s a bit unorthodox, but again, I saw him play, and if I’m getting one game to go- I can’t take Magic, and I’m not taking Stockton. I need a peak guy, I wanted Zeke, I really did, but 29% from 3 is just a killer. So.

Chris Paul.


I take him about 08-09 and rolling 22 and 11 with almost 3 steals and 5.5 boards? Yes, please. Chris Paul

So now lets talk Small Forward. LeBron is the best of all-time, yeah, I said it, and then we have Bird, who’s a double double machine, and is a master of offense, but to be honest, I think I have to take Pippen. Seriously, he’s used to playing with Jordan, can rebound almost as well as Bird, will work his ass off on the defensive end, and has a hard to defend bank shot. If I have a team full of Jordans on the other side, I have the size and the skillset to still get 20 points and 7 boards.

Center is the hard one. I’m not old enough to see Wilt or Mr Bill, or Kareem and Moses at their peak form.

I cannot have a plodder, or some that sucks at free throws, a guy I have to bench with 10 seconds left on the clock is not who I want, or a guy that will look to pass on the elbow with 5 seconds left on the shot clock. So bye to Webber, Shaq, Ewing, David Robinson, Dwight Howard and leaves me with –

HakeemHakeem. Might not be the most dominant center of all time, but he does play hard, is a very good defender in either the high or low post, and won’t get in the way, plus will run almost any center that goes over 300 pounds to the ground.

How about I get 89-90 Hakeem? 24.3 PPG, 14 boards, yeah that’s nice, but 4.6 blocks a game? That work ok? No? How about 2.9 assists a game- or even 2.1 steals a game. Plus shooting over 50% from the feild. Hows that working for you?

So that’s my team.

Chris Paul, MJ, Pippen, Duncan and Hakeem.
First Team All Defense going 5/9/8/8/5. That’s 37 total first team awards. Plus all these guys can drop 30 on you on any given night.


Who knows, maybe I’ll challenge the Roundtable to this.

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