Ultimate Team: NBA

More than once I’ve played the game where you make up a team if you could pick anyone in the game. Sometimes the parameters change regarding who you can pick, but the results are often similar. The majority of the time people pick the best players from the pool of players available with one or two of their favorite players that aren’t necessarily amazing thrown in as well. The problems I have with this way of doing this (yes I have problems with a game very few people outside of nerds on forums have even participated in) is that team chemistry is rarely taken into account and teams have too many of the greatest players so the lists can be repetitve and boring.

When I made this team – 5 starters, 7 Bench, 3 Practice Players (guys in suits behind the bench) – I tried to abide by 5 tentative rules:
1. No more than 5 current Hall of Famers.
2. Pretend this is a league that would have some sort of draft. Therefor, my starting lineup would not be able to consist of the 5 best players at their position. No Magic, Jordan, Bird backcourts here.
2. Try to make it so the players would accept their role. This encourages picking guys who aren’t necessarily in the upper echelon, but are above average or a specialist of some kind. The 3 practice squad guys could not consist of anyone that would have ever been considered anything more than a very solid player.
4. Assume the player is at the peak of his NBA career. If some guy was awesome in college or overseas I’m not taking those numbers into account. Also, I cannot pick anyone who has never been on an NBA team (but I can pick guys drafted this year). Sorry Matt Howard, I would have loved to have you on my practice squad.
5. Assume this team will actually be playing against other teams that are full of super stars. This will make more sense when you see some of my selections.


PG: Pete Maravich

If the basketball Gods would have ever given me the option of being made in the archetype of any player it would have been Maravich. He was a great ball handler and passer and could score in just about any way possible from just about anywhere on his side of half court. He also did it with a unique flair that made him both fun to watch and probably fun to play with. Technically, he might be considered a shooting guard within the NBA circles, but he was more a combo guard and I love combo guards. They let you get away with so much more in the ways of substitutions and match-ups defensively. He starts on my team because a) he’s one of my favorite players ever b) his style of play would definitely put asses in the seats and c) he was known to rock a pretty wicked mustache from time to time.

SG: Reggie Miller

He’s my favorite player of all time and essentially defined my basketball love in the mid 90s. He was an incredible competitor and could go on scoring binges, often late in close games, unlike any other player before him (8 points 9 seconds). He definitely was streaky, but on a team this loaded with talent there wouldn’t be as much pressure on him to score every night.

SF: Larry Bird

I might as well pick the very best player in at least one position, and considering I don’t really love a lot of small forwards this was a pretty easy decision. I don’t really need to say why I would pick a player nicknamed “The Legend,” but above all else he brings the championship presence that is lacking with a lot of my other players. Plus, with Reggie and Larry on the floor at the end of games there is no way I’ll lose a lead because of missed free throws. By the way, I realize this pick sets a precedence that if white guys want to make my squad they better be willing to grow a mustache. I have no problem with this. Will I include Kurt Rambis, Chuck Nevitt, and Adam Morrison so I can make an uber-mustachioed nordic line-up? Read on and find out.

PF: Charles Barkley

Sir Charles can represent the The round mound of rebound will have plenty of opportunities to run the floor to grab long rebounds with the amount of shots being put up by the above 3 players. Also he will get a lot of easy buckets by running the floor and getting easy dishes from The Pistol. I think it’s good to have a character on a team. He’ll keep the mood light, but not in a team cancerous type of way.

C: Hakeem Olajuwon

Reggie is so lucky he’s my favorite player ever because my starting line-up could have been fully mustached. Making all 70s women swoon with ecstasy. I’ve only bought shoes for 4 different players, and his cheap K-Mart brand shoes with the word “Dream” etched down the sole were one of them. That’s not the only reason I’m picking him. To say nothing about his ability to score in the post, the man was great at defense being the NBA’s Top shot blocker of all time and the only player to ever record 3,000 blocks and 2,000 steals in his career (which will help if one of my guards or forwards was playing the matador in this legendary league). He’s almost a guaranteed double-double, and is one of only a handful of players to ever record a quadruple-double. He may also be one of the classiest guys in the history of the league which is always a plus.


PG: Gary Payton

A large part of me wanted to pick Nash for the back-up which would have given me the most fun PG rotation to watch in the history of the universe. Instead I went with a guy who could handily run the offense (or let Maravich run it from the SG position) and shut down or severely diminish just about any premiere PG in the history of the league (save for Magic, who probably had too much size for him).

SG: Sidney Moncrief

This is 3/4s another defensive pick (the other 1/4 is the fact that I can sub him in for Reggie for the 100% mustache line-up…I’m not sure anyone cares about althlete’s mustaches as much as me). In my mind if some team had two great scoring guards and had the last shot to win the game, I could trot Payton and Moncrief out there and feel very confident in my ability to hold the lead, but don’t take my word for it: “When you play against Moncrief, you’re in for a night of all-around basketball. He’ll hound you everywhere you go, both ends of the court. You just expect it.” – Michael Jordan.

SF: Danny Granger

Honestly, he was the better overall player of the two guys I would have picked. I really like him, but this position mattered very little considering Larry Bird isn’t going to be sitting very many minutes. Danny can come in and be a solid player both defensively and offensively. Plus he is good with the fans (see picture).

PF: Blake Griffin

Yes I am completely on this young man’s bandwagon, but why shouldn’t I be? He’s arguably the most fun player to watch in the NBA today. Just imagine the energy my building would have when Blake Griffin and Pete Maravich are on the floor together. I imagine he would play about 20 minutes per game on average and get roughly 32 alley-oops a game. More asses in the seats, plus he’s young and of high enough character that he probably wouldn’t bitch about playing time until a few years down the road.

C: Arvydas Sabonis

I may have started chanting, “White guy mus-tache!” by myself when I saw this picture. Besides that obvious plus to his making my team I imagine that Bird, Reggie, Maravich, and Griffin would all love playing with arguably the best passing big man ever. Within the rules of my system this is an intriguing pick because Sabonis was past his very best days when he played in the NBA. However he was still a very good player (and the passing ability never really goes away) and since he was slightly older with some knee issues he probably wouldn’t mind getting less minutes than Hakeem.

BENCH: Roy Hibbert

Remember those knee issues for Sabonis? We’ll have to give him some nights off and Hibbert’s the man for the job. I think he would benefit a lot from playing with Hakeem as well and hopefully develop many of the same skills and essentially become a poor man’s version of him. This is just a complete fandom pick. He’s a great guy and a hard worker. I could have picked centers that are technically better than him and still fit my rules, but I really didn’t want to. Give me “Double Nickels” any day. Plus, look at him about to eat “the pumpkin” there, get it…get it. My Clark Kellogg humor is wasted on this blog.

BENCH: George Hill

I would be remised to not include the only pro to ever come from my college. He fits into my combo guard love affair (see: Maravich), has a body fat percentage of something like 3, and could easily shave the chin part of that goatee and fit in perfectly with the rest iof the squad (sorry).

Practice Players:

Antonio Davis, Jarrett Jack, Wally Szczerbiak

Go well with Hill and Hibbert to make the third team in practice a complete squad. I like all of them quite a bit. Antonio Davis was always one of my favorite players as a kid.

Jarrett Jack is a journeyman who I’ve always liked and brings the two most important traditions my made up team has established (combo guard and lip hair).

Wally Szczerbiak stood up to Kevin Garnett when everyone else pissed their pants and wavered in his faux badass intimidation bullshit (which has later been uncovered as bullying that only T’Wolves and Celtics fans refuse to acknowledge). Minnesota fans never appreciated him as much as they should have. He wasn’t a great defender, but he did work hard and overachieved like hell on the offensive end. Too bad he needed to be the third or fourth option and not the second. Just look at how excitable he makes my back up point guard…

Feel free to share with me who you would pick on your team, and then I’ll tell you why the Mustachioed Bandidos (greatest team name ever) would annihilate them.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lydia on August 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I’m surprised you picked A. Davis after he botched your name on those shoes….


  2. Posted by Ty on August 26, 2011 at 11:44 am

    My team would destroy yours.

    Staring Lineup
    PG – John Stockon
    SG – Michael Jordan
    SF – Lebron James
    PF – Dennis Rodman
    C – Moses Malone

    PG – Rajon Rondo
    SG – Penny Hardaway
    SF – Chris Mullin
    PF – Shawn Kemp
    C – Alonzo Mourning
    C/PF – Sam Perkins
    PG – Mookie Blaylock

    Tyler Hansborough
    JJ Barea
    Bruce Bowen


    • Not in a seven game playoff. James and Jordan cannot co-exist. Moncrief will harrass Jordan until LeBron folds like laundry. I am very upset with myself for not picking Big Smooth. I should have grabbed him over Hibbert.


      • Posted by Ty on August 26, 2011 at 1:13 pm

        LBJ knows MJ is the man. My lineup and bench has nastiness and defense about them with enough offensive fire power to keep pace with your team. The only thing I may have done differently would be to have John Starks on my team. I want the old Pistons Bad Boys type of attitude. By the way, I assume the NBA is going to have 80s rules where my guys can get aggressive without Reggie flopping all over the court?

      • Reggie played in the 90s which was as rough as the 80s, or have you not heard the interviews with the Pacers and Knicks were they said that anyone who drove the lane was getting sent to the ground.

        Also, that’s a hell of a comment considering how reliant LBJ is on the refs to give him bogus calls to get to the line. He can drive the lane out of control searching for the smallest bit of contact to head to the line.

        Hopefully the refs would call the blatant elbows Stockton throws out everytime he uses a screen.

  3. Posted by Ty on August 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    My team wins in 7. The. End.


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