What would you rather see? A sharpshooting festival or a poster dunk contest? While most NBA fans would lean towards the ladder, basketball has changed so much and even LeBron has stated that the league protects shooters over drivers nowadays.
Regardless of what you choose, it’s pretty safe to assume that both dunks and makes from three are the most exciting things to watch on an NBA game, and the things everybody expects to happen whenever some of their favorite players get the ball.
This season, the NBA has thrived with some of the most consistent pure shooters in the history of the game punishing from beyond the arc, while those explosive athletic dunkers have been left behind with most of them being just centers right now.
Still, it would be great to see a matchup featuring the best shooters in the league versus the best dunkers in the world, so today, so we’re going to create two squads with the top 10 leaders in dunks and top 10 three-point leaders.
PG: Stephen Curry
Who’s better suited for the starting point guard gig for the Shooters other than the greatest shooter this game has ever seen? Also, Curry has recorded 209 three-pointers this season, second-most in the league.
Curry owns pretty much every three-point shot related record in the league and it’s going to be a very long time before anyone tops his numbers on this regards, so he’s obviously the team’s captain for this matchup.
SG: Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard has been on a tear offensively all season long, and he’s recorded 184 makes from beyond the arc, which is good for the 6th most this season, leading the Blazers all the way to the 3rd seed in the West thanks to his sharpshooting.
Lillard has unlimited range and has ice on his veins, always peaking during clutch time and never being afraid of taking the big shot when it matters the most. So, Team Shooters can always turn on him when the ball seems heavier and more slippery at the end of key stretches.
SF: Klay Thompson
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but we get to see not one but two Dubs on this team, with both Splash Brothers being among the league’s leader in three-pointers scored. So far, Klay has scored 199 threes, 4th in the league this season.
Thompson is an elite backcourt defender and maybe the best and smoothest pure shooter in the league, either spotting up or on catch and shoot situations, so you just can’t give him an inch of space or you know he’s going to shoot over you.
PF: James Harden
Besides leading the MVP race, James Harden is also the league’s leader in three-pointers scored so far with 226 baskets from downtown, most of them coming from the top of the key hen he just pulls up leaning towards his left.
Harden is arguably the league’s most skilled offensive player right now and he’s even a master of getting fouled while shooting from three-point land, pulling off his legs to create contact and make defenders foul him unintentionally.
C: Paul George
And to round up this squad we turn to Paul George, who has scored 204 three-pointers so far throughout the year, the 3rd best mark in the Association, although he didn’t show any touch from deep whatsoever during the All-Star weekend’s festivities.
Still, George is an elite two-way player and he can just score in bunches and a huge variety of ways, so if you take away the three from him he can just shoot from the elbow, draw fouls or even explode towards the rim with an impressive dunk.
Bench: Eric Gordon, Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry, Wayne Ellington, Devin Booker
Naturally, Team Shooters features mostly great offensive players but is going to struggle a lot to contain their opposition, with not a single good defensive player in the team’s second unit at least.
Still, ball handling isn’t going to be a concern for this team as well as creating space to find the open teammate, with Kemba Walker and Kyle Lowry both being top-notch All-Star caliber point guards.
On the other hand, size could be a major issue for this second unit, featuring just combo guards that don’t have much for protecting the rim, and that aren’t strong enough to try and take the hit and draw charges against dominant big men.
PG: Ben Simmons
Team Dunkers will trust the sensational rookie Ben Simmons to take the reigns of the offense after being 6th overall in total dunks this season with 121 dunks throughout his first year in the Association.
Simmons is already one of the best passers in the league, a willing defender with a lot of room for improvement, and a young man that can really push up-tempo, especially during fast breaks, as he can run the whole court in the blink of an eye.
SG: Giannis Antetokounmpo
This team wouldn’t be complete without their most talented player and team captain: The Greek Freak, a youngster that could play and guard all 5 spots on the court and that ranks 5th in the league with 132 dunks throughout the season.
Giannis makes most of his damage below the rim as he’s still to develop a nice shooting stroke, but his ability to push up the pace, rebound, assists, and do a little bit of everything in both ends of the court make him one of the best players in the league by far.
SF: Anthony Davis
Starting at small forward, Team Dunkers will turn to Anthony Davis, their best shooter from three-point territory with 36% shooting from beyond the arc this season, and maybe their second most skilled ball handler behind Ben Simmons.
Davis used to run the point growing up so he’s crafty and skilled, and is also an elite rim protector and an MVP caliber kind of player, so if he’s able to get hot from deep, he could be this team’s X-factor for sure, also being 2nd in total dunks with 164.
PF: Clint Capela
Clint Capela has quietly become one of the most reliable defensive big men in the league this year, and he’s been a major factor for the Houston Rockets defensive surge and dominant throughout the entire campaign.
Also, he’s currently leading the league in dunks with 167, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise with both Chris Paul and James Harden constantly throwing lobs at him in pick and roll sets.
C: DeAndre Jordan
DeAndre Jordan is one of the strongest, most dominant and explosive dunkers in the past decade, so he’s been called to be the team’s starting center after recording 162 total dunks this season, third in the league.
Jordan has lost a bit of his rim protection touch but his presence is still a huge factor down low, and he’s even improved his free throw shooting percentages this season as the last guy standing in the Clippers last failed process.
Bench: Dwight Howard, Steven Adams, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Andre Drummond
Well, balance obviously isn’t this team’s forte, especially in the second unit that features 5 centers with absolutely no shooting stroke whatsoever, and none of them being much of capable ball handlers either.
This unit is a defensive beauty with Howard, Adams, Gobert and Drummond locking down the paint, with Favors being the lone weak asset on the defensive end of the hardwood for Team Dunkers.
When it comes to scoring, the second unit would rely mostly on Dwight Howard and his explosiveness to drive to the rim and Derrick Favors’ mid-range jumpers, but other than that, we’re talking mostly about putbacks.
This one’s going to be quite a lopsided matchup if you ask me, as the Team Shooters has a clear advantage in every offensive aspect of the game and Team Dunkers just don’t have the kind of personnel to make their job difficult.
Of course, Dunkers can make the most of just driving to the lane and use their physical advantage over smaller and weaker opposition, but all those 5 guards with those quick hands can force a lot of turnovers against players that aren’t used to have the rock on their hands for a long time.
Also, other than Davis and Giannis, Team Dunkers doesn’t have good perimeter defenders and Team Shooters features some of the best dribblers in the league on Harden and Curry, and they can definitely put those big men on skates with great ease.
Furthermore, while Team Dunkers are going to get most of their points below the rim, Team Shooters can score in a hugely different kind of ways with layups, free throws, pull up shots, turnarounds or you name it.
And if it wasn’t enough, even if the Dunkers manages to build a strong lead, they don’t feature any reliable free throw shooters, so the Shooters could just hack them to try and make them earn all of their points from the charity stripe. Having said that, we believe Team Shooters is completely going to demolish Team Dunkers 120-72.