Let’s pretend to be General Managers for a minute, imagining we have the chance to start our very own franchise from scratch right now and giving ourselves the chance to pick the cornerstone of our team among other talented stars to form a formidable starting five group.
Of course, this will be no easy task, considering we’ll be naming 10 of the best players in the history of the Association for this exercise, as well as a brief description on why you should choose them instead of the other players on the list.
You have to choose wisely, as we’ll provide the names randomly and in no particular order, encouraging you at home to select your starting five based not only on your preferences but also trying to think what’s best for the team.
So tonight, you’ll have to choose 5 out of these 10 talented ballers: Vince Carter, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, John Stockton, Reggie Miller, DeMarcus Cousins.
Wanna talk about longevity and durability? Then Carter is the obvious move right here. We’re talking about the most athletic player on this list and probably one of the top 5 most athletic players in the history of the game, as well as a fierce competitor that can put on a show and bring a lot of fans to the stadium with his breathtaking posterizing dunks and sick hops to be the city’s main entertainment.
Are you kidding me? How could you even consider anybody ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo? The Greek Freak’s ceiling simply doesn’t exist and he has the potential to become the most dominant two-way player of our era. His handles, his fearless attitude, his wingspan and his already developed and versatile offense will only be scarier when he fixes his shot from mid- and long-range, and you’ll be looking at a multiple MVP winner right here in the future.
Offense wins games, but defense wins championships. Luckily for you, Tim Duncan offers you both as the most balanced player among all those aforementioned. Duncan is a warranty of hard work, sacrifice and courage on both ends of the court, being able to put up 20+ points in a very ugly but consistent fashion, while also locking down the paint and being the team’s defensive anchor, so if you wanna play it safe, you gotta go with Duncan right now.
What’s life without some risk? With Charles Barkley, you have the highest risk-high reward player on the list. Of course, he may be difficult to deal with and you better get him away from nightclubs, but even with his misbehavior, Chuck is one of the most committed competitors you’ll ever see, and a guy that just won’t back down from anybody. Besides, controversy sells, and you bet your butt you’ll get a lot of that if you go with Barkley.
C’mon, all this debate is ridiculous, you’ve got to go with LeBron James, period. LeBron isn’t the best shooter you’ll find on this list, but he definitely makes up for that with his physical presence and ability to crush everybody on his way to the rim, as well as being a proven player come crunch time. Besides, he’s one of the best playmakers we have right here and has proven to be a very dominant defender as well, so, why the hell are you even considering someone else before this guy?
Kobe Bryant is the guy you think of when you think about competition and loyalty. If you choose him, you can be sure that he’ll never leave you, and even if he may not be the coolest guy to hang out with, you’re never getting less than 150% from him. Kobe never sleeps, he never eats, all he does is ball, and that’s a guy everybody would want on their team. Scoring with the best of them, Kobe Bryant will simply destroy you if he has the chance to do so and if he doesn’t, he’ll create the chance, and you just can’t overlook that Mamba mentality.
If you want fun and a load of highlights, you definitely have to go with Tracy McGrady right now. T-Mac is - according to dozens of NBA stars - one of the toughest guys to guard, and he’d definitely lead the league in points if he was still active. Being the master of the clutch, you know you can trust McGrady to get the job done when you need him the most, and he’s an instant fan favorite and trend setter, something quite good for the finances.
Stockton may not be the flashiest guy among them, but he’s - hands down - the ultimate playmaker in the history of the league. Being perhaps the most dominant two-way point guard this game has ever seen, you’re getting a lot of durability and the best basketball IQ among all those named if you decide to go with John. So, if you’re an old fashioned basketball lover, you should definitely go with Stockton already.
What could’ve been of Reggie Miller in today’s NBA? You have the chance to find out right now, and you'd be really dumb to miss this opportunity. Reggie Miller was the ultimate king of the three-pointer before Ray Allen’s and Steph Curry’s surge on a league that didn’t use the shot from distance as often as we do now, and considering his trash talking, his clutchness, his eagerness to win and his skillset, he’d be a lock to lead the league in three’s made on a yearly basis.
And last but not least, we’ve got the best choice among all aforementioned: DeMarcus Cousins. Yeah, his attitude isn’t exactly the best, but he’s one of the few big men in the league that’s more than capable of running a team’s offense and put the ball on the floor, as well as being a very hard worker on defense with some upside as well. Cousins has the potential to become the most dominant center in the league, while also blossoming into a very reliable shooter from distance, and that definitely makes him the obvious choice at this point.
My selection and starting lineup: PG LeBron James, SG Kobe Bryant, SF Tracy McGrady, PF Charles Barkley, C Tim Duncan. What is your selection?