Going 82 and 0 on an NBA regular season seems like an impossible milestone to achieve, as not even the mighty Chicago Bulls nor the 73-9 Golden State Warriors managed to pull it off despite being very close of doing so.
Regardless of how good and stacked your team is, you just can’t forget the fact that you’re playing against the best basketball players in the world, and any given night things may not go your way at all.
Injuries, fatigue, not getting calls, bad luck or just taking a day off because you’re already classified for the playoffs can flush your perfect season down the drain, and most coaches would rather rest the starters and keep them fresh for the playoffs than just entering record books after an 82-0 campaign.
Nonetheless, it’s pretty nice to just imagine we could put together a squad that’s so well round up, so balanced, so good in both ends of the court, that no other team in the world would be able to get the W against them even with their starters taking the day off.
So what we’re going to do today is to take three different 12 player squads, speaking about the pros and cons about every team, so you vote at home and decide which roster is more likely to have an 82 - 0 season.
Starters: Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson, LeBron James, Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis
Bench: Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin, Nikola Jokic, Kevin Love, Victor Oladipo
Well, well, well, the first team is looking as sharp as it is, and this may be perhaps the smartest squad of them all, considering they got LeBron James, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler and Gordon Hayward aboard, 4 of the guys with the highest basketball IQ in all the NBA.
Playmaking definitely won’t be an issue with Westbrook, Jokic, CP3 and the King pulling the strings of the offense, and that Anthony Davis protecting the rim would definitely make up for Towns defensive liabilities.
Also, if we’re talking about defense, a unit featuring Paul, Thompson, Butler, James and Davis isn’t going to let you score without paying the price for it, and this team features the most athletic and explosive guards of the league on Westbrook and Oladipo as well.
Their backup big men aren’t really good defenders, with Griffin, Jokic and Love all being great rebounders but pretty much soft down low, but they can all record a 20-10 line on any given night with great ease.
Besides, the lack of rim protection in their second unit, their other liability could be three-point shooting, as neither Westbrook, James, Butler or Hayward are true shooters from beyond the arc.
Starters: Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins
Bench: Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Carmelo Anthony, Paul Millsap, DeAndre Jordan, Al Horford, CJ McCollum
This squad can definitely light it up from distance, featuring as much as 7 great shooters in Irving, Harden, Durant, Cousins, Lillard, Anthony and McCollum, so spacing and pace definitely won’t be an issue here.
If we’re talking about rim protection, this squad can turn to DeAndre Jordan paired with Kevin Durant, two of the league’s elite shot blockers, while Giannis Antetokounmpo’s huge wingspan can also come handy in switches.
Paul Millsap and Al Horford are two big men with really great hands, have a lot of range and are deadly pick and roll ballers, while Cousins new found range can also stretch the floor on a team that’s set to run all night long and punish from beyond the arc.
Also, these guys aren’t going to choke under pressure when it matters the most, as DeRozan, Durant, Lillard and Kyrie have already proven to be extremely capable of single-handedly lead their teams during the clutch time as if they were playing streetball.
Talking about their flaws, we believe their defense could really use an extra pair of hands, as neither Anthony, Kyrie, Lillard, McCollum or Harden are known for their defensive abilities, although they can simply outrun and outshoot all opposition any given night.
Starters: Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Joel Embiid, Rudy Gobert
Bench: John Wall, Devin Booker, Ben Simmons, Kristaps Porzingis, Marc Gasol, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins
And if a balance is what you’re looking for, team 3 is for you, combining sharpshooting monsters like Curry, George, Booker and Porzingis with top-notch defenders such as Leonard, Gobert, Gasol and Draymond Green.
This team features a couple of the best two-way players in the Association in George and Leonard as their wings stoppers, while Embiid has the opportunity to keep proving that he’s also worthy of the two way star label with his crafty moves in the post and shot blocking ability.
With John Wall, Ben Simmons and Draymond Green, Curry could just play off the ball as the two guard, and with Gasol and Gobert setting screens, you know he’s going to have dozens of wide open shots from beyond the arc night in and night out.
Team 3 can either run the floor with all shooting lineup or control the rhythm of the game with ball movement and a slow pace on a San Antonio Spurs kind of way with Marc Gasol as their go-to-guy down low.
Also, Devin Booker and Andrew Wiggins are a prime 1-2 punch off the bench, the ladder cutting baseline and attacking the paint, while the first gets wide open looks from downtown as defenses focus on containing Wiggins.
Nonetheless, even if this team looks perfect as it is, their main problem would be staying healthy, with Simmons, Leonard, Embiid, Booker, Gobert and even Wall and Curry being kind of injury prone and tending to miss a lot of games.