Thursday, April 10, 2008

All-Time Fast-Break team.

(EDIT: 6th man included.)

Today at workjob number one, I got into a discussion about the all-time greats and run-first basketball. My friend Laurence asked for my all-time fast-breakbasketball team members-- one that was capable of winning games and was aesthetically pleasing to my love of basketball. I'll share his first and then mine (with explanations and team analysis).

First off, though, this post came at the brink of a must-win game for the eighth seed in the West. I know it's baseball season and all and I have allegiances to my favorite team of all time (oh to be .500 for the Yanks series), but I could't help but get pumped for the Warriors-Nuggets. No, they didn't play good defense and no, neither of them have seen an off-balance shot they don't like, but think of the offensive talent level in this game: Iverson, "Ran"thony, the Baron, Cap'n Jack, Monta (my newest favorite player in the universe not named Garnett) and the rebound machine that is Andris Biedrins.

The difference in this game (to me) will be the fact that these teams are outstanding offensive rebounding teams. I tried to emulate this on my "points" team. While I enjoyed the game, I was covertly thinking of how badly I'd like to see my fantasy fast-break team play together.

Now, to the point. The only rules here are: starters and a sixth man, you should assume each of these players is in their prime no matter when they played, defense is no matter and we decided to put together two different squads no matter how good the picks were. Also, he got to pick first, so I didn't get Jordan or Magic.

Laurence's team: Isaiah Thomas (PG), Akeem (before the H) (C), Clyde Drexler (F), Magic (SG), Worthy (PF), Gervin (6).

My team:

Steve Nash (PG)-- No one runs the point on a run-first team like him. No one. I'm dead serious. I considered a ton of point guards from Cousy to Isaiah as well, but Nash is the man I want running a fast-break team throughout history forever (other than Magic-- fucking second pick). This makes the rest of the team click.

Amare Stoudamire (PF)-- Sticking with the new kids here, I love the unselfish nature of Amare on the break, the monstrousness in the short-half-court set and the offensive rebounds galore. Everything about this man is scoring in bunches if Nash and he are on a good level. To be sure, he is one of the greatest running power forwards the game has seen. Ever.

Wilt Chamberlain (C)-- He scored 100 in a game. 100. Points. He can run, he passes to cutters well, and he always finished. How much better can you get?

Dominique Wilkins (SF)-- Here's where I will get slaughtered, probably. Think about it, though. He slashes, he fills lanes and he has speed and power. He finished well. He was always a guy that got good separation for quick shots. Here's the thing-- he's a cutter. He always found the basket
and knew how to score when he got there-- with or without the ball. On top of all of that, he could handle the ball at any point. Putting him and Nash together put towo certified ballhandlers in charge of a break and two guys that could find separation all over the floor.

Earl Monroe (SG)-- At first I considered Pete Maravich for a purely stylistic understanding of fast break basketball, but "The Pearl" stood out. In the films I have seen of him (most recently in "Black Magic," which was awesome), he was a pure passer, shooter and an amazing runner. He wasn;'t the fastest man on the court, but he got to his slots quickly on the break and had moves unthinkable.

Adrian Dantley (6th Man)-- Is there a need to explain this? He's a genius who deserved a championship. A hall-of-fame player with the word RUN written all over him.

Monroe, being the final piece of my starting squad, brings it all together. You have three ball-handlers, two rebounders, a scorer at center, a monster power forward, a pass-first point guard who can shoot the three lights-out, and my favorite shooting guard of all-time. Monroe is the intangibles guard-- he has the flash when necessary, the ability to hit the midrange jumper at will and the overall mentality of the best player on the court at any given moment. 'Nique starts to struggle or lags off and Monroe picks up the slack. He can trail or lead the break, has a good entry pass for the bigs inside and knows how to get tot he open spots if the quick score doesn't come. He's the guy I was most proud of picking.

What about your all-time fast-break team? Let's get some commentary, people.

Next up? All-defense team.

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