NBA

The Lead’s All-Time NBA Fantasy Draft: Final Rosters

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The Lead is back with the final results of the All-Time Fantasy Draft! The starting lineups are set, and now it’s time for our writers to round out the benches and asses their final rosters. They went in all different directions for this installment — one analyst’s team does not include a single active player, while another drafted a 2019-20 rookie.

PREVIOUS ROUND RESULTS: Click here for Round 1 | Click here for Rounds 2-3 | Click here for Rounds 4-5

A refresher on the rules: nine analysts set out to create a ten-man roster of the best NBA players ever. In a snake draft, the mock-general managers could take any player they wanted, and although the rosters have some loose order, positions do not matter. Peak performance is prioritized over career-long achievement; this means Derrick Rose, Bill Walton and many others have stronger cases to be drafted. However, NBA bodies of work are all that matters. International legends such as Oscar Schmidt, Drazen Petrovic and Arvydas Sabonis might see their stock fall.

Once the rosters are formed, they will compete in a simulated season on NBA 2K20. Below are the final rosters for each team, featuring starters, benches, and explanations from our writers on their philosophies.

Team Hodgson

Starting lineup: Michael Jordan (round 1, pick 1), Moses Malone (round 2, pick 18), Charles Barkley (round 2, pick 19), Allen Iverson (round 4, pick 36), Dominique Wilkins (round 5, pick 37)

Bench: Russell Westbrook (round 6, pick 54), Kevin McHale (round 7, pick 55), Gilbert Arenas (round 8, pick 72), Grant Hill (round 9, pick 73), Alonzo Mourning (round 10, pick 90)

I absolutely love how my team shaped up. With this draft being based off of every player’s prime, this team has virtually no weaknesses. In transition we are going to be deadly with Westbrook, Jordan and Wilkins. In a half court offense with guys like Jordan, Barkley, Iverson and Malone, my squad is practically unstoppable. The team also has shooting between Iverson, Arenas, and Jordan, as well as anchors on defense with Jordan, Westbrook, McHale and Mourning. Oh, and did I mention Jordan?

My favorite two picks on my squad are Iverson and Westbrook. Iverson may be undersized, but this pick allows both Iverson and Jordan to get one-one situations where they are virtually unstoppable. Westbrook being there in the 6th round is ridiculous. The dude averaged a 30-point triple-double in his prime. All four of my guards can score the ball whenever they want, while the big men and other wings complement them perfectly. I think both units have too much explosiveness and scoring when you match them up against the other squads. With the accolades my team has, coupled with a combination of athleticism and a couple of all-time defenders, all I have to say is: good luck stopping this team.

Team Hines

Starting lineup: LeBron James (round 1, pick 2), Giannis Antetokounmpo (round 2, pick 17), Anthony Davis (round 3, pick 20), Ray Allen (round 4, pick 35), Reggie Miller (round 5, pick 38)

Bench: Penny Hardaway (round 6, pick 53), Chris Mullin (round 7, pick 56), Dikembe Mutombo (round 8, pick 71), Shawn Marion (round 9, pick 74), Kristaps Porzingis (round 10, pick 89)

I aimed to build the team on what I call “Outlier Ball”, in which all five players on the floor have plus positional physical tools and are able to pass, shoot, dribble and play-make. This puts a ton of pressure on opposing teams because of the mismatches created by the size, skill, athleticism, length and versatility on both ends of the floor. While keeping this principle value in mind, I put a focus on drafting specialists and potential role-players who would fit.

Team Fuller

Starting lineup: Magic Johnson (round 1, pick 3), Oscar Robertson (round 2, pick 16), David Robinson (round 3, pick 21), Julius Erving (round 4, pick 34), Dennis Rodman (round 5, pick 39)

Bench: Patrick Ewing (round 6, pick 52), Paul Pierce (round 7, pick 57), Peja Stojakovic (round 8, pick 70), Pete Maravich (round 9, pick 75), Adrian Dantley (round 10, pick 88)

I am honored to announce that I have the best backcourt among our final rosters. Magic and the Big O form an unbelievable combination of speed, athleticism and playmaking. Once I nabbed those two, the task became easy: surround them with the best mix of complementary defenders and finishers. Julius Erving should feast on an array of passes, while David Robinson can receive easy buckets and anchor my squad’s defense. Dennis Rodman might have been a reach to some, but his top-end rebounding and hounding defense makes Rodman the perfect low-usage addition.

The one miss among my starters, however, was a perimeter game, so I aimed to shore up the three-point line with my bench. Paul Pierce and Peja Stojakovic are two sweet-shooting wings who can set the tone. And while Pistol Pete Maravich did not play with an arc for much of his NBA career, film shows he had the capability to light it up from long range. The collective spacing should help out the slashing style of Adrian Dantley and interior dominance of Patrick Ewing. No, my team does not feature a single active NBA player. But team “Old Geezers” has a skill set that transcends any era.

Team Turner

Starting lineup: Kobe Bryant (round 1, pick 4), Wilt Chamberlain (round 2, pick 15), Kawhi Leonard (round 3, pick 22), Gary Payton (round 4, pick 33), Pascal Siakam (round 5, pick 40)

Bench: Luka Doncic (round 6, pick 51), Damian Lillard (round 7, pick 58), Amar’e Stoudemire (round 8, pick 69), Glen Rice (round 9, pick 76), Joakim Noah (round 10, pick 87)

As the draft went on, an idea came to my mind when picking these players: this is a team of dogs. Guys that, without a doubt, can get big-time buckets efficiently, make plays that lead to those buckets, and, with three DPOY’s on the team (Kawhi, Payton, Noah), also thrive on the defensive end. Locking down on defense and making the opponents work for every bucket is something I needed in order to combat the star power of other teams. When the shots don’t fall, this team will certainly have its calling card to fall back on.

But with the scoring ability of this team, defense does not have to save them. Kobe obviously is one of the scoring greats, Glen Rice was a walking bucket, and some of the best scorers of today’s game are Dame, Luka and Kawhi. In the frontcourt, Pascal Siakam can defend multiple positions, especially the mobile bigs of today, as well as provide a scoring punch when needed. Amar’e Stoudemire was one of the more athletic powerhouse bigs of his era, and Joakim Noah brought unrivaled energy to the court while serving as a great passing big.  They’re two mobile big men who can defend guys from multiple eras.  Then of course, there’s Wilt, who’ll battle with the less-athletic big than he. This eclectic mix of size, scoring, defense, playmaking, athleticism, shooting and energy is what makes me love my team.

Team Brooks

Starting lineup: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (round 1, pick 5), Dirk Nowitzki (round 2, pick 14), Scottie Pippen (round 3, pick 23), Chris Paul (round 4, pick 32), Tracy McGrady (round 5, pick 41)

Bench: Ben Wallace (round 6, pick 50), James Worthy (round 7, pick 59), Yao Ming (round 8, pick 68), Joe Dumars (round 9, pick 77), Deron Williams (round 10, pick 86)

Entering this draft, I wanted to ensure I had a few ‘matchup nightmares’ that could get a bucket when needed. With Kareem, Dirk and Yao Ming, I felt I did well with this. Every roster will have defensive monsters, so I decided I should have a couple guys who essentially can’t be defended.

Outside of that need, I wanted versatility and defensive specialists. Chris Paul and, to a lesser extent, a prime Deron Williams, will assist my big men in ensuring I can get great looks on offense. Scottie Pippen is a defensive monster that can play in a number of lineups. He also gets it done offensively. T-Mac is my final offensive weapon to feature, and he and Paul will have staggered minutes.

Picks like Ben Wallace, Joe Dumars, and the rest of my bench bring an attitude and hustle to my squad. We can compete with any defense, and our offense is nearly impossible to defend.

Team Caldwell

Starting lineup: Shaquille O’Neal (round 1, pick 6), Stephen Curry (round 2, pick 13), Dwayne Wade (round 3, pick 24), Klay Thompson (round 4, pick 31), Chris Webber (round 5, pick 42)

Bench: Pau Gasol (round 6, pick 49), Carmelo Anthony (round 7, pick 60), Walt Frazier (round 8, pick 67), Elvin Hayes (round 9, pick 78), Manu Ginobili (round 10, pick 85)

Our draft is over, and I am very satisfied with how it went. I secured a lethal center-point guard combination and surrounded them with multiple elite players. My goal was to get Shaq first and go from there, ideally adding Curry or Bird to pair him with. From there, I would draft elite players that could play within a team system that didn’t always need them as the primary option.

In my mind, my team should run a Shaq-Steph pick and roll as often as possible. When the other team adjusts, we should incorporate Warriors-esque off-ball movement, which would essentially utilize all of our offensive options at once. My bench unit provides a more “traditional” style for when that’s needed. Carmelo is one of the best wing scorers ever, and will be the primary option. Hayes can do the dirty work down low, while Gasol adds passing and spacing. Manu can probably be the secondary scorer and ball-handler, while Frazier serves as the primary playmaker.

Team Johnson

Starting lineup: Larry Bird (round 1, pick 7), Kevin Garnett (round 2, pick 12), John Stockton (round 3, pick 25), Dwight Howard (round 4, pick 30), Vince Carter (round 5, pick 43)

Bench: George Gervin (round 6, pick 48), Derrick Rose (round 7, pick 61), Karl-Anthony Towns (round 8, pick 66), Blake Griffin (round 9, pick 79), David Thompson (round 10, pick 84)

This team has just a little bit of everything: flexibility, shot creation, defense and rebounding. But most of all, we have flair. KG and Bird talked an unbelievable amount of trash to everyone who wasn’t a Celtic or Timberwolf. Also, flair in a different way, with Vince Carter and Dwight Howard throwing down monster jams or kicking it out to KAT for a three-point splash. Everyone fits and everyone works together. You can run pick-and-rolls interchangeably with just about anyone who’s on the court. Bird and KG are a free two points every time, while Stockton can run the show if things get out of hand. The team chemistry would be great, the fit is perfect, and the Bird Gang is ready to fly.

Team Zola

Starting lineup: Hakeem Olajuwon (round 1, pick 8), Kevin Durant (round 2, pick 11), Karl Malone (round 3, pick 26), Isiah Thomas (round 4, pick 29), Jerry West (round 5, pick 44)

Bench: Clyde Drexler (round 6, pick 47), Chris Bosh (round 7. pick 62), Elgin Baylor (round 8, pick 65), Alex English (round 9, pick 80), Zion Williamson (round 10, pick 83)

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About Ethan Fuller

Hailing from Portsmouth, NH, Ethan is a journalism student at Boston University and writes about the Celtics for TLSM. His chief basketball teams are the Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves. Ethan is also a still-growing ultimate frisbee player.

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