No doubt you must spend enough time on the internet if you are reading a blog (of any kind). ESPN.com has this new feature that may just make you spend another hour or two on the web now. The self-proclaimed worldwide leader usually avoids small markets like I avoid going to pilates. (Seriously ladies, we don't want to go, don't drag us to it because your gal friends couldn't make it this week) Occasionally, though, they do something fun on their website that all fans can enjoy. I am, of course, talking about their "The Greatest ____ (team) of All Time" web time sink. It's fun because we get to play what if. (Also fun because you get to make some really bad rosters - the Grizz can have, if you make all the wrong choices, the worst team ever)
They make it limited by having you pick just 5 guys, for the sake of simplicity. I picked John Stockton, Pete Maravich, Andrei Kirilenko, Karl Malone and Mehmet Okur. Insanity? I don't think so. Find out why, after the jump...
The easiest ones to pick were Karl Malone (99.1% of the people who submitted their 5-man rosters picked him), John Stockton (92%) and Pete Maravich (84.4%). (Note, these percentages are for the time that I did this, they very well may change by the time you visit, if you ever do) I don't think that any arguments can be made about these three. They are, without a doubt, the three best players in franchise history. Jeff Hornacek is in my personal favorite Top 5 Jazzman exclusive club, but The Pistol was one of the best. Deron Williams is great as well, no doubt, but he's following greatness. Williams never led the league in assists, for all of his great crossover YouTube mixes. Food for thought.
Instead it's better to focus on the other two guys, namely Mehmet Okur (48.2%) and Andrei Kirilenko (9.8%).
Are these guys the greatest All-Time for their position? I don't know, but I wanted to collect the 5 best players to make a the best possible team, not the 5 best players period.
The overwhelming favorite is, for good reason, Adrian Dantley (85.9%). He's a Hall of Famer who should have won a ring, had Detroit not shipped him away midseason. He was a powerhouse with the ball and a powerhouse personality. His scoring talents are legendary, but would they even be needed when on the same floor with Karl Malone? Karl's epic scoring ability is greater than Adrian's, and Karl even had more consistent range as his career went on. Of course, the Jazz recognized this early on and got rid of Dantley in real life after they got Karl.
What else did Dantley bring to the table besides the alpha dog attitude?
Sideburns? Okay, I got you on that one . . . but that doesn't win games. Or at least that's what my coach told me back in high school. (It was a different time back int the 90s, sideburns made a big comeback then)
There was only one ball anyway, and if it was going inside to Malone, there would be no need for Dantley. Rather, you'd need a versatile guy who can do a bit of everything - including sublimating his game for the greater good.
That guy *is* Andrei Kirilenko. He has better range and was a better spot up shooter (which says something) than Adrian. He also played defense. A Stockton/Kirilenko tandem in a half court defensive set would end up being deflection city. Which would turn into a fast break the other way finishing with either a Karl Malone hammer dunk or a Memo three as the trailer getting a behind the back pass from Pete. It would be, in a word, quite Jazzy.
We'd be giving up quite a bit in terms of interior defense by not taking Mark Eaton (43.3%). This I know, but Okur's strengths (and I'm presuming that any games this team would play would be with the current rules of the day, hence, the need for a zone defense busting center) out weighs the loss of +3 blocks per game from Mark. I have talked about this at length though (see: part 1 and 2), so I'm not going to belabor the point. Memo's three point shooting would open up the floor for Karl to work, AK to cut, and Pistol to go iso.
An alternative view would be to select team mates from successful time periods, and then tweek that roster according to the faults of that team. The Stockton and Malone finals teams were good. Russell was a very nice defender, but he wasn't as good as AK. I'm not saying that Jordan wouldn't have had his way with Andrei (who was, in reality, a teen back then, but playing pro ball in Russia), but I know that AK in his present NBA form would not have bit on a steal chance and trusted his length to make the shot harder to make. Russell was a way better three point shooter though . . . though . . . Memo shot over 40% not too long ago, so that would be a moot point if you substitute Russell/Ostertag for AK/Memo.
Ostertag had a lot of faults. One thing that would piss me off would be the number of times he would foul a guy and the guy would still score. For the amount of flack that Memo gets as an interior defender, I rarely see him make that mistake. Ostertag's inability to even FOUL correctly gave Jordan's Bulls 3-4 extra points a game in those two series. Also, Memo's range could have made other teams pay for doubling Malone. WIn-win on both sides of the court.
What do you guys think? Please feel free to give your opinions and try it out for yourself. It is a 'hoot', as some people say.