Here's a look at Paul Forrester's complete roster and the writer's analysis of his team, including his preferred starting lineup, his pick in the coaches' draft and his assessment of how these players would come together on the court.
Four titles, three straight Finals MVPs; 23.7 ppg, 58.1 FG
Nine Finals teams (one title); All-Star all 14 seasons
Two titles, four All-NBA first, seven All-Defensive first
Two MVPs in '50s; first to 20K points; 26.4 ppg, 16.2 rpg
'86 scoring champ; seven-time All-NBA; No. 11 in scoring
All-Star his first 12 seasons; '78 title with Bullets; 21 ppg
Five-time All-NBA; No. 8 all time with 9.1 apg; 17.9 ppg
Seven-time All-NBA; back-to-back scoring titles ('02-04)
'72 ABA MVP as rookie; NBA all-time leader in FG% (59.9)
Back-to-back scoring king by age 22; '10 MVP runner-up
'04 Finals MVP; No. 5 all time in three-pointers; 89.4% FT
Five consecutive All-Star appearances; 25 ppg in '06-07
COACH: Pat Riley, the No. 1 pick (out of 10) in the coaches' draft. No coach has won with more differing styles and more outsized personalities than Riley, whose motivational skills are matched by a technical grasp of strategy few can rival. His experience managing and pushing the buttons of star-laden teams will be invaluable with this group.
STYLE OF PLAY: Although this team has the athleticism to get up and down a la Riley's Showtime Lakers teams, my preference is for Riley to run the methodical sets he favored in New York and Miami. With Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry West and a host of mid-range shooters/penetrators to complement my top two draft picks, this team should be able to score in a variety of ways no matter the defense. And true to Riley's schemes, stout defenders are all over the floor, from Walt Frazier's quick hands to Bob Pettit's tenacity to Artis Gilmore's toughness.
BIGGEST CONCERNS: Is there too much athleticism on the bench and not enough in the starting five? Frazier is fabulous at cutting through the lane, but if shots aren't falling from outside and Shaq finds himself thwarted by a center like Hakeem Olajuwon or Bill Russell, is this club dynamic enough to create its own offense? And down the stretch in close games, of course, the biggest question will be whether to feature Shaq at the risk of having him miss a bunch of free throws.
MY GAME-ON-THE-LINE PLAY: When you have someone nicknamed Mr. Clutch on the floor, it's probably wise to get the ball in his hands. With Frazier directing from the top of the key, West moves from the right elbow toward the baseline for a pindown on the right block that frees Wilkins to West's spot at the elbow. West then curls under the hoop past a pair of screens from Pettit and Shaq to find himself, hopefully, open on the left wing for a game-winning jumper.
SCARIEST RIVAL: Joe Posnanski has a complete mix of size (Wilt Chamberlain), athleticism (Julius Erving) and toughness (Isiah Thomas). And with Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Price, Posnanski has enough range to keep defenses honest.
WHY MY TEAM IS THE BEST: I tried to build a team with multiple options on offense (which club here doesn't have that?) and stars unafraid to dig in on defense. Also important was chemistry. Shaq is a big personality, and often a sensitive one; the players around him, in general, are confident enough to accept responsibility for their share of work on both ends of the floor while not feeling the need to claim ownership of the team.
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