Here's a look at Phil Taylor'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.
Five titles, three MVPs; 19.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 11.2 apg
Three MVPs, '83 title; all-time leader in offensive boards
'75 Finals MVP; led ABA and NBA in scoring; 89.3% FT
'73 Rookie of the Year; '75 MVP; three straight ppg titles
Back-to-back Defensive Player of Year; five-time All-Star
Centerpiece of NBA's first dynasty (Minneapolis Lakers)
Back-to-back All-NBA first team with Magic in mid-'90s
Led ABA in points/rebounds as rookie in '70; NBA All-Star
'73 ABA MVP; 26.1 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 4.3 apg for '70 Sixers
10 21+ ppg years in row; six straight '90s All-Star Games
NBA leader in total rebounds back-to-back years ('86-88)
Youngest MVP in NBA history at 22, his third season
COACH: Don Nelson, the eighth pick (out of 10) in the coaches' draft. OK, Nellie is a mad scientist at times -- and we'll be sure to hire a top defensive mind as his lead assistant -- but one reason he has the most wins of any coach in NBA history is that he's also a master at creating tough matchups for opponents. This is the perfect roster for him -- versatile players who can handle, shoot and dish. Rick Barry at point forward? Magic Johnson in the low post? Nelson would have a blast moving the pieces around and forcing foes to adjust on the fly.
STYLE OF PLAY: This team would be a fast-breaking, three-point-shooting joy to watch. Think about spreading the floor with shooters like Barry, Bob McAdoo and Penny Hardaway, with Magic distributing and Moses Malone tracking down the rare misses. There's just enough muscle on the roster to grind it out if necessary, but the faster the pace, the better. If this group doesn't put up at least 120 points, it's an off night.
BIGGEST CONCERNS: Only a good, not great defensive team. Sidney Moncrief is a lockdown guy on the perimeter, George Mikan is an intimidator and Charles Oakley is an excellent team defender, but other than that the team would be just OK defensively. We might have some difficulty against teams with plenty of size on the front line. On nights when the shots aren't falling, can we grind out a victory?
MY GAME-ON-THE-LINE PLAY: I would post up Magic on the low block, with McAdoo, Barry and Hardaway stationed around the perimeter. Malone would be on the opposite side of the lane, giving Magic room to operate. Magic would either shoot over a smaller point guard defending him or draw a double team, leaving him the option of dishing to Hardaway cutting to the hoop or to one of his sharpshooters on the outside. I don't necessarily need Magic to take the last shot, but I want him making the last decision. In the unlikely event of a miss, Malone, one of the best offensive rebounders ever, crashes for the putback.
SCARIEST RIVAL: Lee Jenkins' team. His guards (Jason Kidd and George Gervin) have the size to match up with mine, and he has lots of scoring and muscle down low (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone), which might be tough for my mostly slender front line to handle.
WHY MY TEAM IS THE BEST: The roster not only has great scorers but also players with tremendous court vision, like Magic, Barry and Hardaway. It might be worth the price of admission just to watch this team pass. Take away our transition game and we can pound it into the low post to Malone, Mikan or even -- here's that name again -- Magic. Each member of the starting five is 6-7 or taller and four of them handle the ball like guards. They are a matchup nightmare.
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