Thursday, July 19, 2007

Best Starting Fives

I decided not to write about Michael Vick or Yao Ming today, because every single person is doing so. Instead, since the commotion of the NBA Offseason is dying down a bit, the logical thing would be to do one of the most overdone things in sports blogging, which is ranking the best starting 5+1’s of this millennium. Just because there is nothing better to do at this point. This ranking will be based on their collective talent, not their overall performance. In other words, the Spurs are not winning every single year. Nor am I doing this yearly, so I don’t know why I just said that.

5. Phoenix Suns 2004-2005

PG: Steve Nash
SG: Joe Johnson
SF: Quentin Richardson
PF: Shawn Marion
C: Amare Stoudemire
6th Man: Jim Jackson

This is the team that vaulted the Suns into basketball relevancy. The addition of Steve Nash and the beginning of the Mike D’Antoni era ushered in the new run-and-gun age in the NBA, paving the way for future teams like the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors. The make-up of this team is brilliant, surrounding MVP PG Steve Nash with an assortment of 3-point shooters and daring teams to try and keep up.

4. Indiana Pacers 2002-2003

PG: Jamaal Tinsley
SG: Reggie Miller
SF: Ron Artest
PF: Jermaine O’Neal
C: Brad Miller
6th Man: Al Harrington

I don’t even remember Brad Miller being on this team, but I felt like it deserved a look since it made the Finals that year and was pleasantly surprised. I took a look at 2003’s 61 win team, but Jeff Foster didn’t really impress me, but there isn’t really a weak point at any position on this team, which I guess is my main criteria for this very unscientific ranking. This is also the only team for which I couldn't find a real team photo, so take that as you may.

3. Phoenix Suns 2006-2007

PG: Steve Nash
SG: Raja Bell
SF: Boris Diaw
PF: Shawn Marion
C: Amare Stoudemire
6th Man: Leandrinho Barbosa

I was tempted to put the 2005-2006 carbon copy of this team here instead, but chose not to for the following reasons. Firstly, though 2005 was the breakout year for Boris Diaw, 2006 saw the even more remarkable transformation of Leandro Barbosa into one of the biggest sparks we’ve seen off the bench since Bobby Jackson on the Kings. Next, I could have argued for 2005-2006 with Amare as the starting center in the same way I pulled for the 2003-2004 Kings, but while Webber player 23 games that season, Amare only played 3 and wasn’t even very good in those games. Kurt Thomas was a serviceable replacement, but even he was replaced when playoff time came, and I couldn’t choose a best starting five that included Tim Thomas.

2. Sacramento Kings 2003-2004

PG: Mike Bibby
SG: Doug Christie
SF: Peja Stojakovic
PF: Chris Webber
C : Brad Miller
6th Man: Bobby Jackson

I chose this version of the Kings over the 2001-2003 Kings almost entirely because of the replacement of an aging Vlade Divac with Brad Miller. Moreover, this is pretty much the only season where Peja Stojakovic was beastly on the offensive end, scoring 24.2 PPG at a 48% clip while shooting 43% from the 3 and 93% at the line. When it is widely speculated that a team will be worse after returning a still legitimate( 20.7 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 5.1 APG) Chris Webber from injury, you know it’s good.

1. Detroit Pistons 2004-2006

PG: Chauncey Billups
SG: Richard Hamilton
SF: Tayshaun Prince
FC: Rasheed Wallace
CF: Ben Wallace
6th Man: Antonio McDyess

This is the obvious choice for the #1 spot on the rankings. Any team that fields 4 all-stars is clearly in the upper echelon of starting line-ups. Ironically enough, 2003-2004, which was basically this team come playoff time without a 6th man, was the team that won the NBA Championship.

Honorable Mentions: LA Lakers 2001-2002, Dallas Mavericks 2004-2005, Denver Nuggets 2004-2005, Golden State Warriors 2006-2007

Hopefully I can get Houston Rockets 2007-2008 up there. Any suggestions for teams I missed (which I'm sure are many) can go in the comments.

I imagine that since I didn't link to anyone in this post, it's not going to get many readers, but you never know. I need to work on my creativity.


Anonymous said...

dumbass what about lakers ?

Loren said...

First of all, I hope you notice that this post was written three years ago. Second, the 00-01 Lakers were an honorable mention. Which Lakers team(s) were you referring to?

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