Downtown’s Tommy Greer, Liam Santamaria and Roy Ward snake-drafted 16 NBA franchises, divided them into two brackets (East and West) and randomly assigned their Conference seedings. Five starters were chosen along with one extra (either a Coach or a 6th Man).
Over the past few months we’ve been debating which franchise can construct the greatest starting five (plus one) of all time and you, the readers, have been determining the winning franchise from each match-up by casting your vote in the comment section at the bottom of the page, on Twitter or on Facebook with the victors progressing to the next round.
Now it’s time for the Finals!
The Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers will battle it out, having defeated Boston and San Antonio respectively in the Conference Finals.
Los Angeles Lakers (Greer)
PG – Magic Johnson (1986/87)
SG – Kobe Bryant (2005/06)
SF – Elgin Baylor (1960/61)
PF – James Worthy (1983/84)
C – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1975/76)
6th Man – Take your pick (Chamberlain, Mikan, West, Shaq, Pau, etc…)
Vs Philadelphia: It was inevitable that the Lakers would breeze through the bracket stages to the All Time Championship Series. However, it’s a little strange to see them matched up against the Philadelphia 76ers. A correctly selected Boston Celtics squad may have played this Lakers lineup tough over 7 games but these Sixers are preparing to get embarrassed.
Let’s, as usual, start at PG. Sure, Allen Iverson was MVP in 2001, but Magic was not in the league at that point. Magic is clearly the best PG of all time and his size, court vision, scoring, rebounding and ability to get the most out of teammates is going to be way too much for Iverson to handle. Hell, Iverson doesn’t even want to practice! Yes Allen we here at the Lake-show are talking ‘bout practice!
Kobe will dominate Erving and only old fuddy duddies will disagree. Dr. J could score with the best of them and used to light up crowds with his incredible athleticism but Kobe may well be the second best two-guard in NBA history. Kobe is relentless in his drive to win and is one of the most prolific scorers we’ve ever seen.
Elgin Baylor will have his hands full with Barkley but will not be embarrassed and Worthy will find himself in a fair bit of trouble against the might of Moses Malone.
However, not only do have we have Kareem as our starting Center but we have the 76ers’ starting C coming off our pine. Kareem has chemistry with Magic and perfected one of the most unstoppable shots the game has ever seen. You can be as big as you like but you ain’t coming near the Skyhook! And hey, if things get a little wild and rough inside, we can always sub Chamberlain in to guard himself.
Three out of the five positions will once again be dominated by the Lakers. Add to that their incredible combined history of winning and some starting PG/Center chemistry and the Sixers don’t stand a chance.
Philadelphia 76ers (Santamaria)
PG – Allen Iverson (2000-01)
SG – Julius Erving (1980-81)
SF – Charles Barkley (1987-88)
PF – Moses Malone (1982-83)
C – Wilt Chamberlain (1966-67)
6th Man – Dolph Schayes (1954-55)
Vs Los Angeles: Ok… let’s be real about this: the Sixers have their work cut out for them here. The collective championship-winning pedigree of that Lakers starting lineup – 19 Laker rings between them – is a little frightening. These Sixers, with Adolph included, collectively won four titles with the franchise (Doc and Moses in ’83, Wilt in ‘67 and Schayes in ’55).
Having said that, nobody expected these Sixers to beat MJ’s Bulls or Bird’s Celtics….. Is it inconceivable to think that their run of upsets could continue for one more glorious series?
It’s official, Philadelphia are the Cinderella story of the Downtown All-Time Bracket.
Now, I’m not sure if it’s legal, but I’m bringing in special guest Jim Valvano to coach this series…
Magic well and truly deserves his spot on the NBA’s Mount Rushmore for his fabulous career, but I challenge anybody to dominate 2001 Allen Iverson. In ’01 The Answer was MVP, All Star MVP, First-Team All NBA, scoring and steals leader and dragged a mediocre supporting cast to the Finals. As Bill Simmons wrote in his Book of Basketball, “Iverson played with a swagger that pushed a decent team to a whole other level. He believed they could win, he killed himself to that end, and everyone else eventually followed.” Magic will have the edge here but 2001 Allen Iverson would not get dominated by any point guard of any era in any way whatsoever.
The Dr J vs Kobe battle will be an interesting one: two highly athletic, fiercely competitive, talented scorers going back and forth. I would give the edge to Kobe but old fuddy duddy Shaq, who may be a just little bias, disagrees:
“To me, Dr. J was the greatest player ever. But I ask other people, they say Jordan, some say Kobe, some people say LeBron. It’s always going to be a matter of opinion.”
Sir Charles in 1988: 28 points at nearly 60%, 12 rebounds and 2.5 hamburgers a night. Come get some.
In 1983 Moses averaged 25 & 15 (at over 50%) with a steal and a couple of blocks, was 1st Team All NBA, 1st Team All Defense, Rebounding Champion, League MVP and Finals MVP. Moses completely dominated the Lakers in the ’83 Finals, leading the Sixers to a 4-0 series sweep. Uh oh… Worthy’s in BIG trouble here.
The 1967 version of The Big Dipper vs ’76 Kareem is a big-man matchup for the ages. Both were league MVPs in their chosen years with Wilt also leading the Sixers to the title. Kareem certainly had the better career, thanks in part to his remarkable longevity, but in this single-year format Wilt may well have the edge. Kareem averaged 3 more points per game in ‘76 than Wilt did in ’67, but Wilt grabbed 7 more rebounds, dropped nearly 3 more dimes and scored at a way better clip from the floor (Wilt’s 1967 FG%: .683, Kareem’s 1976 FG%: .529).
One thing’s for sure, this would be a fun series to watch. If only we could actually watch it!