Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stan Van Gundy's All Stars.

Over at the worldwide leader, John Clayton put together a cool little thing: he assembled the best team possible in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE - all while staying under the salary cap. Full, 53-Man Roster, with backups and everything. Its pretty sweet.

So if Mr. Garrison can do it with the NFL, why can't I do it with the NBA? Sure it won't be as in-depth - only a 12 man roster - and it won't be an original idea, and I'm going to take about 10 minutes, where I bet Clayton took like a whole day...but it'll still be fun. For me anyways. I mean, cripes, its like 5 in the morning. What else is there to do?

The L just set this year's cap at $53.135 million. So I got a decent chunk of change to work with. But first, I wanted to hone my inner Isiah, and see the best team I could put together, money be damned. (Alright, Isiah just did the money be damned part, but you get the idea.)

The No Cap All Stars are what I feel are the 12 best players in the NBA. OK, well not the best players...if there was a 1-on-1 competition, these guys probably wouldn't finish 1-12. The thought process was to fill out a legit roster - ya kno, point guards and centers and stuff. Oh, and chemistry isn't important. Stan Van Gundy is coaching this team (he was available), and they will play together, without ego, or they will incurre Stan's wrath. And you don't want that, please believe.

The entire roster is in the graphic (left) but a few things are worth noting.

Steve Nash will be the starting point guard and he will play nearly the entire game, exept for those little breaks he likes where he puts on his warmup pants, seven shooting shirts and 19 towels and lays at the end of the bench. He gets three of those per game. He's on the No Cappers solely for his ability to distribute the ball. Stan will ask him to shoot exactly no times and guard exactly no one. Push the ball, get the ball to people where they can do good things with it, make your free throws at the end of games and throw lobs from half court. That's it; that's his entire job.

Shaq is coming off the bench, but we may have to change that. In fact, yea, let's do that: Shaq starts, because he's not playing in the fourth quarter, anyways, so let's keep him happy. Might have to do the same thing with Kobe and Wade, too; we'll see how Stan handles those egos. I got faith (pounding chest twice). KG: I'm keeping him on the bench. Even though he's all wound up and shit, he should just be thankful to play with some one better than Troy Hudson and Mark Madsen.

The crazy thing is, this team is more loaded than a Wendy's baked potato but there are only a handful of guys who really dominate the ball. And only two do it just because that's just the way they play: Iverson and Kobe.

The rest of the guys who hijack the rock regulary - Nash, Wade, James, Garnett - do it because of necessity. Wade does it at the end of games because everyone else on the court is just really not that effective (although they did hit some big shots in the playoffs, I'll give them that); Nash does it only in the halfcourt, because he has no - 0, zero, zip - good half court players on his team, he would much rather run and distribute (OK, Diaw can play in the half court); James does it because Anderson Varejo is the second best player on his team; Garnett for the same reason, 'cept replace Anderson with a guy who shot at his own rim because he was one board short of a triple-double.

The point is, this squad can play together. Nash will make everyone happy. Kobe plays team ball because allegedly he can (see: First Round of 2006 Playoffs, sans Game 7) and because his image is so shot, he really can't afford the bad pub. AI will be AI, not much you can do there. Flash can defer and still excel. Bronny loves to pass and run. Dirk can hit the glass (his new apparent obesession) and shoot elbow J's. TD doesn't demand the ball, but obviously he'll get it. Everyone else is coming off the bench and if they don't like it, well, that's what Stan is here for: tough love.

The grand total for this squad? A little under $148 million. Not bad when you consider Isiah's shelling out $109 mil a year for a 29-win team. Good Lord. That just astounds me. I know its not fair to make fun of Zeke anymore than it is to look at your buddy's plays in a game of NCAA when he's picking his offense, but you still do it.

Still, with the luxury tax set at $65.42 mil, the No Cappers just aren't feasible - we're not owned by Mark Cuban for the love of George Steinbrenner!

So how do we get under? Well, we go younger, that's how (insert R. Kelly joke here). Only four players remain when we go under the cap: Nash, LeBron, D. Wade and Amare. The last three are all still playing out their piddling rookie contracts. As for Nash? Well, point guards are like diapers: overpay a bit - you'll notices the difference.

We add Dwight Howard and Yao Ming to the starting lineup because they also have piddling rookie contracts and are also very tall and very good. Plus, its two more guys who don't demand the ball! Howard can go get it off the glass, and if Yao asks for it, we'll pretend like we don't understand what he's saying, just like in the Garmin commercial.

The bench is another real beauty: six first-time contracts! 'Melo (as long as he doesn't curse us out for having a little weed...and if you believe any of that, well, Isiah has some contracts he'd like to unload on you) Josh Howard, Chris Paul, Diaw, Amare and Church.

Oh, Church: that's Kirk Hinrich. That's his new nickname, for a few reasons: One, that's what his name means, I guess (not too concerend with details here). Two, it sounds pretty badass, especially when you say it like Snoop: "Chuuuuuuuuch." Three, if you're guarding Hinrich, better say you're prayers. You're in for a long night. And four, that's where I spent many vigils, praying they'd add my favorite Kansan to the US hoops' roster.

Here's the wild card on the Cappers: Ron Artest. Tru Warrior is on the squad because no one plays harder, he'll keep everyone on their toes, he can guard anyone, and he seems happy doing really strange things. That qualifies him in my book. There is the small (huge) chance Ron Ron might go Lloyd Braun on us again, but hey...I think he's worth the risk.

The toughest omission was leaving Shaun Livingson off. But we had two point guards, and I don't think anyone is arguing he's better than Chris Paul or the reigning two-time MVP. Damn, that was tough, though. You know what? Screw you, Boris - you're gone. Dr. Livingston? Grab a jersey. And work on that jumper. You aren't in junior high anymore.

This team was relatively easy to assemble though, because there are so many good - great - young players. Do you have any idea the talent that has only been in the league for three years? Yea, everyone knows Bron Bron, Wade and Melo went in the top 5 in '03, and Bosh was picked fourth...but do you know who went 6th? Chris Kaman. One of the best big men in the league. After him, the Bulls went to Church. Diaw and Josh Howard were in that draft, too! That's insane! Throw in Darko, and well...nevermind.

The year after gave us Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, BG7, Livingston, Devon Harris, Josh Smith...the list goes on and on. Last year we got Chris Paul, probably the second best point guard in the NBA.

And you're telling me this isn't the brink if a Golden Age? If there is a better three-year run of talent currently playing in the NBA, I want to see it. The scary thing is, the talent is slowly dwindling again. We should be good for a while, but let's hope OJ Mayo and Greg Oden keep that river running deeply and smoothly.

I think I was making a point back there...oh yea, how easy it was to put this team together. Piece of cake. Keeping that team together would be a near impossibility, though. Still, it would be fun while it lasted.

(And I still can't believe the greatest team possible only costs $29 mil more than the Knick's payroll.)

1 comments so far. Might as well add your own.:

TheNumberZero said...