The all-time NBA 'Dream Team' (12 items)

By , Deseret News

July 3, 2014

The NBA has been around for nearly 70 years and there have been amazing players every step of the way. The early days of the game had players like George Mikan, Bob Cousy, Ed Macauley, Dolph Schayes and Bob Pettit. They were followed by the legendary exploits of Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and John Havlicek. Since then, countless great players that have put on a NBA uniform, including stars of today like Tim Duncan, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

With so many wonderful and game changing players through the course of league history there were plenty of options for the all-time team. There were no-brainers when it came to building this team, while other selections were much more difficult.

The center position was the most taxing of the bunch on which to decide. While players like Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon are considered top 25 players in league history, there was no room for them on this team because of how deep that position is. There were also some pretty impressive forwards with legendary careers who didn't make the cut. The four that had serious consideration who just missed out were Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Elgin Baylor and Julius Erving. The guards that are on outside, looking in are Cousy, Havlicek and Isiah Thomas.

Although doing a team like this is all about personal preference and it is very challenging to compare players from different eras, there is nothing that gets sports fans going more than trying to decide who they would want on their all-time team.

Here is a look at the all-time NBA "Dream Team" if it could be built today.

Jay Yeomans is a courier by day and a freelance writer by night. He is the creator and lead writer of the website jmoneysports.com. Contact him at jmoney34@hotmail.com. Twitter: @jmoneysports

1 of 12. Reserve: Jerry West, 1960-74

A list like this wouldn't be complete without "The Logo." West is one of the best pure shooters and scorers in the history of the game. He played 14 seasons in the league for the Los Angeles Lakers and was an all-star every season. He averaged more than 30 points a game in four different seasons and was also a very underrated all-around player. He led the NBA in assists in 1971-72 at 9.7 a game and was also a solid rebounder. He earned all-NBA First Team honors 10 times and made the all-defensive first-team four times. His most impressive season came in 1965-66 when he averaged a career-high 31.3 points to go along with 7.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 79 games.

For his career, he averaged 27 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists in 932 games. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

2 of 12. Reserve: Kobe Bryant, 1996-current

Bryant has proved that killer instinct and the desire to the be the best can take you along way. Even though his career started slower than most on this list, he has been one of the best players in the league for nearly two decades. He has been an all-star in 16 of the 18 seasons he has been in the league and won the all-star MVP award four times. He has finished in the top five in scoring in 12 seasons, making him one of the NBA's all-time elite scorers. He is also very impressive on the defensive end of the floor where he has earned all-defensive first-team nine times. Throw in 11 all-NBA First-Team selections and the league MVP award in 2007-08 and you can see why he easily deserves to make this team. On top of that, he has been a huge part of five NBA championship teams, including back-to-back years as the finals MVP. His most impressive statistical season came in 2005-06 when he averaged 35.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 80 games.

To this point in his career, he is averaging 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.5 steals in 1,245 games and is a sure-fire, first ballot hall-of-famer.

3 of 12. Reserve: Larry Bird, 1979-92

Bird was a great player from the day he stepped on an NBA court until the day he was done. Even though he had physical limitations, he was nearly impossible to guard and was one of the best passing big men in league history. He was an all-star in 12 of the 13 seasons he spent in the NBA (the only season he didn't make it was a year he only played six games) and led the Celtics to three NBA Championships. He was the league MVP three times and finished as the runner-up on four other occasions. He was also named all-NBA First-Team nine times and led the league in free-throw shooting in four seasons. His most impressive statistical season came in 1987-88 when he averaged 29.9 points on 52.7 percent shooting from the field, 41.4 percent from behind the arc and 91.6 percent from the free-throw line. He also added 9.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals in 76 games.

For his career, he averaged 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.7 steals in 897 games. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998.

4 of 12. Reserve: Bill Russell, 1956-69

Russell was the backbone of 11 NBA Championship teams in his 13 years in the league. Although he wasn't a prolific scorer like many of the players on the team, he is one of the games all-time greatest defenders and rebounders. Russell finished in the top three in the league in rebounding all 13 seasons and was at the top of the list five times. He was an all-star for the last 12 years of his career and was the league MVP five times. One of his most productive seasons came in 1961-62 when he averaged a career-high 18.9 points to go along with 23.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

For his career, he averaged 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 943 games. He earned his trip to the Hall of Fame in 1975.

5 of 12. Reserve: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 1969-89

The master of the sky-hook could do it all on a basketball floor (other than shoot the 3). The leading scorer in NBA history could finish in the paint, knock down free-throws, pass out of the double-team and hit the offensive glass. On the other end of the floor, he was a great shot-blocker and rebounder. He was an all-star in 19 of his 20 seasons and earned six championships rings in his time with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. He earned all-NBA First-Team honors 10 times and was the league MVP on six occasions. One of his most productive statistical seasons came with the Bucks in 1971-72 when he averaged a league-leading 34.8 points on 57.4 percent shooting from the field, 16.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

For his career, he averaged 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 blocks in 1,560 games. He earned enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.

1. Flashback
Kearns, UT,
July 3, 2014

West would be a starter on my team. If they would have had a 3 point line in those days, Jerry West would have averaged 40 points a game. They didn't call him Mr. Clutch for nothing.

Dr J is not on the list. I'd have put him on instead of LeBron or Kobe.

2. regis
Salt Lake City, UT,
July 3, 2014

Jerry West ... a reserve? Give me a break. Jerry West would start at shooting guard and John Stockton at the point. Michael Jordan could still be a starter on the "small" version of the dream team.

And the notion that Karl Malone is not even mentioned is ridiculous.

3. Ltrain
St. George, UT,
July 3, 2014

Magic a starter in front of James and Bird? That's laughable. Not everyone played in a 2 team era and was surrounded by Kareem and James Worthy.

4. Ifel Of'a-sofa
Alpine, Utah,
July 3, 2014

While the players of old were dominant, I don't think their stats would be as good as current stars playing against bigger faster stronger opponents.

I would give the nod to current era players on my team in most all cases.

5. east of utah
Saint Joseph, MO,
July 3, 2014

How do you not put the 2nd leading scorer in NBA history on the team? And Tim Duncan/Wilt Chamerblin were/are great players, but to have them starting over Bill Russell is wrong.

Get Lebron off the team and make room for someone who's more deserving.