Leading Off

Within budget, pick your all-time NBA team

Amid all the photos of dogs, food and envious vacations in my Facebook news feed, something cool caught my eye.

A friend shared this tweet from Ballislife.com: “Pick your team. How about Stockton, Jordan, Pippen, Duncan & Shaq w/$2 left over so we can have KD on the bench?” It launched a game that has taken the Internet by storm, creating plenty of debate.

The goal of the game is to select an all-time NBA team with a $15 budget, with some of the game’s greatest players assigned different prices. Here’s the list from Ballislife.com:

Point guards: Magic Johnson ($5), Oscar Robertson ($4), Isiah Thomas ($3), John Stockton ($2), Walt Frazier ($1)

Shooting guards: Michael Jordan ($5), Kobe Bryant ($4), Jerry West ($3), Clyde Drexler ($2), Dwyane Wade ($1)

Small forwards: LeBron James ($5), Larry Bird ($4), Julius Erving ($3), Kevin Durant ($2), Scottie Pippen ($1)

Power forwards: Karl Malone ($5), Charles Barkley ($4), Tim Duncan ($3), Dirk Nowitzki ($2), Kevin Garnett ($1)

Centers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ($5), Bill Russell ($4), Wilt Chamberlain ($3), Shaquille O’Neal ($2), Hakeem Olajuwon ($1)

I quickly picked Jordan, figuring he’s the one player who must be on every all-time team. With $10 left, I selected Dr. J and Wilt the Stilt at the bargain price of $3 each, leaving me $4 for point guard and power forward. I grabbed the original “Clyde the Glide,” Frazier, one of the NBA’s most underrated players, at the unbelievable price of $1. That left me $3, a bargain for Duncan.

Then I quibbled with myself, wondering if I should have taken James instead of Erving, then dropped Duncan for Garnett to balance the budget. Or what if I picked Russell and dropped Erving for Durant?

The possibilities are endless, as is the debate.

Take the challenge, and email me your starting five. Bet my team will beat your team every time.

Tom Couzens: (916) 321-1097, @tomcouzens

Playbook

  • WHAT TO WATCH: NBA playoffs, Cleveland at Golden State, 5 p.m., Ch. 10. Stephen Curry and the Warriors can take a 2-0 lead.
  • TRENDING ON TWITTER: #NBAFinals. The Warriors’ epic Game 1 victory over the Cavaliers in overtime had the Internet buzzing, with most attention on Curry and LeBron James.
  • ON THIS DATE: On June 7, 2004, Ruslan Fedotenko scored twice, and the Tampa Bay Lightning held off the Calgary Flames 2-1 in Game 7 to win its first Stanley Cup.
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