With the current lack of sports to cover globally, we’ve come up with a thought-evoking topic regarding NBA teams and their former players called NBA Throwback. It’s always fun to compare across eras and build “All Time Starting 5s” with players from your favorite team. But what if you could bring back only one former player from a team’s history to join the current day squad? Would you automatically choose the best player in the franchise’s history? Or would you first look at what the current squad needs help with and who would fit the best? We dive a little deeper into these questions in this NBA Throwback series.
NBA Throwback Rules
For more information about the rules we followed, assumptions we made, and simulated results we will have soon, check out the first piece in this series by clicking here or on the Southeast Division link below.
NBA Throwback: Pacific Division
Golden State Warriors
Coming into this simulation with one of the weirdest situations in the league, it was hard to judge positional need for a Warriors team with so many injuries and trades. So instead of focusing on stats from this past season, we looked a little closer at positional need. They have two of the greatest shooters of all time at the guard positions, a former All Star point forward at power forward, and a borderline scoring star at the other forward position. This leaves them with Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss as their options at the center position.
Wilt doesn’t need much introduction, and his fit with the current Golden State roster when healthy is undeniable. Chamberlain played in a time where set plays for him were not necessary for him to dominate. During his time with the Warriors, he averaged 41.7 PPG and 25.1 RPG, numbers that have never, and will never, be seen again. With one active true center on the roster, All Stars at nearly every other position, and the most statistically dominant center at their disposal, this NBA Throwback player was a no brainer. Say hello to one of the title favorites.
Los Angeles Clippers
Widely regarded as one of the title favorites for the 2020 season, this Clippers squad is another team that doesn’t necessarily need a lot of help. Their worst stats include committing fouls and a lack of steals and assists. The steals and assists have already been boosted by the late addition of backup point guard, Reggie Jackson. However, the fouling issue is likely due to their aggressive defensive mindset with players like Patrick Beverley, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard leading the way. So what do they need? Most would answer that question with, “another center.” Ivica Zubac has had a better season than people seem to realize, but head coach Doc Rivers has yet to trust Zubac with late game playing time. This often leads to Montrezl Harrell playing 15 or more minute stretches to finish games.
The addition of McAdoo to an already loaded roster seems to make the most sense. They have their guard rotation figured out and two perennial All Stars at the wing positions. However, their most trusted big man is only about 6’7, shorter than both star wing players. McAdoo is a little undersized in his own right, only measuring around 6’9, but this allows him to play alongside either Zubac or Trez, or to run with a smaller lineup at the center position. His 28.2 PPG, and 2.4 BPG are more than enough to create an imposing presence around the rim for a team already loaded with perimeter talent.
Starters: Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris, Bob McAdoo
Los Angeles Lakers
For the third time in three teams in this division, we’ve come across a title contender. When healthy, it’s clear that this division is top heavy with title talent. The Lakers are no different with LeBron James and Anthony Davis running the show. Despite having arguably the best duo in basketball currently, their supporting cast is not as strong as some loyal fans would have hoped. Dwight Howard, Danny Green, and Kyle Kuzma have been jockeying for sole possession of third option, and the roster falls even steeper after that. Perhaps the most glaring need on this roster is another consistent scorer and playmaker. Clearly LeBron checks these boxes, but 34-year-old Rajon Rondo is the closest thing to a backup facilitator the Lakers currently have.
With the rich history of Lakers players available for this simulation, this pick was not a simple one. However, LeBron’s double digit assists eliminates the need for Magic Johnson. Javale McGee, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Kyle Kuzma, and LeBron bring enough size to the table that this squad is not hurting for more size ruleing out several legendary centers.
Replacing either Green or Avery Bradley on the wing with legendary Kobe Bean vaults this team from a contender to undisputed favorites. Prime Kobe Bryant needs little explanation. The Mamba Mentality combined with The King’s playmaking ability is a nightmare for the opposition. The ability to have either James or Bryant on the court running the show at all times is the closest thing to perfection any one team can achieve. Now throw in a prime Anthony Davis and this squad is the clear favorite.
Starters: LeBron James, Danny Green, Kobe Bryant, Anthony Davis, Javale McGee
After three consecutive title contenders, we come to a team that’s still searching for their identity. Given that this team doesn’t want to go full rebuild mode, Devin Booker is the only untouchable player. They’re 2nd to last in blocks per game, 3rd from the bottom in fouls committed, and bottom 10 in both defensive and total rebounds. Ricky Rubio and Booker have the offense flowing, but no one can seem to keep the pace on the defensive side of the ball. Combine this need with their lack of wing depth, and one NBA Throwback player stood out above the rest.
Marion would be considered a premier 3&D guy in today’s NBA. His defensive prowess can negate opposing players anywhere from point guard to power forward. His 6’8 frame and intangibles make him a perfect defensive stud. To go along with his strong suit defensively, his shot form is perhaps more famous than his name. A quick and quirky shot is rarely said in the same sentence as “good form,” however it has been proven to be effective time and time again. Adding his unique skill set and talent to a squad not in need of offensive firepower makes too much sense to pass up.
The Kings are another team trying desperately to find an identity. They’ve acquired promising young talent in De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III, but they don’t seem to know how to use their young stars. Hield saw himself coming off the bench by the end of the season despite being one of the premier shooters in the league for several years. Regardless, the pieces are there at the guard positions. What the team truly needs help with is rebounding, blocks, and foul trouble. All signs are pointing towards a versatile and defensively capable big man.
The Super Star big man fits into this roster perfectly. Many of Webber’s highlights include fast paced, flashy plays in transition. This is a dream scenario for the fast paced Kings, specifically their young point guard Fox who is arguably the fastest player in the league. During his time in Sactown, Webber averaged 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and upwards of one steal and block per game. His all-around production would do wonders for this struggling Kings squad. Not to mention that a Webber-Bagley pairing is formidable in the present, and would do wonders for Bagley’s future.
Starters: De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Chris Webber, Marvin Bagley III
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