For this answer I’m not going to make a team of just the next best players at those positions, rather I’m looking at this from a defense perspective.
The key is I’m going to exploit the size mismatches with players I think are good defensively to give these players a lot of trouble, and at the same time can get me buckets when I need them.
PG: Walt Frazier
Yes, I’m going with Frazier because at 6′4 he has a slightly height advantage over Curry and also he’s one of the best defensive guards to play the game that will definitely give Curry some trouble. While Gary Payton could have been another alternative here, I like Frazier’s better scoring and clutch abilities compared to Payton and they’re comparable on defense. Jerry West is another option, although I picked Frazier’s defense by a hair (this is because Frazier actually was All-Def 1st team and West 2nd team in 1969).
SG: Sidney Moncrief
Ok, Moncrief isn’t as tall as Jordan, and lets be honest nobody can really stop Jordan. But Moncrief did about as well as anyone could, because he’s one of the few players to have actually beaten Jordan in a playoff series! Joe Dumars is another defensive SG that could go here too, but I like Moncrief’s explosiveness and athleticism a bit more, and he’s a 2x DPOY. Moncrief can’t contain Jordan (nobody can) but he can probably try to do about as well as anyone to limit him.
SF: Kawhi Leonard
Yes, this was tough. Lebron is a very hard player to stop and contain, so defensively I’m not sure who I could put here. Kawhi, Pippen and Havlicek are probably the top choices. Pippen and Havlicek were great help defenders, Kawhi is more of an on ball defender, but Kawhi’s offensive abilities are probably the best of the three, while being a wash on defense with Pippen and Hondo. Also, Kawhi DID win Finals MVP for limiting Lebron as much as he could after all. Bob Dandridge could have been another option. Rodman was another option I mulled over but he had 0 offense and thus I can’t rely on him for any scoring at all. I could have also just disregarded the defense, and gone for ‘Lebron like’ players here like George McGinnis, Connie Hawkins, Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Grant Hill, Dr J or Billy Cunningham but none of those guys could really defend well so I’m going with Kawhi.
PF: Hakeem Olajuwon
Yes, I’m putting Hakeem in the PF position. I mean when you have Duncan (who plays like a C) I think it’s only fair that I put a guy here who can match up with him in size, while being even better in the post and having even better footwork. Duncan is tough but I think Hakeem will have a good chance against him.
C: Bill Walton
Yes I’m putting in a prime Bill Walton against Wilt. Prime Bill Walton is nothing to shake a stick at, he was basically a white taller Bill Russell with better offensive skills. He was the perfect team player, a fantastic passer for his size, high BBIQ, a great defender, AND he was 7ft and he had some offensive skills. Since Russell bothered Wilt so much, I figured Walton should at least be able to bother him too.
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