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Building The Perfect All-Time Team For LeBron James

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Building The Perfect All-Time Team For LeBron James

Often as NBA fans, we like to imagine or conjure up an All-Time team and imagine what that team would look like on the court together. Today, we begin a series where we take some of the greatest players to ever play the game and build the perfect all-time team around them. The player that we have decided to build the perfect all-time team around first is LeBron James.

Building around LeBron certainly sounds like an easy task. LeBron is the type of player who can take any roster to prominence. With our teams that we will be building, there will be a perfect blend of players who bring a certain skill set to the court. We all know LeBron as the complete player who does everything well on the floor. Our goal is to alleviate some of the pressure on him and make his job easier. A relaxed LeBron is the most dangerous LeBron, and that is exactly the version of him we want to bring out through building this team. To do this, we had to rack our brains and divide 100 different players into 10 different tiers. The tiers and players we selected are as follows:

Tier 1 - Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Bill Russell, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Stephen Curry

Tier 2 - Wilt Chamberlain, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Durant, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, Julius Erving

Tier 3 - Dirk Nowitzki, Elgin Baylor, David Robinson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley, Isiah Thomas, John Havlicek, Kawhi Leonard, Scottie Pippen

Tier 4 - Bob Pettit, John Stockton, Steve Nash, Patrick Ewing, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, James Harden, Rick Barry, Clyde Drexler

Tier 5 - Dominique Wilkins, Bob Cousy, George Mikan, Elvin Hayes, Bob McAdoo, James Worthy, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Kevin McHale, George Gervin

Tier 6 - Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony, Reggie Miller, Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Ray Allen, Wes Unseld, Kyrie Irving, Robert Parish, Pau Gasol

Tier 7 - Dolph Schayes, Earl Monroe, Tony Parker, Tracy McGrady, Dennis Rodman, Dwight Howard, Manu Ginobili, Chris Bosh, Pete Maravich, Nikola Jokic

Tier 8 - Paul Arizin, Dave Cowens, Nate Archibald, Vince Carter, Bill Walton, Nate Thurmond, Bernard King, Bob Lanier, Alex English, Damian Lillard

Tier 9 - Alonzo Mourning, Sam Jones, Dikembe Mutombo, Derrick Rose, Chris Webber, Joel Embiid, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Luka Doncic, Paul George

Tier 10 - Zion Williamson, Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum

Now that we have laid out our players and tiers, there are a few rules we will abide by. We will not be combining two players from Tier 1. So, you will not see a team with LeBron and Michael Jordan on the same team. Although that would be virtually unstoppable, we want to evenly distribute these 100 players across 10 different teams. Each team we build will be around a player from Tier 1. The starting lineup will be made up of players from tiers 1-5. The bench will be filled in with players from tiers 6-10. Even though we would love to pair LeBron James with all modern day All-Stars, we have to respect all tiers and all players. There will be an equal mix of both past and present players to ensure a level playing field across the board.

The rules and tiers are in place. Let us dive into the team we have chosen for LeBron James.

LeBron James’s Style Of Play

LeBron James has one of the highest basketball IQs that we have ever seen. When we build a team around him, we have to make sure we play to his strengths. The thing is, how many weaknesses, if any, does he have? Offensively, he is selfless, smart, and lethal in every aspect of the game. LeBron loves to push the pace, control the tempo of the game, and take over when he absolutely needs to. Having shooters around LeBron is key. When LeBron ultimately starts to drive the lane, he will look to kick out to his shooters and shot creators for easy buckets.

Defensively, LeBron James has his strengths and has minimal weaknesses. Again, his basketball IQ comes into play here as he can both get himself to the perfect spots on defense and also direct his teammates where to be and what to do. His strengths definitely lie in the interior where he is one of the best weak side help defenders of his era. His size allows him to effectively guard bigs as well as perimeter players. His perimeter defense is good, don’t get me wrong, but you would rather have stronger perimeter defenders around him to carry the load.

To sum it up, there are a few things that you can put around LeBron James to create the perfect team. You need strong perimeter shooting for when James makes his move to the basket. Good slashers and off-ball workers are vital to a LeBron-led team as well. When you can enhance his playmaking with players who know where to be and when to be there, it is a recipe for success. Strong perimeter defense is a plus, and it doesn’t hurt to have big men who excel at two-way play either.

So, who are the players that fit this mold perfectly? Well, let’s break it down by the tiers we have already created and shown you.

Selecting The Perfect All-Time Team For LeBron James

Our Tier 1 player is LeBron James. Since LeBron is Tier 1, you will not see him team up with the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or Magic Johnson. As unbeatable as they would be, we have to be fair to create 10 teams at the end. You also will not see James alongside the likes of Shaq and Tim Duncan. Again, these duos would be dominant and no doubt win a lot of games, but would be quite unfair compared to other duos. As the focal point of our team, LeBron will be our primary playmaker and primary scorer at different times.

There are many all-time greats who we have selected for Tier 2. We decided to go with someone who is quite familiar with LeBron’s play style as they played together and had tremendous chemistry on the floor together. I am talking, of course, about Dwyane Wade. He and LeBron went to 4 straight Finals together from 2011 to 2014 and went back-to-back as champions in 2012 and 2013. As someone who can create their shot and defend at a high level, Wade’s presence takes some pressure off of LeBron and makes his job easier to facilitate.

For Tier 3, we decided to take one of our first bigs. This guy can spread the floor and knock down a jump shot from anywhere on the floor, including from beyond the arc. I am speaking of course about Dirk Nowitzki. Prime Dirk is a leader, a guy who can take over late in games when his team needs him most. Nowitzki can be effective against most opposing bigs with his back to the basket and his nearly unguardable mid-range fadeaway. With Dirk on the floor, LeBron can utilize his playmaking to the fullest.

At Tier 4, we decided to go with our starting point guard. John Stockton brings a unique skill set on both sides of the ball. While I have been speaking about the playmaking that LeBron brings to the table, Stockton increases that trait for this team tenfold. One of the best to run a pick and roll offense in the NBA’s history, LeBron will be able to create for others but also get his own by being on the receiving end of Stockton’s elite court vision and passing. Stockton is also a disruptive perimeter defender and combined with Wade picks up where this team is lacking in that area.

For our Tier 5 selection, we decided to go with yet another player who has previously found success alongside LeBron James. At our center position, we are going to go with Anthony Davis. Now, remember this is going to be prime Anthony Davis, who was durable and one of the best two-way players, not just big men, in the game. Davis too can spread the floor or take control of the post on offense while being a premier rim protector of his time. All of Anthony Davis’ positive traits make him a serious weapon alongside the playmakers and shot creators we have selected already.

There is a theme among our lineup with players that have been successful alongside LeBron. It is easy to select these players because we already have the evidence that they can play together and succeed at the same time. For that reason, we are selecting Kyrie Irving from Tier 6. Again, Kyrie is one of the very best at creating his own shot due to possibly the best ball-handling skills that we have ever witnessed. Kyrie and LeBron completed the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history back in 2016 and 2 players with that type of resolve need to be on the court together. I mean, what’s better than 2 players that both dropped 41 points in the same Finals Game together? Nothing.

From Tier 7, we have selected both yet another power forward and another player who had success alongside LeBron. For our backup power forward, give this lineup Chris Bosh. He was the 3rd option behind LeBron and Wade in Miami while they went to 4 straight NBA Finals, winning two in the early 2010s. Bosh is a slippery forward who can slash through defenses either with or without the ball. He also has no problem making a move and hitting a step-back medium-range jumper and the occasional three. His presence behind Dirk in this lineup is a perfect placement.

When we get to tier 8, it is time to take a look at another big. From this Tier, we select Bob Lanier. Lanier brings the perfect mix of toughness and finesses to this lineup. Lanier is going to man the middle and fight for rebounds with the best of them. What he also brings is an unstoppable hook shot and soft touch around the basket, giving this team a true interior offensive weapon. Lanier can step out and hit some mid-range shots as well. An underrated part of his game is his ability to pass from the low or high post. He will be able to find the off-ball cutters and slashers, making for an easy day on offense with whoever happens to be on the floor with him at the same time.

We have 2 picks left to round out our 2nd unit off of the bench. With our pick from Tier 9, we are going to go with an absolute beast on both defense and offense. He has been Top 3 in both MVP and Defensive Player Of The Year voting in the same season before. He can create for himself and get to the basket or he can pull a move out of his hat and lose his defender and finish with authority at the rim. Our Tier 10 selection is Paul George. Some of the best battles in the 2010s were the ones in the playoffs between George’s Pacers and LeBron’s Heat. Imagine if they teamed up and Paul George was coming off the bench as reinforcement? Unstoppable.

With our pick from Tier 10, we are going to go with a versatile scoring option who can help the 2nd unit get some points from anywhere you need him to. This versatile scorer is none other than Bradley Beal. We all know Beal for his great off-ball movement and ability to shoot the long ball. This is perfect for a team that has playmakers such as LeBron, Stockton, and Kyrie. More than that though, Beal can create his own shot and get by defenders relatively easy, making for easy opportunities for himself and others. Beal’s addition is perfect for this lineup whether it be for his shooting or any of the other ways he can put the ball in the basket.

Starting Lineup And Bench

Starting Lineup And Bench

Starting Lineup: John Stockton, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Anthony Davis

Bench: Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Paul George, Chris Bosh, Bob Lanier

The team before you is the definition of perfection around LeBron James. Offensively, you have playmakers to create for their teams like LeBron, Stockton, Beal, Kyrie, and Lanier off of the bench. There are shot creators like Wade, Davis, and Paul George. Nowitzki, Beal, and George will be the team’s best outside threats, opening up the paint for LeBron to dominate the lane and set up an offense that will be hard to stop.

Defensively, this team is perfect in the way that where there is weakness, it is made up for in other areas to perfectly balance it out. On the perimeter, Stockton and Wade are two of the best defenders at their position in history. They are both masters at disrupting passing lanes and forcing mistakes with their quick hands. Paul George off the bench is another major addition to the perimeter defense. On the interior, LeBron and Davis will hold it down for the starters while Bosh will be the best defender in that area off of the bench. This team’s offensive firepower is only matched by their grit and grind on defense.

Is This The Greatest Team Of All-Time?

We have built what we believe to be the perfectly built a team around LeBron James. As one of the greatest players in NBA history, LeBron doesn’t need much to be successful as we have seen before with some of the rosters he has taken to the NBA Finals. Many things make this team one of the best-constructed rosters ever. Would this team be able to stack up against some of the best rosters in NBA history?

If matched up against the 96’ Bulls, for example, it would be an absolute dogfight. The frontcourt would have their hands full with Michael Jordan and even Ron Harper. The defense from Stockton and Wade would make for a tightly contested matchup, though. Pippen vs. LeBron would be entertaining with 2 playmakers who are very tough defensive matchups as well. The advantage to LeBron’s team would be the sheer size of the guys in the middle. It is not only the rebounding and scoring at the rim that would be in Team LeBron’s favor but also the ability of both Dirk and Anthony Davis to spread the floor which could confuse the Bulls and make for easy inside buckets from James and Wade with Stockton facilitating.

Matchup issues are abundant no matter who is in front of Team LeBron. The reinforcements off of the bench are enough to make opponents shake their heads at a matchup with a team this deep. Playmaking, scoring, shooting, perimeter defense, interior defense, rebounding, Team LeBron has it all to make a case for the best team created in this series. You will just have to stay tuned for the creation of the other rosters to see just how good they are.


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