The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets were expected to challenge for the NBA championship this year. Actually, these were the two teams with the highest odds of making the NBA Finals and competing against each other for the elusive NBA title. But that did not happen, because the Lakers missed the play-in and the Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs.
Nobody could have predicted this at the start of the season, but that is the beauty of competition. Of course, there were a ton of reasons why both teams failed on the court during the regular season. The Lakers could not bring out the best of Russell Westbrook and injuries hurt their season. Meanwhile, the Nets did not have Kyrie Irving for most of the season and James Harden forced his way out of Brooklyn in a trade that brought in an injured and unavailable Ben Simmons.
There is no doubt that both teams are considered superteams, and it would be even wilder to imagine if the best players from both teams would combine on one squad. By taking the best 5 players from both squads and creating the best possible lineup, would this team defeat the top-5 players collected from the rest of the league? It is time to find out.
Ben Simmons vs. Stephen Curry
Ben Simmons is a unique point guard because he is so massive at 6’11” and lacks any sort of perimeter shooting. Simmons is more of an all-around star who is an elite passer and defender, so his job will be to push the pace and set up his teammates while guarding Steph Curry.
Curry is the complete opposite of Ben Simmons because he is an elite outside shooter who is not known for his defensive potential. In a matchup of opposites, Curry will take the game to Ben as much as possible and try to put pressure on the Australian playmaker.
Kyrie Irving vs. Luka Doncic
Kyrie Irving will join his fellow Australian teammate to form one of the best two-way backcourts in the game. Irving is not only an elite shot-maker who can create his own offense, but he is also an exciting player who gives his teammates confidence with big-time plays.
Luka is similar to Kyrie in the sense of creating his own offense, although he is a much better playmaker and all-around talent. Doncic has been known to be streaky from deep, but he will make up for it by being a triple-double threat on the floor and trying to bully the smaller Irving in the paint.
LeBron James vs. Jayson Tatum
An exciting matchup for sure, veteran King James has to take his talents against a younger and more energetic Jayson Tatum. LeBron is still one of the most unstoppable players in the game and will have no issue physically applying force against the slender forward. James will also share ball-handling duties with Ben Simmons.
Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum is starting to up his game in big games in exciting matchups. The spectacular forward has an elite outside jumper and has also improved his defense as well. Tatum is not only a great shot-maker but a player who will be a go-to star in the clutch when the offensive sets break down.
Kevin Durant vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Kevin Durant is not a prototypical power forward in the sense of having girth and strength, but he is an elite floor-spacer with incredible length. Competing against a powerhouse athlete like Giannis, Durant’s length can come in handy when contesting shots around the rim. Of course, KD is the most skilled offensive player in the series taking into account his mid-range and three-point proficiency.
Giannis is the best all-around player in the series, usurping Ben Simmons in that regard because of his ability to knock down outside shots when needed. Antetokounmpo is unstoppable when he has an open lane because no player in the league has the size or length to stop The Greek Freak from getting what he wants.
Anthony Davis vs. Nikola Jokic
Anthony Davis is not a fan of competing at the center position, mainly because he lacks the raw strength and durability to bang down low with the likes of Nikola Jokic. That does not mean that Davis will be rendered ineffective because he is one of the most skilled bigs of all time. An outside shooter and solid defender, Davis must play well for his team if they want to win the series.
Jokic is a natural center because of his massive frame, although he lacks any form of muscularity and explosiveness, he can certainly cause Davis on the block. An elite passer and outside shooter as well, Nikola will be extremely valuable for his side because he is surrounded by a ton of scorers who will feed off his presence.
Lakers/Nets Superteam Advantages
The Lakers and Nets superteam has elite playmaking ability, and that means they will get good quality looks. LeBron James has the highest basketball IQ in the series, and it will be hard for the opposing players to handle the good looks that Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis will get.
Simmons is also unstoppable when he has the ball on the break because he has two elite shooters running beside him and two other athletes to pass the ball to. The presence of Simmons on defense is a plus, and so is the perfect cohesion between James and Davis on both ends of the floor.
Rest Of League Superteam Advantages
The Rest Of League’s Superteam is stacked with spectacular offensive talent because not a single player on the team has a single weakness. Simmons cannot space the floor, James and Davis are streaky outside shooters, and Kyrie Irving lacks physical girth.
This superteam does not have that problem, because they are stacked with unstoppable scorers. Steph is the best shooter on the floor, Luka is a triple-double machine, Giannis is the best two-way player in the game, and Jokic is the best natural center in the game. Adding in the shot-creation of Jayson Tatum, the Rest Of League superteam will be impossible to defend against.
Who Wins A Best-Of-7 Series?
Game 1 goes to the Nets/Lakers superteam because they find a nice balance of offense and defense. LeBron James imposes his will in the first quarter, scoring 12 points on 5-7 shooting from the field. Team Rest Of League struggle from the perimeter, nailing 33% of their shots and fail to slow down LeBron and company. Game 1 ends 110-101 in favor of LeBron’s side.
Game 2 goes to Team Rest Of League because Steph and Tatum combine for 60 points on 46% shooting from the field. Jokic controls the paint with 15 rebounds and 9 assists, feeding his shooters on the break and giving them a 70-54 first-half lead. With the game already out of hand, Team Rest Of League cruise to a 120-103 victory.
Thanks to the presence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Team Rest Of League get off to a strong start and also end the game on a high note. The Greek Freak drops a monster 36 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists while also coming up with a big-time block on Anthony Davis at the end of the game to seal the deal. With the game tied 105-103, Davis catches a lob from LeBron only to have Giannis sky for the game-saving block.
The Lakers and Nets superteam bounce back with a big performance, thanks to the presence of Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis. The talented scorers go ballistic in the second half, combining for 40 points and taking the game out of hand. Kyrie finished with 34 points and Davis drops a 30-14 double-double, ensuring a 115-103 Game 4 victory.
In a nail-biter, Team Rest Of League comes up with an unlikely victory. The Nets and Lakers get off to a 20-point end to the first half, leaving Team Rest Of League with a lot to discuss at halftime. Tatum and Steph cut the lead to 10, but a buzzer-beater at the end of the third by Durant takes the lead to 13 again. Giannis wakes up with 3 minutes to go, scoring 6 straight points and assisting a Tatum corner three to cut the lead to 4 points. Off an Anthony Davis miss, Nikola Jokic finds a cutting Luka for an And-1. The pressure is on, and a Durant miss leads to another Tatum three-pointer to give his team a 1-point victory in Game 5, 110-109.
A must-win for the Lakers and Nets, they fail to get the shots they need to force a Game 7. Simmons is held to 10 points, Kyrie goes 1-7 from three, and the squad fails to control Giannis and Jokic down low. LeBron, at his age, cannot handle the size and girth of the big players. Durant and Davis try their best, but they fail to overcome the physicality of Giannis and the mass of Nikola. With Luka grabbing a triple-double and Steph dropping 26 points, Game 6 ends 124-118 with Giannis capturing Finals MVP honors.
Final Result: Rest Of League Superteam vs. Nets/Lakers Superteam 4-2
Finals MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo