Kevin Durant selected his greatest starting five ever 9 years ago, and it is certainly one heck of a team. The 4-time scoring champion called Michael Jordan the greatest player ever because he has reason to believe that 10 scoring titles and 6 Finals MVPs are enough to distinguish him above anyone else. Clearly, it will be hard to compete with Durant’s all-time team in a best-of-7 series.
Via Bleacher Report:
According to Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman, KD gave his preferred lineup on ESPN's SportsNation:
"My point guard would be Magic, my two would be Michael Jordan, my three would be Larry Bird, four would probably be Hakeem Olajuwon and my five would be Shaq. We got a big team right there."
It's time to see if we can beat Kevin Durant's All-Time Team. Fadeaway World created a starting five that could challenge, and possibly usurp, what Durant named on his team. With a backcourt of Stephen Curry and Kobe Bryant, the offense is the key to countering what Magic and Jordan bring as a dynamic duo. With LeBron James at small forward, Larry Bird won’t be blowing away an opponent with ease as he normally does. Finally, Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are arguably the two greatest players at their positions ever, meaning an out-of-position Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal will have a hard time over 7 games. Here is how this all-time great series plays out if both superteams compete in a best-of-7.
Kevin Durant's All-Time Starting 5: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal
Fadeaway World's All-Time Starting 5: Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Stephen Curry vs. Magic Johnson
This matchup comes down to shooting vs. floor leadership. Stephen Curry is by far the greatest shooter ever, shattering the record for most threes in a career after passing Ray Allen. Curry is simply one of the most impactful superstars ever, and he did it his way. Nobody would’ve thought that the three-point shot could transform the way every team plays today, and that is thanks to Curry. But how would he fare against the greatest all-around point guard ever in Magic Johnson?
Magic brings size, passing, leadership, and clutch intangibles to a stacked superteam of his own. Kevin Durant loved playing alongside Curry because of the pair’s incredible shooting ability, but Magic will have no problem doing what he does best. The legendary point guard will take Curry in the post at times, scoring with ease and also setting up his legendary teammates on the break with his passing. Magic won’t stop Curry from averaging 23 PPG in the series, but he will get the last laugh as the best leader ever.
Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan
At the shooting guard position, there are only two players that reign among everyone else. Kobe Bryant regarded Michael Jordan as his mentor, but he was also confident he could take MJ in any one-on-one battle. Quite frankly, it isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Kobe had every move that MJ had, except he could take and make tougher shots. Like MJ, he is extremely unstoppable against any defender and that includes his mentor.
Meanwhile, Jordan also brings unstoppable offensive ability. The slight difference here lies in the fact that Michael is more efficient and also a slightly better defender, thanks to his massive hands and greater physical size. Kobe was certainly more finesse and slithery when he played, and Michael was a tad stronger with greater athletic ability. This matchup has the eyes of everyone, and it should because there isn’t a better shooting guard pairing.
LeBron James vs. Larry Bird
Just like Kobe and MJ, the best possible small forward showdown comes with LeBron James and Larry Bird head-to-head. The King is the undisputed greatest small forward ever because of his extreme physicality and longevity, and he could take it to anyone in any series. James took a while before he learned how to win on the biggest stage, but he got there eventually. Against another Hall of Famer in Larry Bird, James will continue doing what he does best which is creating for others and attacking the rim.
Meanwhile, Bird brings outside shooting and a ton of attitude alongside Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. The incredible cutch forward will be well aware of LeBron’s threat and will fail to stop The King during multiple drives to the basket. But Larry will focus on his strengths which come in his shooting, rebounding, and trash-talk. Bird has a tendency to get in people’s heads (and nerves), so James will not be at his apex until much later in the series. Without a doubt, both James and Bird fit perfectly with their guards, which makes this matchup another exciting one for fans.
Tim Duncan vs. Hakeem Olajuwon
Tim Duncan is the more natural power forward, and the greatest to have ever done it in that position. The San Antonio Spurs legend won NBA titles, MVPs, and Finals MVPs thanks to his all-time great traits: defense, rebounding, and offensive IQ. Duncan dominated the paint, using his IQ to contest shots and also make the right plays when he hauls down rebounds. On offense, Timmy is exceptional at running the offense through the post and holds others accountable every minute on the floor.
Hakeem Olajuwon was exceptional as a two-way center, but he will be forced to play power forward to accommodate the presence of physical beast Shaquille O’Neal. Olajuwon is great enough to adapt, and he will counter every positive that Duncan brings to the court in this series. The Dream will put up similar numbers to Duncan over the series, and basically evens it up despite playing out of position.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. Shaquille O’Neal
At the center position, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal go to battle against each other in an all-time great showdown. Kareem has the skyhook, a shot that not even O’Neal will be able to stop. The superstar also has incredible defensive intangibles, meaning Shaq will struggle to average his usual 30-15 against opponents in the important series. With Abdul-Jabbar manning the middle alongside Tim Duncan, Durant’s superteam is complete.
But O’Neal will always be a force, even against an 11-time All-Defensive Team performer. Shaq will use his physical force at all times, putting pressure on Kareem to foul on many occasions and keep the matchup interesting. O’Neal will do this exceptionally well at points throughout the series and will have 2 monster games resulting in wins for his team.
Fadeaway World Supertime Advantage
Fadeaway World has an incredible superteam that is built on shooting, high-octane offense, with two bigs who were dominant on defense. The advantage of this team comes in the offensive versatility of all the players because each player has a unique playing style that is conducive to winning a best-of-7 series. Curry brings outside shooting, Kobe can carry the scoring to counter Jordan, LeBron can attack or be a playmaker, and both bigs can dominate on defense or take over the offense in the paint. This superteam has zero weaknesses on the court, and the presence of Kareem and Duncan in the middle will be hard to overcome.
Kevin Durant Supertime Advantage
Kevin Durant’s superteam combines the best players from the ‘80s and also two of the most dominant bigs ever in an incredible lineup. The key advantage comes with the presence of Magic Johnson because his unselfishness will make Michael Jordan even more unstoppable than he already is. Johnson has a knack for making every player better, even if it is Michael Jordan. With a 6’9” point guard with the best passing skills ever, Fadeaway World’s superteam will struggle to control the pace because Jordan, Bird, Olajuwon, and O’Neal will all be placed in positions to succeed.
Who Wins a Best-Of-7 Series?
Game 1 goes to Team Durant because Magic puts up a monster triple-double to take over the game. Jordan has an efficient 9-15 shooting night, dropping 25 points while Magic puts up 25-10-12 on 54% shooting. Quite simply, Team Fadeaway World cannot keep up with their efficiency and fall convincingly 101-85. Game 2 is much different because Kobe Bryant goes off for 39 points and 12 assists. The Black Mamba gets it done from outside (3-5) and from the line (10-12), taking over the game every time Team Durant starts closing in on the lead. With Team Fadeawy World leading for most of the game, LeBron and Curry put the nails in the coffin in the 4th.
Game 3 is all about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar because he nails a skyhook over Shaq to win the game with 0.1 seconds remaining in the 4th. Michael drains a go-ahead mid-range jumper over his protege Kobe Bryant with 5 seconds left in the game, leaving Team Fadeaway World with one play left. LeBron inbounds to Kareem immediately, and the big man takes two big dribbles before releasing his iconic shot over O’Neal to steal Game 3. Game 4 is about Mike because The GOAT drops an incredible 45 points to blitz Team Fadeaway World. The legendary shooting guard counters Kobe’s 37 (14-33) with an efficient 15-30 shooting performance from the field, evening the series at 2-2.
Game 5 goes to Team Durant again, this time at the hands of a monster 39-point, 17-rebound performance by Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq wakes up in the series, forcing the ball in the basket and demanding every look on the floor. Whenever Shaq goes off like this, it is a guaranteed win and it certainly was as they take a 3-2 lead. Unfortunately for Team Durant, Stephen Curry goes a whopping 7-12 from three in Game 6, giving his team an early 52-35 lead in the first half. Team Durant struggle from the field and waste a ton of energy trying to climb out of the first-half hole. They get close in the 4th, cutting the deficit to only 4 points. But 3 straight baskets by LeBron James and Kobe Bryant seal the deal and force Game 7.
Game 7 goes to 2OT, in the most iconic fashion possible. Jordan nails a buzzer-beater at the end of regulation to overcome a rampant LeBron James performance in the game (35 points, 16 rebounds) to send the game to the first OT. In the first OT, both teams go cold, shooting a combined 34% from the field. Neither team can get a big enough lead, and a second OT is needed after Curry gets his shot blocked by MJ at the end of regulation. With both teams exhausted, it is the L.A. connection that comes through as Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar connect on back-to-back winning plays with 2 minutes remaining.
First, Bryant strips Bird as he attempts to break away from LeBron, and finds The King for an And-1 layup. Following a hook shot by Magic, Kobe nails a deep mid-range jumper to give his team a 3-point lead. Michael answers with a quick drive, but Kareem once again comes through in the clutch with a skyhook shot and a block on Shaq to give Team Fadeaway World the ball with a 3-point lead. Bryant ices the game with 2 free throws and the game ends 117-112 in a stunning victory.
Final Result: Fadeaway World Supertime vs. Kevin Durant Superteam 4-3
Finals MVP: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar