Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rick Olivares & Charles Tiu chose their All-NBA starting five (a take on Jordan's pick up team)

This appears in

Our take on the playground fantasy five (plus sixth man)
by rick olivares

I asked good friend, Charles Tiu, to do a player draft with me as a nod to Michael Jordan’s playground five.

In selecting our players, Charles chose first in the point guard category followed by me. Then I chose first in the shooting guard position followed by Charles. Essentially, we alternated. Then we came up with our own assessment on why our teams will beat the other.

As for the rest, it’s up to you guys to judge whose team wins.

Charles Tiu, former Ateneo Blue Eagle, assistant coach Smart Gilas, Powerade, and Barako Bull
Point guard – Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson (19.5 ppg 7.2 rpg 11.2 apg 1.9 spg)
Shooting guard – Kobe Bryant (25.5 ppg 5.3 rpg 4.8 apg 1.5 spg)
Forward LeBron James (27.6 ppg 7.3 rpg 6.9 apg 1.7 spg)
Forward - Tim Duncan (20.2 ppg 11.2 rpg 3.1 apg 2.2 bpg)
Center - Bill Russell (15.1 ppg 22.5 rpg 4.3 apg)
Sixth Man – Scottie Pippen (16.1 ppg 6.4 rpg 5.2 apg 2.0 spg)

On why Charles’ team will win: Rick, looking at our lineups, I would like to think I have a good shot at winning this game. First of all, I've got a bunch of winners. Five of my players have at least four championships and the one other one has two championships in a row and counting. These guys just know how to win. Stockton and Malone are great players but they never won a ring.

Looking at the matchups, I'd take my chances with Magic Johnson going up against Stockton. He has a huge height advantage and there is no way Stockton can guard him on the post.

MJ, whom many consider as the GOAT may have an advantage over Kobe but I wouldn't say it's that much. If there's one man whose game comes closest to MJ, it's definitely Kobe Bryant. His competitive nature will not let him lose his matchup against MJ just like that.

Lebron James is the best basketball player in the world right now. He is a physical specimen who can play and defend multiple positions. I like my chances with him being matched up against Larry Bird.

The Big Fundamental definitely has the advantage over Karl Malone. Both of them are two-time MVPs but Tim Duncan is a much better defender and shot blocker. Karl Malone seems to have a reputation of disappearing in big games while Tim Duncan has led his team to four championships and has claimed three finals MVP awards.

Bill Russell versus Wilt Chamberlain.. Wow. Now talk about a rivalry. Let's get some numbers down. When these two guys went head to head in their 10-year rivalry, they overall record was 85-57 favor Russell. Championships 9-2 favor Russell. Now I know Wilt had the much better statistics by far. And basketball is a team game so we can argue that Russell's teammates may be better than Wilt's but winning is all that matters, and getting the guys to play together, leading them to be a cohesive unit has to count for something. For as dominant a player as Wilt was, the lack of championships definitely hurts.

Scottie Pippen and Kevin Durant are pretty much a wash for me. KD is the best scorer in the NBA by far today but Scottie Pippen was also the best defenders in his day.

I like the versatility of my lineup. Russell may be short for a center but I have Tim Duncan to make up for it. I can go with a small lineup featuring Lebron James as a power forward and Duncan as my center, then inserting Scottie Pippen to play some defense on MJ (if there's one guy who's got the best chance of stopping him it's gotta be Scottie). Put together all these guys who are so unselfish and are all about the team, and I would like my chances against any five!

Rick Olivares, media man, public relations man, advertising agency veteran, basketball fan
Point guard – John Stockton (13.1 ppg 2.7 rpg 10.5 apg 2.2 spg)
Shooting guard – Michael Jordan (30.1 ppg 6.2 rpg 5.3 apg 2.3 spg)
Forward – Larry Bird (24.3 ppg 10.0 rig 6.3 apg 1.73 spg .84 bpg)
Forward – Karl Malone (25.0 ppg 10.1 rpg 3.6 apg 1.4 spg)
Center – Wilt Chamberlain (30.1 ppg 22.9 rpg 4.4 apg)
Sixth Man – Kevin Durant (26.6 ppg 5.3 rpg 1.5 apg 1.8 spg)

On why Rick’s team will win: Charles, if you’re looking at the numbers and championships, your team will win it hands down. But that doesn’t mean a hoot when it comes to a playground game that will translate into a win. Michael Jordan used to say that talent was immaterial. Give him four other players with a lot of heart and he’d beat the opposing team any time. And I’ve got four Dream Teamers! Four on my starting team. Four guys who collectively captured the imagination of the basketball world and changed the game forever! One of them is considered the Greatest of All Time!

How did I go about in putting my team together? I wanted a team that has overpowering offensive firepower, can play suffocating defense, and can pass the ball. Furthermore, they can run.

Well, the Lord of the Rings is Bill Russell. I’ll give you that. But to reiterate, this isn’t about the number of championships. All that talk about Russell being better than Wilt is hogwash. That should be rephrased as, “Bill had the better teams,” or Bill is the ultimate winner.” In this fantasy team game, Wilt has a very very good team.

In their head-to-head match ups, Russ’ teams won 84 times while Wilt’s squads came away aces 58 times but Chamberlain played much better than Russell in the post.

Here are the numbers in their match ups:
Chamberlain – 28.7 points and 28.7 rebounds
Russell – 14.5 points and 23.7 rebounds

When Russell pulled down his NBA-record 55 rebounds in a game? That was against Bill Russell. Plus, the Stilt can pass the ball. He is the only center in league history to win an assist title.

It should be noted that when Chamberlain had superior teammates his teams twice broke the NBA’s win record total. First with Philadelphia in 1968 and with Los Angeles in 1973.

Imagine what he can do with Stockton, Jordan, Bird, Malone, and Durant as teammates.

Power forwards:
Unlike Russell and Chamberlain who went at each other during their prime, that cannot be said for Karl Malone and Tim Duncan as my power forward was on the downside of his career and his Utah Jazz teams had clearly seen better days.

Karl Malone can post up, shoot from the outside and run and finish the break. Timmy isn’t going to get around Malone that easy. And he can’t run too. As for Malone disappearing in big games. It’s easy to remember the losses but not the wins he’s had with Utah. But then again, there are a lot of great NBA players who didn’t win because they had the misfortune of going up against Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls – Patrick Ewing, the Cleveland Cavaliers that Magic Johnson anointed as the team of the 90s, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley, and Dominique Wilkins to name a few.

In terms of wins, Duncan is ahead in their personal duel but again, Malone was on the downside of his career. You don’t match up the Washington Wizards-era Jordan to the Kobe’s years with the three-peat Lakers. Having said that, I will make a case for their career stats.

Karl Malone
Tim Duncan

Field Goal Percentage
Three-point percentage
Free throw percentage
Karl Malone
Tim Duncan

It’s close but I believe Malone will come ahead in this match up.

Small forwards:
Larry Bird versus LeBron James. If James were going to try and bully Bird down the post maybe he could score. But he isn’t a post up player like Bird is. If James is running I’d give him the edge. But Bird in his prime? He’d take the charge against James or funnel him toward Wilt. Larry will take LBJ out to the perimeter and see if he can guard those shots. Bird is such a crafty player that when he played it was never about athleticism but smarts. And he went up against some talented and athletic guys too.

Shooting guards:
Kobe might be MJ 2.0 but do you recall MJ wilting when the stakes were high? There were games that mattered where Kobe – in trying to make a statement – didn’t shoot and opted to pass. You will find no such petulance in Mike. But MJ will have a tough time with Kobe on him and vice versa. If MJ didn’t get injured for much of his second season or spend the better part of a season and a half chasing curve balls, his teams might have won eight straight and he would have surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the all-time scoring list.

But MJ is the GOAT. Enuff said.

Point guard:
Other than the Russell-Chamberlain match-up this is the only other where the two went at it at their prime.

Obviously, Magic’s teams came out ahead more because they had better teams and more money to burn versus a small market team.

Magic Johnson has the advantage on height ONLY if he can post up Stockton. But in a fantasy team game, help will arrive in the form of Malone, Chamberlain or even Bird.

On the perimeter, as you know from your Smart Gilas days, size is relative. Hence, a 5’10” Jayvee Casio matching up well with a 6’5” Sam Dahgles. So I figure Stockton will fare just as well against Magic.

From three-point range in particular, Stockton shot a whole lot better than Magic (.384 to .303) and that’s huge.

Stockton was an underrated defender who could not only score some but pass some. Stockton wasn’t able scoring as he had other guys to put the ball in the hoop in the Malones (Karl and Jeff), the Jeffs (Hornacek and Malone), and Adrian Dantley.

Sixth Man
Kevin Durant is tall, athletic, can create his own shot, and can play the two or the three. As much as I like Pip, he’d have a whale of a time trying to guard this force of nature named Durant.

Overall: The passes will be zipping. My team can run, play the half court set. I’ve got at least four players who can score in the clutch (Jordan, Bird, Chamberlain, and Durant) and that in my opinion will beat Charles’ team anytime.


Truthfully? I wanted to select Hakeem Olajuwon at center. When Charles chose Bill Russell, I knew I had to get Wilt! 

No comments:

Post a Comment