The Billion Dollar Game

spacejam

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry about the formatting on this, I know it can be a little rough. I’m no html wizard, and sometimes when you go in and out of preset formats things can go a little haywire.

Also, sorry all the quotes are yelling at you. Pretend that we’re your usual NFL guys trying to make a point.

On his January 8th podcast The B.S Report Bill Simmons and guest Jalen Rose drafted a hypothetical 9 on 9 ‘One Game For a Billion Dollars” to  determine the best current players, and to figure out how valuable of a player Dwight Howard is today. I disagreed, pretty thoroughly disagreed with a lot of the picks and one particular omission. So I decided to dial up Bob Sacramano, replicate the exercise and see how it goes. Please vote at the end.

So without further adieu, The Billion Dollar Game

Bob Sacramano – Monstars

SELECT: LEBRON JAMES

“With the first pick, I’m taking the obvious selection here in LeBron James. He is the best player in the NBA (the world actually.  I’d go Universe but I’ve seen Space Jam and there are some really good Alien Hoops players out there).  He plays hard, and after Game 6 of last year’s Eastern Conference Championship game, he finally got the “Look”.  You know that look that says in no uncertain terms are we losing this game.  He can guard 4 positions on D and can handle the ball on Offense.  The easiest pick in this entire exercise.”

Current Roster: Lebron James

Up Next with two picks…

MattDotRich – Toon Squad

SELECT: Kevin Durant & Chris Paul

“Second best player in the universe. The guy is built for this game: One of the complaints I have about Durant is that I think he can be a little passive, and he doesn’t move particularly well without the ball. In this game, those are perfect characteristics. Whether he be the guy that drives to the hoop to create, the guy whose catching the ball in the corner for an easy 3, or at 6’9 with a 9’5 foot wingspan he could even see some time at the 4 – Durant’s a perfect player for the format.”

“The original dream team would’ve killed for a point guard like this – Killer mean streak, great defender, pure leader, not a prick, not homophobic, probably won’t get sued in a multi million dollar sexual harassment law suit years down the line. Seriously though, Chris Paul is easily the best point guard in the league. He perfectly balances keeping his team involved, and asserting himself as a go-to scorer when the team needs it. That’s something few point guards in this league can do, and those who can, won’t.”

Current Roster: Kevin Durant, Chris Paul

for the rest of the way picks will be one and one

Bob Sacramano – Monstars

SELECT: Carmelo Anthony

“The first difficult pick.  The NBA has a clear top of the Class with LBJ, Durant, and Paul.  When discussing the draft order with MattDotRich, the question wasn’t do you want first pick, it was do you want LeBron or Durant/Paul.  So why did I decide on Carmelo Anthony?  1) I am not fan of Kobe Bryant.  He plays hard but I don’t need that head case on my team.  2) My opponent took the guy that scores the easiest in the NBA in Durant.  I had to take the second guy in Melo.  Inside/Outside, Melo can put the ball in the hoop.  Also, I hope to be able to draft some back line guy that can protect the fact that Melo can’t guard the chair that I am sitting in (even if he has greatly improved).  Plus, allegedly his wife tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.  I can get behind that.”

Current Roster: Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony

MattDotRich – Toon Squad

SELECT: Kevin Garnett

“Ha. If you pick Melo I’ve gotta go Garnett. If I can open the curtains to Oz for a moment – this is the reason this article is being done. Somehow, Garnett wasn’t selected in a similar format in a draft done by ESPN’s Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose.

There might be more ‘talented’ players available, but Garnett provides a unique skill set. Can play the 4 or the 5. Play in the post or in mid range. He’s still the best pick and roll defender in the game. And if I’m playing ONE game for a million dollars, I want a guy who gets so hyped up for the NBA finals that he doesn’t sleep.
Plus, one killer line at Melo and we’ll be looking Iso Melo for 48 again.”
Current Roster: Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett

Bob Sacramano – Monstars

SELECT: Russell Westbrook

“KG was my next pick if you didn’t take him.  You’re rationale is the exact reason why I wanted him.

There are three people in the league that make my mouth drop with athleticism nearly once a game: LeBron, Eric Bledsoe, and Russell Westbrook.  He is the most athletic guard in the NBA.  He can get from one end to the other faster then anyone else with the ball in his hands.  Also, he has been playing as a second banana for his entire career and in a game where you need people to give up their superstar status for the good of the team for one game, Westbrook is the guy to go with.”

Current Roster: Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James

MattDotRich – Toon Squad

SELECT: Dwight Howard

“It’s not fun to pick Dwight Howard. He’s a dick. He doesn’t seem to care enough about winning. He wears entirely too much NBA merch. Seriously, entirely too much. Full sleeve arm bands or headband. You can’t do them both. And that’s coming from a guy who wears these on the court.
Still, he is who he is. Defensively, he’s a hybrid of 2 other guys I was considering here (no, I’m not telling): He’s still an incredibly quick defender for a big man, while maintaining a wider frame to counter any wide bodies you may end up picking down the line. Offensively, he’s kind of the bigman version of Durant: I like the idea of having a guy who can score 20+ without having specific plays called to get him involved.
The way you beat Lebron is by having height, or one of your players has sex with his mother. Maybe this is my way of covering both of my bases? Guys got a good smile”

Current Roster: Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul

Bob Sacramano – Monstars

SELECT: Zach Randolph

Thank you for taking the man that had a major back surgery in the last 12 months.  Saved me from having to take him 3 picks down the line.
(Preface: I am irrational when it comes to Z-Bo) Its the end of the game.  My team needs an easy offensive possession.  What is an easier offensive possession then giving the ball to the best low post offensive player in the league?  Also, I can go small and play Z-Bo at the 5, with LeBron at the 4, and Melo at the 3.  A legitimate 20-10 guy, that when push comes to shove is going to be there.
He has matured over the years from the guy that once had this said about him “I just don’t want the day to come where I pick up that paper and it says [Zach] shot someone, or that he was shot.  Every day that goes by that I don’t see that, I feel good.” – Moe Smedley, Z-Bo’s High School Coach.
Current Roster: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Zach Randolph

MattDotRich – Toon Squad

SELECT: Black Mamba

“Well, I know this is a draft between two Boston guys but c’mon. What more can I say? #mambatweets”

Current Roster: Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul

Bob Sacramano – Monstars

SELECT: Dwyane Wade

“Touche Sir.  I had Kobe all tee’d up and ready to go.  We’re talking about a top 10 NBA player of all time, and would have fit in perfect as a Two on my team.

I want warriors on my team.  I want guys that have my back.  I want a two time NBA champion that at this point has settled in quite nicely as the second banana on a NBA Championship team.  A guy that is battle tested and can take over a game if you need him, but can defer and will be the Robin to LeBron’s Batman.  He can handle the ball and fits in nicely with the slash and kick offense I am trying to get going here.”

Current Roster: Dwyane Wade, Zach Randolph, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James

MattDotRich – Toon Squad

SELECT: Andre Iguodala

By “guys that’ll have your back” did you mean “guys who will knee opposing players in the groin”? Happy you took the guy, because I didn’t want to.

Here’s where I reveal myself as 2 things:
1. A Huge chemistry guy
2. Irrational Andre Iguodala supporter
On one hand it might be a little early for AI, I’m wondering if you would even consider him in this draft. On the other hand, I couldn’t miss out on having him. He’s a poor man’s Scottie Pippen: An incredible perimeter defender capable of covering both the 2 and the 3, a terrific passer, and a guy whose shown to be a pretty intelligent slasher when he’s not burdened to run an offense like he did in Philadelphia.
Also, he’s key to allowing me to go to a smaller CP3, Mamba, Iggy, Durant, Garnett lineup – or as I call them, “Flex & Pecks”
Current Roster: Andre Iguodala, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul

Bob Sacramano – Monstars

SELECT: Steph Curry

“Knee another guy in the groin?  Total Accident.  When AI makes it out of the second round of the playoffs, maybe I would consider him for this team.  Not on my big board at all.

Looking at my team, I needed a shooter and a distributor.  Steph Curry fills both of those roles.  I live out here in San Francisco so the local team is the Warriors.  I see an inordinate amount of their games and when his ankles are healthy he is a top 15 player in the NBA.  He is a dead eye shooter and is a great ball distributor.  I can bring him off the bench or start him.  Also he is not a head case at all.”
Current Roster: Steph Curry, Dwyane Wade, Zach Randolph, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James

MattDotRich – Toon Squad

SELECT: Dirk Nowitzki

“You’re going to knock my AI pick for him not winning then you’re going to select Steph Curry. What’s the old saying – those who have glass ankles shouldn’t throw stones? I think that’s it. How’s it going, San Francisco? MattDotRich, nice to meet ya.

Lebron’s run in the playoffs last year was rightfully heralded as remarkable. What he did from Game 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals on was incredible. What Dirk Nowitzki did for an ENTIRE playoff run the year before was on par with it. The guy was incredible, and an absolute thrill to watch. Just absolutely brilliant from the high post.
You say he’s on the decline, I say he’s shooting .390 from behind the 3 point line, and maybe a little cautious of how much he wants to exert his body until ‘the Bank of Cuban’ brings a contender around him again. Zee German will rise again.”
Current Roster: Dirk Nowitzki, Andre Iguodala, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul

Bob Sacramano – Monstars

SELECT: Tyson Chandler

“You’re comparing 3 injured seasons of Curry (playing with Monta Ellis, one of the biggest ball stoppers of all time) to 8 of AI?  If you went with the fact that he had an Olympic Gold Medal I would given you a tip of the cap in comparing the two.  On the other hand, Dirk is the right pick there.  I had him on the big board for later.

Olympic Gold Medalist? Check.  NBA Champion? Check.  Defensive Player of the Year? Check.  This pick makes up for the lack of rim protection that I had with my first 6 picks.  Also, I now have a guy that can be on the floor and not need the ball in his hands for any of it other then to catch lobs.  Also, the dude doesn’t take bad shots when he gets the ball.  He is the career FG percentage leader.  Plus, he just looks like a guy I would want to have a beer with.  I have no explanation for that, but I just have that feeling he is a good guy.”

Current Roster: Tyson Chandler, Steph Curry, Dwyane Wade, Zach Randolph, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James

MattDotRich – Toon Squad

SELECT: Kyrie Irving

“Charles Barkley never won a championship either, doesn’t mean he wasn’t one of the best power forwards of all time. Iguodala has spent 8 years with a terrible cast, I don’t blame him for his team’s lack of success.
Was wondering when you were going to take Chandler. Almost forced my hand to take another center.
Just had to have him. Had to. The guy’s a videogame. Can get anywhere he wants to on the court, while doing anything he’d like with the ball. He’s a guy who can do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ioIReFbQ_o . And for those of you who are at work and can’t watch a video, here’s what happens in an olympic exhibition: Irving puts the ball behind his back to get past Kobe, then immediately crosses up Kobe Bryant, takes two steps than spins around James Harden, then puts the ball behind his back and between legs after Kobe comes back into the picture.
This guys a stud whose being wasted on a team without talent. 23.3 points, 5.6 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.8 steals a game while shooting .405 from behind the 3 point line.”

Current Roster: Kyrie Irving, Dirk Nowitzki, Andre Iguodala, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul

Bob Sacramano – Monstars

SELECT: James Harden

“Its guys like Kyrie I feel bad for (as bad as you can for a guy getting paid $5m to play a game).  He is a stud of a player just being wasted.  One thing though, Kyrie Irving has never played a big game in his career.  Injured at Duke and just a strike shortened season during his first year.  I don’t know if he could handle this game.

I need a dynamic player that can come off the bench and score buckets.  We know that James Harden can do this as well as anybody in the NBA.  Think about this for a second.  He was selected to the Dream Team 2012 having come off the bench the previous season.  Yes, I know he kind of disappeared in the NBA finals but the dude can play.  Since taking over a staring role in Houston he has been money.  Near 25 ppg and getting to the line roughly 10 times a game from a guard spot.  Plus I added that fantastic beard to my team.  (Note:  I’ve had the same beard for 10 years, I’m probably biased on this front.)
Last Pick time.  Plug any holes you have on your team.  And looking at it, you have plenty.”

Current Roster: Tyson Chandler, Steph Curry, Dwyane Wade, Zach Randolph, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James

MattDotRich – Toon Squad

SELECT: Tim Duncan

“Sit down. Shut up. Respect your elders.”

Current Roster: Tim Duncan, Kyrie Irving, Dirk Nowitzki, Andre Iguodala, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul

Bob Sacramano – Monstars

SELECT: Kevin Love

I respect Duncan.  Plus you can now trot (I use the word trot strategically there) out a 100 year old Front court with Dirk, Duncan, and KG.

A stretch 4 that can shoot near 40% from 3 while still averaging over 12 rpg.  I looked at my team and though that I was a little weak in rebounding or 3 point shooting.  Adding Kevin Love just made those minor weaknesses into potential strengths.  A wide body that just has a knack for finding the ball on the glass.
Current Roster: Kevin Love, Tyson Chandler, Steph Curry, Dwyane Wade, Zach Randolph, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James
FINAL ROSTERS
MattDotRich – Toon Squad
C: Dwight Howard
PF: Kevin Garnett
SF: Kevin Durant
SG: Kobe Bryant
PG: Chris Paul
Reserves: Andre Iguodala, Dirk Nowitzki, Kyrie Irving, Tim Duncan
 
Bob Sacramano – Monstars
 
C: Tyson Chandler
PF: Lebron James
SF: Carmelo Anthony
SG: Dwyane Wade
PG: Russell Westbrook
Reserves: Zach Randolph, Steph Curry, James Harden, Kevin Love 

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