April 18, 2007

The Two NBA All-Stars Theory

There has been the prevailing thought that an NBA team needs at least two All-Stars to win a championship or even make any waves in the league. Given that there are five starters in a team (Center, Power Forward, Small Forward, Shooting Guard, Point Guard), there would be ten distinct combinations on how the All Star team mates will be distributed:
  1. Center-Point Guard - This type of team produced a handful of titles and featured a high scoring center and a pass first point guard. This is combo relies on the defense of both and the point guard setting the big man for easy buckets.

    Notable teams:
    • 1982 Los Angeles Lakers (Kareem Abdul & Jabbar-Magic Johnson)
    • 1971 Milwaukee Bucks (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Oscar Robertson)
    • 1970 New York Knicks (Willis Reed & Walt Frazier)
    • 1963 Boston Celtics (Bill Russell & Bob Cousy)

  2. Center-Shooting Guard - Inside-Outside threat. This combo has a strong 1-2 punch in offense and good interior and perimeter defense.

    Notable teams:
    • 2000 Los Angeles Lakers (Shaquille O'Neal & Kobe Bryant)
    • 2006 Miami Heat (Shaquille O'Neal & Dwayne Wade)
    • 1972 Los Angeles Lakers (Wilt Chamberlain & Jerry West)
    • 1966 Philadelphia 76ers (Wilt Chamberlain & Hal Greer)
    • 1995 Houston Rockets (Hakeem Olajuwon & Clyde Drexler)

  3. Center-Small Forward - This combo is pretty rare and often would depend on the versatility of the small forward to create damage inside and outside.

    Notable team:
    • 1983 Philadelphia 76ers (Moses Malone & Julius Erving)

  4. Center-Power Forward - "Twin Tower" teams have strong interior defense that often would produce blocks or altered shots. Rebounding is also a strength.

    Notable teams :
    • 1999 San Antonio Spurs (David Robinson & Tim Duncan)**
    • 1978 Washington Bullets (Wes Unseld & Elvin Hayes)
    • 1986 Houston Rockets (Ralph Sampson & Hakeem Olajuwon)*

  5. Power Forward-Point Guard - Not very different from the Center-Point Guard combo, but potent nonetheless.

    Notable Teams:
    • 2005 San Antonio Spurs (Tim Duncan & Tony Parker)
    • 1998 Utah Jazz (Karl Malone & John Stockton)*
    • 1996 Seattle Supersonics (Shawn Kemp & Gary Payton)*

  6. Power Forward-Shooting Guard - A very rare success, teams would opt to have a Center-Shooting Guard tandem, as this mix has historically produced little synergy. While hypothetically this pair will be faster and better scorers, very few teams found were built around it.

    Notable team:
    • 1993 Phoenix Suns (Charles Barkley & Dan Majerle)*

  7. Power Forward-Small Forward - This combo presents flexibility and versatility-- both forward roles can be interchanged to create mismatches.

    Notable team:
    • 1984 Boston Celtics (Kevin McHale & Larry Bird)

  8. Small Forward-Point Guard - Basing on NBA history, no team has won a title or even reached the NBA Finals exclusively with this pair. While it is hard to understand why-- a point guard can create tremendous opportunities in the open court and half court for the small forward.

    Notable team:
    • 1988 Los Angeles Lakers (James Worthy & Magic Johnson)

  9. Small Forward-Shooting Guard - The hardest to match-up, in my opinion. This dynamic duo undoubtedly has the capability to dominate the backcourt and the frontcourt opposition with pressure on both ends.

    Notable Teams:
    • 1992 Chicago Bulls (Scottie Pippen & Michael Jordan)
    • 1999 New York Knicks (Latrell Sprewell & Allan Houston)*
    • 1968 Los Angeles Lakers (Elgin Baylor & Jerry West)*

  10. Shooting Guard-Point Guard - This pair earns its money from the perimeter. Good outside shooting and lane penetration give opponents a hard-time. This team usually make good pressing defenders.

    Notable teams:
    • 1989 Detroit Pistons (Joe Dumars & Isaiah Thomas)
    • 2004 Detroit Pistons (Rip Hamilton & Chauncey Billups)
    • 1992 Portland Trailblazers (Clyde DrexlerTerry Porter)*
* Did not win NBA championship
** Lockout shortened season


  1. Can you give me the names of all the All-Stars or at least most of them that played for the Lakers.

  2. I don't think I can name all of them... But for sure the list includes Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy



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