BallinEurope’s Emmet Ryan is one of 20 basketball observers from assorted backgrounds taking part in #AllTimeNBADraft on Twitter. Here’s how he settled on the roster for the Dallas Nashwitzkis
First off, oh how I have sinned, for given this team’s name it’s a touch shameful that neither Steve Nash nor Dirk Nowitzki are on the roster. In both cases I waited a round too long to pull the trigger.
The brainchild of Bobby Mummery, the purpose of this project is to see how people with a pretty broad range of backgrounds in covering basketball assess contemporary players vs the past. The draft consisted of 13 rounds with no more than 4 players from a single decade allowed per roster. That decade definition was decided by GMs choosing a specific season as the key year for that player. For example, as Clyde Drexler’s season selected is 1988/89 he counts towards my cap on the 1980s. The 2010s have an additional restriction of only 3 players being allowed as we aren’t close to finished this decade yet.
Only seasons in the NBA/ABA are considered, meaning there was no room for me to grab Dejan Bodiroga at all while the prime years of Arvydas Sabonis also don’t count.
How we defined a decade was actually a subject of much discussion, it might seem silly but when seasons span two different years it can be tricky. In the end the conventional logic, that a season is always referred to by the later year, prevailed meaning the current decade began with the 2009/10 season.
The full roster of the Dallas Nashwitzskis is below with the number in brackets reflecting how many of that decade’s player cap had been taken when that player was picked.
Bill Russell (1) 1960/61
Clyde Drexler (1) 1988/89
Pau Gasol (1) 2009/10
Tony Parker (1) 2008/09
Peja Stojakovic (2) 2003/04
Chet Walker (2) 1966/67
LaMarcus Aldridge (2) 2013/14
Calvin Murphy (1) 1975/76
Deron Williams (3) 2008/09
Dave Bing (2) 1970/71
Otis Thorpe (1) 1987/88
Hersey Hawkins (1) 1992/93
Dolph Schayes (1) 1957/58
Coach: Bill Russell
A few quick observations before the big breakdown. I am honestly shocked I didn’t end up 90s heavy, never mind that the lone 90s player was late selection Hersey Hawkins, as my introduction to basketball was the Harlem Globetrotters cartoon followed by the Dream Team.
Also the fun part with the next stage of the experiment, which will see a few experts play the rosters off against one another with attempts to grade the match-ups is how they work out what to make of so many players whose careers were before the three-point era.
The big concern here off the bat is defence, the first five picks are the starting five and that looks to put a heap of responsibility on Russell. That however is why I ended up going with Russell as my pick as coach. During his career, the big plus for Russell as a team-mate (as in beyond his obvious individual brilliance) was his ability to make those around him better so I felt I had some room to play with here.
Within this lies the debate about Pau Gasol where there is definitely a Euro/American divide on him as a defender. The divide is remarkable, with European observers traditionally seeing Pau in a far more positive light than those Stateside. I’ve deliberately gone with a season where I felt he was both impressive on this end yet also the source of much debate, his Game 7 display against the Celtics is viewed in multiple lights…which I still find mad because, dude, 18 rebounds and interior might.
A few other interesting notes, with Deron Williams there’s a numbers argument to go with an early Nets season but I simply can’t pick late Deron over Jazz Deron. That and the focus here is on seasons where these guys got good numbers are were significant difference makers towards the success of their team for the most part.
With that in mind, there is at least one element of the Nashwitzki mindset in the final roster as the look of this side, to me, is like Dallas going into the playoffs in 2011. That Mavs team had an odd look to it but the depth and use of role players wore opponents down. I think the heavy rotation could theoretically win this mythical championship. At the very least, I’m looking forward to the judges assessing what Dolph Schayes would be in the modern era.