The Water Cooler

Greatest All-Star Team Ever?

After this year’s All-Star Game, my cousin asked me to research if there was ever an All-Star Team better than this year’s Western Conference All-Star Team. With Curry, Durant, and Westbrook all playing together, the game had some serious offensive fireworks. The defense was a different story, but it is tough to argue that this year’s West squad wasn’t among the more impressive groups assembled as an All-Star Team.

2016 west allstar

2016 West All-Star Team

As I started to review the rosters over the last 30 years, the best roster I could find was the 2000 Western All-Stars. On the 2016 team I have identified 5 sure-fire Hall of Famers, Kobe, Durant, Curry, Westbrook, and Paul. At this stage of his career Westbrook may not be considered a sure thing yet, but I have seen enough to put him in that category. After those five future HOFers, you have a bunch of talented young guys: Leonard, Green, Harden, Thompson, Davis, Cousins, and Aldridge. Looking back at most All-Star rosters over the years, on any given team there is usually one or two guys who made the All-Star just one time–you know, the Jamaal Mcgloire’s, Jameer Nelson’s, B.J. Armstrong’s, and James Donaldson’s of the world. That said, on the 2016 West team I have a hard time seeing any of these players NOT making several more All-Star teams. Also, this team is fairly unique in that it has only 12 players as a result of not having a single injury replacement. Some All-Star teams have as many as four injury replacements, which allows the roster to be expanded and more players to receive the honor. In fact, unless some of these guys head East in free-agency or get injured in future years, I don’t see a ton of space for other West players not on this year’s team (like Blake Griffin, Gordon Hayward, DeAndre Jordan, Derrick Favors, Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Rajon Rondo, and Dalino Gallinari) to break into this lineup (with the exception of filling Kobe’s spot). The West is so loaded with talent. This lineup is about as good as you will see and there are plenty of good players knocking at the door if anyone on this roster falls off at all.

That said, remember this team looks better on paper because of Kobe’s high ranking, but according to Elias Sports Bureau, Kobe was the first All-Star since 1958-59 to shoot less than 35% from the floor.

2016 Western Conference

Kobe Bryant* (Los Angeles Lakers)
Kevin Durant* (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Kawhi Leonard** (San Antonio Spurs)
Stephen Curry* (Golden State Warriors)
Russell Westbrook* (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Draymond Green** (Golden State Warriors)
James Harden** (Houston Rockets)
Chris Paul* (Los Angeles Clippers)
Klay Thompson** (Golden State Warriors)
Anthony Davis** (New Orleans Pelicans)
DeMarcus Cousins** (Sacramento Kings)
LaMarcus Aldridge** (San Antonio Spurs)

*5 Sure-fire Future Hall of Famers

**Remaining 7 players still have a chance for Hall of Fame careers

The 2016 Team is loaded with talent, but the 2000 West All-Star team had so many All-Time Greats, I think it was better than this year’s West team. According to the recent #NBArank Top 100, the 2000 West team featured #8 Duncan, #9 Shaq, #12 Kobe, #15 Malone, #19 Stockton, #20 Robinson, #21 Garnett, #35 Kidd, #41 Payton, and #66 Webber. The only two players not ranked in the Top 100 All-Time are Rasheed Wallace and Michael Finley. Wallace was a four-time All-Star and NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons, scoring over 16,000 career points and grabbing almost 7,500 rebounds. Finley was a two-time All-Star in his prime with the Mavericks and won a championship later in his career as a starter for the 2006-07 Spurs. Finley finished his career with a solid 17,306 career points and is currently 25th on the All-Time 3-Point Field Goals list. This roster had a staggering 127 combined All-Star selections, or an average of more than 10.5 All-Star selections per player, including five players in the top 8 All-Time in total All-Star Game Appearances. Nine of the twelve are either in the Hall of Fame or certain to be soon. Wallace and Finley will likely never make it, but there was some controversy this year when Chris Webber was not listed as a Hall of Fame nominee again this year. All-in-all, this team featured 1/3 of the best 21 players of All-Time.

2000 allstars

2000 West All-Star Team

2000 Western Conference

Jason Kidd* (Phoenix Suns)
Kobe Bryant* (L.A. Lakers)
Shaquille O’Neal* (L.A. Lakers)
Tim Duncan* (San Antonio Spurs)
Kevin Garnett* (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Rasheed Wallace** (Portland Trail Blazers)
Gary Payton* (Seattle Sonics)
Chris Webber** (Sacramento Kings)
John Stockton* (Utah Jazz)
Karl Malone* (Utah Jazz)
David Robinson* (San Antonio Spurs)
Michael Finley** (Dallas Mavericks)

*9 Hall of Famers or future Hall of Famers

**Non-Hall of Famers

The 2006 West Team was right there with the 2000 West Team. Six years later, there had been a changing of the guard, but the All-Time Greats were replaced with other All-Time Greats. This team featured Duncan #8, Kobe #11, Dirk #17, Garnett #21, Nash #30, Allen #50, Pau #56, Parker #58, McGrady #63, Yao #89. Only Shawn Marion and Elton Brand are outside the Top 100 in #NBArank. Marion, was a four-time All-Star and finished his career with 17,700 points (more than Hall of Famers Kevin McHale, James Worthy, and Earl Monroe and #75 All-Time), 10,000 rebounds (#40 All-Time), 1759 steals (#19 All-Time), and 1233 blocks (#54 All-Time), a rare combination of statistics. Brand was a two-time All-Star with 16,757 career points and 8,977 career rebounds, solid numbers. This team’s best players are not as highly ranked as the 2000 team and both team’s have similar players at the bottom of the roster.

2006 Western Conference

Steve Nash* (Phoenix Suns)
Kobe Bryant* (L.A. Lakers)
Yao Ming** (Houston Rockets)
Tracy McGrady** (Houston Rockets)
Tim Duncan* (San Antonio Spurs)
Kevin Garnett* (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Ray Allen* (Seattle Sonics)
Shawn Marion** (Phoenix Suns)
Tony Parker* (San Antonio Spurs)
Elton Brand (L.A. Clippers)
Dirk Nowitzki* (Dallas Mavericks)
Pau Gasol* (Memphis Grizzlies)

*8 sure Hall of Famers

**3 Borderline Hall of Famers

Go back a little further to the 1971 West All-Star Team and you will find another impressive group. Of the 14 All-Stars, 10 are in the Hall of Fame, including #NBArank All-Time Greats #2 Abdul-Jabbar, #4 Chamberlain, #11 Robertson, #13 West, #40 Hayes, #79 Lucas, and #93 Wilkens. That gives this roster 7 players not ranked in the Top 100 compared to only 2 unranked players for the 2000 and 2006 West squads. This was also Geoff Petrie’s lone All-Star Team in a brief career. Neither the 2000 and 2006 team had a single player with just one All-Star appearance. While this team was heavier at the top with Abdul-Jabbar, Chamberlain, and the Big O, Oscar and Wilt were on the tail end of their careers by then and this team was not as deep as the 2000 or 2006 West teams.

1971 Western Conference

Jerry West* (L.A. Lakers)
Dave Bing* (Detroit Pistons)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar* (Milwaukee Bucks)
Jerry Lucas* (San Francisco Warriors)
Connie Hawkins* (Phoenix Suns)
Dick Van Arsdale (Phoenix Suns)
Oscar Robertson* (Milwaukee Bucks)
Bob Love (Chicago Bulls)
Chet Walker* (Chicago Bulls)
Lenny Wilkens* (Seattle Sonics)
Elvin Hayes* (San Diego Rockets)
Wilt Chamberlain* (L.A. Lakers)
Geoff Petrie (Portland Trail Blazers)
Jeff Mullins (San Francisco Warriors)

*Hall of Fame

Only time will tell what the young players in the 2016 West All-Star roster will become and if they will stack up against the 2000 and 2006 West teams. Will Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMarcus Cousins, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, and Anthony Davis become All-Time Greats or fizzle into Michael Finley or Elton Brand or worse, Geoff Petrie? My bet is that while this year’s West roster was impressive, it likely will not top the 2000 team in greatness or depth, but may be comparable to the 2006 West team as one of the greatest All-Star teams ever.

2 comments

  • Brett Hewlett

    Very nice work. With the 2000 team, players such as Malone, Stockton, Robinson, and the Glove were at the end of their careers. It’s no doubt they have the better resume career wise. My argument is that the 2016 team may be the best team at the time of the actual game ( meaning all players are peaking towards their best years …except for Kobe). It was an awful defensive game so let’s not factor that into the equation (nobody tried)….but after reading your lists, I still think they might be the best offensive team to date.

    • Rich Goates

      I think the 3-point shot has a lot to do with the point totals. This year’s group is special because all of them can shoot the 3. Durant, Curry, Harden, and Leonard are all some of the most prolific shooters in the league and with the exception of Harden all shoot an extremely high percentage. Without even looking at numbers I would agree that this is the best shooting All-Star Team of All-Time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *