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Post-Jordan Era All-NBA Teams Part 2

Lockout to Lockout All-NBA First Team

Center –Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq after big dunk in 2000 Playoffs

The man with more nicknames that any other in NBA history is the starting center on the lockout to lockout team; he was the dominant player in the league for 5 years of this era. He capped off the lockout era with retirement which, was great to see the big man ride into the sunset. (BTW, very excited to hear that he joined Turner Sports) Shaq was a scary man to see on the court. I hated the Shaq-Kobe Lakers because they were so dominant and there was nobody that could truly slow down Shaq. Shaq has that unstoppable quality that people are waiting for Howard to develop. Although, Shaq was slowed down by injuries his whole career he still found a way to play in 5 NBA Finals and win 4. He was a 3 time NBA Finals MVP who always got the award over Kobe. By his 4th Final’s appearance with Kobe it is noticeable that it was a conflict of who was the true leader on the team. (It is a shame because personal relationships aside the Lakers could have won 5-6 championships were the able to co-exist. As great as people say Phil is at managing talents that was one he was unable to manage for too long but, at least he got 3 rings out of them together) When Shaq moved to Miami he was still a force and I believe was a big influence in the development of Dwyane Wade. They won the Finals his second year their but, the following season it was noticeable that O’Neal was starting to feel the effects of his age. He than continued to play on a variety of teams for short periods of times but, was no longer the Shaq that teams feared to play(Cavs, Celtics, Suns). During this era Shaq had 9 all-NBA team selection (7 were 1st team and his final one was a 3rd team in 09 with Phoenix), he won the MVP in 2000 (also won scoring title), 3 time all-NBA defense, and is easily the most charismatic player of the era. Shaq had his own strategy created against him (hack-a-Shaq because he was a horrendous free throw shooter. But, when you were as dominant as he was it did not truly effect his game too much) Shaq will go down as a top 5 center all-time and now we will enjoy him on TNT.

Power Forward –Tim Duncan (Runner up to MVP of era)

Tim Duncan celebrating after a Championship

The Big Fundamental is considered by some to be an extremely boring player to watch and if you are into flashy dunks and players that play above the rim, than you feel this way. But, if you are into amazing basketball IQ and players who are skilled than you loved watching Duncan play his whole career. Tim Duncan never had a down year when he entered the league, by his second year in the NBA he was winning a Finals MVP and hoisting an NBA Finals trophy above his head (he was playing alongside a future Hall of Famer in Robinson and still won MVP his second year in the league). He has been a constant in the playoffs every year since he joined the league and has always been considered one of the best. Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili have been a three legged monster that has continued to have remarkable success over the year. Although, they were eliminated in the first round this season they still boasted the best record in the league. Tim Duncan has been clutch throughout and it shows with his 4 NBA Finals and his 3 NBA Finals MVP. Duncan’s regular season personal accolades feature 12 all-NBA selections (8, 1st team), 12 all-NBA defensive selections (8, 1st team), and 2 NBA MVPs. Duncan along with Kobe were the two main faces of this era. Duncan in his first 7 seasons during this era, he averaged at least 20-11 every season. He averaged a double-double every season up until this final season. He was the anchor on the San Antonio defense as well as one of the most unselfish players of the era. For being a big man he was a willing passer and a very good shot blocker. Duncan epitomizes what every parent wants their child to be in terms of sportsmanship (Unless, you ask Joey Crawford who instigated Duncan into an ejection. That cost Crawford the season because it is impossible to get a rise out of Duncan. He is as even keel as they come. The Celtics still have nightmares about not winning that lottery. I would easily argue that he is the best PF of all time and easily one of the top 2 players of this era.

Small Forward –Paul Pierce

Pierce in the Finals

The Kansas alum has seen a great deal of fluctuation on his career long team, the Boston Celtics. Pierce came into college as a prized recruit and was an early draft pick that finished second in rookie of the year voting to Vince Carter. He has been the face of the Boston Celtics since his rookie year and has done his best to live up to “The Truth”. He has been a potent scorer his whole career and spent many of his early years trying to win a championship with the now bankrupt Antoine Walker. Although they saw some success as teammates they were both score first players (especially Walker, who never really played much defense and took an absurd number of bad shots per game) and for that reason a Finals appearance never happened for the tandem. After the Celtics traded Walker, Pierce was on some pretty bad teams until the Big 3 was formed. Paul Pierce was 4 time all-NBA (never 1st team) but, he was always one of the premier small forwards in the league. He truly shined in 2007-2008 with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett where Pierce was considered the captain of the team. Garnett was the defensive leader and Ray Allen was the dead on shooter that hit a great deal of buzzer beaters for Boston. One of Pierce’s more memorable performances was when he battled Lebron 1 on 1 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Pierce finished with 41 and although Lebron had 45; Pierce did what he had to for his team to get a W. This ensued for the rest of the postseason as Pierce was named Finals MVP. Although Rondo was already the starting PG, at that point in time Pierce ran the offense late in games and truly led the Celtics offensively as a scorer and creator. Pierce has continued to be one of the most consistent players of the era and is still the most consistent player on the Celtics. Pierce was a rookie the first year this era began and has average 22 PPG, 6 RPG, and 4 APG. He has been one of the faces of the era and still continues to play at a high level.

Shooting Guard –Kobe Bryant (MVP of era)

Kobe Bryant with 5 rings ran this era

The previous era is considered the Jordan era by most, this era started when Jordan’s career with the Bulls ended. If we had to name this era after a player it would be the Kobe-era. Bryant started this era winning 3 consecutive championships with one of the most dominant big men of all time, Shaquille O’Neal. At that time, we saw Bryant grow in front of out eyes as a basketball player. Kobe’s first full season as a starter was the first year of this era and by the third season of the era he was already averaging 28 PPG. He was part of one of the scariest tandems of all time. It is truly a shame that Shaq and Kobe could not co-exist for longer because they really would have won 7-8 championships. But, Kobe wanted the limelight sooner than O’Neal wanted to give it up. After Kobe and Shaq went to 4 Finals in 5 years, they lost to the Pistons in 5. A series that was extended because of a Kobe buzzer beater that got the Lakers their only win in OT; Pistons never lost again after that. Kobe was very immature at this point in time and although he hurt his ring count by driving Shaq out of LA; the Black Mamba wanted to separate himself from the rest and be the unanimous leader. This cost Kobe the playoffs for the first time in his career but, that mishap truly helped Kobe mature as a player and a leader. He took a horrendous team to the playoffs the following year (they started Mihm/Kwame, Odom, Walton, Kobe, and Smush); he averaged over 35 PPG in the same season he scored 81 in a single game. This is when Kobe truly separated himself from everybody else in the league and became the unanimous best player. Kobe almost singlehandedly beat the Suns in a 7 game series but, they lost 3 straight after being up 3-1. Kobe’s critics gained more steam when Shaq won his 4th championship in Miami (that ring goes to Wade) but, Kobe knew he needed a little more help. With the arrival of Pau the Lakers finally made their push but, were defeated in the NBA finals by the newly formed big 3 of the Boston Celtics. Kobe took this loss to power him to another run at that title and Kobe ensued to win back to back rings with back to back Final’s MVPs. Kobe in this era was selection to 13 all-NBA selection (9 1st team), 11 all-NBA defensive selections (9 1st team), and an NBA MVP in 2007-2008. He is the face of this era along with Duncan. So if this era had a name it would be the Kobe-era. (Co-Starring Duncan as the lead supporting actor).

Point Guard –Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd was the best passer of the era

Jason Kidd can be described in one word and that is winner. Jason Kidd has made every team better that he has gone to. When he and Stephon Marbury were traded for one another, Phoenix instantly became worse and New Jersey instantly became a Final’s contender. Kidd’s first year in New Jersey he took the Nets to the Finals as the best point guard in the game. Sadly, his team was completely overmatched by the LA Lakers and although he played well, his team was not good enough to pick off the Lakers. The following season Kidd took his team back to the Finals; this time to get his first playoff victory but, still was not enough to beat the best team of this era, the San Antonio Spurs. Kidd averaged 19 PPG, 9 APG, and 8 RPG his first run in the playoffs. He averaged 20 PPG, 8 APG, and 7 RPG his second time around. I remember going to Nets games as a kid, the announcer would make a bigger deal about the pass being from Kidd than he did for whoever scored. Kidd was loved by everyone on New Jersey and for good reason; he was a true team player. Jason Kidd never cared about individual stats and his passing ability was unmatched. He led the league in assists 5 times during this era and even when his scoring declined; his three point shooting improved, his defensive ability maintained, and his passing ability never left. He was eventually traded to Dallas in 2007-2008 when the Nets were never able to make it back to the promise land.  In Dallas he became much more of a passer because the Mavericks already had their scorers, their man one being Dirk Nowitzki. Kidd was rumored to be traded to LA at time but, ultimately Mark Cuban trusted Kidd would help bring a championship to Dallas. And he was finally correct this past year. Kidd did a great job playing defense throughout the playoffs and whenever he attempted an important 3 pointer, it always seemed to go in. Kidd claims he has three years left and with his style of play I believe it. After all of Kidd’s personal accolades, 6 all-NBA selections (5 on 1st team) and  9 all-NBA defensive selections (4 on 1st team); he was finally able to hold the NBA Finals trophy over his head. No one was more deserving than Kidd to get that ring and now he can drive off into the sunset on his own terms.

So these are my all-NBA teams, I want to get feedback on what you guys agree or disagree with.

Coach of the Era –Gregg Popovich

My best coach of the era

My coach of the era is going to be Gregg Popovich, although Phil has one more championship than Gregg in this time frame. Gregg did it with an inferior team and he was much more consistent as a coach. Phil left the Lakers for a year because he claimed Kobe was uncoachable; he did come back the following year.

I hope to get feedback from all and tell me what you think.

To check my intro and the 3rd and 2nd team click here

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