If you could build a team using some of the best players from the last three decades, what would that team look like?
That's the question we're trying to answer on this edition of Blind Resume.
Each day this week, I'm going to give three members of our NBA.com Global Staff a player comparison from Basketball-Reference that is made up of one superstar from the 1990s, one from the 2000s, one from the 2010s and one wildcard. I'll start by providing each player's raw numbers from one particular season. Then I'll reveal their shooting percentages to give everyone an opportunity to change their answer as more information becomes available.
We've decided to stick with the last 30 years because "The Last Dance" has us in 1990s mode right now. That's why you won't see the likes of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Oscar Roberston, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Even if some of those legends did play in the 1990s, their peaks came much sooner.
The player at the top of each chart is Player A, followed by Player B, Player C and Player D.
Having already picked a point guard, shooting guard, small forward and power forward, we're picking the centre for our post-80s dream team today.
Step 1: The raw stats
Leandro Fernàndez (@FernandezLea): It's between A and C, with C getting the edge because of those huge block totals. But I might change depending on what the other numbers are...
Augustín Aboy (@AboyAgustin): Player C for now. Those 1.7 steals and 3.8 blocks per game are ridiculous.
Juan Estévez (@JuanEstevez90): Well, I have Dirk Nowitzki and James Harden on my team, so I think it's safe to say that I need a defensive anchor. 3.8 blocks, 1.7 steals, 11.9 rebounds ... Player C seems to be that guy.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I'm going with Player B here. I'm getting scoring, rebounds and blocks.
Step 2: The shooting percentages
Fernàndez: Oh, I'm guessing Player B is Shaquille O'Neal based on those numbers, but I'm sticking with my plan. Give me Player C. Those defensive numbers sound great.
Aboy: I'll stick with Player C.
Estévez: I'm not changing my choice this time. I'm staying put with Player C.
Gay: I have a good feeling that I chose Shaq, so I'm sticking with my choice here. How can I say no to one of the most dominant centres in NBA history?
Who are they?
Player A is Dwight Howard from the 2010-11 season. This was the third straight season in which Howard was named Defensive Player of the Year.
Player B is Shaquille O'Neal from the 1990-00 season. This was the season O'Neal was named MVP and led the Los Angeles Lakers to the championship.
Player C is Hakeem Olajuwon from the 1992-93 season. This was the season Olajuwon was Defensive Player of the Year and made the All-NBA First Team.
Player D is David Robinson from the 1993-94 season. This was the season Robinson led the league in scoring and made the All-NBA Second Team.
Why those seasons? I picked each player's best season of the decade based on their PER. It isn't perfect, but it was the best way that I could think of to remove bias and make this fair.
Fernàndez stuck with Olajuwon, so he now has Steve Nash at point guard, Michael Jordan at shooting guard, Kawhi Leonard at small forward, Tim Duncan at power forward and Olajuwon at centre on his team.
Aboy stuck with Olajuwon, so he now has Steve Nash at point guard, Michael Jordan at shooting guard, LeBron James at small forward, Anthony Davis at power forward and Olajuwon at centre on his team.
Estévez stuck with Olajuwon, so he now has Chris Paul at point guard, James Harden at shooting guard, LeBron James at small forward, Dirk Nowitzki at power forward and Olajuwon at centre on his team.
Gay stuck with O'Neal, so he now has John Stockton at point guard, Dwyane Wade at shooting guard, Scottie Pippen at small forward, Anthony Davis at power forward and O'Neal on his team.
This ended up being a two-man race between Olajuwon and O'Neal, but don't sleep on how dominant Howard and Robinson were in their respective seasons. Whereas Howard became the first player in NBA history to win three straight Defensive Player of the Year awards, Robinson won the scoring title by putting up 71 points in the final game of the season.
Now that we're gone through the centres, check back tomorrow for the sixth man!
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