As you most likely know by now, two of the legendary summer league’s in this country — The Goodman League in Washington, D.C. and The Drew League in Los Angeles — have set up an all-star, streetball style showdown .
This highly anticipated game will take place in the District on August 20th. The Goodman squad will feature NBA ballers such as Kevin Durant, John Wall, Gary Neal and Michael Beasley. The Drew League team will counter with Brandon Jennings, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan and other LA area stars.
All of the excitement surrounding this run inspired some conversations here at the Philadunkia offices about which former 76ers would make for the best summer league / streetball team. Obviously we could not agree on one single roster, so each Philadunkia scribe was charged with assembling their own ultimate 76ers (1983 to present) summer league / street ball team.
The criteria for creating a winning playground hoops team is certainly very different from that required for assembling an NBA championship team, so keep that in mind as you read through the rosters and the reasons why the former Sixers were chosen.
Full squads after the jump.
Mo Cheeks – In a street ball game, you don’t need your point guard to be dominating the ball. Cheeks will evenly spread the rock around and can produce steals for some easy fast break buckets. His field goal percentage rarely dipped below .500 in a Sixer jersey because of how efficient of a player he is. Remember that Cheeks grew up on the means streets of Chicago during the 1970’s, as opposed to the soft AAU culture of today’s stars.
Hersey Hawkins – Of course you’re yelling at me for not starting Iversonat shooting guard. Well AI lived on the free throw line, cashing in on his small frame with lots of good acting. That’s something no one will be able to do out on the streets. Hawkins is excellent at spacing floor on offense and can nail three pointers when needed. It’s not like this pick is that outrageous. Hawkins is ranked by basketball-reference as the 208th best player of all-time.
Julius Erving – Go back and watch some of the old hardwood games NBATV has been airing this summer and try and convince me ‘Dr. J’ doesn’t remind you of LeBron. Ervingwill dominate the ball and race from the top of the key to bucket with as much ease as James. Erving’s electric dunks, swift ball-handling, mean elbows and disciplined defense will become an unstoppable force together which makes him the best player on the team.
Darryl Dawkins – When I met ‘Chocolate Thunder’ back at a Philadunkia event in May, he told me that he would foul out of ever NBA game if he played today. He loved being the physical presence that other teams lost sleep about the night before games. Dawkins embodies toughness. Standing at 6’11”, Dawkins became the obvious pick over Charles Barkley because he will know his role: stand down low and pipe the basketball home. If Barkley were on the squad, he’d be too busy trying to prove to the world he’s a bigger superstar than Julius Erving. You don’t need stars to win in street ball. You need energy, grit and the ability to share.
Theo Ratliff – When healthy, Ratliff was as big of a game changer you could find on defense in the NBA. Is there a more embarrassing play in street ball than getting your shot absolutely stuffed? Ratliff’s blocking ability will alter opponent’s thoughts about coming in strong to the lane. For a defensive guy, Ratliff can do his fair share of work with the basketball too. In Philly he averaged over 12 points per game each season.
Kyle Korver– My street team right now is only lacking on three point shooting. Korvernot only answersthat hole but also provides the team with some comic relief. If you’ve ever played basketball, there’s always one guy on the squad that everyone makes fun of, which brings the rest of the group closer. Korverbecomes that guy and can also spark rallies with his deadly shooting.
Andre Iguodala– Finally we get to see how Igoudalawould operate without being to the go-to guy on the court. Coming off the bench, AI9 could potentially backup four different positions because of his defensive stopping abillities and superb passing skills. Just don’t ask him to take over offensively, make any clutch shots or get into anyone’s face.
If this was an NBA regular season, I’d make sure the team could mesh for the course of the year. Since it’s just one street ball showdown, I’m looking for a team that meets this criteria:
- Can score a ton of points: As a former AND1 advocate, I understand that having a surplus amount of one-on-one scorers is critical. Street ball involves a ton of isolation, even more so than the Association.
- Athletes from top to bottom: High-flyers, speedy guards and strong bodies that can bang in the paint are absolutely critical to keep up in the street. This team is going to run-and-gun, so these guys have to be mobile.
- Swagger: Arguably the most important attribute. The guys I’ve chosen havepersonality, excitement and flash. Also, included with their flash, is attitude. Outside the NBA arenas it can be a dirty game. Trash-talking and hard fouls are a common theme. The old saying “No blood, no foul,” derives from the playground courts. So this team can’t shy away from a tiff.
Allen Iverson — This is a no-brainer. Arguably the quickest player to ever grace a basketball court, a tough S.O.B. and one of the most prolific scores of all-time; Iverson personifies street basketball.
Julius Erving — Despite getting an older Julius Erving for this single game (since were considering players after 1983), leaving Dr. J off this roster just didn’t feel right. Erving’s flashy fashion of play would keep the fans on their feet and the opposing team on their heels.
Charles Barkley — Take a look at the third criteria, each word applies to Sir Charles. In this game, Barkley would be my rock in the paint. He’d trash talk the opponents while dominating the glass.
Dikembe Mutombo — Mutombo made the team simply for his ability to block shots. Plus, his finger wag (meets criteria No. 3).
Hersey Hawkins — Hawkins rounds out the starting lineup due to his shooting stroke. I wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted people who could put the ball in the basket. That’s the street game, dropping dimes is only cool when it’s an alley-oop. So I ignored the great facilitating Mo Cheeks here (who I originally had), for a guy with a pure follow through. Hawkins can also pick-pocket ball-handlerson the defensive end as shown by being 8th on the all-time steals leaders list for the 76ers in only five seasons.
Dana Barros — Only experienced a two-season stint in Philadelphia, but he did capture a Most Improved Player of the Year award during the 1994-95 season. The sub-six foot guard can create his own and stroke the ball from deep. Barros would provide a three-point threat off the bench that could also penetrate and dish in the lane thanks to his quickness. Crowds gravitate to smaller guys, he fits that bill.
Derrick Coleman — Like I mentioned earlier, attitude and swagger are key. Coleman, considered a locker room cancer during his career, would apply his punk-like tactics on the pavement. By applying monster dunks and the ability to stretch the defense withhisshooting ability, Coleman would be a killer attribute coming from the reserves. For obvious reasons, I’d want the late-90s Derrick Coleman with the Sixers and not the early-2000s version.
Thaddeus Young — Okay, maybe he lacks the “street swagger” that some of our other players posses, but his ability to score and versatility is needed. Thad did a fabulous job this past season out of the starting lineup and he can be a match-up nightmare for an opposing team. Thad is the only player from our current roster to make the cut and the last one selected for this group.
Moses Malone – The refs in summer ball tend to let the fellas play all little more physical then the zebras in the League, so Malone will be able to take his bulling style of post play to a whole new level. That will give my team an unstoppable big-man on offense and when we absolutely have to get a basket, we’ll simply pitch it into Moses. As a bonus, his defensive rebounding will be the catalyst behind my team’s fast break game. Plus with the way Moses used to sweat in the air conditioned Spectrum imagine what kind of bodily fluid he’ll produce outdoors on the playground or in a high school gym with no AC. Who is going to want to guard his soaking wet ass all night?
Julius Erving– Do I really need to explain why the good Doctor is on my team? Erving’s ABA and NBA resume is sick, but if you have ever read the stories about Julius Erving running RuckerPark in the 1970s then you know his skill set transfers very well to the summer game and that’s why he is on my team.
Bobby Jones – Forget for a second that Jones has more then enough athleticism and hoops skills to hang in this type of game. He’s really on my squad because every great summer league team has a white guy with freakish talents who also plays tough defense and thus annoys the crap out of opponents. The mental edge he gives my squad over the head-cases that liter summer leagues / street ball rosters is invaluable.
Allen Iverson – No explanation needed.
Hersey Hawkins – His jumper is straight water and with double teams Moses, Allen and Doc will be drawing, I need someone who can knock down jumper after jumper after jumper. With his career 46 % shooting from the field and 39% from behind the arc, “The Hawk” is my guy. Additionally, Hawk had a cold killer’s mentality and that’s a great asset in summer ball. I wonder what Doug Collins would give to have Hawkins on the 2011-12 76ers? My guess is a whole lot.
Jrue Holiday – Every summer league / street ball team needs that young buck with something to prove. You know, the guy who opponents underestimate until it’s too late. Holiday is that guy on my team. As a bonus, he’s is unselfish. Which is great because somebody will have to inbound the ball on this team of chuckers.
Charles Barkley – Can you imagine how dominant Barkley would be in a playground game which as well all know are loosely officiated at best. “Sir Charles” would be sending people home in body bags while averaging 30 and 20 a night off my bench.
Theo Ratliff – I have enough scoring, so I just need a big who can spell Moses. Theo can do just that, but I also get a very athletic big who can block shots and fill the lane on the break where he can catch and flush alley-oops.
**I had a very hard time leaving former Sixerguard-forward Ron Anderson (1988 – 93) off this team. If you remember Anderson then you will recall that he was a sick athlete who could straight fill it up and loved to jaw with opponents. Between the 1988-89 season and 1991-92 Anderson averaged 14 ppg. and shot over 47% from the field all while playing third-fiddle to Barkley and Hawkins.
Mo Cheeks – Agreat point guard is the foundation of every great imaginary basketball team. In the egregiously underrated Cheeks, the Sixers have just that. The biggest no-brainer on the team.
Moses Malone – Try to stop moses from scoring inside. I dare you.
Julius Erving – Doc is built for this competition. Dr. J would, right now, annihilate most gyms. He has speed, explosiveness, a great nickname, and the best dunk history. Okay, you can stand up now. Or do whatever.
Allen Iverson – AI’s inclusion goes without saying. While I would leave AI off an all-time Sixers NBA team, when it comes to street ball (or street anything) Iverson’s the man.
Andrew Toney – Every team needs a shut down defender, and our man Toney is that. Plus “The Boston Strangler” can score some as well.
Dana Barros – Remember Him? I barely do, but I need another streaky shooter off the bench and he fits the bill.
Charles Barkley – Sit down “Sir Charles”. You might be the best player in the Sixers modern era, but you’re coming off my bench