The NBA Playoffs All-Time Roster
Michael Jordan was great. Kobe Bryant was clutch. Bill Russell was a defensive beast. Shaquille O’Neal was a monster that couldn’t be stopped. And on, and on, and on… You could sit here for hours coming up with players that deserve to be called the best NBA playoff performers in NBA history. But it takes more than a few games and a few special performances to make the team we are about to reveal.
Charles Barkley once scored 56 points while shooting 74% from the field and grabbing 14 rebounds. That is one of the best playoff performances in NBA history. He did not make this team.
Bob Pettit lead his St.Louis Hawks to an NBA Title over the Boston Celtics after hitting the game-winner back in 1958 after scoring 50 points. He also did not make this lineup.
Dirk Nowitzki was one of the best, most accurate shooters of all-time. He made 24 consecutive free throws in one game where he finished 100% from the free throw line. He did not make the team.
You get the point? This is going to be a tough list to make. It will feature a starting lineup with five backups and a coach. (Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Small Forward, Power Forward, Center, Five Bench Players)
The Bench Players
We begin this roster with the guys on the bench. These players might be coming off the bench but do not let that fool you, they are Hall of Famers that just missed being named starters by a hair. Not even a hair, more like a tenth of a hair. Bottom line, it was close.
G) Dennis Johnson : Boston Celtics
Not all players have large followings on Twitter. Dennis Johnson just might be one of the guys you’ve never heard of. That is, unless you were around when he led the Seattle Sonics to an NBA Title in 1979 and then two more in Boston during the 80’s. He averaged a quiet 17.3 points per game during the 13 seasons he made the playoffs. He was also a all-around player, almost like Lebron James but back before the King was even born.
G) Kobe Bryant : Los Angeles Lakers
Is there a need to explain why Kobe Bryant and his 5 NBA Titles makes this roster? First off, coming off the bench is the most dangerous place he could ever come from. The scoring legend would be coming off the bench with one job, score. Imagine a world where Kobe Bryant did not have to be the main attraction and could play loose and free. That would be deadly!
G/F) Julius Erving : Philadelphia Sixers
The NBA only gives Dr.J credit for one Title but when you take a deeper look into his career, which is why he makes our team, he also dominated the ABA and won two ABA Titles too. Overall, he is a high-flying, play-making, ball-passing team leader and adding him to this lineup would do nothing but improve this Dream Team’s odd of winning by 100.
F) John Havlicek : Boston Celtics
Of the 13 seasons John Havelicek made the playoffs, eight of them resulted in NBA Titles. Yes, he was part of the dynasty that included Bill Russell but he is a complimentary player that when paired up correctly, can produce wins. As part of that Celtics dynasty, he averaged 22.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He was not your average NBA roleplaying Forward. This guy scored 27 or more points a game more than once.
C) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar : Bucks & Lakers
How does a man with 18 years of playoff experience and six NBA Titles not make the starting lineup? He has more field goals made than anyone else in NBA playoff history and also has the most fouls ever. He is not just a tall, skinny Center with long arms, he can ball. His ability to score with the sky-hook makes him deadly in the paint and a force to be reckoned with. His inside scoring leaves plenty to desire on the outside where most of his teammates will live just waiting for the ball to hit a trifecta!
The Starting Lineup
Now that you see how good the bench is, you better believe are starting five is made up of the best playoff performers ever to play in the NBA…
PG) Magic Johnson : Los Angeles Lakers
What is the best statistic to describe an all-around NBA athlete? The triple-double. That shows that the player can score, rebound, and pass the rock. He can also make steals and blocks too. But it shows he can do more than just one thing and be great at it too.
Magic Johnson has the NBA playoff record for Triple-Double’s with 30. He is the only option to run this offense and he has the experience to handle the talent you are about to see.
SG) Michael Jordan : Chicago Bulls
Did you know that Michael Jordan is known worldwide as the greatest NBA player of all-time yet he only made the NBA Finals six times. However, he had a 100% close rate in the NBA Finals winning all six of his chances. Talk about making the most of your opportunities, right?
MJ was a scorer, he scored 5,987 points in the playoffs, an NBA record. MJ was also a rebounder, he averaged 6.4 rebounds a game. MJ could dish the ball too, he averaged 5.7 of those per game during the playoffs. But his biggest accomplishment was his ability to take over. His defense is what made him great. He scored because he had to. He played offense and made spectacular plays because he had to win. But he was one of the best defenders the NBA will ever see.
SF) Lebron James : Cavaliers & Heat
As of now, Lebron James is one of the best athletes the NBA has ever seen. His size, speed, and ability to score makes him very hard to defend, from any position. His playoff numbers are even better than most of the others too. He averaged 27.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game.
Put him in this lineup and he has no need to worry about taking over, he can just do his thing, play his game, and the rest will fall into place.
PF) Tim Duncan : San Antonio Spurs
17 of Tim Duncan’s 18 years in the NBA were spent in the playoffs. During his prolific career he won 5 NBA Titles and 3 NBA Finals MVP awards while averaging 21.2 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.3 blocks, and 2.6 turnovers per game in the playoffs.
Is there really a better option at the Power Forward position? There might be names but not a single one of them can match the success and dominance of Tim Duncan. Not one of them.
C) Bill Russell : Boston Celtics
Anyone who played for the Boston Celtics in the 60’s, owns at least 8 NBA Titles. Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn, KC Jones, John Havlicek, and Tom Sanders all have 8 championships playing alongside Mr. Russell. But he has three more for a grand total of 11 making him the only NBA player in history to have more NBA rings than fingers. He only played 13 seasons also making him one of the most accomplished athletes in all of sports.
In the playoffs alone he averaged 24.9 rebounds a game. He averaged more than 26 rebounds a game, four times. And if they tracked blocks back then, we promise you he would be around 4.5 or more per game. He was a machine.
HC) Phil Jackson : Bulls & Lakers
As far as coaching is concerned, the debate for the greatest NBA coach of all-time is between Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach. But for this team, we had to go with the one person to coach two of the greatest players of all-time (MJ and Kobe)
He is just an amazing coach that knows how to win. In fact, he always finished with a winning percentage over .500. Think about that for a minute. In 20 seasons as a head coach, he never lost more games than he won. And for the most part, he was good for 55 or more wins per year anyways. Give him this lineup and there will never be another team that could even come close to competing.