Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 8/16/12

As we head into the challenge round of our All Time NBA Mock Draft we have learned a couple of things about people’s views on the history of the NBA.

A great big man will always influence the game more than a great guard, defense may win championships, but some offensive forces just can’t be stopped, and most of all never count out what type of scheme someone is playing in, because as little as coaching matters, with all this hypothetical talent together, putting those players in the best position to win is more important than just collecting talent.

Today we bring a blast from the past for our friends from the 80′s with the All Time NBA Mock Draft- Kevin McHale v Magic Johnson.

Game thread.

Team Bone, Nugs and Harmony

C: Bill Russell 36min
PF: Kevin McHale 36min
SF: Dave DeBusschere 28min
SG: John Havlicek 40min
PG: Gary Payton 38min

BE: Walt Bellamy 12min-C
BE: Tom Chambers 12min-PF
BE: Tracy McGrady 20min-SF
BE: Pete Maravich 8min-SG, 10min-PG

DNP: Fat Lever
DNP: Mark Eaton
DNP: Cedric Maxwell


Starting five is built to completely frustrate every position on the floor, suffocate them with non-stop pressure, and don’t allow a single player to get into a rhythm.  Each player can guard multiple position that Wlk has.  Start the game with them and finish the game strong with them:

Russell ( GPDOAT ) on Unseld/starting center

6x All-Def McHale ( 3-1st,3-2nd ) on starting power forward Hawkins/Matrix

6x All-Def DeBusschere (  6-1st ) will start on Kobe, switches on Magic in low post

8x All-Def Hondo ( 5-1st,3-2nd ) will start on 3rd backcourt player, Nique when in

9x All-Def Payton ( 9-1st,DPOY ) will start on Magic, time on Squid when in, Kobe on swtiches

Magic really wasn’t a PnX player, but if he or Kobe runs any we can simply just switch defenders since Unseld shouldn’t be pulled from the low post, but even if he is, then we can still cover a 6-5ish like him shooting jumpers out there with anyone.  Payton keeps with whoever brings the ball up the floor, be it Magic or Kobe.  He’s pressing up tight on them, while jabbering them with his mouth as well of course.  Anytime that Magic is posting up down low we are going to be switching DeBusschere on him, as a strong forward, he’s built perfectly for a big PG like Magic.  But mostly you’re seeing DeBusschere on Kobe, don’t give him any room, really take away his inside game by his physical play.  Payton gets the call to start on Magic, and even if we can’t get the switch, Glove was strong enough to contest the inside play of Magic if need be, and more importantly play extremely tight on the perimeter to give Magic zero room to operate, we don’t want him to be a scorer, a distributor, or anything really, make everything hard for him.  Hondo was non-stop defending in motion, so if Squid is getting the start, that’s fine, even though he’s fast Hondo was one of the best workhorses ever to play.  Should see quite a bit of Dominique, and that’s what we are hoping for.  Hondo can keep just a half step off of him, because we would rather see Dominique shooting jumpers than attacking the rim anyways, and that gives Hondo that half step to keep with him when he commits.  McHale smothers whichever PF is in, Marions ugly jumper has zero advantage, and Hakwins’ attacks to the rim will be difficult against the longed armed McHale.  Russell can disrupt Unseld on the glass to neutralize his attempts at starting a fast break, and work through screens since Unseld didn’t have a quick released jumper.  With the amount of touches the rest of the team will get, and requires, Russell can play help defense and add to the frustration of lowing their offensive effectiveness.  On fast breaks Russell with go down with the PF, as McHale keeps with Unseld down the floor, then when possible, make the switch back.

Other than either Dominique or Squid and Matrix or Hawkins, depending on which one starts the rest of the bench just played by position.  Manu and Schrempf played closely, contest all long range jumpers, and have our shotblockers help with drives.  Rondo defended for his playmaking, because his jump shooting will not hurt any ATMD team.


This team is built around finding the best matchup and then attacking.  With all the starters being players that at one time scored almost or above 20ppg we can pick and choose when and where to attack, career highs for the elite defensive five=

Russell 18.9ppg/24.7rpg/5.3apg

McHale 26.1ppg/9.9rpg/2.7apg

DeBusschere 18.2ppg /13.5rpg/3.6apg

Havlicek 28.9ppg/9.0rpg/7.5apg

Payton 24.2ppg/6.5rpg/9.0apg

Slow down the game on our end in the halfcourt, but if a fast break opportunity is there, take it.  Set up with a 3-2 with Russell at the free throw line with both guards on either side of him, and then McHale and DeBusschere set up in the post.  All five starters are great passers as we swing the ball around to get the highest percentage shot.    Get Hondo and Payton running through screens, first from Russell up top and then at times either McHale or DeBusschere down low to keep the movement going.  With Kobe being the one to probably guard Hondo, we can run Kobe into screen after screen, tire him down on the defensive side of the ball, reminding him that eight rings is something he’ll never experience.  Either guard can run a two-man game with the forward on their side, Hondo with DeBusschere running a hi PnP, or Payton with McHale running a PnR.  Russell always in the center of the action, 10 game sevens that he all won by the way, he had a statline of 18.6ppg/29.3rpg, we’re ok with him being a pivot-man of the offense, hitting the defender hard with a screen, rolling to the basket himself or hitting a mid-range jumper.  Unseld is a good rebounder, but even the biggest and strongest couldn’t find the right angle vs Bill for rebounds / putbacks.   And Unseld was not great at defending in motion, so whoever he defends will keep his feet moving.   Then as we bring in each lethal bench scorer, it’s virtually impossible to sustain the damage.

Key matchups we’re looking for:

McHale in the low post:  Who can really defend him down there?  Marion doesn’t stand a chance, as McHale will doopty-doo him with so many moves he’ll literally think he’s Neo trying to dodge bullets.  Unseld is strong, but with McHales quick moves strength will only make it easier to slip by.  Simple, just clear space around McHale so that no help can be close and allow him to go 1-1.  Can’t pull a double off someone prior to getting the ball down there with the space created.

Attack Squid in the post:  Moncrief was a great speedy perimeter defender, but at 6-3 180 he was not an elite defender in the post.  Payton excelled at posting up smaller guards.  Hondo or DeBusschere played forward and battled down low.  Only player that won’t attack him in the post is Pistol, who can then get others involved.

Get Dominique to defend a scorer:  So if Wlk wisely has Moncrief only on Pistol to avoid being posted up and scored upon, then Nique will be the one debacled.  One of the weakest defending SF in the entire contest, he will be ran into hard picks from Russell, and then put in backward motion as his defender will either just attack the basket or be ran in a PnR with a guard at the top or PnP with a forward down low.  There is no offensively challenged player that Nique can be hid on.

Tmac in attack mode: Get him in some ISO’s, clear the space and good luck trying to defend him 1-1.  Anytime a double comes he can kick it back to Hondo up top or throw it down low to McHale.  Or have him start up top, run him through a Russell screen to create some space.  Give him space outside and he will shoot the 3 over you, play up tight and then he will blow by you to the basket.  Pick your poison and then pay the price.

Bellamy in the low post against backup center: At 6-11, 225 who in the world is going to guard him around the basket?  For every non-Unseld minute we may very well feed him every chance we can get.  In trading him to our team Wlk left himself a huge hole in the backup center position.  Clear all help away and just feed him the ball for a high percentage shot down low.  Doesn’t need a screen to clear space, just give him the ball and allow him to overpower his defender

Chambers on the Wing: Start by hitting some 3’s to get the defender to close the space, then  once they commit, take them off the dribble and attack the basket.  Run some PnR’s with Hondo, get the switch, then he can either roll or pop it back to Hondo for the jumper.  Comes in when Bellamy is down low against his backup bigs, well, not really “bigs”, but the PF/C in those positions, have another deep threat on the wing for kickouts.

Pistol picking up the pace:  Will be in at different times then Tmac, and partial time with Chambers and Bellamy to give yet another lethal outside shooter.  Pistol creates his own play by working through screens to keep a step from his defender, or waits for the defense to collapse as he kicks it out to Chambers for the jumper or inside to Bellamy for the quick slam.


Wlk will present a weakness, then we will exploit.

Rebounding advantages at pretty much every position.

Defensive debaclization that includes 25 rings.

Bench explosiveness that can’t be matched.

Coming off a loss we are poised to make their team pay.

That is all.

Showtime is Back

PG – Squid 36min (24PG 12SG)
SG – Kobe 36min
SF – Nique 36min
PF – Hawkins 36min PF
C – Magic 36min (24C 12PG)

Manu Ginobili 12min PG all w/Kobe,Dan,Schrempf,Unseld
Thunder Dan 12min SF
Detlef Schrempf 12min PF
Wes Unseld 24min C

Before we start…I’m not using 3PGs…Squid is holding the position…Magic and Manu are my 2 ballhandlers…we’re not mass subbing either…we get Unseld in for Kobe then start subbing as stated…


Russell…Magic/Detlef/Unseld…Magic takes him for all 24min at center…size wise Magic is actually bigger and Russell was a crafty/smart player not big/strong…I expect him to be high-post most game looking to facilitate…Magic/Detlef play him a bit off hands in passing lanes…on rebounds both keep a body on him so he can’t rebound…these 2 aren’t worried about rebounds against Russell only that he doesn’t get em…we’re crashing the other 4 guys…Magic will release after a quick box out so he can push the fastbreak…Unseld plays him tough…play physical on the catch…lay on him…push around…bump just try to wear him down with his size and strength…Unseld will crash boards from here…Detlef only plays here if Russell/Bells are in together…Play the same if he’s low…he’s average in the post when looking to score but we won’t just let him…

McHale…Hawk/Detlef…I expect him to carry the scoring load…just make it tough here…play off bit on the catch so he cant find a body to spin off…make him face up…stay down on the fakes as much as he may pump…just keep the hands in his face and make him work…play physical and push as much as we get away with without the ball…try and keep him off his spots…attack the boards from here…

DD…Nique…play a step off without the ball 3pt-line and in…bumping/pushing him around the court when the refs aren’t watching…give him some of his own medicine maybe it’ll get him to retaliate…refs usually see the second guy…up on him on the catch…Niques athleticism will allow him to stay in front on drives…bother that jumper w/those hops…then crash…when Unseld’s in Nique releases always…make or miss Unseld will look to hit him deep…we want to try and match every minute w/DD…Nique plays any SF the same though…

Hondo…Kobe/Magic/Nique/Dan…he will play heavy minutes and no doubt will run around alot…we bump him anytime he runs by a player not guarding the ball…Kobe will not chase around, he is not Reggie or Ray, but will follow within a few steps…as he cuts toward the basket Kobe picks him up tight then again allows him to go a few steps away again…basically keeping a 2-3 step cushion whenever not 10′ or in…when he catches Kobes quickness will allow him to get arms length and defend…play drive/passing lanes/shot in that order…i respect his ability but he’s not an explosive scorer and Kobe can defend him pretty well IMO…this also allows Kobe to help when McHale’s near making moves since he won’t be looking to pass and gives him good rebounding position when somebody else is shooting…Magic plays same way, but only a 1-2 step cushion…Nique only plays here if he’s in with TMac…plays same as Magic…Dan may see him as well due to his minutes…nothing changes…just add some bumping and try and muscle him some…take some fouls if you feel it…

GP/Pistol…Squid/Kobe…Pistol may get the start because Nugs needs some scoring from somewhere…play tight 3/4 court on Pistol…play the up close but not suffocating…watch those passing lanes but look for him to shot as well…try to get the ball out of Pistols hands…try keep it in Gloves hands…about half court or so…a step off inviting that jumper…all over him 15 and in…under screens on Glove through on Pistol…only Kobe plays Pistol off bench…if Pistol starts Manu plays bench PG(English/Payton)…plays same way on both as stated on Glove…

Bells/Russell/Eaton…Unseld will play these guys in that order…he plays all bench time and some w/starters…play em all the only way he knows…tough…push them away from the basket and rebound hard…always looking to outlet…

Chambers/Maxwell/Russell…Detlef will get his bench minutes in that order…when he’s in w/Unseld he guards the guy furthest from the basket…if Russell is in with Chambers Detlef has Chambers…

Thunder guards the SF/SG Kobe is not…i want Kobe on Tmac as much as he can be which is why Kobe staggers w/the bench but Pistol takes precedence…then Thunder on Tmac…play up on shooters and go through screens…basic D principles…play Tmac lose cutting off the drive and passing lanes trying to get the jumper but contest hand in face on the shot same as Pistol..that should cover his whole team…


crash the boards w/4…Magic boxes out Russell then releases…when Unseld is in Nique releases for the outlet make or miss…other 4 crash…Squid and Kobe have Pistol…Kobe/Thunder only guard Tmac…we want to run as much as possible…it may be a a click slow as they have excellent defenders and we want to secure the boards…but his awesome defense will suffer on the other end and we want to take advantage of that…

Offense…run…we will find holes to run through and do just that…we have Kobe and Nique running next to Magic with Hawk trailing…Squid might slip in for a dunk or a quick 15footer…should the break stop…Magic heads to the free-throw line…watch out he just circled around and dunked on you…

Princeton…Magic high-post/Squid up top Nique same side as Magic 3pt elbow…Kobe and Hawk weak-side…Hawk a couple steps in front of 3pt-line near short corner 3…Magic dribbles to the top of the key passes to Squid up top..

Squid back to Magic dives middle…give-n-go…not there run through weak-side…rub defender off Hawk on a circle back lob…not there run through weak-side…Nique shots down for hand off or quick cut on DD…bounce pass…Magic keeps…dribbles out the 3pt-line…pass to Squid…Squid to Nique in the post…go to work…look off Nique…

back to Magic…Hawk sneak back door laser from Magic…not there…Kobe jabs to ball then cuts to the basket Magic to Kobe…defense retreats on the jab 3s please…not there…Kobe looks to Hawk in post…give and go…not there…clear weak-side…Hawk 1on1…spin dunk…turn-around-jumper…Magic 3pt-line…

Hawk clears Magic takes Russell to the rack…not there…stop at the block…go to work…everybody but Kobe looks for holes to sit in and roubounds…Kobe up top ball-side 3pt bailout and/or to get back on D…again whoever is near Russell try and face box out the other 3 crashing boards…limiting Russell mid to low double digit rebounds should be all they get…

when Unseld is in with starters Magic takes Squids spot…Squid takes Kobes spot…Unseld high-post…Magic PnR w/Unseld…Unseld back-screen for Nique…Magic to Nique…not there…Unseld Back-screen Squid…not there…Nique in the post…look off…Unseld cross screen Nique lob from Magic…not there reverse to Nique as he shoots up to the 3pt-line…

Nique looks down to Hawk…1on1…not there back to Nique…clear out ISO..not there…back to Magic…run again…looking to get alot of picks and back screens from Unseld in these sets

bench time…Kobes turn to go off…he should get some time here without Hondo…he’s surrounded by 3pt shooters and Unseld the Hammer…a ton of screen and pop…some iso…in the post…drive and kick…while Kobes “doing his thing”…Manu will stop any 3 straight miss possessions by Kobe and give himself and the other shooters some looks for a few possessions with drive and kicks and Manu stepping into some 3′s then get it back to Kobe…

even with his starting 5′s D we have offensive monsters to attack with…we also have D to shut him down…even our bench players can score and defend…his are 1 or the other…the biggest advantage should be with Magic vs Russell…if he cant stay with Durant Magic should eat him up…and Magic should be able to stay with him on the other end…then my other starting 4 are all 20+ scorers including 2 ex-scoring champs and we look to get them all touches…and at the end…

Kobe takes it out from the baseline…Hawk in the post…Magic screens for Nique…then shots out…Magic gets the ball near the sideline with 7 seconds left…Magic stutter step…drives the lane…sky-hoo…no…lob to a cutting Nique…HIGHLIGHT FTW!!!

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