NBA fantasy draft: Picking teams featuring prime Lakers, Nets stars

There will be a decent amount of star power on the Lakers and Nets this season.

In total, the two teams enter the 2021-22 season with 13 players who have been named an All-Star at least once in their NBA careers. The Lakers have a combined 57 All-Star selections on their roster, which just so happens to be the most in NBA history. The Nets, meanwhile, have a combined 44 All-Star selections, putting them behind only these Lakers and the 2010-11 Celtics (56) on the all-time list.

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Since a number of the players on the Lakers and Nets are no longer All-Stars, we decided to hold a fantasy draft featuring the prime versions of those 13 players.

Where did three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard land? What about 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony? Which one of James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook was first off the board?

Let’s find out…

Draft order

Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles) got the No. 1 pick, and Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_) got the No. 2 pick. We did a snake draft, so the order flipped after each round.

While there are 13 All-Stars on the Lakers and Nets, you’ll notice that 14 players were selected. The extra pick was added in order to have an equal number of players on each roster. The fantasy general manager who received the last pick in the draft was allowed to select any player currently on the Lakers or Nets.

Draft results

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1. LeBron James, Lakers (Team Rafferty)

2. Kevin Durant, Nets (Team Irving)

3. Russell Westbrook, Lakers (Team Irving)

4. James Harden, Nets (Team Rafferty)

5. Anthony Davis, Lakers (Team Rafferty)

6. Dwight Howard, Lakers (Team Irving)

7. Carmelo Anthony, Lakers (Team Irving)

8. Kyrie Irving, Nets (Team Rafferty)

9. Blake Griffin, Nets (Team Rafferty)

10. Rajon Rondo, Lakers (Team Irving)

11. LaMarcus Aldridge, Nets (Team Irving)

12. Paul Millsap, Nets (Team Rafferty)

13. DeAndre Jordan, Lakers (Team Rafferty)

14. Patty Mills, Nets (Team Irving)

Team Rafferty

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PG: Kyrie Irving

SG: James Harden

SF: LeBron James

PF: Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap

C: Anthony Davis, DeAndre Jordan

What’s not to like about this team?

Leading the charge is LeBron James, a man whose career is worthy of GOAT consideration. Sharing the backcourt with him is Kyrie Irving and James Harden. That’s a lot of mouths to feed, but Irving and James were basically unstoppable as teammates in Cleveland, and Harden has plenty of experience playing with other stars.

Not only did he start his career on the same team as Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, but the Nets were scary good with Harden, Durant and Irving on the court together last season. Plus, the three of them are basketball geniuses. I’m pretty confident that they could make it work.

At center, I went with Anthony Davis instead of Dwight Howard. Dominant as peak Howard was defensively — this is your reminder that Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace are the only players in NBA history with more Defensive Player of the Year trophies — I like the versatility Davis brings on both ends of the court.

Offensively, he gives me another capable shooter and a dynamic lob threat next to Irving, Harden and James. Defensively, he’s a rim protector who has the mobility to also defend the perimeter. Let’s just hope Davis is cool with being a full-time center.

Next to Davis in the frontcourt is Blake Griffin. I probably don’t need to remind you what peak Blake Griffin looked like, but…

Something tells me Harden and James would have a lot of fun running pick-and-rolls with Griffin.

Off the bench are Paul Millsap and DeAndre Jordan, a duo with two All-Defensive First Team selections and one All-Defensive Second Team selection to their names. The last thing I needed was more playmaking, so they tie everything together nicely for Team Rafferty.

Good luck stopping this team.

— Rafferty

Team Irving

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PG: Rajon Rondo, Patty Mills

SG: Russell Westbrook

SF: Kevin Durant

PF: Carmelo Anthony, LaMarcus Aldridge

C: Dwight Howard

At a quick glance, it might look like Team Rafferty would run away with this one, but don’t count my squad out.

With the No. 2 pick, Kevin Durant was the obvious selection as one of the most talented scorers in NBA history, but the No. 3 pick is where things got difficult. There’s a strong case to be made that I should’ve gone with James Harden, but Durant provides enough scoring.

Adding a multi-faceted talent with the heart of a lion in Russell Westbrook, I essentially made the same decision Oklahoma City’s front office had to make back in 2012. OKC didn’t win a championship with Durant and Westbrook as the franchise cornerstones, but the Thunder were a “Game 6 Klay” performance away from making a second NBA Finals appearance and, possibly, an NBA title.

With my next selection, I elected to shore up my frontcourt with the best defender in this group in Dwight Howard, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and five-time rebounding champion. I don’t think AD wants anything to do with prime Dwight.

In need of some shooting, I could have gone with Kyrie Irving, but I couldn’t pass up on Carmelo Anthony, who averaged over 20 points per game for the first 14 years of his career. Imagine trying to defend prime KD and prime Melo on the same team. Good luck.

To round out my starting five, I elected to take Rajon Rondo, who would have a field day feeding the two aforementioned bucket-getters, as well as having Howard as a lob threat. Don’t forget that Rondo was also a four-time All-Defensive Team member (two First Team selections) and a steals champion during his prime. He could lock up Irving.

After that, LaMarcus Aldridge seemed like a no-brainer over Paul Millsap and DeAndre Jordan. I also had the wild-card pick, so I added some much-needed shooting to my backcourt in scoring guard Patty Mills.

Even if Team Rafferty looks like the favourite on paper, I like how we match up on the court.

— Irving

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