Regardless of tastes or style on the court… twenty-two years separate them. And that affects more than anything else when it comes to designing ‘the perfect quintet’. Perhaps because of this and although it is hard to believe, there is only one coincidence in the best European quintet in history that Paolo Banchero and Pau Gasol have designed with just two weeks apart.
To the ring ‘los Pablos’ and their five ideals from the old continent.
That age influences him is evident. The number 1 of this latest Draft sweeps home, since three of the players he has chosen under the ‘historical’ label are not only still active… it is that none of them is over 27 years old. Does this mean that the value of the quintet is less? You don’t have to. But it is a remarkable fact.
- Base: Tony Parker
- Shooting guard: Luka Doncic
- Alero: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Power forward: Dirk Nowtizki
- Pivot: Nikola Jokic
Despite being a player raised in the era of ‘apositionality’, the profile on his board borders on the classic, except for the detail of Luka as shooting guard. Both he and the Frenchman are playmakers For nature (Jokic, knock-knock!), but it does not seem difficult to imagine them sharing the perimeter as well as creative tasks. For the interior zone, no less than three MVP’s of the season (one twice) and a couple of NBA champions. And what they have left.
The Spanish legend, with 14 NBA seasons behind him and a track record worthy of envy, shoots, however, for a five that is less popular and certainly less suggestive, even known, for the younger generations. Some name, probably, they will have to type it in Wikipedia for not sounding at all to the newcomers of the Gen Z.
- Base: Drazen Petrovic
- Listening: Nikos Galis/Juan Carlos Navarro
- Forward: Toni Kukoc
- Power forward: Dirk Nowitzki
- Pivot: Arvydas Sabonis
Of these, only Galis never played in the NBA, although he was selected in the fourth round of the 1979 Draft (68th place). “In 2, it is very difficult. It would probably be Nikos Galis, another all-time great. Or maybe even Juan Carlos Navarro, my good friend, who has done amazing in FIBA competitions«. Not having played a single game in the NBA has not been an obstacle for Galis, top scorer in the Greek league, to be included in the Hall of Fame in 2017 (here his speech).
From Drazen there will always be the ‘what if’. But a traffic accident at the age of 28 took him away from us very early and when his NBA career was approaching the top. “He is one of the best point guards of all time. Unfortunately, we couldn’t enjoy his game to the fullest due to his early death and tragic accident. Drazen was special«.
Pau grew up watching Jordan but also Kukoc, a role model for many Europeans without colossal athletic talent but with aspirations of greatness. “He was one of the main guys who inspired me as a kid. His game and his ability to play from the outside with his height and skills, so Toni in the 3”.
In the inner game lies the only coincidence. Dirk is untouchable for both of them. At least given that Pau’s humility prevents him, in any case, from choosing himself. “Those two guys have been just amazing in different eras and different generations. For me, it’s about making a difference during your career and period of time, and those two have done it. Both have inspired kids to do the same.”
(Portrait photograph by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)