All-Chicago Natives Team

It’s no secret that Chicago, Illinois is one of the most prominent cities for basketball greatness. This blog celebrates Chicago’s influence on the game and will attempt to make the best fantasy team of players from The Windy City. 

Starting Five/6th Man

Point Guard – Isiah Thomas

            As a two-time NBA Champion and the Most Valuable Player of the 1990 NBA Finals, Isiah Thomas is one of the greatest players to ever pick up a basketball. Throughout his 13-year tenure in the NBA, Thomas averaged 19 points, 9 assists, and 2 steals per game. He was the leader of the “Bad Boys” era Detroit Pistons, known for being one of the toughest, most physical teams in the history of the NBA. Isiah’s abilities as a leader and his toughness would certainly set the tone for the rest of the team. 

Isiah Thomas playing for the Detroit Pistons
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Shooting Guard – Dwyane Wade

With the exception of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, three-time NBA Champion Dwyane Wade is perhaps the greatest shooting guard of all-time. Wade had a nearly complete arsenal on offense and attacked the basket with so much speed that he earned the nickname “Flash”. Dwyane Wade never shied away from the big moments either, in the 2006 Finals he averaged 35 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals in a six-game series victory. Wade was just as much of a problem for his opponents on defense as he was on offense, his 885 career blocks are the most by any guard in NBA History.

Dwyane Wade playing for the Miami Heat
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Small Forward – Tony Allen

He’s fundamentally sound defensively and he plays harder than everybody else defensively. He has a competitive desire to compete individually. That’s very uncommon. Most defensive players I face want help all the time. I’ve never heard him ask for help. He likes taking the challenge.

Kobe Bryant on Tony Allen

Tony Allen is one of the greatest wing defenders of all-time, he’s the guy who picks out the other team’s best player and locks them up. His physical, grit & grind defensive game is a perfect fit for this team.

Tony Allen guarding Kobe Bryant in 2010
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Power Forward – Anthony Davis

Chicago native Anthony Davis is currently playing in his 8th NBA season and is already developing a reputation as one of the best power forwards in the history of the league. Averaging 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 combined blocks/steals per game, there is no ignoring AD’s presence on the floor. He is dominant in the post, he has a high level of skill, he can jump with anybody, and he can be effective on the perimeter if needed. Davis has been selected to three All-Defense teams and has led the league in blocks three times as well. 

Anthony Davis playing for the Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Center – George Mikan

George Mikan played for the Minneapolis Lakers from 1948 to 1954, and briefly came out of retirement in the 1955-56 season. He is often referred to as the “prototype” for big men. Before Mikan basketball was not yet thought of as a game for people of his height (Mikan stood at 6’10”), it was believed that someone that tall could not develop the coordination to be successful. Mikan practiced a variety of workouts including jump rope, dance, and developing an ambidextrous hook shot. After lots of hard work, Mikan developed into the most intimidating player in the game. He blocked so many shots that the “goaltending” rule was created so players could no longer make a play on the ball after it begins its descent towards the basket. Paired with Anthony Davis, this is an incredibly difficult frontcourt to score against. 

(Disclaimer: Mikan is from Joliet, IL, a suburb of Chicago.)

Mikan at a Lakers game in 2002
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

6th Man – Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose grew up in Chicago and was drafted by his hometown Bulls with the first overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft. Rose became an impact player immediately and won Rookie of the Year. Just two years later, he became the youngest player to be named MVP (23 years old). In his prime, Derrick Rose was perhaps the most explosive and athletic point guard the NBA had seen up to that point. It was hard to keep him out of the starting five for this team, but it’s tough when the other guards are Isiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade. 

Derrick Rose playing for the Chicago Bulls
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Bench

Coach – Mike Krzyzewski

Boasting one of the most impressive coaching resumes of All-Time, Mike Krzyzewski is the man for this squad. Since 1980, Krzyzewski has coached the Duke Blue Devils to a 1,084–291 record and five national championships. In 1992, he was on the coaching staff of the USA Men’s Olympic Basketball Team, or as we all know them, The Dream Team.

Mike Krzyzewski coaching a Team USA Practice
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Tim Hardaway

Tim Hardaway averaged 18.5 points and 8.5 assists during his time in Golden State and Miami, those numbers combined with the famous “Killer Crossover” earn him a spot on the team.

Tim Hardaway playing for the Golden State Warriors
(Photos by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Nick Anderson

Simeon High School alumni Nick Anderson was an early example of the modern “3-and-D” wing player who was capable of scoring the ball at an efficient pace.

Nick Anderson playing for the Orlando Magic
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Antoine Walker

During his 8-year stint with Boston, Walker averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds per game. Without other bigs on the bench, his role on this team is essential.

Antoine Walker playing for the Boston Celtics
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers averaged 13 points, 10 assists and 2 steals during the 1987 season. His elite basketball IQ and coaching skills also make him a valued player on the bench.

Doc Rivers playing for the Atlanta Hawks
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/ NBAE/ Getty Images)

How do you think this team would perform? What locations should I make a team for next? Do you think I snubbed anybody? Share your thoughts by commenting on this blog, Instagram, or Twitter!          

2 Comments

  1. Great work, very fun to read and imagine. Pat Beverley needs to be on this bench. It’d be a hell of a perimeter D with Bev, Thomas and Allen!

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