Every Division’s Best Starting Five

SHENZHEN, CHINA - OCTOBER 12: LeBron James #23 and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers look on during the match against the Brooklyn Nets during a preseason game as part of 2019 NBA Global Games China at Shenzhen Universiade Center on October 12, 2019 in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)

Three divisions represent each conference and each boast their own stars and great teams. The best divisions are always looked at by which has the most playoff teams, but what if their best starting five was considered?

Every Division’s Best Starting Five

Atlantic and Southeast

The Atlantic Division’s best starting five consists of Ben SimmonsKyrie IrvingKevin DurantJayson Tatum, and Joel Embiid.

A tough decision in the backcourt was made to leave Kemba Walker out. Simmons certainly has limitations when it comes to shooting, but his size, passing ability, and defense is a match-up nightmare. Irving would take the shooting and scoring load in the backcourt, and is virtually unstoppable when he is on his game.

Although yet to play as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, it goes without saying that Durant is one of the best players in the game. Embiid is by far the best center in the division. The last front court spot was a toss-up between Tatum and Pascal Siakam. Tatum, however, was the best player in the division post All-Star break.

The Southeast Division’s best starting five consists of Trae YoungBradley BealJimmy ButlerJohn Collins, and Bam Adebayo.

There’s no debating the back court. Young and Beal are two of the league’s best scorers. The duo would struggle defensively, but that is not enough to undermine the fact they can drop 30-plus on any given night.

Butler is a two-way star and one of the grittiest players in the league. He is the best player on the best team in the division. Nikola Vucevic is an honorable mention when it comes to the bigs. Adebayo, however, is a triple-double threat at center and an outstanding defender, while Collins is a stellar athlete who is emerging as a real three-point threat.

Central and Southwest

The Central Division’s best starting five consists of Malcolm BrogdonZach LaVineKhris MiddletonGiannis Antetokounmpo, and Domantas Sabonis.

This division is thin on top point guards. Brogdon is a reliable shooter and passer, but not yet an All-Star. He is, however, more deserving than Eric Bledsoe. LaVine, known for his dunking ability, has grown into a more complete player. He is an electrifying scorer and has not dealt with an injury like Victor Oladipo.

Antetokounmpo, of course, is a no-brainer in the front court. The reigning Most Valuable Player is the most dominant player in the league. Middleton, a two time All-Star and Antetokounmpo’s sidekick, is becoming one of the better small forwards in the league. Sabonis is the last player in the front court. He made his first All-Star appearance this season and is a beast in the paint and on the boards.

The Southwest Division’s best starting five consists of Russell WestbrookJames HardenLuka DoncicZion Williamson, and Kristaps Porzingis.

Westbrook and Harden have proven to be a great back court in Houston already. Both are capable of taking ball handling duties and scoring at will. They are two of the best offensive players in the league.

Doncic is primarily a point guard for the Dallas Mavericks, but his size allows him to play small forward. He too is an elite ball handler, but also has an impressive scoring repertoire due to his ability to drive and also hit step-back threes. Brandon Ingram is an honorable mention.

Williamson has a small NBA sample size, but his athleticism and strength is second to none in the division. He is a better option than Jaren Jackson. Porzingis can play both the four and five, and is the ideal big man to stretch the floor and create space.

Northwest and Pacific

The Northwest Division’s best starting five consists of Damian LillardDonovan MitchellD’Angelo RussellKarl-Anthony Towns, and Nikola Jokic.

This division lacks great small forwards, so a three-guard small-ball line-up has to be used. Lillard, Mitchell, and Russell are all elite scorers and ball handlers. They might struggle defensively, but the offense the three bring together would be a sight to see. Chris PaulCJ McCollum, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are honorable mentions.

The top two big men in the division are Towns and Jokic. Both are offensive stars who can stretch the floor and find open shooters. They are also very strong rebounders. Rudy Gobert is an honorable mention due to his defense, but Towns and Jokic offer too much as an offensive pair.

The Pacific Division’s best starting five consists of Stephen CurryKlay ThompsonKawhi LeonardLeBron James, and Anthony Davis. On paper this is the strongest divisional starting five.

Curry is the greatest shooter the league has ever seen. His handles and passing are also comparable to anyone else. Thompson is another one of the league’s best shooters of all time. He also offers tough defense. Paul George is an honorable mention for the shooting guard spot, but the Splash Brothers are too good of a duo together to pass up.

Leonard is the best on-ball defensive player in the league. More than that though, he does everything else as seen in his statistics of 27 points, seven rebounds, and five assists per game. James is also self-explanatory. He is the greatest player of the last generation and age has yet to play a major factor in his career. Lastly, Davis is the best big man in the league. He can do just about everything – from elite rim protection to astounding outside shooting.

 

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