The NBA has seen a revolutionary change in the last few years with players coming from all over the world and taking advantage of opportunities. It’s difficult to predict how these two teams would fair against one another, but it is safe to say that both would be competitive.
The old has to go, and the new has to come in. This well-known proverb has been around for a long time. It entails discarding outdated ideas or objects and replacing them with new ones. As the NBA advances to the next generation of players, the “old school” generation is becoming more prevalent.
The old, muscular Detroit Pistons teams from the late 1980s, the Showtime Lakers, or the Chicago Bulls dynasty with Michael Jordan may still have an impact on you. Because time cannot be stopped, the next generation of fans will see players from the 2000s and 2010s as the next generation of old-school players.
In this case, the old school team will include players beyond the age of 30, while the new school squad will have players under the age of 30. Could the old school squad teach the kids another lesson in a seven-game series if the stars split up and joined their respective age groups?
Starting Lineup from the Past
DeMar DeRozan (SF), LeBron James (SF), Kevin Durant (PF), and Nikola Vucevic (PG) (C)
If you look at the numbers in today’s league, you’ll see that the top scorer, Kevin Durant, is on the same team as last year’s scoring leader, Steph Curry. Curry and Durant were a dangerous combo during their time in Golden State, which featured three straight visits to the NBA Finals, with Durant winning two Finals MVP awards. Curry was a two-time MVP in 2015 and 2016, including a unanimous vote in 2016. He never earned a Finals MVP during the team’s three-year championship streak, which began in 2015.
This team’s starting lineup is so deep that even LeBron James would not be the team’s top overall player. Even at 36 years old, LeBron James is playing like a top-10 player, particularly since he has rebuilt his career as a point forward. It’s Durant’s turn to shine these days as the league’s face, but even at 36 years old, LeBron is playing like a top-10 player.
When it comes to athletes reinventing themselves, you can’t leave DeMar DeRozan out of the lineup these days. For the Bulls, DeRozan has played as a shooting guard/forward combination, averaging 26.9 points on 51 percent shooting. There would be plenty of open looks for not just DeRozan, but the whole team, with Nikola Vucevic rated as a top-3 center in the league for his scoring, rebounding, and passing ability.
Bench from the past
Brook Lopez (PF), Damian Lillard (PG), Chris Paul (PG), James Harden (SG), Paul George (SF), Jimmy Butler (SF), Kawhi Leonard (PF), Paul George (SF), Paul George (SF), Paul George (SF), Paul George (SF), Paul George (SF), Paul George (SF), Paul George (SF), Paul George (SF) (C)
Chris Paul’s contribution to the Phoenix Suns’ transformation into a top offensive team in the NBA demonstrates that he has a lot to give. Paul, who is 36 years old, is the only player in the NBA averaging double-digit assists this season. The Old School squad has a real ball handler ready to come off the bench if they need one.
Damian Lillard, James Harden, and Paul George are a three-headed monster when it comes to scoring. Given his performance this season, Lillard would be the third choice to come off the bench, but we’re still talking about a First-Team All-NBA player. In the absence of Kawhi Leonard, Harden can average a triple-double on most nights, while George is vying for the scoring crown this season.
Because Leonard will play small ball with this group, he is labeled as a power forward on the roster. Durant would have to be shifted to the center position, but if necessary, the club could go with a lineup of Paul, Curry, DeRozan, Leonard, and Durant. Lopez is named to the team’s roster as a reserve center. There aren’t many over-30 possibilities at this position unless you want Al Horford on the squad.
Starting Lineup for the New School
Nikola Jokic (PG), Zach LaVine (SG), Jayson Tatum (SF), Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF), Luka Doncic (PG), Zach LaVine (SG), Jayson Tatum (SF), Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF) (C)
Some may argue that Giannis Antetokounmpo is the league’s genuine face right now. Giannis has the view of the whole globe after leading the Milwaukee Bucks to their first title in 50 years and earning Finals MVP. He is also a two-time Defensive Player of the Year. Since it comes to constructing teams, he’s the guy you want to build around, particularly when he averages roughly 26 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks each game.
When you combine Giannis with Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP, the New School squad has won the previous three MVP awards. Jokic is not just the finest center in the league, but also a top-5 overall player. Jokic has the ability to shoot, rebound, and pass. It’s unusual to see centers rack up triple-doubles, but that’s exactly what Jokic is doing right now.
Luka Doncic, who already holds the Mavericks franchise record for triple-doubles, is another triple-double machine. You’d have one of the finest inside-outside punches we’ve ever seen with Doncic and Jokic on the roster. On certain occasions, Zach LaVine appears like a light version of Kevin Durant, while Jayson Tatum looks like a deadly scorer with little range. This New School squad would give many teams fits pound for pound.
Bench for the New School
Anthony Davis (PF), Joel Embiid (C), Rudy Gobert (SG), Devin Booker (SG), Bradley Beal (SG), Jaylen Brown (SF), Ja Morant (PG), Devin Booker (SG), Bradley Beal (SG), Jaylen Brown (SF), Anthony Davis (PF), Joel Embiid (C), Rudy Gobert (C)
The bench comprises some of the top players in the game, as well as some of the best up-and-comers. To begin with, Joel Embiid was the runner-up in the MVP competition last season. As a 7-footer, Embiid scored 28.5 points per game and shot 37.7% from three-point range. Having that as your backup center will create a huge mismatch for this squad.
With Giannis, Jokic, Embiid, and Rudy Gobert all on the floor at the same moment, the New School squad might go big. Gobert has won the Defensive Player of the Year award three times. When you add Anthony Davis to the mix, the club has a lot of front-court skill. In the DPOY election in 2020, Giannis and Davis were the top two finishers.
With his output of 26 points and seven assists per game, Ja Morant is on track to earn the Most Improved Player of the Year title. This would be the ideal point guard back-up. The bench is designed to provide a shock of energy to the squad. Consider a Morant dunk off the bench. Try to keep your enthusiasm in check. When it comes to scoring, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, and Jaylen Brown are among the best in the league, so the club would have plenty of options.
Advantages of the Past
It’s a benefit in and of itself to have LeBron, KD, and Curry on the same squad. These are three of the finest basketball closers we’ve ever seen in action. In 2020, LeBron topped the league in assists, indicating that he is capable of playing point guard. Because of his age, he might play a different role where he wouldn’t have to score as much. Curry and Durant can now play off the ball. The Old School club would have a multitude of open shots if Vucevic played as an exceptional distributor.
In addition, the club features the ideal mix of talent players. LeBron James, for example, is a fantastic rim finisher. Curry can make three-pointers. Durant can do it all, while Vucevic’s outside shooting can drag defenders out. DeRozan is capable of handling the mid-game. Where are the flaws in this case? Small ball lineups have shown to be effective, particularly when Paul, Lillard, George, or Leonard are included in the mix.
Advantages of a New School
On the rebounding side, the New School squad’s size will cause problems for the Old School team. How will the Old School squad get a rebound with Giannis, Embiid, Gobert, and Jokic on the same team? Durant’s transition game will be compromised if he is forced to play center in small-ball combinations. The increased size also eliminates the lane, forcing Old School to shoot from the outside. There isn’t a guy on the team who can go into the lane and produce a shot or attract contact from these huge bodies but LeBron.
New School will get second-chance scores if they believe in offensive rebounds. This might put the Old School squad in jeopardy. This club is very strong on defense. To gain a significant edge, you may remove Tatum from the lineup and replace him with Embiid or Gobert. This might be a difficult battle if Old School doesn’t make their outside shots.
In a seven-game series, who would win?
In the first encounter, the Old School squad would make their presence felt. The Old School club would switch to their smaller lineup after Vucevic had a bad night shooting the ball. Rather than keeping DeRozan on the court, the club would rely on George and Leonard. The defense gains a burst of energy with George and Leonard on the field, forcing the larger New School squad into a flurry of mistakes. Curry and Durant each score over 30 points in transition, guiding the squad to a 107-98 victory.
The New School squad takes its vengeance in the second game. Doncic had a 27-point, 12-rebound, and 11-assist line. LaVine makes six three-pointers, including a halftime heave to put New School ahead. With 18 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists, LaVine ends with 32 points, while Jokic just misses out on matching Doncic on the triple-double list with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists. New School wins by a score of 118-102.
Because the team makes improvements, the third and fourth games are moved to Old School. Instead of entering Paul to run the show in the third game, LeBron is sat to give him a break. Curry is given the freedom to play off the ball by Paul, who enables him to air it out. Curry finishes with 40 points and eight three-pointers. Durant had a career-high 32 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two blocks in the fourth game. Vucevic has 0 points but 12 rebounds while playing excellent post defense.
To avoid elimination, the New School squad wins the fifth and sixth games. In Game 5, Giannis takes control, scoring 45 points and grabbing 23 rebounds. Jokic adds five three-pointers, and the tandem puts on one of the best big-man performances we’ve ever seen. The bench comes to life in the sixth game. More minutes are given to Beal, Booker, and Embiid, and they perform well. When you add in another triple-double from Doncic, you’ve got a Game 7 on your hands.
In the end, it all boils down to the leverage that Old School has. They are the superior shooting squad from the outside. New School’s defense attempts to pack the paint, but it’s pointless since Curry is left free much too often. Curry sinks shot after shot and tosses up a 50-spot in the clinching game again and time again. The Old School keeps class in session and reminds everyone that the flashy things in life aren’t necessarily better when combined with the normal games from his supporting cast.
Final Score: 4-3 in favor of the Old School Superteam over the New School Superteam.
MVP of the Finals: Steph Curry