The legacy league was created to pit teams drafted by fellow RR members against each other and allow the general RR populous to vote on who would win this winner take all, single elimination game if all players were at their peak performance.
Each team drafted an 8 man roster. Each team provided a gameplan justification as to why they believe they should get your vote. Each team is allowed 1 post for "in game adjustments." The role of RR community is simple, vote for who you believe should win. Post justification if you want (encouraged) and weigh the pros and cons for all to see, but ultimately, your vote decides who will win this tournament of legends.
Match #10 - Champions Bracket
Isiah Thomas - 3x All-NBA 1st team, 2x Champion
Sidney Moncrief - 2x Defensive Player of the Year, 4x All-Defensive 1st team
Dave DeBusschere - 6x All-Defensive 1st team, 8x All-Star
Tim Duncan - 10x All-NBA 1st team, 2x MVP, 8x All-Defensive 1st team
Artis Gilmore - '72 ABA MVP, 11x NBA/ABA All-Star
Tim Hardaway - All-NBA 1st team, 5x All-Star
Dominique Wilkins - 9x All-Star, All-NBA 1st team
Dave Cowens - '73 MVP, All-Defensive 1st team, 7x All-Star
PG - Tony Parker 4x Champion, 6x All-Star, 4x All-NBA Selection (3x 2nd Team)
SG - Kobe Bryant MVP, 5x Champion, 17x All-Star, 15x All-NBA (11x 1st Team), 9x All-Defensive 1st Team, 2x Scoring Leader
SF - Shawn Marion 4x All-Star, 2x All-NBA 2nd Team, Champion
PF - Patrick Ewing 11x All-Star, 6x All-NBA 2nd team, 3x All-Defensive 2nd Team
C - Dikembe Mutumbo 8x All-Star, 4x Defensive Player of the Year, 6x All-NBA Selection (3x 1st Team)
Bench - Elgin Baylor 11x All-Star, 10x All-NBA 1st Team
Bench - Alex English 8x All-Star, 3x All-NBA 2nd Team, 1x Scoring Champ
Bench - Penny Hardaway 4x All-Star, 2x All-NBA 1st Team
I'm inserting DeBusschere into the starting lineup over Dominique because although he doesn't have the freak athleticism or pure scoring ability Dominique does, he can do things that 'Nique can't do as well: he can stretch the floor and he is one of the best defenders of all time. With defensive prowess and almost unmatchable relentless intensity, he's more than capable of shutting down Baylor.
One of the few players who can match DeBusschere's levels of defence and intensity is Sidney Moncrief, the best defensive shooting guard of all time: his relentless play and lockdown defence will be more than enough to guard Kobe Bryant.
At the point guard position, there is no way Tony Parker can guard Isiah Thomas: Thomas' amazing driving and finishing ability will allow him to waltz right past Parker, getting him both great scoring opportunities as well as drawing defenders, allowing Thomas to dish to open teammates.
In the front court, Tim Duncan will be able to beat Ewing at both ends of the floor, his elite post presence and defence will keep Ewing contained on both ends. Mutombo will have great difficulty trying to defend the most effective scorer in NBA history in Gilmore, and whatever offence he tries will be smothered by Gilmore's huge defensive presence.
I've got electric offence coming off the bench, the one-two punch of Hardaway and Wilkins will be able to run all over Apollo's bench and tired starters. Hardaway can dish and score almost as well as Thomas can, and Dominique provides slashing and scoring that few can match. Cowens has the all-around game: the former MVP can score, rebound, pass and defend anyone he's up against with relentless intensity and fearlessness.
In short, my team will be able to match Apollo's at every position, and take him down. With Bryant and Baylor being guarded by Moncrief (best defensive SG ever) and DeBusschere (one of the best defenders of all-time), Thomas and Hardaway able to destroy Parker and have the offence humming at all times, Wilkins and Cowens able to provide the scoring and intensity off the bench, and Duncan and Gilmore overpowering Ewing and Mutombo, Apollo's squad is simply no match for mine.
We will go man coverage: we matchup comparably in the frontcourt and favorably in the backcourt.
007's lack of shooters will cause him problems because we will back off of Thomas & Monchief and challenge them to beat us with low percentages opportunities due to their inept long range shooting; this should put a damper on their offense and there isn’t much they can change to adjust.
I suspect they will feel forced into relying on Tim Duncan to carry extra weight and in which case Tim will still get his, but under more duress than he's accustomed to (as Ewing is a strong, big defender) and in doing so he'll be on an island as 007 doesn't have the shooting support for Duncan when things don't always develop as he would hope.
Marion will be on Wilkins and because Dominique is a hot/cold shooter he will get in Wilkins' face while also trying to limit Wilkens getting opportunities to finish at the bucket.
Gilmore has an old school big man skillset, isn’t that aggressive and he never had to face many opponents in his day who were capable yet didn't give up a size advantage; this matchup against Mutombo may show that he wasn't really as impressive as the numbers may indicate.
Outside of Tim Hardaway, 007's bench doesn't offer anything different so if Tim H. is in the lineup we'll have Tony guard him close to take away the long range opportunities but for DeBusschere and Cowens its business as usual.
We will attempt to create some spacing as we hold an athletic, physical team that likes to get in the paint and generate the offense when possible. We have better shooters from mid -range and long-range and we will utilize that to draw out some bodies in the paint and thus create space for guards to penetrate; Ewing with the baseline jumper, Kobe from downtown and Marion from downtown(hitting almost 40% from three in his best years of shooting).
Because it was so successful in round one, we will again try to get after it in transition on the fast break, attempting to get our guards and wings into the paint for easy buckets while their defense tries to get back and set up; Marion and Kobe are both strong fast break finishers with Tony pushing it aggressively.
Tony Parker will be facing the tenacious Isiah Thomas and while a strong defender, Thomas never faced many PG's as quick footed as Tony Parker and he relied on a lot of the tough, dirty tactics back in the 80's that no longer is allowed; Thomas could easily find himself into foul troubles.
Kobe sports a considerable size advantage on Monchief and should be able to get decent looks at the bucket even with a hand in his face but we'll utilize pick and rolls to give Kobe space to operate at times and we'll run ISO's occasionally.
We will ask Mutombo to go hard on the glass, look for put-backs and lay hard screens when the opportunity presents itself.
In Game Adjustments
Lineup changes: Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant, Elgin Baylor, Shawn Marion, Patrick Ewing
We will stick with our man coverage unless this bigger group has trouble with 007's undersized slashers, at which point we'd switch to zone.
We will be conscious of challenging their poor perimeter shooters (Zeke and Monchief in particular) to settle for jumpers by backing off. We want to cut down on slashing angles and lanes.
We will be conscious to stick close to their good perimeter shooters in Tim Hardaway & Wilkens.
In the paint it we will have Marion on Duncan if Duncan is playing alongside Gilmore. However, should Cowens sub in for Gilmore we will switch Marion to Cowens and utilized the bigger, stronger Patrick Ewing on Duncan yet again as Cowens is a little undersized as a center and is a better match up for Marion. We expect Ewing and Marion to take the physicality up a notch, lean on their opponents, try to wear them out.
We expect Baylor, Marion and Ewing to all box out, hit the defensive glass hard and to quickly dish it to Penny or Kobe which sets up our offense…
We will race down court for some easy quick buckets if possible. If it’s not there we’ll slow it down and run set plays. Marion will stay on the perimeter. Ewing will again step out deep into the mid-range and force Duncan to meet him or surrender automatic buckets. This should create much more space for our athletic trio of Penny, Kobe and Baylor to shred 007 in the paint.
Penny and Kobe will be on the perimeter quarterbacking the offense together. We’ll utilize a lot of pick and roll, attacking the basket & looking for the foul, Kobe in the ISO and Baylor down low in the post. 007’s undersized perimeter defenders will have trouble containing this big group as they should exploit the many rifts that start forming as 007 faces a very difficult mismatch issue.
We'll expect Baylor to aggressively seek out offensive rebounds; he's one of the greatest rebounding wings of all-time and we need it with Marion and Ewing stretching outside. We'll also expect Penny and Kobe to seek out offensive rebounding opportunities as both has a serious size advantage over their defenders so there's no excuse not to come down with some second chance opportunities.
If Mutombo gets taken out for Baylor then I'm going to take Gilmore out and bring in Cowens: he's fast enough to guard Marion and he's able to bully him at the other end. Duncan at center will allow for space to be created inside as he is more mobile than Gilmore.
If Thomas is having great difficulty covering Hardaway than I'll bring in Wilkins for Thomas, and have Moncrief cover Harraway, DeBusschere cover Kobe or Baylor (whichever's hot) and have Wilkins cover the other. Moncrief, DeBusschere, Wilkins and Cowens are all good enough playmakers (each averaged between 4-5 assists in their prime) to handle Thomas not being on the floor. He will be brought back in if Parker is on the floor or if the offense stagnates.
On the other end, Baylor will have his hands full with Dominique, his amazing slashing and athleticism will allow him to score easily. Cowens will be able to bully Marion inside. Duncan will be able to pull Ewing outside the paint, and DeBusschere can stretch the floor, allowing drives from Moncrief and Wilkins.
So RR faithful, who wins this game?