Andrew Plays The Ringer’s “Build a Super Team to Beat the Warriors” Game!

Andrew Fultz

Unless you’re one of those weirdos who spent the entirety of their long 4th of July weekend with their family and not staring at your phone, you know by now that Kevin Durant has decided to join the 73-win Golden State Warriors and become the Waluigi to Draymond’s Wario and Klay’s Luigi (Steph is obviously Mario here). The Splash Brothers have gone into full-on Mario Tennis mode and emerged as the complete roster or Mario Bros. mirrors. This metaphor works in more ways than I have time to explain here, but maybe one day…

Anyway, the Warriors will have a team for the 2016-2017 season that is officially the greatest paper team of all time. And while it’s completely unreasonable to expect them to beat their own record of 73 wins next season because of depth, early problems with chemistry, and general impossibility, Golden State will certainly be the favorite to win the championship next season.

Since that’s difficult to argue against (even if superteams generally underperform in all sports), The Ringer has a game that has you try and build a hypothetical superteam  to beat the very non-hypothetical Golden State Warriors. The way it works is that each player is valued from a range of $1-$7, and you’re given a fictional salary cap of $15. The goal, of course, is to create a starting five that would beat the Warriors.

I figured I would build a few teams and share the results here. Enjoy!

Note: I only did one team with Lebron because my natural inclination is to have Lebron on any team going against Golden State. While I feel strongly that the only antidote for a team with two of the top three players in the world would be a team with the best player in the world, writing five different scenarios centered on Lebron’s awesomeness is boring, even if 100% correct.

Team 1: The Bullies

Lebron James ($7)
Jimmy Butler ($4)
Zach Randolph ($2)
Rajon Rondo ($1)
Steven Adams ($1)

Let me start by saying that Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo are actually on the same team and I am pretty stoked to see how that pans out, but this team is assembled for one reason and one reason only: Bully the Warriors into submission. No one who comes into the lane will survive to see the rim with either Adams or Z-Bo staying at home and Lebron roaming the paint. Rondo can hold his own with Steph, and Butler can with Klay. This roster is a monster and I really can’t believe I was able to put it together under the required stipulations. The biggest concern might be Z-Bo getting switched onto Durant, but there should be enough length on this squad to hold it down.

I realize some of you might not be as high on Rondo as me. That’s fine. Switch him for someone like Jeff Teague and this team can probably make do.

Team 2: The Brick and Rebound


Russell Westbrook ($5)
Paul George ($4)
Karl-Anthony Towns ($3)
Victor Oladipo ($2)
Tristan Thompson ($1)

Every fiber of my being anticipates the first game Russ plays against Golden State. As if getting bounced from the playoffs after giving up a 3-1 lead wasn’t enough, now his best buddy has gone to play for the rival. Setting the over/under at 50 shots for  Russ may be too low for that game. The problem, though, is Russell Westbrook cannot shoot, especially from three. You know who else isn’t known for his three-point shooting? Victor Oladipo. The good news is that every ill-advised Westbrook 33-footer effectively becomes a pass to Tristan Thompson, who can clean up the boards against these thin Warriors. Throw in the rich man’s Draymond Green, KAT, and under-valued at $4 Paul George, and you have a recipe for success. Oladipo emerged as an elite-level defender in 2015-2016, so he can disrupt Curry/Klay with relative ease. Russ has already shown that he can be a defensive menace if he is so inclined, and he would certainly be so inclined against the Warriors. This team has the defensive sauce to disrupt a Curry/Durant pick-and-roll without bending too much with its off-the-ball defense. It could work.

Team 3: The Good Enoughs


Chris Paul ($5)
Kawhi Leonard ($5)
Kristaps Porzingis ($2)
C.J. McCollum ($2)
Tristan Thompson ($1)

The thinking here is that for whatever reason, Chris Paul is allowed to foul Steph Curry 15 times per game, so he can really influence Steph’s contribution, especially in a seven game series. Kawhi has stopped Lebron before, so he can certainly stop Durant, although this past season’s Western Conference semis would probably like to have a word with me for that thought. Kristaps vs. Draymond would be interesting, but eight inches is a lot of height to make up for with simple meanness and nut shots. The matchup I’m not feeling great about here is Klay/McCollum. C.J. is great and it’s not really that I’m concerned with his game. It’s just that Klay established himself as the league’s best shooting guard this past season, and I’m not sure McCollum would be enough. Given the rest of the advantages I can find on the floor and that you’d need to put Klay on CP3 for stretches of the game, I think McCollum’s shooting will get me over the edge.

Team 4: The Not Good Enoughs


James Harden ($5)
Damian Lillard ($4)
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($3)
Brook Lopez ($2)
Thaddeus Young ($1)

I earnestly built this team from the ground up centered on a Harden/Lillard backcourt. Then I remembered James Harden’s defense, and I’m sorry for wasting your time. Just remember that I spent more time making it than you did reading. There was potential here before that, but since the only other shooting guard in the league worth $5 is Klay Thompson, this roster is sunk.

Team 5: The Anti-Durants


Russell Westbrook ($5)
LaMarcus Aldridge ($5)
Al Horford ($3)
J.J. Redick ($1)
Justise Winslow ($1)

What better way to combat the Durant Warriors than with a band of warriors (wink wink) compiled from the teams with which he met but did not choose? Durant met with OKC, San Antonio, Boston, LA Clippers, and Miami. Somehow, I managed to put together a team from that group under the salary cap. This was the hardest team to assemble in this entire piece. But here they are!

I already covered Russ’s over-sized personal vendetta. Add LaMarcus and Horford down low and I think the Warriors will want no part of going to the rim. While the matchups favor the Warriors overall, you’d better prepare yourself for the greatest weapon of all: good old-fashioned hatred. Just like the guy who didn’t get the girl hating the guy that did, so will this group of out-matched all-stars use the anger from the spurn to will themselves to victory. Or at least they’ll try and hope that the Warriors aren’t very focused and that Steph gets lazy with the ball like he does. Something should work. Something.

Team 6: Lebron and the Island of Misfit Toys

Lebron James ($7)
Jebron Lames ($7)
Ray Allen ($1)
Austin Rivers ($0)
Javale McGee ($0)

Before you quit on me, I think this could work.

All I need is a DeLorean DMC-12, an estranged teenager, and a perfectly timed lightning strike to go grab high school Lebron. Then a quick legal name change, new social security number, and proper identification and I have a team that not even Austin Rivers can sink. Imagine, if you will, Lebron James running a pick-and-roll with himself. Do you switch? Do you fight under the screen? Does it matter? Lebron will go full Bugs Bunny baseball on you with a drive-and-kick to a sweet, sweet Ray Allen trey. Sure, Rivers may intercept the pass and try to kick it to McGee. Word is that McGee is seeking that ever-elusive second career triple double and threatened Rivers with a very threatening finger gun motion.

Wait, what? Ray might actually be coming back and playing for the Warriors? I guess this team never had a chance then…

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