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A modern pickup team with inspiration by MJ

Clippers guard Chris Paul brings ball-handling you’d need any authentic pickup environment. | Alex Gallardo/AP

Clippers guard Chris Paul brings the ball-handling you’d need in any authentic pickup environment. | Alex Gallardo/AP

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Updated: December 18, 2013 6:29AM



Michael Jordan has had a hard time keeping his Charlotte Bobcats out of the NBA basement year after year and an even harder time keeping himself out of the headlines.

The latest came this week during a promotion for the ‘‘NBA2K14’’ video game where Jordan named his ultimate team for a pickup game.

His choices were himself, obviously, followed by former teammate Scottie Pippen, Los Angeles Lakers greats Magic Johnson and James Worthy and former Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon.

Well, why not be like Mike and put together the ultimate pickup team of players currently in the NBA?

GUARDS

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers. ‘‘Pick-up game’’ means from the local YMCA to the playground, and it means having a ball-handler with crazy handles — indoors or on the blacktop. Give me Paul for his ball-handling, play-making and making players around him better.

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. When a 30-footer is a layup, well, that’s a long day at the office for the defense. Curry is a modern-day Lamar ‘‘Money’’ Mundane with his spectacular shooting range.

FORWARDS

Paul George, Indiana Pacers. Outside shot? Check. Leaps? Check. Defense? Check. Swagger? Check. There’s very little George can’t do, and the scary part is he’s only getting better. That’s why he’s an early MVP candidate.

LeBron James, Miami Heat. Of course Jordan left James off his team on purpose. C’mon, Mike, it’s OK to admit there’s finally a player with better all-around skills than you.

CENTER

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s pick-up, people — traditional centers be damned. I’ll take my chances on the 6-9 Durant running some poor opposing big up and down the court. He can score from anywhere needed.

Player of the week

Blake Griffin, Clippers power forward. Who needs a better post-game? Griffin had back-to-back double-doubles in wins over the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Thunder and added 12 assists over the two games.

Team of the week

San Antonio Spurs. They quietly haven’t lost a game since Nov. 2.

The big five

1. Pacers. 2. Heat. 3. Spurs. 4. Clippers. 5. Warriors.

Awful for Andrew

The three teams bad enough to start tanking in hopes of drafting Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins: 1. Utah Jazz. 2.  Sacramento Kings. 3. Washington Wizards.

Big number

36.2Number of minutes per game for the Bulls’ Luol Deng entering the weekend, — 24th in the league. Last year, Deng led the NBA with 38.7.

Two to watch
for week of Nov. 17-23

Pacers at New York Knicks, 6 p.m. Wednesday. The Knicks are trying to save a season and a coach, while the Pacers are taking no prisoners.

Clippers at Thunder, 7 p.m. Thursday. The Clippers won Round 1 last week in L.A.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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