Perfect NBA Roster


Sean Nolan, Sports Editor

I was on ESPN one day when I came across an article written by Bill Barnwell.  He constructed a 53-man NFL roster with players from all of the teams, keeping their salaries under the league salary cap.  I decided to do the same thing, but with a 15 person NBA roster. This is my perfect roster for the upcoming NBA season. However, there are some rules I had to follow.

  1. I had to remain under the 2018-19 NBA salary cap of $101.9 million.
  2. I could not select more than one player from each NBA team to keep balance in the league.
  3. I had to follow their set positions for the upcoming season.  No “positionless basketball.” There are 3 players of each position on this roster.
  4. The players’ salaries are based on what they will make in the 2018-19 season.  If they signed an extension but it will not kick in until 2019-20, that will not penalize us.
  5. I had to select at least one player from each of the past five drafts.

So, here is my perfect NBA roster under the salary cap, position by position.


Point Guard

Kemba Walker, CHA, $12.0 mil

Isaiah Thomas, DEN, $2.0 mil

Derrick Rose, MIN, $2.4 mil

Coming off of back-to-back All Star nods, Kemba Walker will be our starting floor general of choice with a pretty respectable contract for a player of his caliber.  Isaiah Thomas’ veteran minimum deal is a steal for a player who will look to return to the top of the scoring ranks prior to his hip injury. Injuries have derailed former MVP Derrick Rose’s career but he showed some flashes of hope in the postseason for Minnesota last year. All three point guards can find their way to the rim and have an IQ perfect for setting up their talented teammates.


Shooting Guard

Devin Booker, PHX, $3.3 mil

Lou Williams, LAC, $8.0 mil

Vince Carter, ATL, $2.4 mil

Only four players have averaged at least 24 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4 assists in their age-21 season.  Those players are Michael Jordan, Tracy McGrady, LeBron James, and Devin Booker. DBook has one of the highest ceilings in the NBA and will hope to unlock his full potential in his fourth season.  Lou Williams is arguably the best bench player in the NBA, having won two of the last four Sixth Man of the Year honors. Vince Carter brings a veteran presence to the squad, with VC being voted as the league’s Most Influential Veteran.


Small Forward

Kawhi Leonard, TOR, $23.1 mil

Jayson Tatum, BOS, $6.7 mil

Brandon Ingram, LAL, $5.8 mil

Leonard’s $23 million contract is a bargain for a player of his skill set.  Perhaps the best two-way player in the Association, Kawhi is a top-three player in the league when healthy.  Hopefully he can get past those injuries and return to the play we expect from the former NBA Finals MVP. Tatum had a breakout season for the Celtics last season, leading his team in the playoffs despite losing their top two players.  Brandon Ingram has the ability to be an All-Star in the league, and he will be a great option at the forward position with his length and improving three-point stroke.


Power Forward

Kristaps Porzingis, NY, $5.7 mil

Julius Randle, NOP, $8.6 mil

Dario Saric, PHI, $2.5 mil

“The Unicorn” made the East All Star team last year and averaged almost 23 points per game before a torn ACL ended his season prematurely.  Julius Randle will back up the 7’3” Porzingis after averaging 16 points per contest last season. Dario Saric remains on his rookie contract, making the 6’10” forward a must at the four position.


C: DeMarcus Cousins, GS, $5.3 mil

C: Dwight Howard, WAS, $5.3 mil

C: Mo Bamba, ORL, $4.9 mil

Arguably the best center in the NBA when healthy, Boogie Cousins, signed with the Warriors for only $5 million a year.  However, the four-time All Star is currently out nursing an Achilles injury, so another cheap signing will start in Dwight Howard.  A shell of his former self, Dwight can still put up a double-double while protecting the bucket. Rookie Mo Bamba will look to prove he’s more than just the subject of a hit song with his athleticism and mid-range touch.