Best Ever NBA Rookie-Sophmore Classes

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TNT is going to air the draft of the Rookie – Sophomore Rising Stars All-Star Saturday Night Challenge sponsored by BBVA this Thursday, with Chucky B and Snaq Daddy acting as competing GMs.  Each GM will select a 9 player team from a pool of 18 candidates playing in their first or second NBA seasons.  The full list of roster candidates can be seen here.  The talent is impressive, and it made me wonder who the very best Rookie – Sophomore class might have been.  I narrowed down the search to draft classes I could remember only because going 18 deep meant I’d need to know some non-stars to fill out the rosters, and because this is a show-boatin’, high-floatin’, alley-hoopin’ heat-scoopin’ All-Star Saturday showcase, and we should be selecting rosters as much for entertainment potential as for ability.

4 years really stood out above all the others for the total talent available in the 1st and 2nd year players.  You can see the full 18 man roster pools here.

1986 or Team Dreamy offers 6 Dream Team members and Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon.  The top 10 players would be Michael Jordan, Hakeem, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, John Stockton, Chris Mullin, Joe Dumars, Alvin Robertson, and Terry Porter.  Upping the entertainment quotient are 7′ 6″ Manute Bol the shot-block king, 5′ 3″ Mugsy Bogues a steals-machine, and 5′ 8″ Spud Webb the slam dunk champion.  Starting units for two teams would probably something like this:

Porter – Jordan – Barkley – Perkins – Ewing vs. Stockton – Dumars – Mullin – Malone – Olajuwon

1994 or Team Bigguns top 10 players would be Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell, Robert Horry, Toni Kukoc, Nick Van Exel, and Antonio Davis.  Slam dunk champions Harold “Baby Jordan” Miner and Isaiah “Don’t call me J.R.” Rider up the entertainment for this crew.  Starting units for the two teams would probably be something like:

Van Exel – Penny – Spree – Horry – Shaq vs. Cassell – Rider – Kukoc – Webber – Zo

1998 or Team Hip Hop’s top 10 players would be Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, Ray Allan, Steve Nash, Ben Wallace, Jermaine O’Neal, Chauncey Billups, and Marcus Camby.  Bringing the entertainment are God Shamgod and his otherworldly handles, Steph Marbury and his otherworldly street cred, and Antoine Walker and his otherworldly shot selection / shimmy shake. Starting units for the two teams would probably be something like:

AI – Rayray – TMac – Big Ben – Timmy! vs. Nash – Billups – Kobe – Jermaine – Camby

2006 or Team Chosen Tweener’s top 10 players would be LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Josh Smith, Andre Igudala, Al Jefferson, Luol Deng, and David West.  Devoted gunners and playoff-non-entities, J.R. Smith, Ben Gordon, and Mo Williams offer some additional entertainment nuggets.  Starting units for the two teams would probably be something like:

Hinrich – Iggie – Bron – Bosh – Dwight vs. Wade – KMart – Melo – Smoove – Big Al

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