If you haven’t seen Space Jam, go do that right now. If you’re at work, tell your boss you haven’t seen Space Jam. They’ll either send you home or immediately fire you. Either way, you’ll be free to watch the greatest basketball cartoon of all time and continue reading this article.
Now that everyone’s up to speed, let’s talk about The Monstars and the serious problems with their roster. Assuming that the law of conservation of energy (energy cannot be created nor destroyed) applies to an alien stealing a player’s talent, each Monstar should have the same amount of talent and ability as they can steal from their chosen player. The orange alien is as good as Charles Barkley, the green guy is effectively the same player as Patrick Ewing, and so on. The problem the Monstars have is a glut of big men and very little presence on the perimeter.
Barkley, Ewing, Larry Johnson and Shawn Bradley are all centers or power forwards. The only guard the aliens stole talent from was Muggsy Bogues, and expecting him to cover any non-point guard perimeter player is just asking for trouble. This team has little to no answer for a talented shooting guard who can score in multiple ways, and wouldn’t you know it, the only game they ever had to play was against Michael Jordan.
If the Monstars were to play in the NBA, even at a time before small ball, they’d struggle against teams with better shooters and more speed. We have to convert the Barkley and Johnson aliens to perimeter players, both of whom would be more comfortable closer to the basket on both sides of the floor. On defense, Barkley could cover multiple positions, but asking him to be a full-time perimeter defender is pushing the limits of his flexibility, and that goes the same for Johnson. The Monstars would have the best rebounding and interior presence in the league, but would be extremely vulnerable to outside shooting and good ball movement, something the Monstars would be severely lacking.
On offense is where the Monstars find their biggest issues. The Bradley and Ewing aliens can’t do a whole lot on offense outside of the paint, and the team is basically playing 4-on-5 any time one of them isn’t posting up. Chuck is the best player from whom the aliens took talent, and we’re marginalizing his ability to play both inside and outside by clogging the middle with two centers who can’t really do anything more than 15 feet from the basket.
Speaking of the outside, this team has no three-point shooters. Johnson has the highest career percentage from three with an unimpressive 33.2 percent, and he’s the only real three-point threat on the whole squad. The worst thing you can be on offense is predictable, and with all the big men this team is running out there, it’s pretty clear they have to put the ball inside to do anything.
The Monstars are a good example of the importance of a dedicated scouting department. The aliens saw all the big, tall players and took their talent without knowing anything about the game or roster construction. I’m amazed they picked up enough to know they needed even one guard. If they’d taken Scottie Pippen and Reggie Miller’s talents instead of Bradley and Johnson’s, maybe MJ would be losing to little aliens in 1-on-1 on Moron Mountain.*
*Just kidding, put mid-90s MJ in a ball-and-chain on Moron Mountain and he still beats all comers 11-0 while trash talking them into oblivion. No one enjoys the attraction and Danny DeVito’s park goes bankrupt.