As much it may surprise long-time readers, I am actually a fan of more sports than just the NFL. In particular, my second favorite professional sport the past couple of years has been the NBA – particularly because I just can’t get enough of Chris Andersen’s tattoos. But since the name of this blog isn’t Someone Still Loves You Dick Bavetta, I haven’t been able to find a good reason to write about the NBA yet. Until today, that is. Today, I’m posing a truly tantalizing hypothetical to all you readers out there: if the NBA folded tomorrow and the 400-500 odd player all had to come over to the NFL to pay the bills for their secret underwater castle they built off the coast of Fort Myers over the summer and you had to create an NFL expansion team out of said players…who’d you choose? What follows, my friends, is my vision for the All-NBA football team – a team that would likely go 16-0 if they actually played in real life. Contrary to the headline of the post, this is not actually a scientific study; I’m going on pure gut and instincts, baby! Thus, feel free to post any comments/concerns/outrage that Zaza Pachulia was not included at the end. Without any further ado…
QB: Chris Paul. Point guards are always called “the quarterbacks of the offense,” so wouldn’t it make sense to have the best point guard alive be the quarterback of my offense? Only drawback is if I hire Mike Shanahan as my coach and Shanny forces Chris to play on a bum knee.
RB: Dwyane Wade. All he does in the NBA is barrel headstrong into the lane, anyway. Put a few extra pounds of muscle on him and he’d be terrifying as a running back. (Other than the fact that he’s four inches taller than most running backs, anyway).
RB: Russell Westbrook. Another guy who just plows through the defense and gets wherever he wants whenever he wants. Plus, since he wouldn’t be the quarterback on this team, he won’t be able to keep Kevin Durant from getting the 5-10 extra touches a game he deserves.
WR: Kevin Durant. Frankly, it’s REALLY funky to think of Kevin Durant playing football – the guy’s like 6’11’ and 160 pounds. At wideout, I imagine him as a cross between Randy Moss, Harold Carmichael and Gumby.
WR: Derrick Rose (with two healthy ACL’s). Before he got hurt last spring, D-Rose could fly across the court at unfathomable rates of speed. He’d be DeSean Jackson with five extra inches and the ability to jump through the roof. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD THE BULLS NEED YOU, DERRICK.
TE: LeBron James. Put LeBron anywhere and he’d probably be the best player in the game. Lining him up at tight end, though, would turn him into a kind of Super Gronk – only without all the forearm injuries and self-referential proclamations in Spanish.
LT: Tyson Chandler. Ain’t nobody gettin’ past a 7’1” gentleman with his wingspan. Game over, man.
LG: Paul Millsap. Quiet, underrated, doesn’t mind doing the dirty work. Sounds like a guard to me!
C: Tim Duncan. No longer what he once was athletically, but he’s seen EVERY blitz look any defense has ever come up with at least 30 times and will always get your protections lined up. Basically, he’d be what the Packers thought they were getting with Jeff Saturday last year.
RG: Nikola Pekovic. If this guy doesn’t look like an offensive lineman, then no one does.
RT: Joakim Noah. If this guy does look like an offensive lineman, then no one does.
Defense (we’re playing a 3-4 because they’re aren’t enough super fat guys in the NBA to run a 4-3):
DE: Marc Gasol. He’d probably have a much easier time following what was going in futbol, but if you just told him to hold his position and take up two or three offensive linemen every run play, I think he’d figure things out pretty quickly.
DT: Omer Asik. GOOD LUCK RUNNING UP THE MIDDLE HERE, GUYS.
DE: Hasheem Thabeet. Mainly for unintentional comedy purposes, but who knows? Maybe people will find it’s pretty hard to move a 7’3” Nigerian man with a weird orange streak in his hair!
OLB: Blake Griffin. I’m envisioning Blake as a more destructive DeMarcus Ware/Clay Matthews hybrid. Would such a player be an above-average outside linebacker? PERHAPS.
ILB: Kevin Garnett. Playing the Ray Lewis role as captain of the defense; plus, unlike Ray, he can actually still move, so there’s a lot of upside here.
ILB: Ron Metta Artest Peace. My rationale is this: if Garnett’s already there to be the brains of the defense and you just need another inside ‘backer to fly around and do crazy crap, how much more flighty and crazy can you get than Ron Metta Artest Peace? If nothing else, the back-and-forth between KG and Ron-Ron in-between plays would be priceless.
OLB: Serge Ibaka. Really fast, really athletic and REALLY ANGRY if you disturb him too much. Just keep him and Blake separated at all times, please.
CB: Kobe Bryant. If you told Kobe to solely focus on defense and not jacking up awful 22-footers, I think you’d wind up with a better Champ Bailey. Of course, that would never happen and you’d have to placate him somehow with some action on offense. Who wouldn’t love taking snaps away from Chris Paul so Kobe can throw a sixty-yard pass down the field into triple coverage?!
FS: Manu Ginobili. I wanted to go with Jason Kidd here so bad, but alas, he can’t move any more. Manu’s always had the instincts of a cat burglar, so that would translate over well to defensive football, where he could lull the quarterback to sleep and then WHAM! Pick-six the other way. Either that or he’d be awful at it. I’m not sure one way or the other.
SS: Paul George. Playing the Troy Polamalu role as Guy Who’s Going to Mess Crap Up. No, I wouldn’t be terrified if I saw him creeping up into the box before a play, why do you ask?
CB: Tony Allen. He’d be 2009 Nnamdi Asomugha except two inches taller and not overrated.
K: Steve Nash. Played soccer in high school; plus, he’d be an amazing backup quarterback as well. Essentially the George Blanda of a new generation.
P: Luol Deng. He also grew up playing soccer and would be the only punter in the league capable of running down the field and making an instantaneous tackle on the returner as well.
Returner: Ty Lawson. Solely because he’s fast as crap.