As an avid basketball fan, it's always fun come NBA draft time to see which college players turn into studs and which college programs produce the best talent. I've had many a debate with friends and family over starting fives in the NBA from each college.
I finally decided to sit down and rank those squads. This is only a current list of players in the NBA.
PG: Monta Ellis
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kevin Garnett
Bench: Josh Smith, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Shaun Livingston
While this team isn't included in the rankings, it'd be far and away the best team. Scoring would be at a premium, and no team could match up talent-wise. You could even move LeBron to the PG spot and start Josh Smith, giving you an ultra-big lineup.
So many options, so not fair.
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Manu Ginobili
SF: Rudy Fernandez
PF: Dirk Nowitzki
C: Pau Gasol
Bench: Luis Scola, Marc Gasol, Hedo Turkoglu, Nene
This team is another not included, but very talented. While they lack backcourt depth, the frontcourt is huge.
Both Gasols, Dirk, Hedo, Nene and Scola? No one, not even the high school squad, could match up with that.
PG: Mike Conley
SG: Evan Turner
SF: Michael Redd
PF: Kosta Koufos
C: Greg Oden
Bench: Deaquan Cook, B.J. Mullens
The problem with this lineup is the big men. They produce centers (not good ones, but centers), but not power forwards.
The backcourt would be a good one, especially with Cook coming off the bench. The lack of depth would certainly hurt them quickly.
PG: Jonny Flynn
SG: Wes Johnson
SF: Carmelo Anthony
PF: Donte Green
C: Hakim Warrick
Bench: Andy Rautins, Etan Thomas
The only reason I put Syracuse ahead of Ohio State is because they have a more complete starting five and the fact that they have the best pure scorer in the league. Flynn and Wes are more than capable backups.
However, don't expect anyone off the bench to help.
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Josh Howard
SF: James Johnson
PF: Al-Farouq Aminu
C: Tim Duncan
Bench: Ishmael Smith, Jeff Teague
There's a significant step up to this Wake Forest team from Syracuse.
This team has four legitimate starters at each position, and none are out of position.
And any team with Chris Paul and Tim Duncan has a fighting chance. Paul is the best PG in the league and can make any team look good, and Duncan still has some left in the tank.
PG: T.J. Ford
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Tristan Thompson
PF: Kevin Durant
C: LaMarcus Aldridge
Bench: D.J. Augustin, Daniel Gibson, Damion James, Maurice Evans
Wake Forest and Texas' teams are really close—in fact, Wake Forest's starting five is better.
However, the fact they wouldn't have anyone on the bench hurts them. Plus, Texas sports a veteran PG, the best player in the league and one of the best big men.
Tristan Thompson has looked good early on this year, but they only have PGs coming off the bench, which is why they're so low.
PG: Mike Bibby
SG: Jason Terry
SF: Andre Iguodala
PF: Jordan Hill
C: Channing Frye
Bench: Jerryd Bayless, Richard Jefferson, Luke Walton, Derrick Williams
This team is one of the best teams out there.
It's a team loaded with veterans and a perfect mix of backcourt players, forwards and big men.
The weakness, however, is that the bench isn't good except for Jefferson. Walton is seldom-used, Williams is young and improving, and Bayless isn't that good.
There's a significant drop-off in talent from starters to bench.
PG: Raymond Felton
SG: Vince Carter
SF: Marvin Williams
PF: Tyler Hansbrough
C: Brendan Haywood
Bench: Wayne Ellington, Antawn Jamison, Ty Lawson, Ed Davis
This spot right here is where you get to the great teams.
All five guys in this starting lineup are starters in the league. Carter is aging, and Haywood and Hansbrough may not be a fierce frontcourt, but they are a solid unit. Jamison and Davis off the bench provide them lots of big bodies as well.
There really isn't a weakness on this team, they just aren't as talented as other teams.
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Arron Afflalo
SF: Trevor Ariza
PF: Kevin Love
C: Ryan Hollins
Bench: Matt Barnes, Darren Collison, Jordan Farmar, Jrue Holliday, Baron Davis
This starting five is the best of any of the starting fives.
They have a great group, spearheaded by Westbrook and Love. Ariza is one of the more underrated players, and Afflalo is a great scorer.
However, as you can see, the bench is a bunch of point guards. As you could imagine, that'd be a problem.
PG: Ben Gordon
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Charlie Villanueva
C: Emeka Okafor
Bench: Kemba Walker, Rip Hamilton, Hasheem Thabeet, Caron Butler
I originally had this team second, but their lack of big men will hurt them.
Hasheem Thabeet is nothing more than the laughing-stock of the league anymore. He's a serviceable big man, but nothing more than that.
However, the backcourt is great. Gordon, Rip, Ray-Ray, Rudy Gay and Kemba are second to none.
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: John Wall
SF: Tayshaun Prince
PF: Chuck Hayes
C: Demarcus Cousins
Bench: Eric Bledsoe, Jodie Meeks, Nazr Mohammed, Patrick Patterson, Brandon Knight
I also had this team lower at first, but the more I looked at them, the more I liked them.
While Wall isn't a natural 2-guard, I couldn't put either Rondo or Wall on the bench. They are too dynamic a duo to not be on the floor at the same time.
The bench features everything you need and is a complete one. The only problem I see is a lack of a small forward and only one shooting guard.
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: J.J. Redick
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Carlos Boozer
C: Elton Brand
Bench: Grant Hill, Chris Duhon, Corey Maggette, Shane Battier, Gerald Henderson, Josh McRoberts
Easily the most complete team.
The backcourt has a lot of depth, and the frontcourt does as well. Battier, Maggette and Hill can provide minutes at the 2 or 3, and Battier could even play some PF. McRoberts is supremely underrated and could provide valuable minutes as a backup to Boozer and Brand.
Kyrie Irving is bred to be a star in this league with his quickness and ability to get to the rack. Redick's numbers have improved steadily since entering the league, and he seems poised for a big year this year.
If all the teams squared off, my money would be on Duke.