One of the most dominant college basketball teams in recent memory versus the most putrid team in the history of the NBA. Where is an eccentric billionaire Kentucky basketball fan when you need one? Someone with deep enough pockets and enough passion to set up this showdown.
Why would the Bobcats accept said challenge?
First, money talks. If there was enough cash on the table, an exhibition game could, should and would be set up.
Second, Michael Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, might be the most competitive person on the face of the earth. If he was challenged and there was money to be made, I think his competitive juices might push him over the edge into accepting the challenge.
The reason I want to do this analysis is because both sides of the argument have been so arrogant, and yet, neither side has offered up a solid analysis. The pro-NBA side points out that Kentucky only has six future NBA players, while the Bobcats have 15. The Kentucky side counters with calling all 15 of those players "NBA quality" is a stretch. Some analysis needs to be done.
First, some ground rules would need to be set up before a proper analysis can be made.
How many minutes long would the game be?
In college, they play two 20-minute halves for a total of 40 minutes. In the NBA, they play four 12-minute quarters for a total of 48 minutes. I think the most fair way to conduct this game would be four 11-minute quarters for a total of 44 minutes, the halfway point for minutes played.
Where would the game be played?
Either team getting the home-court advantage would be unfair. I suggest Atlanta. Kentucky fans are used to travelling there for SEC tournament games, and the Bobcats are used to going there for their division rival, Atlanta Hawks. That way, neither team gets home court, but are still familiar with the city.
How many fouls before someone is given the boot?
In college, it is five fouls before you foul out, while in the NBA, it is six. There is not a good way to compromise here, but I am going with six for this showdown so that neither side has to worry about foul trouble as much.
Where will the three-point line be located?
Obviously, I am going to call for the line to be set as close to possible at the midpoint for both lines.
How long will the shot clock be?
In college, it is 35 seconds, while in the NBA, it is 24 seconds. I would propose a 30-second shot clock since a true mid-point does not exist without using fractional seconds.
If I forgot of any other compromises let me know in the comment section below. Obviously, I would want it as fair as possible to both sides.
Finally, who would be eligible to play in the game?
The Bobcats could use any player on their roster at the end of the year, but not someone like Boris Diaw, who they cut during the season. The player matchup analysis done later on will use those players and base the starting lineup and bench according to how much they were used during the season.
The Wildcats could use the five players who declared for the NBA draft since they no longer have eligibility concerns: Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague. They could also use two players who were seniors, and thus no longer have eligibility concerns: Darius Miller and Eloy Vargas.
The only player of significance in question is Kyle Wiltjer. I really do not know if he would be allowed to participate in such a game.
Now on to the player matchups.
At PG, we have D.J. Augistin versus Marquis Teague. Augistin wins that matchup pretty easily. Augistin may not be a good starting PG in the NBA, but Teague should not have even declared for the draft. Augistin is the superior scorer and passer.
At SG, we have Gerald Henderson versus Doron Lamb. Henderson wins that matchup pretty easily. Henderson is the Bobcats' best player and a legit NBA SG, while Lamb would be a back-up SG in the NBA at this point in time.
At SF, we have Corey Maggette versus Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Maggette struggled shooting the ball this year, and he has never been known as a great defender. However, even to this day, he has a knack to getting to the free-throw line. MKG is not the offensive player that Maggette is, but he is the superior defensive player. I think think this is the first position battle that is too close to declare an obvious winner.
At PF, we have Tyrus Thomas versus Terrence Jones. Once upon a time, Tyrus Thomas showed some promise as a defender, shot blocker, rebounder and energy guy. Those days are long gone. He is now an albatross. Terrence Jones would be playing out of position by NBA standards, as he is a future SF. However, he is still talented enough to outplay Tyrus Thomas. Jones wins this matchup easily.
At C, we have Bismack Biyombo versus Anthony Davis. Both players are actually PF playing out of position in this matchup. Both players are known more for their defense, rebounding and shot blocking than they are their offense. The Brow just happens to be a much, much, much better version, though. Davis wins this matchup easily.
So for the starting lineup, that is two for the Bobcats, two for Wildcats and one too close to call. On to the bench.
Since this is a shorter game for the NBA players and just a one-time deal, I expect the Bobcats to go with a short bench (it is not like they have a good bench anyway).
The Bobcats would likely use PG Kemba Walker, SF Derrick Brown and C Byron Mullens, as they are the three best bench players and played in the most amount of games. Each player got a fair amount of starts this year as well due to injury.
The Wildcats would use SG/SF Darius Miller and PF Eloy Vargas for sure, and possibly PF Kyle Wiltjer if he is eligible.
Brown and Miller should be able to cancel each other out, with neither player gaining a big edge.
Mullens would have an edge over Vargas for sure, but would still get crushed by The Brow. It really depends on how many minutes of rest Anthony Davis would need. Since Mullens likes to drift outside and shoot jumpers, Wiltjer could really guard him decent enough if he were eligible.
Walker has been terrible shooting the ball this year, and he likes to hoist it a lot. His presence actually hurts the Bobcats on the floor. Even still, Teague or Lamb would be gassed due to the lack of a legit back-up PG to give them a spell.
Overall, the bench comparison is really close. I might give a slight edge to the Bobcats if Wiltjer is not allowed to play. Otherwise, I would say it is too close to call.
When you factor in that close of a bench comparison to the Bobcats' big edge in the backcourt and the Wildcats' big edge in the front court, it really should come down to who plays better between Maggette and MKG.
What I can say is that both sides are far too confident that they would win. Normally, I see things in black and white, but this game screams gray to me. I have no idea who would actually win. I do know that I would love to watch to see who would win.
Let me know who you think would win and why in the comments section.