Former College Teammates We'd Love to See Reunited in the NBA
As good as the Kentucky Wildcats were in 2012, you can't help but wonder what an NBA reunion might look like.
The team saw six of its primary pieces go to the NBA this summer. Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller wouldn't be quite so dominant in the pro ranks, at least not yet.
But the thought of Davis and MKG teaming up again after going first and second, respectively, in the 2012 draft is the stuff video games are made of—fun to imagine but highly unlikely. Their abilities to excel on both ends of the floor and fly in the open court will serve them well on their new teams, and it's scary to think about the kind of impact they'd make together on the same team.
Such pairings are few and far between in the NBA.
Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem played together at Florida before crossing paths once again with the Miami Heat. In fact, they were roommates and good friends.
After playing together at Arizona, Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger briefly played together for the Houston Rockets. Hill now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Budinger is about to play his first season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Chicago Bulls' Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng both went to Duke, but Deng's freshman campaign was a full season after Boozer was drafted to the NBA. Close, but no cigars.
Putting reality aside for a moment, here's a look at some college reunions that would make for a dangerous NBA pairing (or at least a good story).
Harrison Barnes and John Henson
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Unless the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks feel like making another trade anytime soon, chances are you won't see Harrison Barnes and John Henson on the same team again.
But it's a nice idea.
The two forwards complemented one another nicely at North Carolina and spearheaded one of the most NBA-ready rosters in the country (don't forget about Tyler Zeller and Kendall Marshall). With Barnes' scoring ability and Henson's athletic ability in the paint, the two could form a dangerous inside-outside combination as their offensive skills improve.
More importantly, they'd prove a lethal defensive combination with the kind of length that could frustrate even some of the best scorers.
Don't be at all surprised if both of these guys become stars on their respective pro clubs.
Al Horford and Joakim Noah
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Before manning the middle for the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls, Al Horford and Joakim Noah were busy winning two national championships for the Florida Gators.
It's not hard to see why they were so effective.
Though they both play the center position in the NBA, Horford has the skills of a power forward and a mid-range shot that a lot of guards would envy. Noah, meanwhile, ranks as one of the game's most hard-working and energetic presences in the paint.
The combination of finesse and scrappiness would be a lot to handle for any front line, and it would almost certainly be the best big-man combination outside of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.
Given their importance to their respective franchises, Horford and Noah probably aren't going anywhere anytime soon. As two of the best young bigs in the game, they border on irreplaceable.
Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin
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I know, I know.
Why would the Oklahoma City Thunder ever prefer D.J. Augustin to an All-Star point guard like Russell Westbrook? Wasn't Augustin the guy overseeing the woeful Charlotte Bobcats offense while Westrbook was leading his team to the NBA Finals?
Of course no one would want to replace Westbrook with Augustin, but the idea of adding a starting-caliber point guard to OKC's roster isn't all that far-fetched.
After all, Westbrook has proven time and again that he's better at scoring than he is at distributing the ball. That could certainly change as the 23-year-old's game evolves, but there's much to be said for giving him some minutes at the 2.
With backup point guard Eric Maynor returning to the court this season after a torn ACL, we could very well see the Thunder doing more of just that.
Augustin, who will play for the Indiana Pacers this season, would be a nice fit for the job in theory, though. He averaged 6.4 assists in under 30 minutes a game last season for the Charlotte Bobcats, and his assist ratio tied Chris Paul's, believe it or not.
That's the kind of distributor Durant (and Westbrook for that matter) could use these days. The Thunder are well-stocked with natural-born scorers—they just need someone to get them the ball.
John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins
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This one might take the cake.
Before we all got caught up in the Kentucky stars littering this summer's draft, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were the latest sensations from Wildcat nation. They spent just one season together as freshmen at Kentucky, but they led the team to a 35-3 record and made it abundantly clear that they were ready for the NBA.
Wall was taken by the Washington Wizards with the first overall pick in the draft, and Cousins was selected fifth by the Sacramento Kings. Still young teams in various stages of rebuilding, the Wizards and Kings are looking to establish Wall and Cousins as their franchise's respective cornerstones.
Wall is set to become one of the league's elite point guards, and Cousins one of its best big men.
We already know, to some extent, what they could do when teamed with one another, but there's little doubt they'd become an even more fearsome combination as they develop their games at the NBA level.
They're both just 22 years old and already yielding some pretty impressive numbers. If they could somehow find their ways on to the same team as they start to hit their primes, watch out.
No, it's not likely, but we can still dream.
The 2008-09 North Carolina Tar Heels
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OK, so maybe they aren't the 2011-12 Kentucky Wildcats, but North Carolina was good enough to win a national championship in 2009, and the NBA took notice.
From that roster, Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller are all now in the NBA. The only one out of the group to become much of a star is Lawson, but this is still a young group with time to mature.
Green had something of a breakout season for the San Antonio Spurs, and Hansbrough has become a key role player off the bench for the Indiana Pacers. Meanwhile, Ellington will do his best to replace O.J. Mayo in his first season with the Memphis Grizzlies, and Davis could still emerge as the Toronto Raptors' power forward of the future.
This unit could use another legitimate star to help out Ty Lawson, but the Denver Nuggets have surrounded him with the same kind of supporting cast with which he worked at UNC—guys that hustle, play defense and hit spot-up jumpers.
It's a formula for success, regardless of the names involved.