As the NBA lockout enters its third month, fans have reason to be optimistic. The league and its players' union have met three times between Aug. 31 and Sept. 8. The meetings were long and involved some key players for each side. Although no new CBA is imminent, optimism is justified since the league and the NBPA met only once between July 1 and Aug. 30.
To those watching, it's pretty obvious that the urgency is there for both sides to get a deal done. Although they're still engaged in a high stakes game of chicken, it seems that the NBA is finally ready to concede on some of its demands.
One thing that the NBPA and its members have done wisely, however, was create leverage for themselves by utilizing social media networks and the Internet. Millions of Twitter followers and YouTube views have helped to convince some important people that the Impact League might be a good idea. And as of right now, about 70 NBA players are planning on participating in an organized basketball tournament.
Meanwhile, Kevin Durant has been a man possessed, tearing up basketball courts from Washington, D.C. to New York City and all the way back to Los Angeles.
Most recently, he torched Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Chris Paul for 59 points. And while I still do not think Kevin Durant is better than Carmelo Anthony…This got me thinking…
How many fans would be willing to pay to watch NBA players come together and represent their respective cities in a tournament? It's a good question.
A better question is, which NBA city could form the best team comprised of current NBA players?
(For the record, California has the most players in the league. And there is A LOT of talent from Los Angeles. However, we can't field a team with six point guards. Remember, here we are looking for the best TEAM).
So, let's find out...
120 NBA Players. 20 Cities. 12 Teams. 10 Roster spots. Five starters. One captain.
Just Read The Rules!
I know you're eager to get to the rankings...But before you continue, check out the rules...
Players are assumed to be in their "prime."
Any player that makes a roster is assumed to be in their prime playing condition. In other words, if Michael Redd makes the Cleveland team, we're assuming he would contribute to the team as if it were 2005, not 2010.
Only players that played in the NBA in the 2010-2011 season and are expected to play in the 2011-2012 season are eligible.
In other words, Stephon Marbury and Kemba Walker are not eligible for New York City's team. And Shaquille 'Neal's recent retirement takes him off of New Jersey's team.
Players are eligible to play for a team that represents their birth city or where they openly represent.
Paul Pierce, for example, was actually born in Oakland, but he identifies himself as an Angeleno, and grew up in Los Angeles. Therefore, he's eligible for the Los Angeles team.
Each starting lineup MUST contain players who are playing their "natural" position.
You won't usually see a three-guard lineup or two centers starting alongside one another. While some players can (and do) play multiple positions in either the front or backcourt...Don't expect to see Chris Paul playing shooting guard.
The city (in parenthesis) beside each team's name is the city in which they would play, not necessarily where the majority of the players on the roster actually come from.
Jason Kidd Knows A Thing Or Two About Winning
It's easy to see that Los Angeles is the home of the best ballers in California, especially when you consider snubs—like Brandon Jennings and DeMar DeRozan—that would have been good enough to make the Bay City team.
That being said, Jason Kidd has made a career out of making his teammates better, so he would definitely get the most out of his supporting cast. Ray Allen has been drilling jumpers long before his Celtics days, so I'm willing to bet that behind their leadership, they'd get this team to outplay its collective talent. Again, Jason Kidd has made a career of that.
The biggest problem for this team would be the fact that is has absolutely ZERO post game. Everything for this team would have to come on a fast break or from a pick-and-roll set. Great teams need to be more versatile than that.
06 - Kevin Martin
07 - Leon Powe
08 - Deshawn Stevenson
09 - Derrick Brown
10 - Eddie House
Lebron James Still Represents Ohio
Say what you want about LeBron James, but in my mind, there's no doubt that you can surround him with four other chumps, and he will win 50 games with them. Yes, he is that good.
Whether or not that sort of strategy can win in the playoffs…remains to be seen.
That said, Stephen Curry and Michael Redd are far from slouches. And while O.J. Mayo is a very dependable combo guard off the bench, the major problem with this roster is simply that its very thin.
Very, very thin. And very small. Therefore, I think this team would be hard pressed to have sustained success. Regardless, it's hard to argue with the fact that there is no shortage of talent coming out of the State of Ohio.
06 - O.J. Mayo
07 - James Posey
08 - Earl Boykins
09 - Daequan Cook
10 - Antonio Daniels
With Andrew Bynum, NJ's Team Would Be Formidable
Just because the New Jersey Nets are counting down the days until they flee to Brooklyn doesn't mean that they don't have a talent base deserving of a spot here in our rankings. And don't get confused—"Brick City" is the nickname for Newark, so this team name is not a slight.
New Jersey's team has a decent collection of talent with an intimidating frontcourt. Three-point shooting would be a strength here, but ultimately, their Achilles heel would be the lack of a dependable floor general or a very consistent offensive threat in the post.
And lest you forget, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Thomas are also former players hailing from New Jersey. Clearly, the state and its cities have produced some guys who have made worthy contributions to the NBA.
Starting 5: |
PG - Mike Bibby
SG - J.R. Smith
SF - Al Harrington
PF - David West
C - Andrew Bynum (Captain)
06 - Troy Murphy
07 - Randy Foye
08 - Jason Thompson
09 - Dahntay Jones
10 - Earl Clark
Dwight Howard Is Atlanta's Anchor
Two things you can say about this team for sure: (A) They will be a terrible jump shooting team, but (B) It's going to be quite difficult for other teams to score on them. Douglas, Meeks, Smith, Hickson, and Howard are all great defensive players.
If they made it their point of duty to block shots, force turnovers, and run, they'd be capable of dominating any team on any given night.
Their ultimate success would rest on the shoulders of Toney Douglas—and whether or not he could effectively orchestrate their offense—and Dwight Howard's ability (or inability) to single handedly dominate a game a la 2001 Shaquille O'Neal.
If you got them into a shootout, you'd have a great chance of winning.
06 - Kenny Thomas
07 - Jodie Meeks
08 - Al-Farouq Aminu
09 - Derrick Favors
10 - Jordan Hill
Kobe Bryant is the Obvious Choice to Lead the Philly Team
Most people don't think of Philadelphia, or the state of Pennsylvania as producing ballers. It's easy to overlook the City of Brotherly Love.
But when it comes down to it, they've got a healthy talent base. It's definitely richer than both New York and New Jersey, for example. On paper, this team has an elite talent base. Unfortunately for them, basketball isn't played on paper.
If they were able to acquire a big man from a team that has a few to spare, then they'd be in business. If not, bigger, stronger teams would easily overpower them and destroy them on the glass.
"No rebounds, no rings."
06 - Jameer Nelson
07 - Richard Hamilton
08 - Hakim Warrick
09 - Kyle Lowry
10 - Matt Carroll
Lamar Odom Would Lead New York City's Team
Since the New York Knicks decided to rename New York "Stat City," we'll honor the captain of the Knicks by dubbing New York's team with his moniker.
The Stat City All-Stars boast a decent talent base, but when compared to the likes of other star-studded teams from Los Angeles, Chicago, and even Orlando… They'd simply be no match.
The biggest problem for this team would be a lack of scoring. Elton Brand, Lamar Odom and Ben Gordon would all be leaned on to provide the punch, but each are better suited as supporting role players.
Defensively, this team would excel, and rebounding and hustle wouldn't be a problem. If a game stayed in the 80s, I'd expect them to be able to pull it out. They'd have to hope that their will would overcome their skill (or lack thereof).
Starting 5: |
PG - Johnny Flynn
SG - Ben Gordon
SF - Lamar Odom (Captain)
PF - Elton Brand
C - Roy Hibbert
06 - Ron Artest
07 - Joakim Noah
08 - Taj Gibson
09 - Charlie Villanueva
10 - Sebastian Telfair
Brandon Roy Is Seattle's Gem... And Their Captain.
Here's some love for the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is a great basketball city and has clearly produced some very capable NBA players. All in all, here, you have a very solid roster that has a little of everything. Penetration, playmaking, passing and a bit of an interior presence from an underrated Center in Spencer Hawes.
Although Martell Webster hasn't fulfilled his potential to this point, he and Terrance Williams—if they were surrounded with such a talent base—would show that they are both great "glue guys."
This team could effectively play in the half court, run-and-gun and drill three pointers. Size is lacking, but since that's a recurring theme here, they'd be competitive with everyone else.
06 - Jason Terry
07 - Jamal Crawford
08 - Rodney Stuckey
09 - Nate Robinson
10 - Terrence Williams
Grant Hill Would Lead The Texas Team
The main consideration for this team is Grant Hill. Of all players I've seen during my marriage with the game, Grant Hill is the one whose career was most promising before being derailed by injuries. And although he went to high school in Virginia, he was born in Texas.
His ability to play four positions on the floor and his triple double ability back in his Pistons days make him a nightmare for opposing defenses.
Chris Bosh's talent goes overlooked because he was stuck in Toronto and then decided to be a third wheel in Miami. LaMarcus Aldridge has shown he has the ability to be an elite power forward in the league, and T.J. Ford—in his prime—was a great orchestrator.
They would easily be a top defensive team but would have no trouble scoring and sharing the ball.
All in all, it's clear to see that the stars hailing for Dallas and Houston would be amongst the top teams.
06 - LaMarcus Aldridge
07 - Stephen Jackson
08 - Kendrick Perkins
09 - Daniel Gibson
10 - Acie Law
Amar'e Stoudemire Would Lead The Florida Team
The Sunshine All-Stars have one of the most balanced, complete rosters of all teams ranked. And they are also the biggest beneficiary of the "assume they are in their prime" rule.
It's hard to imagine how Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Amar'e Stoudemire would be stopped by opposing defenses. Tracy McGrady could orchestrate much of the offense, and Blake can hit from the perimeter.
Best of all, Reggie Evans is exactly the type of Center that needs to flank Amar'e in order to protect him.
All in all, this team would be very tough to beat.
06 - Udonis Haslem
07 - Keyon Dooling
08 - James Jones
09 - Marreese Speights
10 - Marquis Daniels
Kevin Durant Has Been On a Tear This Summer.
This team would score in bunches and would create some serious matchup problems if it played Durant, Carmelo and Rudy Gay together.
Since all are capable scorers that rebound well, the trade off between defensive matchups could be mitigated a bit.
Ty Lawson is a good point guard, and Carmelo and Durant are probably the two most prolific scorers in the NBA today. Give me those guys with a point guard that I trust, a versatile sixth man and a young big guy that isn't afraid to get dirty…and I'll love my team.
06 - Jeff Green
07 - Delonte West
08 - Michael Beasley
09 - Gary Neal
10 - Jarrett Jack
Celtic Great—Paul Pierce—Is From Los Angeles
This team would absolutely light it up. With Agent Zero, Paul Pierce, Richard Jefferson and Russell Westbrook…Scoring well into the 120s would be the norm for this team.
Defensively, with Tayshaun Prince, Chandler and Afflalo, they would also be able to lock opposing teams up.
They also have three different players that have won NBA championships and one more that has come close.
If there is one worry about this roster, it's their dearth of reliable playmaking and passing from the point guard position. But all in all, it's very hard to argue that stable of NBA stars from Los Angeles would not create the best 10-man unit...Until you read the next slide...
06 - Russell Westbrook
07 - Richard Jefferson
08 - Tyson Chandler
09 - Tayshaun Prince
10 - Nick Young
The Big Ticket Is The Big Captain of the Chicago Squad
It's easy to forget how great Kevin Garnett was while he was wasting away in Minnesota during the earlier period of his career.
Certainly, the thought of Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade playing together is what had Chicago Bulls fans calling Wade a "traitor" for electing to stay in Miami. Shawn Marion was one of the most versatile players in the league in his day. All in all, this team would be very tough.
Compared to the others, it's easy to see that they'd be amongst the best. They're deep, versatile and unselfish.
The roster also features four players who have won NBA championships. That's more than any other team, and it's certainly enough to give them the benefit of the doubt over the Los Angeles team.
And seriously, what could an opposing team possibly do if they had to play against 2003 Kevin Garnett, 2006 Dwyane Wade and 2010 Derrick Rose? The Chicago Team would likely challenge Michael Jordan's Bull's 72 regular season win total.
Disagree? Leave a comment and tell me why...
06 - Corey Maggette
07 - Jason Maxiell
08 - Shannon Brown
09 - Juwan Howard
10 - Luther Head
Moke Hamilton is a Featured NBA Columnist for Bleacher Report, a regular contributor to CHARGED.fm and a Juris Doctor candidate at Hofstra Law School. Follow him on Twitter ( @mokehamilton) for the latest on the NBA lockout, as well as mindless banter on all things NBA.