Crowning the Ultimate Basketball Hotbed of America, Part 1

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- APRIL 5:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball while defended by Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 5, 2015 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bill Baptist/Getty Images

Some U.S cities have more success producing NBA-caliber talents than others. Of course, this is also natural. Some places just produce more people in general.

But if we had to take the best of the best who grew up in each of the biggest basketball hotbeds around the country, looking only at players who will suit up in 2015-16, which locations would reign supreme in a five-on-five battle of All-City teams?

In this particular instance, we're going to leave it up to you. 

After looking at the many cities that have produced NBA contributors for the coming season, four stand out. Dallas, Texas, only narrowly missed out on earning the final spot—leading off the myriad second-tier locations—but the star power emerging from high schools in the area just wasn't quite on par with this elite quartet: 

The Teams
PositionSeed 1: L.A.Seed 2: ChicagoSeed 3: Washington, D.C.Seed 4: NYC
PGRussell WestbrookDerrick RoseGrevis VasquezKyrie Irving
SGJames HardenDwyane WadeVictor OladipoDanny Green
SFTrevor ArizaJabari ParkerKevin DurantMichael Kidd-Gilchrist
PFTaj GibsonKevin GarnettRudy GayTobias Harris
CNikola VucevicAnthony DavisRoy HibbertKenneth Faried
Based on where players went to high school.

Now, it's tournament time. 

Before we can determine the ultimate champion, we need you to vote on these first-round matchups, which pit two cities against each other while operating under standard single-game NBA rules. Keeping in mind that players—all of whom are represented in the following heatmaps—are eligible for their city so long as they went to high school within an hour's drive of the metropolis' center, pick away!

Matchup No. 1: Chicago vs. Washington, D.C.

PositionSeed 2: ChicagoSeed 3: Washington, D.C.
PGDerrick RoseGreivis Vasquez
SGDwyane WadeVictor Oladipo
SFJabari ParkerKevin Durant
PFKevin GarnettRudy Gay
CAnthony DavisRoy Hibbert

Lately, it seems more likely than not that one of the top picks in the NBA draft is going to come from Chicago.

Anthony Davis and Jahlil Okafor—who will likely supplant Kevin Garnett on this squad in the not-so-distant future—have in recent years. Derrick Rose did before he went on to become the youngest MVP in league history, and he's not even the only top-two pick to come from his high school (Simeon Career Academy); Jabari Parker joins him in that category. 

This Chicago team has plenty of star power. There shouldn't be any doubt about that. 

But with Dwyane Wade no longer playing like vintage "Flash," Garnett clearly declining into the twilight portion of his unforgettable career, Rose on the wrong end of too many injuries and Parker still figuring out the NBA, are these players too far removed from their primes to compete with Washington, D.C.?

With one exception, those emerging from the nation's capital should hardly be called stars.

Greivis Vasquez is best suited as a complementary guard who can either line up as a starter or come off the bench to provide offense. Victor Oladipo is still developing into a two-way monster, though he could certainly achieve celestial status in the near future. In the frontcourt, Rudy Gay is an underrated contributor on both ends, and Roy Hibbert remains a master of verticality whose offensive abilities are rather uninspiring.

But D.C. has something Chicago doesn't—Kevin Durant.

So long as the 2014 MVP is on the floor, his team is never going to be out of a contest. It's just up to you to decide if he's enough to snag the victory. 

Matchup No. 2: Los Angeles vs. New York City

PositionSeed 1: Los AngelesSeed 4: New York City
PGRussell WestbrookKyrie Irving
SGJames HardenDanny Green
SFTrevor ArizaMichael Kidd-Gilchrist
PFTaj GibsonTobias Harris
CNikola VucevicKenneth Faried

Fortunately for our Big Apple representatives, we're counting those who must journey across the Hudson River. So long as they're within an hour's drive of central New York City, it doesn't matter if they're from New Jersey or New York. 

That allows three of our starters in this undersized lineup—Kyrie Irving, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kenneth Faried—to compete. Otherwise, the No. 4 seed would be looking at starting Samuel Dalembert, Lance Stephenson and Kemba Walker in their places. 

Including the contributors who grew up on the wrong side of the Holland Tunnel, New York City should be competitive. Irving is a bona fide stud, and the wing defense would be unbelievable with Kidd-Gilchrist and Danny Green joining forces. 

But can the smaller frontcourt and the lack of truly elite two-way talent compete with the tournament's true powerhouse?

This Los Angeles team is stacked. 

James Harden and Russell Westbrook are both coming off seasons in which they were legitimate MVP candidates, and it's not like the rest of the lineup is too shabby. There are simply no holes, given Taj Gibson's defensive prowess, Trevor Ariza's ability as a three-and-D wing and Nikola Vucevic's burgeoning stardom with the Orlando Magic. 

In fact, even the list of players who were left off this squad could be assembled into a competitive five-man unit: Jrue Holiday, DeMar DeRozan, Paul Pierce, Amir Johnson and Tyson Chandler, among others. 

But this is about the starters and their battle with their cross-country rivals. Do they have enough firepower to earn a victory in this first-round matchup? 

Your opinions will count for 48 hours, with the polls closing at 8 a.m. ET on Thursday, September 10, then we'll move onto the championship. 

Happy voting!

Adam Fromal covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @fromal09.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.