With the recent release of the NFL Pro Bowl roster, it poses the (stupid) question of what would the pro bowl roster look like if it was made up of the giants in the NBA. So here it is. Don’t take it too seriously.
Le: Kenneth Faried
Dt: Dwight Howard
Re: Kevin Garnett
The D line for this team of ex ballers is not just about weight, but also energy and intensity. You know who brings a lot of energy? Rockets center Dwight Howard. The 6’11” animal brings his bounciness and explosivness to the defense. Howard would be unstoppable when it comes to batting down passes. I see a lot of JJ Watt type sacks and plays from Howard. At the other tackle position is the ever so bulky NeNe Hilario.
NeNe is a badass. It’s that simple.
Watching him barrel his way through the offensive line would be quite the show. On the end position, it is all about intensity. I mean, come on, it is Kevin Garnett we are talking about. It doesn’t get more intense. He may have lost a step or two in his old age, but its not like anyone will challenge him still. Opposite him is the manimal, Kenneth Faried. After a stellar showing as the energy guy for team USA this summer, Faried has shown to be a dominant big man in the league when given the opportunity. There is no way that he wouldn’t be an effective pass rusher.
Backups: Andre Drummond, Jared Sullinger, Tyson Chandler, Roy Hibbert.
ROLB: David West
Nobody wants to see David West when he is angry. So, why would not excel at a linebacker position, where half the job is to just be angry?
West has earned a reputation in this league as someone not to mess with. That didn’t come from touch fouls or backing down from challenges.
West is the leader of the Pacers team, and his leadership would be welcomed from the linebacker position. West also has an extremely high basketball IQ, which would translate nicely to play recognition in a football game.
Overall, West is one of the grittiest guys in the league and his place as linebacker is a necessity for this imaginary team.
Backup: Paul Millsap
MLB: LeBron James
The captain of the defense is very fitting for the two time champion and FOUR time MVP.
James is a beast of a physical specimen, one of the most athletic and strongest players to ever step on an NBA court. At 6′ 8″, 250 lbs, his size translates nicely to an NFL linebacker.
With just a few private sessions with Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, James could go from NBA MVP to NFL DPOY in no time (maybe…).
It is easy to see James leaping over the offensive line all Troy Polomalu style, or even going up for a huge pick in the middle of the field. James will win any 50-50 ball in the air, just ask Jason Terry.
Backup: Taj Gibson
LOLB: Andre Iguodala
There’s a trend here. Athletic, versatile forwards tend to be the best linebackers. That is also the case with the Golden State Warriors’ Andre Iguodala.
One of the best man on man defenders in the league, Iguodala would have the ability to drop back in coverage, something neccessary for today’s linebackers.
However, Iguodala also has the toughness and explosiveness to be an effective pass rusher. He is a little small for a modern day linebacker, but his versatility and speed makes up for those deficiencies.
Backup: Cody Zeller
Cornerbacks: Tony Allen and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
It is only fitting that the two best on-ball defenders in the entire league translate to the on ball defenders of the NFL.
Tony Allen and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are very different in talent levels (Allen towers over him), but their athleticism and defensive awareness would allow them to shut down some of the best receivers in the NFL today. Tony Allen stands at 6’4″, and MKG arches at 6’7″, meaning top receivers in the league like Dez Bryant (6’2″) and A.J. Green (6’4″) would struggle to shake the super athletic and massive swingmen.
Tony Allen averages 2.0 steals a game, one of the biggest thieves in the league, meaning he would be an effective number one corner. I mean, this is kind of like a pick six, right?
Overall, this duo at cornerback would cause major problems for any offense. Hypothetically, of course.
Backups: DeMarre Carroll, Jimmy Butler
SS: Blake Griffin
Watching Griffin blowing people up on dunks is one of the most exciting aspects that the NBA has to offer. Watching him blow up receivers in a football game would perhaps be even greater. Griffin would have a no fly zone in the back of the defense, leveling defenders Ed Reed style.
There is also always a chance for a crazy high jump interception from a guy like Griffin, one of the springiest athletes across all the main sports.
FS: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi’s agility and versatility make him useful in the backfield. Another premier on ball defender, Leonard would not struggle to cover the speediest of receivers in the secondary, or even hover in zone coverage.
Backups: Tyreke Evans, Gerald Henderson
Lt: Zach Randolph
Lg: Kendrick Perkins
C: Chris Kaman
Rg: Al Jefferson
Rt: Demarcus Cousins
The whole offensive line is basically a compilation of the biggest and sturdiest giants to choose from within the NBA. Zach Randolph and Kendrick Perkins make up a strong left side, capable (probably) of holding their own in pass protection and carving some holes in the run game.
On the right side, well, that’s where the poundage is. Jefferson, standing at 6’11”, and Cousins, also standing at 6’11,” combine for 559 pounds. That is a lot of meat to get through if you are a thirsty defensive linesman. Cousins has shown he is not to be messed with. Jefferson is one of the biggest men in the league (not to mention a highly talented post scorer) also, and these two form a run heavy side.
At center stands everyone’s favorite man in the middle, Chris Kaman. Standing at 7 feet tall and 265 pounds, Kaman can hold his own against the rush and give his quarterback some time to make a play. As long as he doesn’t lay down, of course.
Overall this offensive line combines for 1,354 lbs. of big framed monsters, and that accounts for something. For scale, the offensive line of the Cleveland Browns, which is ranked number one in the league according to Pro Football Focus, only weighs 1,560 lbs.
Backups: Andray Blatche, Aaron Gray, Amar’e Stoudemire, Jason Maxiell, Glen Davis.
WR 1: Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant has a lot of experience at the wide receiver position. Ok, not really, but he did play the position in a flag football game against LeBron James, so it counts.
Durant’s size would be unstoppable in the open field, especially with even the biggest of corners being outsized by Durant by 6 inches or so.
Durant would probably be the most unstoppable red zone target receiver, umm, ever. Just a guess.
WR 2: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Feeding off of the whole size concept, Antetokounmpo would be equally imposing physically on opposing cornerbacks. The Greek Freak’s combination of size and speed make him a defensive nightmare in the NBA, and would likely to the same in the NFL.
Slot Receiver: Russell Westbrook
Speeeeeeed. Speeeeeed. Sizzzzeeee. Speeeed. That is all their is here.
Westbrook is the fastest dribbler in the NBA, unstoppable in transition. Imagine what his YAC (yards after catch) would look like?!
Watching Westbrook catch it five yards out and then speed down the sideline would be one of the most exciting plays in football, like if Wes Welker was on major roids.
Backups: Chris Bosh (Can you imagine a near 7 foot tall receiver!?), Michael Carter-Williams, Gerald Green
TE1: LeBron James
The only player to be awarded two starting positions, James would be an unstoppable tight end in the NFL. There has been rumors before about the possibility of James in the NFL and how he would fare.
NFL players have even said he would dominate. They are right.
The league wouldn’t be able to stop James’s size and madness. James is an inch taller than New Orleans Saints’ star Jimmy Graham, who is one of the most dominant players at the position. This team would be set with weapons like Durant, Westbrook, and James lining up on offense.
TE2: Josh Smith
Mostly because of his imposing physical structure, Josh Smith gets the nod at TE2. You can always have a big tubby athletic blocker / pass catcher at tight end.
Also, there isn’t a three point line in the NFL for Josh Smith to make himself look like an idiot on, so thats a plus.
Greg Monroe, Markieff Morris
QB: Chris Paul
Chris Paul is the best passer in the NBA, and that is due largely in part to his amazing court vision. That attribute would definitely come over to his new sport and new position.
They always say that the point guards are the quarterbacks of the offense. There has to be some relationship between the two positions? Oh, yeah, there is. Its their ability to distribute to their teammates.
One thing not in Paul’s favor – his size. Paul is undersized as a quarterback, as Tom Brady (6’4″) and Peyton Manning (6’5″) tower over the six foot tall Paul. Paul would struggle to throw over a defensive line with the likes of Dwight Howard (6’11”) and NeNe (6’11”).
This is a position where we would see some change. Cue Kevin Love.
Second String QB: Kevin Love
This is more of a fun pick than a serious one, but Love has showed off his “touchdown” passing skills this season in Cleveland.
It would be fun to see the giant Kevin Love, standing at 6’10”, throw bombs to LeBron (again), Durant, Westbrook, etc. Love would have the perfect size to throw over the big defensive linemen.
RB: John Wall
Perhaps the shiftiest and craftiest player with the ball in his hands in the entire league, Wall would mesmerize defenses with his jukes, spins, and speed.
That is what Wall brings to the table at running back, as he is already one of the best slashers out there. There are very few defenders who could stay in front of Wall or even get in range of making a tackle in the open field.
Backup: DeMar DeRozan
PR: Mike Conley
Super shifty. Quick off his feet. Its all about that first step as a punt returner. Conley will make you pay.
KRs: Conley and Kemba Walker
Again, same thing. First step + agility = Kemba / Conley 100 yard touchdown? Maybe.
K: Steve Nash
Nash may not be physically fit to play basketball, but we all know about his soccer past. That is probably the best we can get out of the NBA rosters available.
Punter: James Harden
Harden has to be on this list somewhere, so why not where turning the ball over is appreciated? Harden averages 4.0 give-the-other-team-the-balls (turnovers) a game, good for third in the league, just behind the two Philly 76ers point guards (cut em some slack please).