The NBA is filled with great players that come from a multitude of different schools and countries. But which university has the claim to the best overall alumni team, made up of current NBA players (not including 2015 NBA Draft prospects)? Let’s find out.
There are only about 10 schools that have teams that could contend in a tournament amongst all the alumnus teams. Here are their rosters, with appropriate grades for each squad.
G: John Wall
G; Eric Bledsoe
F: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
F: Anthony Davis
C: DeMarcus Cousins
Key Reserves: Brandon Knight, Julius Randle, Rajon Rondo, Enes Kanter, Terrence Jones, Jodie Meeks, Nerlens Noel, Patrick Patterson
The Kentucky squad is an obvious top three team, as they are two deep at each position. They have two All Star starters in the starting lineup, one non-starter, and one former All Star off the bench (Rondo.) The ball handling on this team is ridiculous, with Wall, Bledsoe, Knight, and Rondo all capable ball handlers.
They are deep in the frontcourt as well, as Patrick Patterson, Terrence Jones, Enes Kanter, and Nerlens Noel could all start on several teams throughout the NBA (some do.)
Rondo, MKG, and Anthony Davis bring premier defenders to the team, while DeMarcus Cousins and Davis in the same frontcourt would demolish in the paint.
The one weakness here is three point shooting – none of the starters are good shooters from range. Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson help off the bench, but this team would be a very post- and mid-range-oriented team.
Overall, these Wildcats would be the favorites were all these ten teams to face off in a tournament.
G: Kyrie Irving
G: JJ Redick
F: Luol Deng
F: Jabari Parker
C: Mason Plumlee
Key reserves: Gerald Henderson, Miles Plumlee, Austin Rivers, Kyle Singler, Josh McRoberts, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, Rodney Hood
Duke has always been a basketball powerhouse, and this team would be heavily assisted by the incoming NBA players in Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, and Tyus Jones.
However, looking at the squad without them, the team is still a threat. Despite the limited sample of Jabari Parker’s skill, he still deserves the starting forward spot. The Plumlee brothers add depth to the frontcourt, while Carlos Boozer and Josh McRoberts serve as backups.
The backcourt is a good shooting one, with Irving and Redick both being dead eye shooters. Luol Deng brings good defense to a team that could use help with that. Gerald Henderson also assists the weak defense, while Mike Dunleavy and Austin Rivers are backup shooters.
For being such a powerhouse, the roster is a bit weak. I couldn’t imagine this squad beating competitors like Kentucky and UCLA.
North Carolina (UNC)
G: Ty Lawson
G: Danny Green
F: Harrison Barnes
F: John Henson
C: Tyler Zeller
Key Reserves: Vince Carter, PJ Hairston, Wayne Ellington, Brandan Wright, Marvin Williams, Ed Davis, Tyler Hansbrough
Speaking of not living up to their reputation, UNC has a surprisingly weak roster.
Ty Lawson is the only standout on the roster, while Danny Green, Harrison Barnes, John Henson, and Tyler Zeller are all just key role players on playoff teams.
If Vince Carter was 8 years younger, this team would be a threat. But when the best guy off your bench is arguably Brandan Wright or Marvin Williams, you aren’t scary.
G: Russell Westbrook
G: Jrue Holiday
F: Arron Afflalo
F: Trevor Ariza
F: Kevin Love
Key Reserves: Zach LaVine, Darren Collison, Matt Barnes, Jordan Adams, Ryan Hollins, Shabazz Muhammed
UCLA has always been a basketball powerhouse, just as the previous schools listed above. However, I was not expecting the talent pool that UCLA has sent to the NBA.
With three All Stars in the starting lineup and one All Star snub (2014), the UCLA Bruins put out one hell of a starting squad. Three of their bench players are deserving starters on real NBA teams, and the team is well distributed between shooting, defense, and talent.
Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook are the two centerpieces here, but Jrue Holiday is a deadly combo guard who can make you pay off the dribble. Both Trevor Ariza and Arron Afflalo are big pieces on playoff teams and play important roles as three and D guys.
LaVine and Collison infuse the backcourt with even more athleticism, and Matt Barnes and Shabazz Muhammed give the team options on the wing. Ryan Hollins is a decent rim protector.
Overall, this team wouldn’t lose to any of the other squads on here.
G: Michael Carter Williams
G: Tyler Ennis
F: Dion Waiters
F: Wesley Johnson
C: Carmelo Anthony
Key reserves: Jerami Grant.
This is rough. Just six players!?
While that number is sure to grow after the 2015 NBA Draft, when Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough go in the late first – early second round, the team is ugly as hell as it stands.
Carmelo Anthony is the only player who can shoot a three consistently on this team, while Wesley Johnson, Tyler Ennis, and Dion Waiters all serve as mediocre role players.
Michael Carter-Williams is the only other non-worthless player on this squad, as Jerami Grant has barely seen the floor with Philadelphia this season. MCW is dangerous, but only when surrounded by shooters. He isn’t here.
This team is somewhat embarrassing for the Orangemen, and possibly a testament to Syracuse’s basketball struggles over the last decade, since Melo brought back a title.
G: Trey Burke
G: Jamal Crawford
G: Tim Hardaway Jr.
F: Mitch McGary
C: Ekpe Udoh
Key Reserves: Nik Stauskas, Darius Morris, Glenn Robinson
The Wolverines supply a respectable squad in this competition.
They have shooting with Jamal Crawford and Tim Hardaway Jr., and they do have two serviceable, yet young, big men. Trey Burke leads the team as the focal point of the starters, and Nik Stauskas provides shooting off the bench.
Darius Morris and Glenn Robinson both serve as 12th men on a team of 8.
G: Kemba Walker
G: Jeremy Lamb
F: Caron Butler
F: Rudy Gay
C: Andre Drummond
Key Reserves: Ben Gordon, Shabazz Napier, Charlie Villanueva, (Ray Allen?!)
Perhaps a sleeper team here, the combination of Kemba Walker, Rudy Gay, and Andre Drummond could probably do some damage to defenses.
That trio makes up a good mix of defense, ball handling, stretching the floor, and attacking the paint. Jeremy Lamb and Caron Butler both serve as mediocre wings.
Ben Gordon is a good shooter off the bench, while Shabazz Napier and Charlie Villanueva provide depth.
The team is a nice surprise for the Huskies.
G: Gary Harris
G: Jason Richardson
F: Alan Anderson
F: Draymond Green
F: Zach Randolph
Key Reserve: Adreian Payne
The Spartans have had a successful basketball program while Tom Izzo has been calling the shots, and the team produced is not terrible. This team is razor thin, but talented at some positions.
The frontcourt is thick and skilled, as Draymond Green and Zach Randolph would cause problems for defenses, based solely on their girth alone. The rest of the team is weak though, as Jason Richardson and Alan Anderson are no longer great contributors in the league anymore, while neither Gary Harris nor Adreian Payne have had big impacts in their single season in the association.
G: Mario Chalmers
G: Andrew Wiggins
G: Ben McLemore
F: Paul Pierce
F: Markieff Morris
Key reserves: Jeff Withey, Kirk Hinrich, Marcus Morris, Joel Embiid, Thomas Robinson, Cole Aldrich, Drew Gooden, Darrell Arthur, Brandon Rush
Perhaps the deepest team in the pool, the Jayhawks produce a respectable roster.
Their 30 year NCAA tournament streak is an indicator of their prolonged success, just as this roster is.
The starters are a mix of championship winning veterans (Chalmers and Pierce) and young stars in the making (Wiggins and McLemore). The team’s strength is defense, with Kirk Hinrich, Jeff Withey, and Joel Embiid coming off the bench.
It is a nice mix of veterans, like Pierce, Drew Gooden, Brandon Rush, and Cole Aldrich, with youngsters like Withey, Thomas Robinson, the Morris twins, and Wiggins and McLemore.
The team is definitely a contender in this pool.
G: Jerryd Bayless
G: Jason Terry
F: Derrick Williams
F: Andre Iguodala
C: Jordan Hill
Key Reserves: Chase Budinger, Will Bynum, Aaron Gordon, Nick Johnson, Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson
This team is another that will be helped out alot by the 2015 NBA Draft, when swingmen Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are drafted in the first round.
But as of now, the team wouldn’t really stand a chance against the other teams. The bench is full of washed up role players or youngsters who haven’t gotten chances yet.
The starters are an older bunch that can’t shoot (except for Terry). They would be deconstructed by Duke, UK, or UCLA’s squads. However, the defensive potential of Iguodala, Williams, and Aaron Gordon is a nice thought.