Written by Jim Jantz
Could a team of NBA players from any one college conference defeat a team of NBA players that jumped straight from high school? Quick answer: No!
The team of players that made the jump straight from H.S. to the NBA has a relatively weak bench, but the starting lineup has too much star-power, athleticism and talent to be defeated by any college-conference team.
I tried to create the best available 7- or 8-man rotation from each conference, then compared each of those teams to a team made up of players that jumped straight from high school. I also tried to pick players to fill each position (when possible), rather than just picking the 5 best players from that particular conference.
Here’s how the teams shape up*:
Starters: Chris Paul, Shane Battier, Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan
Bench: Chris Duhon, Corey Maggette, Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand, Rasheed Wallace
With a legit PG in CP3, this team would be fun to watch. They could get up and down, or run a methodical half-court game centered around Timmy D. Also, a great defender/glue-guy in Battier and TD defending the paint means this team is not just trying to outscore their opponents, but could buckle down for some stops.
Starters: Derron Williams, Eric Gordon, Jason Richardson, Zach Randolph, Greg Oden
Bench: Devin Harris, Michael Redd, Jamal Crawford, Brad Miller, Joel Pryzbilla
The first thing anyone should notice about this team is the glaring lack of athletic 3s or 4s, so they are basically stuck with three guards and two centers. The team’s strength is definitely two studs at PG paired with plenty of sharpshooters to spread the floor.
Starters: Chauncey Billups, Paul Pierce, Kevin Durant, Lamarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin
Bench: Kirk Hinrich, Michael Beasley, Linus Kleiza, Drew Gooden
This team has an awesome blend of veteran leadership with championship experience (Chauncey and PP), and ridiculous young talent (KD and Blake Griffin). With a big, athletic lineup that can score from any position, this team should be able to control the tempo and pretty much do whatever it wants on the offensive end.
Big East –
Starters: Dwayne Wade, Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony, Ron Artest, Emeka Okafor
Bench: Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Allen Iverson, Jeff Green, Caron Butler, Rudy Gay
What this team lacks in size, they can definitely make up for in fill-it-up-ability. With Ray Allen’s pure jumper alongside D-Wade and Melo, not to mention the instant scoring off the bench in BG and AI, buckets would never be an issue. Add Artest and Emeka’s D, along with Butler’s all-around playmaking and this team looks legit, minus the lack of a real 4 or a backup center.
Starters: Gilbert Arenas, Brandon Roy, Andre Igoudala, Trevor Ariza, Matt Barnes
Bench: Jason Kidd, Baron Davis, Luke Walton, Russell Westbrook, O.J. Mayo
This team has no choice but to play seven-seconds-or-less, which could actually work with their athleticism and scoring ability. As much fun as it would be to watch, I don’t think this team stands a chance against a team with a true back-to-the-basket 4 or 5.
Starters: Rajon Rondo, Joe Johnson, Tayshaun Prince, Al Horford, Shaquille O’Neal
Bench: Mo Williams, Ronnie Brewer, Mike Miller, David Lee, Udonis Haslem
Another fun team to watch, but with an ageing Shaq this team lacks the depth and size to match the other teams on this list. Forced to go small with David Lee at the 5, this team would probably benefit from a seven-seconds-or-less strategy and might see some success that way.
High School –
Starters: Monta Ellis, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Amare Stoudemire, Dwight Howard
Bench: Shaun Livingston, Tracy McGrady, Rashard Lewis, Tyson Chandler, Andrew Bynum
This team has virtually no guards coming off the bench, but I’m not sure it matters because of their unmatched size and depth upfront. With all those scorers, Kobe could take on the role of facilitator and the team would not lose a step going to the second unit. Even with all this size, the team is athletic/fast enough to run teams off the floor.
And the winner is …
After all that, I think the two best college-conference teams would be: the ACC and the Big12. The match-ups would be great: CP3/Chauncey; Battier/Pierce; Vinsanity/Durant; Bosh/Aldridge; and TD/Blake Griffin.
Both teams have the ability to control tempo and score in any manner. In that match-up, I give the edge to the ACC, mainly because of defensive ability. Either way, it would be an ultra-fun game to watch.
So that leaves the ACC v. H.S., and the winner is … (this would be more suspenseful if I hadn’t given my opinion in the first paragraph) … Team High School!
Team ACC has the advantage at PG (CP3/Monta), but it has to go to team H.S. at the other four roster spots (possible exception at the 5): Battier/Kobe; Vince/Bron; Bosh/Amare; Superman/Duncan. In just about every matchup on the board, the front-line of team H.S. would be too much to handle with overwhelming athleticism. Even if the backcourt isn’t the best on the list, the size , strength and speed of Bron, Amare and Superman up front would be too much on both ends. Not to mention they have Kobe in the backcourt to be a defensive stopper, facilitator, and scorer when needed.
* Please let me know if there is a glaring omission of a college conference that would have a great team, or a player one of the rosters. And of course, feel free to join the debate about the best team in the comments section.