Wednesday, November 25, 2009

College Team vs. New Jersey Nets - Part 1


Can the New Jersey Nets possibly lose to a College Basketball team?

One college basketball team is simply not deep enough to beat any NBA team. NBA Teams are faster and stronger, so college teams would fatigue more quickly and need to resource to a bench. With that given, could two college teams combine to make a 12 man roster capable of beating the hitherto winless New Jersey Nets. Before we dive into this question lets discuss why I choose to combine Michigan St. and North Carolina as opposed to any other teams.

When selecting I sought teams capable of contributing at least six players; meaning a college team with the potential for at least six players to become professional players in the NBA. The teams that held up were Duke, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan St., North Carolina, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Villanova, and West Virginia. Here is a briefing on my elimination process:

1) Duke - Great backcourt play from Nolan Smith, Jon Scheyer, and Kyle Singler; no questions here. The remaining spot from Duke would be tenuous; they would be divided among Miles Plumlee, Lance Thomas, Brian Zoubek, Ryan Kelly, and Andre Dawkins. Zoubek brings size and experiernce, Plumlee brings size and interior game, and without much college footage on Kelly or Dawkins, Thomas would be the last player (bringing hustle and experience).

2) Connecticut -  Nice NBA talent in Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson, and Kemba Walker. UConn rounds out with Gavind Edwards and Alex Oriakhi, but the Huskies sixth player would be of little use.

3) Kansas - One of the best starting fives in basketball. Collins, Aldrich, Taylor, and Henry are all predicted to be drafted. Collins and Aldrich would bring necessary defense to compete with players such as Devin Harris and Brook Lopez; however, after these three the Morris brothers would probably be the last two to be on the team by default and these two roster spots cannot be wasted.

4) Kentucky - UK is in the same exact situation as Kansas. Start off with John Wall, Patrick Patterson, DeMarcus Cousins, and Eric Bledsoe. Again you are looking at four possible picks, but then you are looking at Dodson, Miller, or Orton. Yes all three are talented, but there is the possibility that five of Kentucky's six spots will be relegated to freshman - leaving them raw, inexperienced, and completely disunited. Talented - Check. Young - Double Check.

5) Michigan St. - From the beginning MSU, Villanova, and Kansas were fighting for a spot. Each has a great PG that is offensively, but more importantly defensively sound enough where he could challenge Devin Harris to a degree. You can't go wrong with either Kalin Lucas, Scottie Reynolds, or Sherron Collins. It simply came down to the supporting cast. Since MSU was one of my choices I will expand on my selection later on.

6) North Carolina -  UNC is all about the size and matching up with an NBA sized team. Any big man should be able to be covered among Ed Davis, John Henson, Tyler Zeller, and Deon Thompson. The flaw here is guard play, but that will be covered by my other choice which will definitely have a capable guards to keep up with Devin Harris and Rafer Alston.

7) Purdue - Depth on the NBA level is the issue here. Fabulous Big Three in E'Twaun Moore, Robbie Hummel, and JaJuan Johnson. All three are well balanced, experience, hustler players, and clear NBA prospects. The next two spots are fair player in Chris Kramer and Keaton Grant, but calling them competitive on the NBA level at this point is a serious question. Their final spot is a complete toss-up and that is the most worrisome.

8) Syracuse - Extremely balanced starting five. You could easily make an argument to pair up Syracuse and Kansas to go up against the Nets. Rautins could spread the floor with his shooting touch. Wesley Johnson is the culmination of Tyrus Thomas, Anthony Randolph, and a serious offensive game. Onuaku and Jackson provide great inside presence. Jardine and Triche would probably complete the roster. Great one through six. The problem is the ability to guard Devin Harris and foul trouble. The other team would need to provide the starting PG and at least two 6'10"+ players in order to assist Onuaku who would find himself in early foul trouble between Harris driving and guarding Lopez on the block.

9) Tennessee - The Vols definitely go six deep with Hopson, Smith, Chism, Tatum, Maze, and Prince. Hopson and Smith are first round picks. Chism is an early second. Then there is a bit of a drop-off to the final three. The versatility of Tatum and Prince is appeasing. The Vols can matchup with the Nets in terms of the combo guard-forwards such as Chris Douglas-Roberts and Terrence Williams, but the Vols don't match up with Harris and Lopez well so most of the burden would be discoursed to the other team pairing with Tennessee. Plus, the Vols final three players would be completely neutralized on the offensive end against an NBA team which would become an even more significant burden.

10) Texas - The Longhorns have a very fine seven: Damion James, Avery Bradley, Dexter Pittman, Jordan Hamilton, J'Covan Brown, Varez Ward, and Dogus Balbay. The Longhorns are built for the college game. Balbay can drive and leave a dime for James or Pittman, or he can dish it out to James, Bradley, Hamilton, or Brown for a three. A sound defensive unit. Experience, size, post-play, and defense from James and Pittman. A lot to like. The big flaw is youth. Bradley, Hamilton, and Brown are all freshmen and Ward is a sophomore. I am not asking who would win a seven game series, but if the game comes down to a critical run or the final moments of the game then resiliency, experience, and toughness will all be attributes these freshmen would be fairly raw in.

11) Villanova - Nova's bid is all about Scottie Reynolds. As a senior he would be capable of conducting an offense against the Nets. He also has the quickness to test Devin Harris. The perks start rolling in for the Wildcats when looking at guard play. Fisher and Strokes could make the game interesting. On the NBA level, Taylor King is more fit as a guard and Maalik Wayns would probably be the fifth guard which would make the Wildcats a solid pairing with UNC. Antonio Pena would be the sole natural forward and a reckoned component. Nova also has plenty of experience; they are simply second to quality of talent for guard play to the Spartans.

12) West Virginia - The final team is the Mountaineers carried by Devin Ebanks and Da'Sean Butler. The folks from UWV are here for a similar reason that Tennessee is: their versatility allowing them to matchup with the combo guard-forwards of the Nets. Statistically, the Mountaineers seem nice; however, the talent level from Ebanks to Butler is a considerable drop-off and then from Butler to the other four starters (with Ebanks' absence) is a significant drop-off. The Mountaineers would have difficulty keeping up with NBA talent considering their last four spots would be filled with 3 star talent.

This concludes Part 1 - the team selection edition. Part 2 while dissect the matchup between MSU/UNC and the New Jersey Nets.

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