A frequent reader has been working on a project for the past couple of weeks, and he was kind enough to share the results with us.
Have you ever wondered what the NBA would look like if there was no draft? If teams instead signed players from their immediate geographic region? After the jump, Alex K. will answer those questions for us, his partner in crime, Bashir G also gives his take on some of the teams.
Be sure to check out Alex K's explanation of the exercise and methodology below
Local Atlanta Hawks Team
PG Louis Williams (Snellville, GA)
SG Gerald Wallace (Childersburg, AL)
SF Josh Smith (Atlanta, GA)
PF Al Thorton (Perry, GA)/Ben Wallace (Hayneville, AL)
C Dwight Howard (Atlanta, GA)BG Analysis:
Strength is their tremendous talent up front with 4 players who can play the 4 but no shooting will hurt them. Also nobody who can really create for others as Williams is a shoot first 1.My Take:
If they could find someone to guard the 2, and keep Al Thornton glued to the bench, this would be the best defensive team by far. Not sure how many games they'd win, though.
Local Boston Celtics Team
PG Will Solomon (East Hartford, CT)/Will Blalock (Boston, MA)
SG Demetris Nichols (Easton, MA)
SF Matt Bonner (Concord, NH)
PF Courtney Sims (Dedham, MA)
C Marcus Camby (Hartford, CT)
Good defensive center but extremely limited elsewhere, especially on offense with no real scorer on the team.My Take:
Garbage team for a garbage city.
Local Charlotte Bobcats Team
PG Chris Paul (Clemmons, NC)
SG Ray Allen (Dalzell, SC)
SF Josh Howard (Winston-Salem, NC)
PF Antawn Jamison (Charlotte, NC)/David West (Garner, NC)
C Kevin Garnett (Mauldin, SC)
One of the more talented teams, with great talent at every position and no clear holes except for a bigger body at center as KG would get bodied the entire game. But overall one of the best teams in the country.My Take:
This would be your championship team. I'd probably use West on the other team's banger on D.
Local Chicago Bulls Team
PG Derrick Rose (Chicago, IL)
SG Dwyane Wade (Oak Lawn, IL)
SF Andre Iguodala (Springfield, IL)/Wilson Chandler (Benton Harbor, MI)
PF Corey Maggette (Oak Park, IL)
C Eddy Curry (South Holland, IL)
This team's strength is their scorers and slashers. They can create with Wade and Rose but they have no good shooters and Curry is not a strong rebounder so they would have a hard time getting boards and dealing with the size disadvantage,My Take:
This is probably the team I'd most like to see play. Amazing athletes on the floor, plus it would be funny seeing them brick endless threes and also you have the added bonus of Fat Eddy waddling up and down the court.
Local Cleveland Cavaliers Team
PG Michael Redd (Columbus, OH)
SG Kevin Martin (Zanesville, OH)/OJ Mayo (Huntington, WV)
SF LeBron James (Akron, OH)
PF James Posey (Twinsburg, OH)
C Calvin Booth (Reynoldsburg, OH)
With LeBron they are obviously talented and good shooters around him but with no serviceable big men or rebounders this team looks like it would be pushed around by most teams.My Take:
Too small, although I did chuckle at the thought of Michael Redd running the point.
Local Dallas Mavericks Team
PG Deron Wiliiams (The Colony, TX)
SG Desmond Mason (Waxahachie, TX)
SF LaMarcus Aldrige (Seagoville, TX)
PF Kenyon Martin (Dallas, TX)/Jason Maxiell (Carrollton, TX)
C Chris Bosh (Dallas, TX)
Good balance and a strong team with good talent at every position but it would definitely be a jump shot oriented team and a lot of pick and rolls to take advantage of their lanky forwards. Also no real 3pt threat would hurt as Mason is a slasher and dunker.My Take:
Aldridge would get eaten alive at the three, which is a huge problem, but I bet Deron Williams and Bosh would be enough to make the playoffs.
Local Denver Nuggets Team
PG Chauncey Billups (Denver, CO)
SG Eddie Gill (Aurora, CO)
SF Pat Garrity (Monunment, CO)
PF Michael Ruffin (Englewood, CO)
C Louis Amundson (Louisville, CO)/Jason Smith (Kersey, CO)
Aside form the 1 spot, there isn't much talent here and it has many gaping holes at the 3-5 spots as there is very little talent there and no strong rebounders, defenders nor offensive players.
Worse than useless beyond Chauncey.
Local Detroit Pistons Team
PG Charlie Bell (Flint, MI)
SG Jason Richardson (Saginaw, MI)/Willie Green (Detroit, MI)
SF Shane Battier (Beverly Hills, MI)
PF Al Horford (Grand Ledge, MI)
C Chris Kaman (Wyoming, MI)
Solid squad with good talent in the front court, with two almost identical players: good offensive and defensive 4.5's. Should have good post play and defense. The 2 spot is strong as well with a good shooter and slasher but no strong pg to get them in their sets and Battier is a good defender but limited offensively. So overall a strong squad but with some holes at the guard spot.
Solid, if not unspectacular team. Do yourself a favor, though, and bury Willie at the end of the bench.
Local Golden State Warriors Team
PG Jason Kidd (Alameda, CA)/ Brent Barry (Concord, CA)
SG Deshawn Stevenson (Fresno, CA)*
SF Bruce Bowen (Fresno, CA)*
PF Leon Powe (Oakland, CA)
C Drew Gooden (El Cerrito, CA)
Very undersized and no real offensive threats, Kidd at the 1 will create for people but aside from him there are no real offensive threats that can get their own shots. So decent squad but with offensive and size issues.My Take:
Horrible, horrible team. DeShawn is the worst SG in the league, Bruce Bowen is about 5 years past his prime, no size. Basically no talent but Kidd, and he's over the hill as well.
Local Houston Rockets Team
PG TJ Ford (Sugarland, TX)
SG Rashard Lewis (Alief, TX)/Daniel Gibson (Houston, TX)
SF Paul Millsap (Grambling, LA)
PF Kendrick Perkins (Beaumont, TX)
C Emeka Okafor (Houston, TX)
Very big team with very strong offensive and defensive front court but no slashers mean this will be a throw it in the post and see team. Lewis is a good spacer and can hit shots but in this team he will be exposed by other team's 2's.My Take:
If you start Boobie at the two, drop Lewis to the 3, Millsap to the 4 and bench Perkins you've got something. Possible title contender.
Local Indiana Pacers Team
PG Rajon Rondo (Middletown, KY)
SG Eric Gordon (Indianapolis, IN)
SF Zach Randolph (Marion, IN)
PF David Lee (St. Louis, MO)/Brad Miller (Ft. Wayne, IN)
C Greg Oden (Indianapolis, IN)
Very strong team with good balance at all spots. Their strength is their rebounding and talent in the front court. But defensively except for Oden and Rondo, the players will be exploited. Also aside from Rondo, this is a slow team that will definitely be more of a half court team. Also Randolph and Gordon are volume shooters and this team will have issues with rotating the basketball, but overall a very strong team on offense and defense because of Rondo and Oden.My Take:
I have a feeling Zach Randolph would take about 30 shots/game on this team, with Eric Gordon taking another 30. Randolph would get torched on defense. Too many holes for me to really like this team, even though they've got some individual talent.
Local Los Angeles Clippers Team
PG Baron Davis (Santa Monica, CA)
SG Gilbert Arenas (Van Nuys, CA)/Nick Young (Los Angeles, CA)
SF Josh Childress (Lakewood, CA)
PF Luke Walton (San Diego, CA)
C Tyson Chandler (Compton, CA)
Very undersized but the team has great shooters and creators for others so offensively they will be fine, but on defense they will be run ragged. Offensively however as a side note, they will get very little offense from any positions other than the 1 and 2. Chemistry issues on this squad as well.My Take:
Baron + Gilbert in the backcourt would be hilarious. Too bad Gilbert is a full time blogger these days.
Local Los Angeles Lakers Team
PG Andre Miller (Los Angeles, CA)/Jordan Farmar (Woodland Hills, CA)
SG Russell Westbrook (Lawndale, CA)
SF Paul Pierce (Inglewood, CA)
PF Trevor Ariza (Los Angeles, CA)
C Tayshaun Prince (Compton, CA)
Same as above but even smaller so will have a hard time getting any rebounds at all as prince is a 3 not a 5. But extremely quick, this team will have to run out of necessity as teams can dominate the paint against them.
Tayshaun at C tells you all you need to know. Very little outside shooting as well.
Local Memphis Grizzlies Team
PG Trenton Hassell (Clarksville, TN)
SG Travis Outlaw (Starkville, MS)
SF Shawn Marion (Clarksville, TN)
PF Thaddeus Young (Memphis, TN)/Brandan Wright (Brentwood, TN)
C Lorenzen Wright (Memphis, TN)
This teams strength is at the 3 and 4 because of the versatility of the athletes but this team will be extremely limited offensively as no player on the team can really create for themselves except outlaw and nobody can create for others.
Sorry Thad, this team's best hope would be ping pong balls in the lottery.
Local Miami Heat Team
PG Steve Blake (Miami, FL)
SG Keyon Dooling (Ft. Lauterdale, FL)
SF Raja Bell (Miami, FL)
PF James Jones (Miami, FL)/Udonis Haslem (Miami, FL)
C Tim Duncan (US Virgin Islands)BG Analysis:
Duncan plays great interior defense and with Haslem back at his natural PF slot he will be much more effective. The team has two strong rebounders and has the size to compete with most anybody in the paint. Their guard play is definitely their weak suit now as Blake is a capable PG but he is more of a game manager as opposed to a creator and Dooling and Bell are good guards and defenders but their offense leaves much to be desired. So this would be an inside out team that plays almost exclusively in the half court but if other teams can double Duncan, this team just doesn't have the offensive firepower to make any noise or to make teams really pay for doubling. So aside from Duncan they don't have any scorers, and they need a slasher in order to be competitive on the offensive end.My Take:
Duncan couldn't get this team to produce. Blake is servicable as a backup, maybe U is a legit starter, the rest are barely rotation guys, as far as I'm concerned.
Local Milwaukee Bucks Team
PG Devin Harris (Milwaukee, WI)
SG Travis Diener (Fond du Lac, WI)/Kyle Weaver (Beloit, WI)
SF Caron Butler (Racine, WI)
PF Steve Novak (Brown Deer, WI)
C Carl Landry (Milwaukee, WI)
This team has good creators and slashers but with no size and rebounding won't be very strong as too much of the offense will be predicated on Harris and Butler going one on one to be successful.My Take:
Too small, although I like Butler and Harris.
Local Minnesota Timberwolves Team
PG Kirk Hinrich (Sioux City, IA)
SG Mike Miller (Mitchell, SD)/Kyle Korver (Pella, IA)
SF Devean George (Saint Louis Park, MN)
PF Nick Collison (Iowa Falls, IA)
C Joel Przybilla (Monticello MN)
This team is well balanced with decent talent at all positions. There are no stars on this team but a good bunch of backups. Has good shooters and solid post players both offensively and defensively, but I feel that this team needs a slasher or someone who can create for others. As Hinrich is a good pg but he does not have the speed or handles that would allow him to penetrate and dish to teammates.My Take:
First of all, get Devean George out of the lineup and you've got a Red Sox starting five. Shooters, goofy big guys down low, I love it. Playoff team.
Local New Jersey Nets Team
PG Randy Foye (Newark, NJ)
SG J.R. Smith (Newark, NJ)
SF Al Harrington (Elizabeth, NJ)
PF Troy Murphy (Morristown, NJ)/Tim Thomas (Paterson, NJ)
C Andrew Bynum (Metuchen, NJ)
This is one of the better teams in the country with great offensive talent at every positions and good versatility in their 3-4 spots. JR smith is an underrated scorer and Foye is a solid PG who is still young. This team has no gaping holes except defensively they don't have any good wing defenders. But overall this team has good talent at all spots and therefore will be able to play with any team that is listed here. Although a lack of any true stars here means that there is no clear closer but overall the team has solid talent.My Take:
Good balance, though I'd like to see one guy on the wings who knows how to spell defense. Probably a playoff team.
Local New York Knicks Team
PG Ben Gordon (Mount Vernon, NY)
SG Ron Artest (Queens, NY)
SF Lamar Odom (South Jamaica, NY)
PF Elton Brand (Peekskill, NY)/Ryan Gomes (Waterbury, CT)
C Charlie Villanueva (Queens, NY)
This team has good talent all around with a lot of versatility and strong defense but no pg. So I could see this team using odom as their Point-Forward to bring up the ball. Gordon is most definitely a pure 2, always looking for his shot so he wouldn't work as the 1. This team has good shooters slashers and every player can create their own shot so this would be an effective team but their 3pt game outside of Gordon is a little suspect because Villanueva, artest and odom are inconsistent from 3.My Take:
I'd take Brand at center, Gomes at PF, bring Charlie V off the bench and hope the defense could hold up.
Local New Orleans Hornets Team
PG Chris Duhon (Slidell, LA)
SG Monta Ellis (Jackson, MS)/Mo Williams (Jackson, MS)
SF Danny Granger (New Orleans, LA)
PF Tyrus Thomas (Baton Rogue, LA)
C Al Jefferson (Prentiss, MS)
Good inside and outside balance that allows this team to play a variety of styles. They have good scorers and slashers that can create for others and duhon has surprised everyone (including me) in becoming a solid pg who can get people their shots where they can be effective. They have good interior defense and can play either fast or half court with the personell. Solid all around squad.
Excellent offense, not so much on defense. I'd probably run a small lineup with Granger at the four and just try to outscore teams. On second thought, I like the lineup better with Mo Williams at the point.
Local Oklahoma City Thunder Team
PG Derek Fisher (Little Rock, AR)/Earl Watson (Kansas City, KS)
SG Joe Johnson (Little Rock, AR)
SF Ronnie Brewer (Fayetteville, AR)
PF Maurice Evans (Wichita, KS)
C Etan Thomas (Tulsa, OK)
Essentially this team has 4 Guards playing right now, which leaves much to be desired in terms of size, rebounding and defense. And only two of the guards are good and can create their own shot, brewer has suspect range and Evans is a bench player with limited offense. These guys would get murdered on the block every game as Thomas is nowhere the player he was a couple of years ago and he is undersized for his position.
Joe Johnson and not much else.
Local Orlando Magic Team
PG Damien Wilkins (Orlando, FL)
SG Vince Carter (Daytona Beach, FL)
SF Tracy McGrady (Auburndale, FL)/Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Montverde, FL)
PF Marreese Speights (St. Petersburg, FL)
C Amare Stoudemire (Orlando, FL)
His team is very talented and will be shooting lights out with carter and mcgrady and pick and roll with amare and either will be devastating. But Amare won't be effective on defense trying to stop other team's 5's and he will be in foul trouble like he was always before shaq. But the teams lack of defense will be a problem. Offensively they are unstoppable but defensively they are suspect. Health is also a concern with this team.My Take:
Athletic team, needs a point.
Local Philadelphia 76ers Team
PG Jameer Nelson (Chester, PA)
SG Kobe Bryant (Ardmore, PA)
SF Rip Hamilton (Coatesville, PA)
PF John Salmons (Plymouth Meeting, PA)/Hakim Warrick (Wynnewood, PA)
C Rasheed Wallace (Philadelphia, PA)
Solid overall team but lack of size as the strength is definitely in the guard play. This team will be predicated on shooting and slashing and kick outs as they have no inside presence. Wallace is a good defender but I don't believe that he can consistently handle being on the block defending big 5's.My Take:
I like the Philly team. Hakim is the only weak link, I think Rasheed could handle C for this team on both ends.
Local Phoenix Suns Team
PG Mike Bibby (Phoenix, AZ)/Eddie House (Union City, CA)^^
SG Jerryd Bayless (Phoenix, AZ)
SF Richard Jefferson (Phoenix, AZ)
PF Channing Frye (Phoenix, AZ)
C Loren Woods (St. Louis, MO)^^
This team is a good shooting and slashing team that will take try to take it to the basket every time. They have solid shooters but no real low post player as frye is a shooting big man with vertical issues. Good 3pt squad and solid all around though.My Take:
Way too small.
Local Portland Trailblazers Team
PG Jason Terry (Seattle, WA)/Rodney Stuckey (Kent, WA)
SG Brandon Roy (Seattle, WA)
SF Jamal Crawford (Seattle, WA)
PF Marvin Williams (Bremerton, WA)
C Carlos Boozer (Juneau, AK)
This is one of the top squads on this list with great talent at every position. They have a couple play makers and each player can create their own shot so this squad would be very good offensively with a good slashing game as well as a good inside game with boozer. Although if this team runs into a squad that has 2 post players they might be in trouble. But overall a very talented squad and with Nate Robinson off the bench they have a good well rounded team.
I think Roy is better suited to play the three for this team. Boozer at C is questionable and you'd wind up with a lot of guys playing out of position, but they'd be able to score.
Local Sacramento Kings Team
PG DeMarcus Nelson (Sacramento, CA)
SG Chuck Hayes (Modesto, CA)
SF Matt Barnes (Sacramento, CA)
PF Robin Lopez (Fresno, CA)*
C Brook Lopez (Fresno, CA)*/Ryan Hollins (El Dorado Hills, CA)
This team will have problems with such young players (2 rooks) but they have talent. They just don't have any playmakers that can create and nobody except for maybe b. Lopez can create their own shot. So this is a relatively weak squad with no real guards or swingmen.
Probably worth seeing the Lopez twins out there together, I'd love to see them play two-on-two with the Collins twins. This team is garbage, though.
Local San Antonio Spurs Team
PG Devin Brown (San Antonio, TX)
SG Eduardo Najera (San Antonio, TX)
SF Jeff Foster (San Antonio, TX)
PF Chris Mihm (Austin, TX)/Bo Outlaw (San Antonio, TX)^
C Shaquille O'Neal (San Antonio, TX)
This team has 3 centers and extremely limited guards. However they do have the diesel so this team is predicated on pounding it into the paint and getting offensive rebounds. However they will have big problems with small quick teams as they will not be able to stay in front of any of the guards. Imagine devin harris just carving through this D.My Take:
Shaq in his prime could take this team to the playoffs.
Local Toronto Raptors Team
PG Steve Nash (Victoria, Canada)
SG Rick Fox (Toronto, Canada)^
SF Andray Blatche (Syracuse, NY)
PF Jamaal Magloire (Toronto, Canada)
C Samuel Dalembert (Canadian Nationality)/Joel Anthony (Montreal, Canada)
They have a great PG who makes others better and has a killer shot, but with no talent except the emerging Blatche, I don't have high hopes for this team. They need a shooter, a slasher and some post play from magloire who hasn't been effective in the last couple years. But this team has gaping holes all around and won't be effective as nash will be overworked and no D being played.My Take:
Local Utah Jazz Team
PG Ronnie Price (Friendswood, TX)^^
SG Keith Van Horn (Diamond Bar, CA)^^
SF Michael Doleach (Portland, OR)^^
PF Andrew Bogut (Melbourne, Australia)^^/Lance Allred (Salt Lake City, UT)
C Rafael Araujo (San Paulo, Brazil)^^My Take:
Local Washington Wizards Team
PG Allen Iverson (Hampton, VA)
SG Jeff Green (Hyattsville, MD)
SF Carmelo Anthony (Towson, MD)
PF Kevin Durant (Rockville, MD)/Michael Beasley (Prince George's County, MD)
C Rudy Gay (Severn, MD)
This has got to be my favorite team out of any of the above ones. They have great offensive players in 4 out of the 5 positions and will be able to score at will against anybody but with Gay playing the post, they will have some interior D problems. However on offense thye have 4 players who need the ball in their hands and therefore I can foresee chemistry issues but talent wise there are few teams that can match them offensively. They have shooters, slashers, dunkers, and they can all go one on one and get the buckets. Defensively with no inside presence or any player who really plays solid Defense I feel this will be like the warriors, a run and gun team that can't stop anyone.My Take:
Mello + Iverson + Gay + Beasley...wow, this team may never pass the ball. I believe this team would lead the league in missed shots, turnovers and hurt feelings. There's no way there would be enough shots to go around.
*Fresno, CA virtually equidistant from Oakland and Sacramento, players from the city split in half to each (and Lopez brothers stay together).
**If city distance for a player is near equidistant (within 20 miles) but only one city is in "home" state, the player will play for the team in their home state.
***Players from Los Angeles were split in half, giving the Lakers the first pick (as its been around longer) then the Clippers the 2nd and 3rd picks, then switching off for the rest of the players between the two teams.
****All Canadian players were eligible for the Toronto Raptors, given that it is the only team in Canada.
^Denotes recently retired player added to fill out the roster.
^^Could not fill up team, added to roster as out of remaining unselected player pool who attended college in the home state.
-International players who came to the United States to attend prep school for high school were kept off the list because they are not "from" the United States for the same reason that everyone who attended Oak Hill Academy is not "from" Virginia.A Word From the Writer
To those of you who don't know me, I'm Alex K. and have been a dedicated reader of DepressedFan for a year or so. Though a diehard Atlanta Hawks and Falcons fan, I am also a big Yankees fan and that was the reason I came by. Recently, after having a debate with my dad about how good the Hawks would be if they just kept the "local" kids, I took it upon myself to see if this was true.
To make the list above, I used Basketball-Reference.com
's hometowns and high schools attended for players (doing Google research when not finding where the player 'grew up') and Google maps. The players are all assigned to the city of the team they are closer to with the exceptions in the footnotes.
This whole process took about three weeks of work and I'm very pleased with the results.
As for some complaints that I'm sure that will occur, please see the footnotes as this list I'm undoubtedly sure is not perfect. Certainly no team would want to have Tayshaun Prince playing Center for example, but given the restrictions you have to form the roster as best you can. My other biggest struggles were in leaving Stephon Marbury off and including Tim Duncan. For Starbury, I don't think the team would be any better with having him on it (but that's my opinion and I'm sure there are credible arguments that differ). For Duncan, after not including him in the first-run, I decided that since he is a United States citizen and played for the Olympic team in 2004, he should be included (and he's probably no further away than Carlos Boozer in Alaska playing for Portland).
If our power rankings are any indicator, this should be a great cause for debate and it should be fun to hear. I would also like to think Brian and Bashir G. for their input in helping me finish this project.
Alex K. Power Rankings:
5. Atlanta Hawks (Homer pick I'm sure influenced, but great D tends to win and they would definitely drive most teams insane defensively)
4. Philadelphia 76ers (Great distributor at PG who can pass to Kobe, Rip, Salmons and 'Sheed, will outscore most teams, rebounding teams could give them problems)
3. New Orleans Hornets (Great team from top to bottom, tough inside, great distributor at PG,and have numerous players that can score if needed)
2. Dallas Mavericks (Tough defensive/rebounding team and can do everything needed, the type the 76ers would want to avoid)
1. Charlotte Bobcats (An All-Star team with all the puzzle pieces, need I say more?)
Bashir G. Power Rankings:
5. New Jersey Nets
4. Charlotte Bobcats
3. Dallas Mavericks
2. Washington Wizards
1. Portland Trail Blazers
I'd like to thank Alex for sharing this post with us. Now have at it in the comments. Which city has the best local talent? Which team is the worst?