I watch a ridiculous amount of NBA basketball. Lots of times I’ll find myself watching guys play, thinking about what it must be like being their teammate. There are dudes who are clearly great to play with and others … not so much.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an NBA game or a pickup game at the Y, these guys could run with my team any day:
Steve Nash – This first one’s pretty obvious. Nash is so good at getting you the ball when and where you need it, it’s almost impossible to not succeed. There are guys who have run with Nash who have careers solely because of him. James Jones, anyone? Or Boris Diaw? He couldn’t even get off the pine in Atlanta. And how about Shawn Marion? He couldn’t wait to get out of Phoenix and out of the shadow of Nash and Amare, but there’s a reason he hasn’t scored more than 13 points in a game this year.
Chris Paul – CP is another semi-obvious pick, but he’s too good to not mention. Chris Paul literally makes guys All-Stars. David West can obviously play, but how many wide open elbow jumpers does he get every single game running with CP? Six? Seven? More? Or how about Tyson Chandler? There’s a reason he’s shooting almost 60% from the field. He gets wide-open look after wide-open look because of Chris Paul. And don’t forget about guys like Peja Stojakovic – at this point in his career he might not be anything more than a bit player with another team. Both CP and Nash can add five years to your playing career.
Brad Miller – He’s the best passer on the Kings squad, and it’s not even close. He’d much rather pass than shoot, and loves to battle it out in the trenches.
Caron Butler – Caron’s the guy you always want on your side when going to war on a basketball court. You’ll rarely find a player tougher than Butler and he’s absolutely relentless. He leads by example.
Andres Nocioni – In the Caron Butler mold, Noc is the guy you absolutely hate to play against, but love having him on your team. He will get after the other team’s best player, he will annoy and antagonize the other team, he will attack every loose ball and he throws himself into the scrum under the hoop every chance he gets.
Brandon Roy – Brandon’s like Caron Butler Lite. He’s never the most athletic guy on the court and he is always matched up with the other team’s best perimeter player. Nobody outworks him. Ever. You win with guys like B-Roy on your side.
LeBron James – Other than having a front-row seat to the show every night, when you play with ‘Bron, you know that he can single-handedly win you games, but he will always look to get you the rock when you’re open … no matter how bad you are.
Kurt Thomas/P.J. Brown – P.J.’s not in the League right now and Kurt is barely hanging on, but they’d always have a spot on my team. They do the dirty work under the boards, they torture the other team’s post players and they’re pros’ pros. They’re glue guys.
Kevin Garnett – I’m starting to find his act to be a little tiresome, but all great teams need strong leaders. He’s a motivator, he’s plays his guts out, and he’s the consummate teammate. He’s shown that he’s not the guy to put his team over the summit all by himself, but he can certainly carry a squad right to the top of the mountain.
I’ll drop the guys I’d least want to play with soon…
Who would you want on your squad?