Which would be the best NBA state if all players “went home” like LeBron James? Obviously, big states like California, Texas, Florida, and New York have multiple teams.
So more accurately, which team would win the title if everyone went home?
The Indiana Pacers would certainly be a contender, as we can see in NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner breakdown of what each squad would look like if everyone went home.
Here is his Pacer lineup.
G – Jeff Teague
G – Mike Conley
F – Zach Randolph
F – Gordon Hayward
C – Cody Zeller
Notes: Basketball’s influence in Indiana is evident in the depth here, which includes Eric Gordon, Josh McRoberts, George Hill, Courtney Lee, Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee, Robbie Hummel and others.
There are better starting lineups, but there may not be a better top 15 anywhere. Indiana could also add in guys like E’Twaun Moore, Tyler Zeller, Glenn Robinson III, Marquis Teague, and the late Greg Oden.
Also of note: George Hill starts for the Pacers now but wouldn’t if Mike Conley and Jeff Teague came home.
Depth might not matter whatsoever when you look at some other teams.
With Carmelo Anthony, Andre Drummond, and Joakim Noah in the front court, the Knicks are definitely a problem.
It is doubtful this Pacer team — or anyone in the NBA — could contend with that formidable trio.
G – Kemba Walker
G – Jimmer Fredette
F – Carmelo Anthony
F – Andre Drummond
C – Joakim Noah
Notes: Odd that most of the depth on a New York-born squad would be in the frontcourt (Tobias Harris, Ryan Kelly, Roy Hibbert, Andray Blatche, Charlie Villanueva, Channing Frye and so on). After all, the Big Apple was known for decades for the quality of its point guards.
Add in the fact that Brooklyn is stealing some of New York City’s best talent (Lance Stephenson, Taj Gibson, Kenneth Faried, J.R. Smith, Chris Copeland, Andrew Bynum’s hair), and it is hard to dispute that New York is still the Mecca.
Then you have to look at the Bulls.
G – Derrick Rose
G – Dwyane Wade
F – Andre Iguodala
F – Shawn Marion
C – Anthony Davis
Notes: Help in the backcourt could come from Patrick Beverley, Tony Allen, Shaun Livingston, Iman Shumpert and Evan Turner.
That team would wax Indiana’s representatives, perhaps even if Derrick Rose doesn’t play. Anthony Davis and Andre Iguodala in the same defense isn’t remotely fair. Throw in an old-but-savvy Shawn Marion, Dwyane Wade to pick off passes, and Tony Allen to Grit N Grind it out, and they might shut some teams out.
You gotta think they’re coming out of the East — and probably taking the rings.
This probability becomes even greater when you see how much the Lakers and Clippers dilute the Southern California pool. Together, that collection could win; divided they probably fall.
New Orleans is the other Western Conference powerhouse, but I still like the Bulls.
One last thing though: the Pacers coaching staff would include Gregg Popovich and Brad Stevens.
Maybe they could just win the whole thing.