How would Gators fare against the NBA's worst team?
Posted: Monday March 19, 2007 2:01PM; Updated: Monday March 19, 2007 2:03PM
It's a question raised every year around this time, usually via an e-mail from my Dad or a friend: Could the best team in college basketball team beat the worst team in the NBA?
I completely understand the allure of the dilemma. It's one of those perpetual talking points that because of pesky NCAA and NBA rules will never be solved. This allows us to chew on the question and regurgitate it each March. But I think the answer to the question is actually a pretty clear-cut one.
The worst team in the NBA this year is the Memphis Grizzlies, at least record-wise (17-50). For the purposes of this exercise, we will ignore the fact that the Grizzlies appear to be well on their way to cementing their place in the Greg Oden derby by completely ignoring defense every night and benching Pau Gasol for extended periods each time I've seen them play. Instead, we will pretend the Grizzlies are playing in our special game with the express goal of winning.
Choosing the best team in college basketball is highly subjective. Ohio State finished the season ranked No. 1. Kansas rolled through the Big 12 tournament and has one of the deeper teams available. But for our sake let's choose the Florida Gators, who won it all last season, returned all their key players, easily won the SEC Tournament and are currently 31-5.
Looking at the starting line-ups, things would seem to favor the Grizzlies.
PG: Damon Stoudamire vs. Taurean Green: Stoudamire obviously isn't the same shoot-first point guard who won the NBA's Rookie of the Year back in 1996, but he still gets it done. Green has the quickness to keep Stoudamire on his heels defensively, but Stoudamire's savvy and experience will allow him to keep his team running, something college teams don't seem to focus on (more on that later). EDGE: NBA
SG: Rudy Gay vs. Lee Humphrey: I like Humphrey, and his outside shooting is crucial for Florida, but can the 6-foot-2 Humphrey get his jump shot off over the 6-9 Gay? Offensively, Gay holds a similar advantage, as his size and speed would be too way too much for Humphrey to handle. EDGE: NBA
SF: Mike Miller vs. Corey Brewer: Perhaps the best match-up for Florida. Brewer and Miller each stand about 6-8, although Miller outweighs him by nearly 30 pounds. Miller thrives mostly as a spot-up shooter, and Brewer has the speed to recover defensively on him. On the other end, Miller can't keep up with Brewer in transition, and Brewer never really impresses me in the halfcourt offense, anyway. EDGE: NCAA (slight)
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