Ok, so we’re in the middle of the summer, and despite all of our love for America’s greatest pastime, we could use a change of pace, something a little extra in the sports world.
If it were to actually happen, the intensity would be lower even than that of the pro-bowl, but let’s take a step out of our logistical minds for a second:
We’ll say that LeBron’s Heat lose out on the Championship race this season, then out of seemingly nowhere, former Colt Pierre Garcon tweets that LeBron is too soft to win an NBA championship. LeBron’s manhood is suddenly thrown into question and he feels compelled to prove his stripes. LeBron claims that the 2011 Colts were so bad that he could wrangle up a group of friends that would take Indy to the house in their own game.
Fellow NBA players who had also resented the stereotype that NBA players are “too weak” or “complain too much” see an opportunity to turn this stigma around. In result, we are given a heated battle between the NBA’s best and the NFL’s worst, and out of nowhere, LeBron and crew ask yours truly to field the team – imagine that! Well boys, here’s the squad we’re walking onto the field with. Not your conventional football roster, but I think we could make some magic happen:
So our offense is based around athletic ability and height more than anything else. We know we can field a much taller team than the Colts, but we won’t have the same type of weight distribution. The playbook is going to mostly consist of plays where we can get one of our more speedy threats out in the open or plays where we can toss up a jump ball where we have a favorable size matchup. Here’s how we’re lining up:
QB – CHRIS PAUL
Whether it’s football, baseball, basketball or hell, even beach volleyball, it’s never a bad thing for Chris Paul to have the ball in his hands. I know there aren’t too many quarterbacks in the league that are six-feet-flat anymore, but I think what CP3 lacks in height he makes up for in just about every other department. He’s the NBA’s best decision maker, cool under pressure, and always makes his teammates better. Granted we’ve only seen him do this on a basketball court, but I bet Paul’s precision passing would translate rather well to the quarterback position. He’s such an intelligent athlete that I trust he’ll keep the turnovers down and give his team the best shot to win – and watch for him to run when the opportunity presents itself.
Other players considered for the job were Derrick Rose and Kevin Love. The latter may sound a bit ridiculous, but at 6’10”, Love would be able to see the entire field and we’ve witnessed how effortlessly he can toss a basketball the length of the court. Rose on the other hand would be a run-first QB primarily, but his height advantage over Paul makes him an enticing option.
RB – TY LAWSON
A tough position to consider with few NBA players having the ideal RB size, but we’re going to have him hit the weights pretty hard in the weeks leading up to the game. One of the league’s quickest players, Lawson is sturdier than most other really quick NBA point guards like Stephon Curry, Monta Ellis, or Rajon Rondo. He’s about the same size as Jahvid Best, an elusive running back rather than a bulldozer. We’re going to use him mostly on screens out in the flat, as he wouldn’t be the ideal short-yardage, cram-it-down-your-throat type of back, no. Our running game is more finesse.
Outside Receivers – DERRICK ROSE and KYRIE IRVING
Almost identical frames (about 6’3”, 190) Rose and Irving will be a tough combo for the Colts cornerbacks to stop. Like Lawson, they’ll have to pack on a bit more weight, but with their jumping abilities and speed, these athletic novelties can really burn you. Irving is a smart and humble player that I could see being something of a blend between Marvin Harrison and Hines Ward – obviously not nearly as good as either, but a nice combination of both. Reliable but not too flashy, Irving understands the holes in an NBA defense and with a little tape watching, I think we could get him to read the Indy D well. Rose is more of an X-factor. He can make those highlight reel catches and really propel the team, but isn’t the most consistent target, maybe like a Vincent Jackson (obviously a bit smaller, though).
But on short yardage and goal-line plays, we’re dipping into the bench and bringing in Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard to play some jump-ball with the Colts secondary. I like our chances there.
Also considered the 6’6” Tyreke Evans and the high-flying Russell Westbrook here.
Slot Receiver – ERIC BLEDSOE
Again, quickness takes the cake. We’re mostly running Bledsoe across the middle to help move the chains but he’s sure to break a couple big plays with enough touches. 6’1” may be a bit over-sized for a typical NFL slot receiver, but Bledsoe’s got the speed to play like he’s 5’10,” while his extra height allows him to grab hold of more passes from Clippers teammate CP3.
Tight End – LEBRON JAMES
The potential here is ridiculous. LeBron would be one of the league’s tallest tight ends with the agility of the league’s smallest. Whether he’s tough enough to take the constant hits from linebackers is the main question, but we’re going to send him out in the flat quite often, hoping he gets matched up against far smaller cornerbacks. And I’m thinking LeBron will be one of our top red-zone threats, so CP is going to be looking his way a lot.
OTs – KENDRICK PERKINS and DEMARCUS COUSINS
As two of the league’s favorite bad boys, Perkins and Cousins might struggle to keep up with faster defensive ends, but what they lack in speed, they make up for in size. The hot-headed Cousins has gotten in trouble a couple times in the NBA, but we’re hoping he’ll take a lot of that anger out by beating up on Robert Mathis or whoever Indy sends his way. And Perkins doesn’t back down to anybody, so bring your best…
Guards – NENE and BRANDON BASS
Both around 250 pounds, Nene and Bass have the same shortcomings as our OTs, but we like them here because of the speed advantages they’ll have on most defensive tackles. At 6’8”, Brandon Bass is used to being matched up with bigger players, usually playing the power forward position but sometimes filling in at center. He’s a good teammate and is willing to fill any role to help his team. Nene, meanwhile, is always a bit of a wildcard with his temperament, sometimes a selfish and frustrated player. But he makes great use of his broad frame to box-out opposing players on the court and I think he’d be able to capably protect his QB from defensive rushes.
Center – GLEN DAVIS
The trustworthy Davis is a great competitor who is never afraid to make things dirty. His career average of 1.0 turnovers per game (22 minutes per) demonstrates his reliable hands and reluctance to give the ball away. He and CP3 will develop a perfect rhythm to help lead the team.
Kick/Punt Returner: NATE ROBINSON
The NBA’s version of the human joystick may not be as agile and shifty as the great Dante Hall, but the 5’9” combo guard has made a career out of making defenders miss, creating enough space to release his notoriously inconsistent jump shot. He won’t take any returns the distance against Indy, but he’ll provide solid starting field position throughout the game.
Kicker/Punter: STEVE NASH
This one’s a no-brainer. We’ve seen Nash on the soccer fields and even rainbow-ing alley-oops to Amare so I don’t think there’s any reason to think Nash wouldn’t be able to tackle the job of kicker and punter. I’ll trust the savvy veteran with anything under 40 yards, and wouldn’t be surprised if he can hit consistently from even further out.
So we’re going to run an extremely aggressive defense that takes a lot of risks. We’re suiting up the league’s all-time tallest front-four and trying to get as many hands on the ball as we can. Our secondary will also be going for big turnovers over being safe and conventional. In result, we’ll be very susceptible to the big play, but I’m open to taking my chances against Curtis Painter (remember: last year’s team, no Luck).
Defensive Ends: KENNETH FARRIED and BLAKE GRIFFIN
These are without a doubt two guys you never want to see running at you, no matter what sport. Farried is a beast of an athlete. He’s got a motor that never stops and I think his relentless nature will lead to at least a couple sack opportunities. Griffin on the other hand, will be the king of deflections. His unbelievable combination of height and leaping ability are really a defensive end’s dream and if he can develop the necessary moves to get him around the Colts O-Line, then he’ll be Painter’s nightmare.
Defensive Tackles: DWIGHT HOWARD and SERGE IBAKA
Height over weight once again – mostly because we have no other option, but I still like our chances here. Both players are strong enough to wrap up anyone you send their way and should be able to use their height advantages to knock down any pass within their vicinity. Probably the two best shot-blockers in the NBA, we’re hoping that defensive instincts of all kinds are just part of their nature.
LBs: DERON WILLIAMS, ANDRE MILLER (MLB), and KYLE LOWRY
Without a doubt, our biggest weakness. I don’t think there’s a single player in the NBA that could even come close to capably performing the routine jobs of an NFL linebacker, or vice versa for that matter. You need a combination of strength, agility, and a great knowledge for the game to make it at one of the toughest positions in all sports, and the threesome we’ve put together undoubtedly all have the second attribute as well as a great knowledge of their own game, but is it enough?
Lowry’s a feisty defender that never backs down from a fight and his great instincts on the court lead to a lot of steals and assists. And these instincts, I believe, would transfer nicely to the football field where Lowry would have a good knowledge of where the football is going to come. Williams loves taking advantage of smaller guards down in the post. He’s not afraid of being a physical player on the court, but it’s a different story on the football field. He’s the biggest question mark here. Miller is the slowest player in the group, but his veteran savvy makes him the perfect leader of the crew. He’s been the unheralded star of just about every team he’s ever played on and whether he’s asked to distribute the ball or take the scoring load himself, he always seems to be up to the task. A big load on his shoulders here, but we like the durable 13-year NBA veteran who has only missed 3 games in his career right in the middle.
CBs: TONY PARKER and MIKE CONLEY
Here’s some lock-down defense for you. Although both players are a bit taller than the average cornerback (6’1” for Conley; 6’2” Parker), we like their quickness and awareness to make up for it. Plus, they’ll be able to reach more balls than shorter corners. Conley is a master at anticipating passes in the NBA while Parker has the quickest moves you may ever see on the court. We’ll have to get them working on their backpedaling techniques, but I’d be surprised if either player struggled to get it down with their diverse skill-sets.
Safety: DWYANE WADE and RAJON RONDO
Two of the most pesky off-ball defenders in the NBA, Wade and Rondo are constantly frustrating opponents in the passing lanes and I have little doubt they’d be able to transfer this skill over to the NFL. Both players rely greatly on their instincts. Watching them on defense, it sometimes looks like they know where the ball is going to go even before the offense really does. We’re going to play an aggressive sort of defense where Conley and Parker are taking their chances on creating turnovers, so this unit will have a lot of pressure to make plays, but I think they’re up to the task.
Last year’s Colts teams had one of the league’s worst offenses and defenses. I think the monstrous defensive line can really intimidate Painter at times and make it tough for him to see short options and anything up the middle, really. On the other side of the ball, I think Lawson, Irving, and Bledsoe help move the chains enough to get Nash at least a couple field goal attempts and I think either Rose or LeBron comes down with a big play for us. In a bizarre football game that challenges everything you know about one of the best sports in the world, the final score would be:
In the end, our defense struggles to get the key stops, thanks to poor tackling and Painter finds Garcon over the top more often than our safeties are able to help out. We put together some solid drives, a couple highlights on both sides of the ball, but we’re back to shooting hoops when it’s all said and done.