Introducing the AFC South basketball team
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
In conjunction with the story about what kind of football player LeBron James would be, I asked you who you thought belonged on an AFC South basketball team.
(Thanks to Charles in Jacksonville who pointed me to this at jaguars.com. Ryan Robinson recently asked some players to put together their team of teammates.)
Some of you really got into it, so here's a sampling of the best responses before I give you my starting five. Special props to the first two here, for the way they framed each selection in the context of an NBAer:
Dan in Neptune Beach, FL: PG - Maurice Jones-Drew (Nate Robinson) SG - Courtland Finnegan (Shane Battier) SF - Andre Johnson (LeBron James) PF - Keith Bulluck (Ron Artest) C - Marcedes Lewis (Tim Duncan) Smallish lineup, but defensive oriented.
Darren in TN: Like the "Pick an AFC South b-ball team" idea, so I'll give you mine. PG- Chris Johnson (Titans) ~ Probably would be the fastest player in basketball, would be compared to Chris Paul, he could drive into the lane and score easy layups blowing by defenders, and he could probably drain jumpers too. SG- Reggie Wayne (Colts) ~ A pretty big guy but not too big (i.e. Kobe Bryant) that could push into the defense and get dunks and layups as well as shoot jumpers when needed. SmF- Bob Sanders (Colts) ~ I could see this guy being a LeBron James type that would give it his all to score points, plus he'd be a threat on defense like LeBron. PwF- Andre Johnson (Texans) ~ A big guy who reminds me of Kevin Garnett, big guy who can shoot jumpers, make dunks, and play great defense. C- John Henderson (Jaguars) ~ I would have picked Albert Haynesworth but he's no longer in the AFC South. Henderson is a big big guy like Shaq but not as tall. He would knock guys down getting into the paint and slamming down dunks and blocking shots.
Also considered: Maurice Jones-Drew, Steve Slaton, Vince Young, Michael Griffin.
TSizzlefoRizzizzle12: I don't know why we'd use Chris Johnson as a point guard, quickness doesn't translate into skill and CJ is nowhere near tall enough (talk Aaron Brooks all you like, but there's only one in the NBA). Also, running a true center is inconceivable, the tallest players in the NFL are 6-8 while the tallest in the NBA are anywhere from 7-0 to 7-6 (so we're going to play small ball here, spread the court with athletic slashers and good shooters).
PF: Mario Williams (I agree with the consensus I guess, he's very athletic and strong)
PF: Jared Cook (that athleticism that wows people at camp would be put to good use here)
SF: Andre Johnson (Read: Jared Cook)
SG: Vince Young (Prototypical size, good speed and athleticism, streaky)
PG: Justin Gage (He played basketball, remember? I'd feel better with a former player at the most important position on the court)
I leave out Jags players only out of my unfamiliarity with the franchise :(
okaythisisajoke: Connor Barwin played college basketball.
C: Mario Williams
PF: Marcedes Lewis
SF: Connor Barwin
SG: Vince Young
PG: Bob Sanders/Chris Johnson
I'd be OK with any of the RBs playing PG; Slaton, MJD, or Addai. But Chris Johnson is the fastest; he'd be our Monta Ellis or Aaron Brooks. We definitely lack height in the paint no matter how you slice it, but Mario and Lewis both have the strength to box out. Plus, Mario can jump pretty damn high. I assume Barwin is fundamentally solid if he played, so he's our talent pick. The rest are just based on athleticism; Vince Young has length and speed, like a T-Mac, Durant, or Tayshaun.
bpenner21: PG- Peyton Manning- more for comedy, but hey he'd get you the ball and can read the d and possibly his accuracy can translate into a shot if necessary. Plus good basketball sizeSG- Andre Johnson- Crazy athlete and X factor
SF- Justin Gage- Has the size and speed
PF- Vince Young- Another guy with pure athletism with good size and a play maker
C- Mario Williams- can bounce with the big boys to get the boards and would be a beast down in the paint
On the Bench
Kerry Collins- Has the size, will make VY sweat
MJD- Good vision, quick, ain't scared of nobody
Steve Slaton- Would quicken pace of the game if needed
Reggie Wayne- Manning to Wayne for the alley oop??
Bob Sanders- Just because he's Bob Sanders
brandvold3: PG: Maurice Jones-Drew (Jags)...fast and smart
SG: Chris Johnson (Titans)...one of, if not, the quickest player in the league
SF: Andre Johnson (Texans)...crazy athletic
PF: Mario Williams (Texans)...moves good for a big
C: John Henderson (Jags)...would man the boards and control the paint
Vince Young (Titans)...versatili ty and athleticism allows him to play 1,2, 3 possibly
Dwight Freeney(Colts)..firs t big off the bench whos quick and could hold own in the block
Reggie Wayne (Colts)..athletic and versatile who could play 1,2 or 3 if neccessary
Greg Estandia (Jags)...big man who could block shots with length
Rashean Mathis (Jags)...athletic, quick, could run the show if needed
I think that we would run-n-gun a little with this team
Michael Pablo: PG- Cortland Finnegan- I heard he looked pretty good this summer at a charity game
SG- Andre Johnson- Such raw athleticism
SF- Jared Cook- Same as Johnson. Combination of size and athletic skill set make him a good option
PF- Mario Williams- Very good size, athleticism combination
C- John Henderson- he's gotta play some mean low post D
CSinicola24: C - Greg Estandia (Jags) 6-8 - 260 from UNLV (Biggest guy in the division)
PF - Mario Williams (Texans) - 6-6 -280 - More of a Big Baby (Celts) type player
SF - Andre Johnson (Texans) - If your hands are that good, you cant be forgotten
SG - Reggie Wayne (Colts) - U of M standouts are typically good ballers
PG - Maurice Jones Drew (Jags) - The next Spud Webb?
Chari in Syracuse: PG: Steve Slaton-small quick and good decision maker SG: Justin Gage-tall physical guard, good be great defensive player. SF: Peyton Manning- point forward and team leader PF: Marcedes Lewis- Big body and great leaper. Could be big time rebounder. C: Greg Estandia- I believe the tallest player in the division. More height and strength on the inside. Other sport star: Check out Jarett Dillard's vertical and lets put him in the high jump on the track team.
AntAnt90: Point Guard: Chris Johnson - (TITANS) Johnson can be very similar to Houston Rockets guard Aaron Brooks because of the speed.
Shooting Guard: Vince Young - (TITANS) Nice size. Has speed to get to the hole.
Small Foward: Andre Johnson - (TEXANS) Pure length. Reminds me of a Lamar Odom.
Power Foward: Jason Jones - (TITANS) Big guy that has the size to be physical in the paint. (6-5 275)
Center: Mario Williams - (TEXANS) The biggest, best athlete in the division.
BoSox3091: Center - Mario Williams (Texans): Big body to stir things up down low
Power Foward - Dwight Freeney(Colts): Quickness and size at this position is key
Small Foward - Dallas Clark(Colts): Has the agility and size for the position
Shooting Guard - Vince Young(Titans): Size and athleticism to play the 2 guard
Point Guard - Maurice Jones-Drew(Jags): Speed and quickness to get to the hoop
awr2h: Center- Mario Williams (Texans): Big, strong, and athletic
Power Forward- Jared Cook (Titans): Tall and good j
Small Forward- Marcedes Lewis (Jags): Seems to have the skill set
Shooting Guard- Andre Johnson (Texans): Tall and fast
Point Guard- Chris Johnson (Titans): Fast, good vision, and good leaping ability
James Neil: I don't know about the rest of the team, but two positions are not up for debate. Peyton Manning must be the point guard, because of his ability to direct the team, call the plays, and set everyone in the right position. The other must, Mario Williams has to be either the center or power forward. In addition to being able to beat out any other player at those positions from any other division, I understand that he was a heck of a player in high school in North Carolina. He's just too strong and quick to be left off this team.
Justin in Alcoa: PG-Andre Johnson SG-Justin Gage SF-Vince Young PF-Jason Jones C-Michael Roos. Gage is 6'4 and played basketball at Mizzou. Andre and Vince are both tall and have great atheleticism. VY played in high school and averaged over 25 a game. Andre averaged 34.3 ppg and 12.2 rpg in high school. Jason Jones lettered in basketball in high school. Roos is huge, at 6'7 and 315 lbs. He also lettered as a basketball player.
Paul in Arlington, VA: PG - Maurice Jones-Drew SG - Reggie Wayne SF - Andre Johnson PF - Bo Scaife C - John Henderson (would have been Haynesworth)
Jeff in Jacksonville: Paul my starting 5 would be, Point Guard (Chris Johnson - Speed ability to cut to basket),Shooting Guard (Peyton Manning - Most Accurate QB in the league, you need a sharp shooter) Shooting Forward (Andre Johnson - Best Athlete in AFC South), ,Power Forward (Greg Estandia - most athletic TE on Jags and he is 6'8 265), Center (John Henderson - Now that Haynesworth is gone Big John will have to man the middle, I bet he could give shaq a run for his money).
My Reserves would be Maurice Jones-Drew (PG), Reggie Wayne(SG), Vince Young (SF), and Richard Angulo "6'8 - TE" (PF/C).
Lastly I would sign Free Agent Matt Jones, and Reggie Williams to fill my final two spots since they wouldnt be busy playing football. Paul I would give up almost all of these guys if you was to give me the Jags 06-07 WR corp and the two DT's. You would have Matt Jones, Reggie Williams, Ernest Wilford and Mercedes Lewis with John Henderson and Marcus Stroud in the middle. All of these guys averaged over 6'4 and where all over 200lbs imagine 5 guys the size of lebron James on your team I'm sure they could win you a NBA championship just make sure not to put them on the football field.
Adam in Houston: SG- Reggie Wayne WR/ Colts PG- Bob Sanders S/ Colts SF- Jevon Kearse DE/ Titans PF- Connor Barwin DE/Texans C- Mario Williams DE/ Texans
Carson in Houston: Obviously Mario Williams is the big man down low, and by big, I mean 6'7" and 295. Add to that an almost 7'0" wingspan, and it is all too clear that he'd be going Wilt Chamberlain on the rest of the AFC South. Andre Johnson 6'3" and 228 wouldn't make a bad shooting guard either. The Texans TE/H-Back James Casey played minor league ball for the White Sox, but you already knew that.
After reading through all your feedback and my own careful consideration, here's the starting team I'd put on the floor:
PG -- Maurice Jones-Drew (running back, Jacksonville)
I think his toughness would be ideal, and since we don't have a lot of height to select from, we're going to have to be tough. I picture him as a real floor general. And we tend to underrate his wheels -- he was also a sprinter in high school -- because he's compared to Chris Johnson and Steve Slaton.
Backup: Johnson. I'll take Johnson over Slaton as CJ played basketball at Olympia High School in Orlando.
SG -- Justin Gage (receiver, Tennessee)
He played three seasons of college hoop at Missouri, averaging over 14 minutes. I envision him playing great defense and being a solid shooter. With the most high-level hoop experience, he's the guy who might settle this team down in pressure moments.
Backup: Vince Young. No denying his athleticism, I just couldn't leave him off and this seems like the spot.
SF -- Andre Johnson (receiver, Houston)
The guy is a phenomenal athlete and was mentioned by you in this slot more than anyone at any position. I agree. He lettered in basketball at Miami (Fla.) Senior High School. He's going to be undersized, but should come to be able hold his own defensively against bigger guys. Backup: Connor Barwin played 23 games as a walk-on at Cincinnati in 2006.
PF -- Jason Jones (defensive end, Titans)
Going with experience here, where there maybe other athletes who are more attractive or qualify as bigger names. Jones was a stud basketball player at Lathrup High School in Southfield Mich., averaging 24 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in 2003-04 and winning MVP of the Motor City Roundball Classic. I am suitably impressed, and have been told he was "great" in a recent charity game in Nashville.
Backup: Greg Estandia, who was an all-league basketballer as a senior at Moorpark (Calif.) High School. At 6-8, 265 he gives us additional size.
C -- Mario Williams (defensive end, Houston)
The best combination of big and athletic to be found in the division, I think. Like anyone in this exercise, he's going to need help when asked to defend a bigger center. As Carson points out above, Williams' giant wingspan is a plus.
Backup: John Henderson. At 6-7, 335 he can wear down some people inside helping make things easier for Williams.
Sixth man/Swing -- Reggie Wayne (receiver, Indianapolis)
As brandvold3 points out above, Wayne could be versatile enough to play either guard spot or small forward. I could see him bringing high energy off the bench for a boost on offense or to cool off someone by getting in his face on D.
t Freeney. At only 6-1, he's going to have to use his quickness and I'm going to hope he's got a good handle. He earned four varsity letters at Bloomfield (Conn.) High School in basketball and only three in football.
Toughest to leave off: Marcedes Lewis was awfully tempting. But I found it difficult not to mark him down for his tendency to drop passes. This team can't afford to turn over the basketball.
Now who wants to do a baseball team. Kidding. I think. Check back with me during the slow weeks of July.