The recent out-of-nowhere success of rookie point guards in New York and the announcement of a new arena to lure hoops and hockey back to Seattle have inspired some thinking about a couple things. Could the Phoenix Coyotes or New York Islanders pack up and move across the country to play another coast? Can Seattle really be a four-sport town? Will coffee outsell beer as the concession of choice at the Emerald City’s new arena?
But for me, the inspiration is in what their NBA roster might look like. Granted, the intention is to get a current franchise to commit to a lease – but I fancy the idea of cobbling together a team that could be competitive while at the same time being minimally invasive to current NBA rosters (Please note: only three of the following players are currently languishing on NBA rosters). Further, this team could certainly be considered cost-effective.
PG Jonny Flynn (Houston Rockets) – 9.9/2.0/3.9 (Per 36 Minutes: 14.8/2.9/5.9) It was not so long ago that Flynn and Ramon Sessions were jockeying for the point in Minnesota – and the way things are now, I would be surprised if anyone remembered that Flynn started all but one game in 2009-10. With the arrival of Ricky Rubio, however, Flynn has been relegated to a less than reserve role in Houston. Jonny has shown he can play at this level – and should be starting somewhere – even if it is Seattle.
SG Jermaine Taylor (FA) – 5.4/1.7/0.7 (Per 36 Minutes: 16.1/4.9/2.2) Jermaine who? Taylor might be the most explosive scorer you’ve never seen. His career marks are modest – but so are his career minutes. Giving him the 30-plus minutes of a starter, and he looks a lot like Wes Matthews, don’t you think?
C Larry Sanders (Milwaukee Bucks) – 3.8/2.9/0.4 (Per 36 Minutes: 10.0/7.5/0.4 – 3.0 Blocks…) There is no question the talent is there. There is also no question the discipline is not there. His 3.0 blocks per 36 cannot sustain his average of 5.5 personal fouls. You could do a lot worse than 10, 7.5, with 3 swats out of your starting center, however.
SF Jamario Moon (FA) – 6.4/4.3/1.0 (Per 36 Minutes: 10.2/6.9/1.6) The waxing and waning of Jamario Moon can be counted amongst the seven wonders of the NBA. He came out of nowhere to be an across the board contributor for Toronto and Miami – then faded into obscurity in the more stat-friendly confines of Cleveland and La-Clip-land. If you get a healthy season or two of Toronto-era scoring and boards and just a maintenance of his other offensive and defensive stats, you’ve got a starting small forward and inexpensive veteran presence in the starting lineup. That has to be better than being a player-coach in Canada, eh?
PF Austin Daye (Detroit Pistons) – 6.1/3.1/0.8 (Per 36 Minutes: 13.3/6.7/1.8) I have lived in Michigan my whole life. In 2012, two things are clear to Michiganders: The Detroit Tigers should run away with the Central – and – Austin Daye should be starting and playing copious minutes for the lowly Pistons. If Detroit wants to hide his talent from other teams until he’s too old to contribute, that’s their business. But I’d like to see him starting. Now. Daye also, incidentally, gives Seattle a local boy to mold into a star – his having played his college ball at Gonzaga.
SF/PF Al Thornton (FA) – 11.9/4.2/1.2 (Per 36 Minutes: 15.3/5.4/1.5) Al Thornton has the scoring chops to be a minor star in this league. It wasn’t so long ago he was just that. Perhaps a re-envisioned role as first forward off the bench and spot-starter for an aging Jamario Moon is just what he needs to get the career back on track.
C Jake Voskuhl (FA) – 4.0/3.4/0.5 (Per 18 Minutes: 5.1/4.3/0.7) If you plan on starting Larry Sanders, a quality backup and veteran presence are both necessities. Voskuhl provides both. A smart player in the UConn mold – I might like to see a few more rebounds than his career averages – but Jake can provide minutes off the bench and invaluable mentoring for Larry Sanders.
PF/C Ike Diogu (FA) – 6.0/3.1/0.3 (Per 36 Minutes: 17.9/8.9/0.9) Diogu is another enigma of recent NBA lore. He can put up big numbers – and he rarely has. Clearly, Voskuhl cannot handle the backup role alone – not to mention he doesn’t have the scoring ability if Sanders is in foul trouble and the shots from the guard position aren’t falling – in this scenario, I like Ike.
SF Adam Morrison (FA) – 7.5/2.1/1.4 (Per 36 Minutes: 13.2/3.8/2.4) Another Zag; a fresh start; worth a flyer.
SG Mardy Collins (FA) – 3.9/1.8/1.7 (Per 36 Minutes: 9.6/4.4/4.2) Collins would be counted on for limited minutes and rounds out the roster with modest stats at all categories.
And from the D-League: Based on their age and current D-League stats(*), these guys should be on an NBA roster.
PG/SG JamesOn Curry (Springfield Armor) – 17.0/4.4/6.0*
PG Blake Ahearn (Reno BigHorns) – 23.9/2.6/5.6*
SG/SF Ron Howard (Ft. Wayne Mad Ants) – 20.5/3.5/1.8*
PF/C Eric Dawson (Austin Toros) – 15.9/9.4/2.1*
These guys are not going to compete for a title anytime soon. But they have some rising stars, local talent, and easy access to the world’s best coffee. Phil Jackson will not again come out of retirement to guide this bunch. They won’t be luring Jeremy Lin to the left coast anytime soon. Shoot, they might barely even be able to finish with double-digit wins – but I’m betting a handful of those wins will be over the Charlotte Bobcats!
All statistics courtesy of Yahoo Sports!, NBA.com, and/or basketball-reference.com.