Blog Entry

Dear Gary ...

Posted on: June 24, 2008 10:24 am
Edited on: June 24, 2008 10:26 am

Here's Tuesday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: I think North Carolina is a great pick for preseason No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one). This year's team could beat the Celtics!

-- Eric

I know you're just being silly, Eric.

That's fine.

You should be excited.

But I'm going to use this as an excuse to point out -- in case you weren't be silly -- how it is always insane to think even the best college team could ever play with the worst NBA team. I live in Memphis, and so this comes up a lot. Otherwise reasonable humans will have serious debates about whether the Tigers could beat the Grizzlies, and I wonder sometimes if they've ingested crazy pills.

Here was the Grizz's typical starting line-up in last season's 22-win campaign:

PG: Mike Conley
SG: Mike Miller
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Hakim Warrick
C: Darko Milicic

Clearly, that's a bad NBA team.

But do you realize that line-up is four All-American college players (Conley, Miller, Gay, Warrick) and a foreigner (Milicic) who was picked one spot ahead of 2003's best college player (Carmelo Anthony)? That's a No. 2 pick, No. 4 pick, No. 5 pick, No. 8 pick and No. 19 pick, and there has never been a team in the history of college basketball that could beat that 22-win version of the Grizzlies.

Bottom line, a college team starting four lottery picks will win the national title while an NBA team doing the same might struggle to win 22 games. That's how big the gap is between college basketball and NBA basketball. So my advice is that the Tar Heels leave the Celtics alone for now and instead focus on dominating the ACC, which is what I fully expect them to do.

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2008 2:53 pm

Dear Gary ...

The 2003 had a lot of college talent:

PG: Kirk Hinrich, Kansas

SG: Dwayne Wade, Marquette

SF: Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse

PF: David West, Xavier

C: Chris Bosh, Georgia Tech

and some depth: Mikey Sweetney, Georgetown; Nick Collison, Kansas; Josh Howard, Wake Forest; Ekemu Okafur, Connecticut; Ben Gordon, Connecticut; Jameer Nelson, St.Josephs

and they still would have trouble with the 17 win Cavs of that same NBA Season: Ricky Davis, Carlos Boozer, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Darius Miles, DeJuan Wagner, Matt Palacio, Jumaine Jones.

I think the best bet would be to find the worst NBA team of all time and then see if the college kids could hang.

Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2008 2:21 pm

Dear Gary ...

This entry got me thinking...

The answer is probably still no, but do you think there's ever been a college All-American team that could play with the worst NBA team of that year?

If the answer is yes, I guess there was just a pretty amazng draft class that year (or a very terrible NBA squad), but if it's no it makes the original point even stronger.

Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2008 11:38 am

Dear Gary ...

No question, the depth would be overwhelming. Just look at the Grizz's bench. There's Kyle Lowery, a great college player. He's a back-up for a bad team. And on the other end of the spectrum is the Celtics, where college stars like Glen Davis, Leon Powe and Tony Allen come off the bench.

The one that gets me is Denver.

The Nuggets essentially start four National Players of the Year in Marcus Camby, Kenyon Martin, Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony.

And they still stink.

That's hard to figure out.

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2008 11:35 am

Dear Gary ...

That screams one of two things to me, either:

1.) The Grizzlies have to stop letting fans who win a pre-game beer drinking contest coach the team every night


2.) Darko is so bad, he's actually making 3 All-Americans and a Big East Player of the Year worse.

Since: Jun 24, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2008 10:35 am

Dear Gary ...

Excellent point there Gary. No NCAA team stands a chance against an NBA team and not just because of the starters. Remember that in a 48 minute game you need to use back up players. How many players drafted in this year's draft will start on an NBA team over the next 3 years? My bet is fewer than 15 of the 60 players drafted will start more than a handful of games. That means at least half of the first round draft picks won't start in the NBA each year. College teams can't match that kind of depth.

Since: Mar 11, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2008 10:29 am

Dear Gary ...

The 2004-05 Tar Heels had 4 lottery picks (started 3) and had 7 drafted overall. This years UNC team, while clearly a cut above it's contemporaries, will be hard-pressed to match that...

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