Posted on: October 13, 2011 8:16 pm

NBA Roundtable: LeBron in the NFL?

By Matt Moore

When LeBron James took to Twitter this week to ask ESPN's John Clayton about the last date a player can sign with an NFL team as a free agent, the world went nuts. James was an All-State wide receiver in high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary's his junior year before committing full-time to basketball his senior season. He made an All-State ad where he appeared as a Browns receiver. He's known to love playing Madden. He frequently comments on the NFL. With the NBA lockout seemingly nowhere near a conclusion, could James actually be considering putting on cleats? Is he out of his "Decision"-making mind?

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll asked the Heat star if he knew how much rookies make in the NFL. James responded with "more than I'm making now," which of course fails to factor all of his income outside of his Heat salary, but nonetheless.Carroll was enthused. The Seahawks followed up Wednesday by producing a Twitter image of a Seahawks jersey for James. The King approved.

Debate has centered around whether James is skilled enough to make it on an NFL field, whether he's tough enough, whether he's brave enough. The more relevant argument, the one that ends it in totality is that James has guaranteed money coming to him from the Heat once the lockout ends, over $16 million per season, money that he would be risking with a stint in the NFL no matter how brief. Furthermore, there has been no indication that NFL officials would even grant a locked-out NBA player eligibility, though there could be legal challenges if James or any other player wanted to push the issue enough.

Our brethren at Eye on Football already explored the idea through the virtual world of Madden.

But still we wanted to consider the possibility of this dream, and what it would be like if the most polarizing figure in the NBA jumped to the gridiron. So we vomited it up in an email thread.

Matt Moore: So we know the reasons this won't happen. But let's treat it like us getting games before Jan.1. As a dream. What position do you see him at? What team? I love the idea of him as a Wildcat QB. He's got the arm. Everyone talks about the problem with progressions, but the man navigates bounce passes in traffic at full speed 10 times a night. He obviously wouldn't block. But Brinson put him as a receiving tight end. What do you think?

I also really want him to play for the Browns. It would just show how fickle fans are and how much people love football in this country. Plus every other team would be aiming to take his block off. that would be interesting.

Ben Golliver: I don't think you're totally crazy with the wildcat QB idea, although I'd like to see that in third-and-short and goal line situations more than anything, where you could really take advantage of his extension, explosiveness and potentially his leaping ability. I think as a quarterback in regular situations, he becomes a big target and he wouldn't have enough nearly enough passing skills and ability to read the defense to keep teams honest for four quarters. I guess I like him a lot better in space, either as a tight end or even a wide receiver. As I mentioned Wednesday night, his combination of height, size, speed, wingspan and athletic skills make him a match-up nightmare at the tight end position. He'd have to learn to take a hit, for sure, but if you're running him on crossing patterns and rolling your QB out, there's not a player in the NFL who can stay with him sideline-to-sideline and elevate high enough to disrupt a pass to him. At the goal line, lining him up outside for the jump ball fade would be an obvious strategy. He's winning that or commanding double coverage and opening things up elsewhere, no questions asked.

Royce Young: I only think it's natural that he plays wide receiver. To me, LeBron would just be the next Megatron. Big, strong and fast with great hands. He's played there before, is comfortable in that spot and would be really good, I think. Just makes sense.

A wildcat QB would be interesting, but I don't think LeBron's going to want to get hit. Which if he's just a third down receiver, he could catch his pass and get down quickly.

But if he were to be willing to play physical, how about him at defensive end? I mean, he's 6-8, 260. That's about the same size as Jared Allen (6-6, 270) and just a little lighter than Mario Williams (6-6, 290). LeBron would have incredible footwork and of course would be fast off the ball. If he was willing to hit, he could tear up some left tackles.

Moore: It's weird that everyone thinks he wouldn't want contact.

The bus isn't afraid of running over the deer. I think Wildcat in short yardage he could be killer.

Also, James> Tebow, we can all go ahead and agree on that, right?

Golliver: It just speaks to the nature of the sports -- basketball has devolved to the point where selling calls is a crucial part of games, especially late in games and especially in the postseason. If you put him in a sport where any form of weakness is discouraged and mocked I think we would see him evolve pretty quickly.

We haven't really decided what position he is best suited for psychologically. He's a playmaker in the NBA which would lead you to think he would be a QB but he's not totally reliable and has issues with making the right decisions when the stakes are highest. You want him running your 2-minute drill? You could argue that his level of fame, self-confidence (ego), and entourage combine to make him suited only for the wide receiver position, but that clashes with his expectations for his own usage rate, doesn't it? Come to think of it, he would be demanding the ball on every play a la Randy Moss within about four weeks, wouldn't he? Tight end -- the keep your head down, work hard all day, who cares about the credit position -- seems like one of the worst possible fits. Royce's idea of defensive end, a spot where he would be encouraged to throw chalk up in the air for his sack dance, actually makes a lot of sense from this standpoint.

Young: Well I guess it's that I can't entirely detach myself from reality. LeBron's not going to want to get hurt so if he played football, he'd want a position where he could be kept largely safe.

My thinking is though, wherever LeBron was, I think he'd be good. He just strikes me as a guy that's going to succeed pretty much anywhere. Defensive back, defensive end, tight end, wide receiver, fullback -- I don't think it necessarily matters. In football, superathletes rule the day and that's what LeBron is. He's like Jevon Kearse -- a freak.

Speaking of, maybe that's my natural comparison for LeBron at defensive end. The Freak 2.0. Like Ben said, complete with stupid celebratory sack dance.

Moore: He'd be a killer corner. Tackle people smaller than him. Yell at them when they drop it.

Wait, does Kevin Garnett want to play?
Posted on: August 23, 2011 5:40 pm

Lions WR Nate Burleson mocks LeBron/Cleveland

Posted by Royce Young

It might just be the preseason, but Lions wideout was fully prepared to bust out regular season quality touchdown celebration material. Against the Browns with the game in Cleveland, Burleson reeled in a pretty impressive touchdown catch from Matthew Stafford in the first quarter.

But with it being the preseason, that's not what anyone will remember. What they will remember, was Burleson's touchdown celebration. He did LeBron's powder toss right in front of the Dawg Pound. Oh no he di'nt.

Said Burleson after the game:

“It was a LeBron thing,” Burleson explained today. “I wasn’t going to do it. See, I had a plan. I had two celebrations planned. I was going to catch the ball, get up, do the shot by (Michael) Jordan (against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1989 NBA playoffs) and the three pumps. I’ve got it all down. I’ve seen it like a million times.

“But then when I got in the end zone, I was waiting for the ref, and then when I looked at the crowd, the Dawg Pound went crazy. They were cussing me out, talking about my momma, so I was like forget that. Where’s the powder at. Voom.”

Not gonna lie, the Jordan shot over Ehlo would've been WAY cooler, but there's no doubt that the LeBron wound is a bit more fresh and I'm sure a bit more biting. And like Burleson said, with Browns' fans giving him their best shot, he definitely wanted to bring out his best rebuttal And with Cleveland, LeBron's a pretty good rebuttal.

For shame the two teams don't play again this year. But maybe that's for the best for Cleveland. Because sadly for them, Burleson's still got quite a bit of material to choose from.

Via The Big Lead
Posted on: August 12, 2010 10:19 pm

Could Brandon Marshall play in the NBA?

Posted by Will Brinson

That's the question NBA blogger Matt Moore (what, even the Panthers quarterback needs a hobby) and I set out to answer in a series of emails Thursday night when Brandon Marshall announced he was heading to the NBA if the NFL lockout actually occurs. These are those emails.

Brinson : So, Brandon Marshall wants to play in the NBA when/if the NFL gets locked out. Unfortunately, there's not enough roster spots to go around for my NFL peeps to just make the jump (not to mention 75% of them couldn't make it in the L), but it kind of brings up an interesting question: which guys from the NFL could ball it up in the NBA?

I think at some point we've discussed crossing over the other way (Bron would be an epic tight end and Allen Iverson's high school tapes still make me drool) but who the hell is your first pick from the NFL pool if you're creating a basketball team? Or, alternately, could Marshall make it? At 6'4", 230 he at least has the body, if not the game.

Moore: As I said in my post (SYNERGY, BABY), he's got a combo-guard's body, but a small forward's skillset. Maybe with his soft hands and awareness, his handle would actually be pretty good. Wait, why does it sound like I'm building his Match.com profile? Anyway, his athleticism would transfer, and that's really the big determining factor. Athleticism is at a premium in the NBA. Work ethic and focus are much more important in the NFL, and that's why guys like Wes Welker likely wouldn't translate well. But Marshall is kind of an ideal candidate.

I'd be interested to see some of the taller, slimmer defensive ends at power forward and center. But even then, most would be too small. Julius Peppers is 6-7 and 283. That's small forward height with power forward weight. As a comparison, Josh Smith is 6-9 and 234. That weight differential is what would probably make the most awkward translation. Then again, most NBA players would likely be destroyed by the sheer physical nature of these guys.

Brinson: I love that you thought of Wes Welker, who's barely taller than me . (Although, hey, Earl Watson, Muggsy and Spud made it ...) But you're right -- Marshall would be a good candidate to shift leagues.

As would Peppers, who, I'm sure you know, played ball at Carolina. So he's got a pedigree, not to mention being a freakish athlete. Size would be an issue, though: you almost never see NFL players even sniff the high end of six feet.

Also, think about guys like Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates (who also played basketball). Gates is 6'4", 260 and fast, which makes him an unbelievable tight end prospect. But in the NBA? He'd be a fat shooting guard. (Or, so Gates doesn't beat me up next time I see him, how about "stocky"?)

Moore: I mean, that's really the issue. It's not a matter of the NBA guys being more athletic, it's that they're athletic at the things which make them good at basketball. How's that for some obvious analysis? Essentially, all those high flying catches you see in the NFL? That's an average NBA jump. That's "kind of trying for a rebound on the perimeter" in the NBA.

Now, the explosiveness would probably translate. The way tight ends, defensive linemen, linebackers, running backs, and receivers come out of their breaks? That would work well on the perimeter, provided they could dribble. Of course, they'd have to be able to finish at the rim, but then you'd think the hyper aggression might get them there.

Hey here's an idea. Ray Lewis versus Kevin Garnett. I know they're both past their primes, but think of the insanity on the floor.

Brinson: Yeah, I'm pretty confident that Gates can dunk without any real issue, but he's not going to be going against six-foot-tall DBs when he's attacking the hoop or boxing out people on the block. Or as you put it "kind of trying for a rebound on the perimeter," a.k.a. a "Vince Carter Rebound."

Here's the other problem -- how many shots is Gates going to get off with J-Smoove guarding him? Like 10 out of every 20 with a lot fadeaways mixed in?

How about instead, we just bring Tractor Traylor out of retirement and have he and Andre Smith go NBA Jam style with Garnett and Ray-Ray? Fat AND crazy -- that's something I can get behind.

Moore: Bringing it back home, if Marshall can shoot, then I think he could conceivably make a roster. I mean, how many guys at the end of a bench are there only for their athleticism? I think that the size differential between NFL (shorter and more muscle) and NBA (longer and lankier) means it's going to be difficult for anyone, but Marshall's receiver-to-combo-guard may be the model.

You know, if we can't get Tractor Traylor back.

Do you think Marshall could ball in the NBA? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @cbssportsnfl and @cbssportsnba .
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