Paul Pierce says Duke could beat the Cavaliers in a game of college basketball's best vs. the NBA's worst teams

It's the best hypothetical question in sports: Could (insert dominant college team) beat (insert woeful professional team) if they played?

Most times when it's brought up, the discussion centers around whether Nick Saban and Alabama could beat the hapless Browns, or the Nathan Peterman-led Bills. But a new, more interesting hypothetical posed this week in the wake of Duke's dominant defeat of No. 2 Kentucky is this: Could Duke take down the Cleveland Cavaliers as currently constituted?

Hall of Famer Paul Pierce tackled that question on ESPN with a surprising answer: Yes.

"They [Duke] could beat Cleveland," said Pierce. "You head it here first."

Chauncey Billups took umbrage with Pierce's stance, but it's not as wild a hypothetical as you might think. The Cavs are 1-10 and remain indefinitely without their best player, Kevin Love. Duke, meanwhile is 1-0, potentially have the top-3 draft picks for 2019 on its roster, and look bound for greatness after bouncing an uber-talented Kentucky team going away.

If ever there were a chance to see Duke and Cleveland square off, sign me up. But in reality, it would never happen – and if it did, Cleveland would unquestionably have the upper hand. Yes, Duke has some talented youngsters at its 1-4 spots that could one day be great in the NBA, but Cleveland's 1-10 roster makeup would be far too much for the Blue Devils to handle over the course of a game. 

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