In the 2015-16 season, white players made up 23% of the league, but most of them are foreign-born. The number of white Americans in the NBA seems to be dwindling every year. So here I’m going to fill a 12-man roster with the best white American players I can find at this stage of their careers and predict how many games they’d win versus the rest of the NBA. With limited options, I thought this would be an interesting challenge to see how they’d stack up.
PG – T.J. McConnell
McConnell averaged 8.2 assists per 36 minutes last year as a rookie for the 76ers, a team that it’s not exactly easy to rack up assists on. He protects the ball as well, finishing with a 2.65 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. McConnell’s scrappy play should translate to some tough defense, which will be important on a team that lacks solid defensive players. He’s not much of a scorer, but I believe the rest of the starting lineup will be able to fill it up and McConnell can be a facilitator.
SG – J.J. Redick
Redick has steadily improved each and every season. He shot a career-high 47.5% from the 3-point line last year, good for second in the league, while averaging 16.3 ppg. Redick makes everyone’s life on offense that much easier with his great shooting ability and off-ball movement. The defense always has to key on him running around screens and be aware of where he’s at on the court, therefore allowing others to find openings.
SF – Gordon Hayward
On this team, Gordon Hayward would finally have some help on the offensive end. Coming off the best season (19.7 ppg, 5.0 reb, 3.7 apg) of his career, I think Hayward should be the star of this team. At 26 years old, Hayward is just now entering his prime. Much like with the Jazz, a lot will be asked of him at the end of games because he’s one of the few guys on the roster that can create his own shot.
PF – Kevin Love
Kevin Love has received a lot of criticism since joining the Cleveland Cavaliers for not being as good as most anticipated he would be. However, on a team where he would be the first or second option, I think he still has the ability to average 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. Don’t forget that just a couple seasons ago Love averaged 26/12.
C – Mason Plumlee
Plumlee had a really nice playoffs for the Portland Trail Blazers. He fits in well with this roster with his ability to finish around the basket, protect the rim and even pass. During the postseason, Plumlee averaged 11.8 rebounds as well as 4.8 assists in just 28 mpg.
PF – Ryan Anderson
Anderson struck gold this offseason for $80 million with the Houston Rockets. He’s the prototypical stretch 4 that has always been able to score, averaging 18.1 points per 36 minutes for his career. I got him playing the 6th man role that he was put in the last few years with the Pelicans. The biggest struggle throughout his career has been staying healthy.
SF – Chandler Parsons
Parsons never reached expectations in his two years with the Mavs, but this didn’t stop him from signing a max deal with the Grizzlies for $94 million over 4 years. Unfortunately for him, that max contract isn’t landing him a starting spot on this team.
SG/SF – Kyle Korver
Korver struggled a bit with his shot last year (maybe showing his age), but he’s still one of the premier deep threats in the NBA. With him or Redick on the court at all times, this team should be able to spread the floor nicely.
C – Cody Zeller
Zeller was close to grabbing a starting spot ahead of Plumlee, but ultimately I like him coming off the bench. Last season, Zeller averaged 8.7 points to go along with 6.2 rebounds in 24 minutes per game.
PG – Kirk Hinrich
I’m hoping Hinrich has enough in the tank to give 12-15 minutes per game as the backup point guard entering his 14th NBA season. He’s a tough player that can run the offense and play good defense, but I don’t expect much more out of him.
PF/C – Frank Kaminsky
Kaminsky is another big guy that can shoot from deep. I liked what I saw from him off the bench last season for the Hornets.
PF – David Lee
Every team needs a washed up veteran at the end of the bench, right?
Gregg Popovich and Brad Stevens
Popovich, the five-time NBA champion and three-time Coach of the Year, with the best young coach at his side would be far and away the best coaching staff in the league. But how far would they be able to take this team?
I strongly believe this team would make the playoffs. Point guard play and team defense is clearly an issue, but they’d be a very tough team to guard. There are so many shooters that they would be able to create a lot of space for Hayward to drive and Love/Plumlee to roll to the basket. Their limitations would most likely keep them from advancing past the first round, but my prediction is 46 wins.