By Jonathan Hartzell, NBA.com
Just for fun, we decided to see which states produce the best NBA players. Then we created the best hypothetical teams that could be put together from players that were born in those states. Not surprisingly, the most populous states in sunny climes are well represented in our top 10, and a team full of All-Stars from a golden West Coast state runs away with the No. 1 spot. Here’s the rundown from 10th place up to No. 1:
Amar’e Stoudemire leads team Florida.
PG – Brandon Knight – 13.1 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3.2 rpg (career averages)
SG – Vince Carter – 20.8 ppg, 3.8 apg, 5.0 rpg
SF – Chandler Parsons – 12.8 ppg, 2.9 apg, 5.1 rpg
PF – Amar’e Stoudemire – 21.3 ppg, 1.4 apg, 8.6 rpg
C – Larry Sanders – 6.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.9 bpg
Bench: Marreese Speights, Marquis Daniels, Reggie Evans, Trevor Ariza, Udonis Haslem, Keyon Dooling, Steve Blake
Overview: Team Florida is led by Stoudemire of the New York Knicks and Parsons of the Houston Rockets. They would be tough to score on in the paint, but guard depth would be a clear problem for this squad.
9. New Jersey
J.R. Smith leads streaky team New Jersey.
PG – MarShon Brooks – 8.5 ppg, 1.6 apg, 2.4 rpg
SG – J.R. Smith – 13.2 ppg, 2.1 apg, 3.2 rpg
SF – Gerald Henderson – 11.3 ppg, 1.8 apg, 3.1 rpg
PF – Kenneth Faried – 11.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg
C – Andrew Bynum – 11.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Bench: David West, Earl Clark, Tyshawn Taylor, Jason Thompson, Chris Copeland, Randy Foye
Overview: New Jersey certainly would be an exciting team to watch. However, led by Smith of the Knicks and Bynum of the Cleveland Cavaliers, they would be an extremely streaky squad that could defeat or lose to any team on any given night.
Dwight Howard and Josh Smith finally would be able to play on the same team.
PG – Toney Douglas – 8.6 ppg, 2. apg, 2.3 rpg
SG – Jodie Meeks – 8.0 ppg, 0.9 apg, 2.2 rpg
SF – Al-Farouq Aminu – 6.3 ppg, 1.0 apg, 5.2 rpg
PF – Josh Smith – 15.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.1 bpg
C – Dwight Howard – 18.3 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 2.2 bpg
Bench: Derrick Favors, , J.J. Hickson, Andrew Goudelock, Jae Crowder, Jordan Hill, Chris Singleton
Overview: Georgia is able to construct one of the best frontcourts in the United States with Smith and Howard. These two friends since high school would have their way around the rim, but the limited guard depth may prove to be too much to overcome.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Bosh would create an extremely offensive frontcourt.
PG – Daniel Gibson – 7.8 ppg, 2.0 apg, 2.0 rpg
SG – Wesley Matthews – 13.4 ppg, 1.2 spg, 2.9 rpg
SF – Jimmy Butler – 6.6 ppg, 1.0 apg, 3.1 rpg
PF – Chris Bosh – 19.5, 2.1 apg, 8.9 rpg
C – LaMarcus Aldridge – 18.3 ppg, 1.0 bpg, 7.8 rpg
Bench: DeAndre Jordan, Quincy Acy, Mike Dunleavy, Kendrick Perkins, Emeka Okafor, Ronnie Price, Darrell Arthur
Overview: While Georgia may have a more dangerous starting frontcourt, the bench depth of Texas allows them to claim the seventh spot. Bosh, Aldridge, and Matthews would be able to handle most of the scoring with Jordan, Perkins, and Okafor being huge bodies to have come off the bench.
Kobe Bryant leads team Pennsylvania.
PG – Tyreke Evans – 17.5 ppg, 4.8 apg, 4.8 rpg
SG – Kobe Bryant – 25.5 ppg, 4.8 apg, 5.3 rpg
SF – Michael-Kidd Gilchrist – 9.0 ppg, 1.5 apg, 5.8 rpg
PF – Marcus Morris – 6.8 ppg, 0.7 apg, 3.1 rpg
C – Markieff Morris – 7.8 ppg, 1.2 apg, 4.7 rpg
Bench: Dion Waiters, Kyle Lowry, Dejuan Blair, Jameer Nelson, Lavoy Allen, Hakim Warrick, John Salmons
Overview: Pennsylvania is led by an intriguing backcourt of Evans and Bryant which would take some of the pressure off their tiny frontcourt. But Pennsylvania could be tough to beat if the Morris twins are able to hold their own and Dion Waiters provides a spark off the bench.
5. North Carolina
John Wall and Chris Paul would have their way with opposing defenses.
PG – Chris Paul – 18.6 ppg, 9.8 apg, 2.4 spg
SG – John Wall – 16.9 ppg, 8.0 apg, 1.5 spg
SF – Kent Bazemore – 2.0 ppg, 0.4 rpg, 0.4 apg
PF – John Henson – 6.0 ppg, 0.7 bpg, 4.7 rpg
C – Hassan Whiteside – 1.5 ppg, 0.8 bpg, 2.1 rpg
Bench: Ishmael Smith, Anthony Morrow, Eric Maynor, Darius Johnson-Odom
Overview: Yes. I know John Wall would be a weird, undersized shooting guard. But his and Paul’s speed would be nearly impossible to slow down and with the emerging Henson in the frontcourt, North Carolina could surprise some people.
LeBron James would be even more outstanding with Stephen Curry on his team.
PG – Stephen Curry – 19.2 ppg, 6.1 apg, 1.7 spg
SG – Kevin Martin – 17.8 ppg, 2.0 apg, 3.3 rpg
SF – LeBron James – 27.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.9 apg
PF – Jared Sullinger – 6.0 ppg, 0.8 apg, 5.9 rpg
C – Byron Mullens – 8.4 ppg, 1.0 apg, 4.8 rpg
Bench: Luke Babbitt, Kosta Koufos, Norris Cole, Daequan Cook
Overview: James and Curry lead team Ohio and besides help from Kevin Martin, there wouldn’t be much more than those two scoring for this team. But those two are more than enough and James passing the ball out to Curry for countless 3-pointers would be beautiful to watch.
3. New York
Carmelo Anthony leads team New York.
PG – Kemba Walker – 15.2 ppg, 5.9 apg, 1.7 spg
SG – Danny Green – 8.7 ppg, 1.3 apg, 2.9 rpg
SF – Carmelo Anthony – 25.0 ppg, 3.1 apg, 6.4 rpg
PF – Joakim Noah – 9.4 ppf, 9.1 rpb, 1.5 bpg
C – Roy Hibbert – 11.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Bench: Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris, Jimmer Fredette, Greg Oden, Andray Blatche, Taj Gibson, Channing Frye, Metta World Peace, Maurice Harkless
Overview: Team New York is loaded with talent at every position and they have some of the best depth in the nation. Noah and Hibbert would be an unmatched force inside and Anthony would be able to handle most of the scoring. The main problem would be a lack of 3-point shooters but with a starting lineup like theirs, it could be worked around.
Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade would be nearly impossible to defend.
PG – Derrick Rose – 21.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 6.8 apg
SG – Dwyane Wade – 24.7 ppg, 6.1 apg, 1.8 spg
SF – Iman Shumpert – 8.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.4 spg
PF – Andre Iguodala – 15.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.7 spg
C – Anthony Davis – 13.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Bench: Tony Allen, Steve Novak, Will Bynum, Evan Turner, Patrick Beverley, Luke Harangody, Jeremy Pargo, Will Bynum
Overview: Team Illinois and team New York are relatively equal talent wise with New York having much better depth. But the backcourt of Rose and Wade would have their way with New York and the frontcourt defense from Shumpert, Iguodala, and Davis would be incredibly difficult to defeat, no matter how undersized Iggy is at power forward.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love lead team California.
PG – Russell Westbrook – 19.9 ppg, 6.9 apg, 4.8 rpg
SG – James Harden – 16.2 ppg, 3.3 apg, 3.8 rpg
SF – Paul George – 12.9 ppg, 1.5 spg, 5.8 rpg
PF – Kevin Love – 17.3 ppg, 1.9 apg, 12.2 rpg
C – Tyson Chandler – 8.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Bench: Paul Pierce, Andre Miller, Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin, DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Jennings, Klay Thompson, Jrue Holiday, Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard
Overview: Is there any argument that California doesn’t have the best team? Led by the backcourt duo of Westbrook and Harden, the Golden State has All-Stars at every starting position and three on the bench. They’re an excess of talent who would be nearly impossible for any other state to defeat.
And just for argument’s sake, here’s the best roster the rest of the world could assemble:
PG – Kyrie Irving (Australia) – 20.6 ppg, 5.7 apg, 1.3 spg
SG – Tony Parker (France) – 17.1 ppg, 6.0 apg, 3.0 rpg
SF – Andrei Kirilenko (Russia) – 12.4 ppg, 1.4 spg, 1.9 bpg
PF – Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) – 22.6 ppg, 2.6 apg, 8.2 rpg
C – Marc Gasol (Spain) – 13.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Bench: Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands), Steve Nash (South Africa), Manu Ginobili (Argentina), Pau Gasol (Spain), Ricky Rubio (Spain), Omer Asik (Turkey), Ersan Ilyasova (Turkey), Nikola Pekovic (Montenegro), Luol Deng (Great Britain), Nicolas Batum (France)