That was the question we posed to our national experts this week, and the answers were divergent and highly interesting.
I selected De'Aaron Fox as my point guard because I think long-term he is the best lead guard prospect in this class, but also the best current one. He has terrific size, athleticism and is starting to shoot the ball well. But what I also like the pressure he can put on the opposition with his terrific on ball defense. Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum give me two different wings. Jackson is a terrific athlete who can really defend, while the Duke-bound Tatum is a very good all around scorer with an impressive skill set.
Giles and Bolden will anchor the post for me. Giles is a versatile forward who can play inside and out, but also is a terrific rebounder, while Bolden has offensive potential, rebounds well and will protect the rim.
The first thing is I want the best player on my team, so I am taking Harry Giles. I am going to go small and play him at the five, and that is because I want to be able to switch everything on defense and I could do that with my lineup, which is incredibly versatile on the defensive end.
Also, I want to make sure I have shooting, so I selected Ferguson. Ferguson struggles to handle it, but the Washington-bound Fultz and Jackson can do that and Jackson especially is a phenomenal passer. Fultz isn't a true point, but he gets into the lane and can create for others.
With Jackson, I also want someone who doesn't necessarily have to have the ball in his hands all the time at point guard, and that is Fultz as well. Bridges makes the list because I demand toughness and his versatility combined with toughness makes him one of the most unique matchups in the class.
PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Terrance Ferguson
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Josh Jackson
C: Harry Giles
As good as De'Aaron Fox, Markelle Fultz and Dennis Smith are, I wanted the best passer I could find because of the scoring options I have at the 2-5. UCLA pledge Lonzo Ball is the best passer in the country, so he fits my team perfectly. On the wing I have an elite 3&D guy at the two, a big time scorer at the three, and a freak athlete defender at the four, all of which can play and defend anywhere from the 2-4, so their positions are pretty much meaningless.
At center, I've got a high level rebounder and scorer, and any concerns on the rebounding side will be alleviated with Jackson and Ball, two of the best rebounders at their positions in the country. I have shooting with Ferguson and Tatum, passing with Ball and Jackson, rebounding with Ball, Jackson and Giles and athleticism pretty much across the board.
I want two absolute dynamite playmakers in the backcourt, and Fox and Jackson bring exceptional athleticism, scoring, defensive potential and length. At the risk of having no classical playmaking point guard, I’ll simply hand the ball to the guards and ask them create for themselves and others.
Kyle Guy might seem to be an odd choice, given that he’s ranked outside the top 50. But because Fox and Jackson are so forward in their playing style, I want someone who’s comfortable — yet aggressive — knocking down perimeter jump shots. Virginia pledge Guy buried 45 percent on threes this year on the Adidas circuit and is my choice as a zone buster.
In the frontcourt, Giles is an easy call simply because he’s the best big man in the class. He does so many things well and impacts the defense on every possession. He’s also a battler, a trait also exhibited by his running mate Edrice “Bam” Adebayo. I prefer post players who are athletic and tough, and Adebayo easily can punch his own weight as a center yet also step out to the high post and allow Giles to do his thing inside.
Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this article