Could All-Gator Team Compete in NBA?

There was a time when it was special to have two or three Gators in the NBA. Nowadays it's completely different since the Billy Donovan era has sent a number of players to compete at the next level. As another NBA season draws to a close, I started wondering just how good an All-Gator team might be in the league.

Last year eleven former Gators played in the NBA. I'm taking a little bit of license here and counting Kwame Brown since he did sign with the Gators though he never made it to Gainesville. Those eleven guys combined for 83 points, which isn't enough to win many games, but they also combined for an impressive 59 rebounds. The All-Gator team ends up being young, athletic and very affordable ($45.8 million combined salaries). It also turns out to be deep in the front court and really thin at guard.

Here's how I would line ‘em up:

Center, Al Horford ----- The man who should have been the NBA rookie of the year had an impressive debut campaign with solid productivity (10.1/9.7) both on the scoreboard and the glass. Ideally Horford wouldn't have to play center, but there's no better choice.

Power Forward, David Lee ----- If you like effort you gotta love Horford and Lee banging together, just like they did three years ago. Lee (10.8/8.9) has been very productive for the woeful New York Knicks. Lee gives you another guy who can run the floor and often beats his man down court in transition.

Small Forward, Mike Miller ----- Remembering Miller when he first arrived at UF it's hard to believe he's now a 28-year-old NBA veteran. His 16.4 scoring average last season is tops among all Gators in the pros. Miller is also a good rebounder (6.7) from the "3" spot and gives this team a competitive front court.

Shooting Guard, Corey Brewer ----- This is a glaring weakness for the Gators in the NBA as no Florida player has truly emerged. Brewer should be the backup to Miller on this team, but he's the only option here. He struggled in his first NBA season (5.8/3.7) and must figure out a way to put some meat on those bones, but he can still be a terrific defensive player.

Point Guard, Jason Williams ----- J-Will has had a solid NBA career and this season averaged 8.8 points and 4.6 assists. He was turnover prone throughout his early year but has become an effective point guard with a 3.37 assist/turnover ratio.

It's not a bad starting five, but perimeter scoring is going to be an issue. One saving grace is that the All-Gator NBA team will have excellent depth in the post.

Udonis Haslem ----- One of the great success stories in the history of Gator basketball, Haslem has been a very productive forward for the Miami Heat. He's coming off career best stats (12/9.1) despite missing close to half the season with injuries.

Joakim Noah ----- His escapades in downtown Gainesville are sorta emblematic of the trying 12 months Noah has had since declaring for the NBA draft. The 6-11 ball of energy struggled with his transition to the NBA, as well as with the indifference of some of his highest paid teammates. By the end of the year his numbers were modest (6.6/5.6), but he finished strongly in his last ten games (11.3/7.8).

Kwame Brown ----- He was the No. 1 pick in the entire draft and has been saddled with that burden ever since. That burden is pretty heavy when you consider that 17 players in that draft have higher career scoring averages than Brown's 7.5. That list includes Gilbert Arenas, Pau Gasol, Jason Richardson and Richard Jefferson among others. Last season Brown was traded for the second time from the Lakers to Memphis… in order to put that same Gasol in a Lakers uniform.

Matt Bonner ----- He has a nice gig coming off the bench for the San Antonio Spurs. Bonner (4.8/2.8) give this make believe team some shooting off the bench, and they'll need it.

Taurean Green ----- It has to be some sort of record that Green played for four teams in his first pro season. He played for Portland and Denver plus their developmental league teams. He'll have a battle to stay in the league just about every year.

Chris Richard ----- Richard has an NBA body, work ethic and toughness, but not the skills. Still he can be a useful guy providing effort on the practice floor and toughness in the paint. His surprising shooting touch is not going to be on display very often.

So there you have it, eleven Gators all on one team going through the NBA season. The absence of a true shooting guard and depth in the backcourt would certainly doom this group to the lottery. But they'd be a lot easier to keep up with if they were on one team!

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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