Written By: Rory O’ Toole
Unfortunately most of us will never know the feeling of playing a game in the NBA and no, your MyPlayer on 2K does not count.
One thing the rest of us can relate to is playing in a game of pickup basketball. No matter your skill level, most people have participated in a sporadic game of basketball with friends, family, or whomever it may be to have fun and of course compete.
If you play in enough of these games over the years, you start to notice a specific type of player usually excels in these games. They tend to be confident, offensively inclined and possess some sort of natural ability, an X factor if you will, that sets them apart from everyone else.
At its core the NBA is no different and thus I present to you fine readers of the world the best pickup team we Earthlings have to offer.
Point Guard: Stephen Curry
Steph Curry plays NBA basketball like it’s pickup. Pulling up from 30 feet, crossing up defenders, throwing flashy passes, showing off some nice dance moves every now and again, these are the hallmarks of the best guy at your local YMCA, not of the NBA.
Yet here we are, blessed with the Baby Faced Assassin, a player that somehow merged the slick style of Pistol Pete Maravich with the deadly shooting of Ray Allen into the frame of a Foot Locker employee.
If Curry is on your squad you’re definitely going to be on the court for at least the next few games as his shooting and ball handling would simply be too much for anyone to handle, especially in the up and down style of play that’s emphasized during pick up.
Shooting Guard: JR Smith
USA Today/Sports Images
Every pick up team needs a dude who just doesn’t care. Somebody who rolls up to the gym on a hoverboard, doesn’t stretch and looks like he just hit a backwood before he hops on next. The most defense he’s going to play is lazily reaching in after his man blows by him but he’ll more than make up for it on the offensive end with his playmaking and fresh celebrations (which I may or may not have practiced in my room).
He’s also got way more tattoos than the rest of the guys on this list, like way more and just for that fact alone I feel compelled to put my boy on this list because what’s a pickup team without a dude shrouded in tats to intimidate the opposition? His handshake game is also choice and would prove to be a valuable asset on a pick up team according to my BS analytics.
JR Smith is shooting regardless of whether he’s 6 for 6 or 0 for 6 and that’s why we love him for the DM hall of famer that he is.
Small Forward: Kawhi Leonard
Sir Isaac Newton explained in his 1687 seminal work Mathematical Principles of Nature and Hooping that:
“It is a fundamental law of the universe that gentlemen with cornrows are either consummate rubbish or exquisite virtuosi. #FACTS. Don’t @ me.”
Kawhi Leonard clearly falls in the latter as he’s proven these last few years that he’s the best player on one of the best teams in the league and the greatest player with cornrows since Allen Iverson was crossing people up and making David Stern nervous. The 2014 Finals MVP is arguably the top defender in the NBA and has developed into an almost equally unstoppable force on the offensive end as well.
If Kawhi is running with you he’s going to shut down the best player on the other team and get buckets in such a ruthlessly efficient manner that it’ll only further the suspicion that Kawhi Leonard is in fact a cyborg.
Power Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Do you remember that first time you realized you would never be good enough to play in the NBA? In my case, as probably yours, you played against someone so big, so fast and so skilled that it made you question if you were running on some worse software of DNA and sent you down a spiral of self pity and jealousy concluding in acceptance that you’ll never be that good so maybe you should shoot for something more realistic like being an accountant or um blogger.
That’s how NBA players feel after playing against Giannis. It’s just not fair that a 7 footer could be that fast at that size with that amount of swagg.
He really is the NBA version of that random foreign guy in pickup who balls out on everyone and has a name that’s so difficult to pronounce that you just go with a nickname like Eugene or in this case The Greek Freak. The man with a long name with even longer arms has taken the league by storm with his video game level athleticism, incredible defense and a love of smoothies to fuel it all.
courtesy of Twitter
I mean look at this guy! It’s like he’s playing against a CYO team coached by Kwame Brown! If you’ve got Giannis on your pick up team, it’s OVER.
Center: Anthony Davis
Have you forgotten about The Brow?
It’s okay, a lot of people have these days, as they’ve been swept up by Porzingis, seduced by Embiid, fallen for Towns, experimented with some Whiteside and of course engaged in an affair with a Frenchmen by the name of Gobert.
BUT I HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN YOU AD!
The Brow is still absolutely crushing it for the (still can’t believe this is the actual team name) Pelicans as he averaged a cool 28 and 12 on 50% shooting and he’s still only 24 years old! The dude is a danger to go off for a triple double any night and is practically impossible to defend one on one when he’s fully healthy. He’s probably the best alley oop jammer in the league and he’s got a fantastic basketball IQ to go along with his alien like athleticism.
He would be an absolute monster in pickup and practical guarantee that a W is on the way with The Brow on your side.