Building a basketball team out of the Buffalo Bills
By Avery Duncan
Point guard: Frank Gore
Every team needs a veteran leader to be successful. The 36-year-old Frank Gore is just that for this fictional Bills basketball team. However, despite his age, and lack of height (5-foot-9), Gore is more than just that — he’s the go-to point guard to run the second-team. Due to his excellent vision and stocky frame (216-pound), he’d be an excellent fit to run the pick and roll and will always make those typical veteran decisions we laud.
Pro comp: Jameer Nelson
Shooting guard: Robert Foster
The thought process behind Robert Foster as the backup shooting guard goes as follow:
- He’s fast, really fast. He should wear defenses out by just running around set screens, spotting up, and shooting.
- He’s got reliable-enough hands, so he can dribble up the ball if need be and isn’t going to fumble it around.
- He’s 6-foot-2, and 198-pounds and has a 31-inch vertical to his name. Both not fantastic measurements, but they will do.
- He was undrafted coming out of college, so he’s got a chip on his shoulder.
Coming off the bench, Foster will be able to provide that spark-plug role to re-energize the offense. He’s going to be an impact player on the fast break, and though he’s not too big, his quickness and speed should help him keep up with opposing players.
Pro comp: Zhaire Smith (I guess)
Small forward: Dawson Knox
At 6-foot-4, 257-pounds, Dawson Knox isn’t exceptionally tall for the small forward position, but his size should help him defend more physical players. His real asset is that his dad, Red Knox, played ball for Vanderbilt in the 1960s, so he probably has a good feel for the game. Combine that with outstanding athleticism (34.5-inch vertical), and you got yourself a reliable, smart role player.
Pro comp: Vince Carter when he was on the Grizzlies
Power forward: Jason Croom
Fun fact: back in high school, Jason Croom was a starting forward for the Norcross High basketball team, which he eventually won a state championship with. There was a legitimate interest in him as a player, and he considered pursuing it over football. But, Tennessee offered a scholarship; then his senior season ended with a shoulder injury via a dunk. Nonetheless, he’s the backup four here as his injury has healed, and he was solid back then, averaging 9.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Pro comp: mini-Taj Gipson
Center: Trent Murphy
Trent Murphy gets the nod over the previously mentioned Nsekhe here because Nsekhe is 330-pounds and he isn’t. He’s essentially going to be the tough guy of the team — not particularly developed, but a hard-worker and physically relentless player in the restricted area. Though his frame is short by NBA standards at 6-foot-6, it’s well-filled out at 260-pounds, which suits his bully-style of play. He won’t be afraid to foul out.
Pro comp: Aron Baynes minus his height
Third-string guard: Matt Barkley
Matt Barkley won’t play much — as he’s a third-string point guard — but when he does, he’s about as high-quality as you can get. The 28-year-old doesn’t have a high ceiling, but he’s going to give the coach some efficient minutes off the bench. He’s a savvy veteran, can read the floor well, knows when to pass the rock, and his teammates like him enough — not as much as the starters though.
Pro comp: Steve Blake
Third-string wing: Darryl Johnson
Darryl Johnson is extremely raw, but he has upside to be a star if he puts all together. At 6-foot-6, 253-pounds with nearly 34-inch arms, his body is ready. He’s strong and has some explosiveness to his step too, but that’s about it. Before he can see real minutes, he’ll need to watch some film and grind at practice. But there is star upside there. I image he’d be an excellent fast break player and a fiesty dunker.
Pro comp: Rockets Josh Smith
Third-string big: Mitch Morse
Why not put an actual center at the center position? Mitch Morse is the starter for the actual Bills there, so he wins the job. He’s also got good size — albeit not NBA tall — at 6-foot-6 and 304-pounds. He’s an extremely aware player and brings grit to the table. He’ll be the emergency screen-setter and can continue to set a physical mindset. Like Connor McDermott previously, the issue with him is conditioning.
Pro comp: A thicker Reggie Evans
And that’s the Bills basketball team. As I write this sentence, I’m wondering why I spent so much time doing this. Nonetheless, if you see these 13 Bills show up to your local court, you may want to build a formidable squad around yourself.
*Note: Can football be here already?