The University of North Carolina is known for the putting out quality talent in the NBA. The likes of Bob McAdoo, James Worthy, Michael Jordan and Brad Daugherty, were stars in the NBA. However, before these players were NBA stars, they were a part of the greatest basketball program on the face of Earth – the North Carolina Tar Heels.
There are several former Tar Heel players currently playing in the NBA. If I was going to be the coach, it would be quite a daunting task to arrange a team full of Tar Heels. There are a few decisions that I would struggle making in this scenario, which include which players would sit on the bench and the starting point guard position (the hardest decision).
Before I discuss who would be on my bench, I need to share with you who my starters would be. I am choosing my starting lineup based on each player’s skill set, their position, and how well they are performing this season. It is a toss-up at the point guard position. Do I go with Tywon Lawson or Raymond Felton? Both players are great leaders. Both players are quick guards, who know how to penetrate and dish. I would start Lawson, only because he plays with less talent on the Denver Nuggets compared to Felton. Felton plays with Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and Jason Kidd. Lawson does not play with as many all-stars and Olympic team members, outside of Andre’ Igoudala.
My starting shooting guard would be Danny Green. Green is a solid two-guard who defends well and hits open 3s consistently. Greg Popovich uses Danny quite well in his system.
The starting small forward would be Harrison Barnes. The Golden State Warriors are one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now. Stephen Curry is the leader of the team, whereas Harrison is one of his sidekicks. The situation at Golden State allows Barnes to come into his own and mature as a basketball player without feeling pressure to be “the man.”
The starting power forward would be Antawn Jamison. Jamison almost has 15 years experience in the NBA. Despite his tenure, Antawn still has the ability to put up 30 points in a game. Although he is overshadowed on a loaded Lakers squad, Jamison is the best option at power forward when it comes to my team of Tar Heel pros.
My starting center would be Rasheed Wallace. Yes, Rasheed has over 15 years of experience in the NBA. Yes, Rasheed came out of retirement to play for the New York Knicks this season. However, what Rasheed can do at the tender age of 38 is unbelievable. He still defends centers very well and his ability to hit open 3s has always been underrated (Dean Smith did not allow Rasheed to play on the perimeter at Carolina). His shooting ability spreads the defense. No other center on this team can do this, although they are more agile and athletic. I could have gone with Brendan Haywood or Tyler Zeller (my next choice), but neither one of these players can command the low post like Wallace.
My bench would consist of Raymond Felton (my sixth man), Marvin Williams, Brandan Wright, Wayne Ellington, Vince Carter, John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Jerry Stackhouse, Tyler Hansbrough, Kendall Marshall, Ed Davis and Brendan Haywood. My roster would have 17 players on it, as you can see. My second team would consist of Felton, Ellington, Williams, Wright, and Hansbrough. My third string would be Marshall, Carter, Stackhouse, Davis/Henson and Zeller. Initially, I wanted to do twelve players. However, I could not eliminate any of the Tar Heels. Like NBA teams do, I would have someone on the injured reserve list (IR), just in case of injury.
I think that a team full of Tar Heels would win a lot of games. There would not be a go-to player on this team, due to having so much talent. Similar to Roy Williams, my boys would RUN! My question to my readers is, who would you start on your team full of Tar Heel pros? Who would be on your second and third strings?