A key point is that we shouldn't be comparing the kind of college players these guys were, we need to focus on the fact that they changed their bodies and games to make it in the NBA.
For example, Orlando Magic JJ Redick would DESTROY Duke POY JJ Redick. Duke JJ Redick would not be able to breath as pro JJ Redick d'ed him up, and Duke JJ Redick would bounce of NBA JJ Redick as he tried to cover him thanks to the pounds of lean muscle he has added to his frame. Pro JJ would blow past college JJ as if his feet were mired in cement.
That's why the Wizards would kill Kentucky, or any collection of college pros you put in front of them. It's also why, in 2 years, a 5 of Davis, Teague, Kidd-Gilchrest, Jones and Lamb could probably win a game against the current Wizards starting 5, they should all be pros and will have pro bodies and pro seasoning by then.
It reminds me of the anecdote of Dahntay coming back to Duke during his rookie year in the NBA and doing whatever he wanted against our Final Four 2004 squad. The guys on the team couldn't get over the difference from his just being in the NBA for 4 months. It was like a man against boys.
As an aside, this also provides an argument for guys leaving early rather than staying in college to continue developing. The rate at which they can develop in the NBA is much, much faster, with the strong caveat that they have to be good enough to stay on a roster and be given a chance. If they fall below that threshold they'll likely drop out of the league and wish they had stayed in college.
We had this conversation on this very site ten years ago about the Duke Blue Devils and a particularly sad-sack Chicago Bulls team.
Duke lost to Indiana in the S16.
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---Over the Rhine
Ok, this thread got me curious about something I thought I had heard about... I couldn't remember if the sport was football or basketball but wikipedia helped me out:
Do any of you remember this being played? They seriously had a preseason game with the previous NFL champion vs. a team of just-graduated college seniors? Sounds like a bizarre concept given the nature of the game now. Interestingly, the NFL teams were 31-9-2 in the series..
I just wanted to quickly chime in and praise the posters who have pointed out the advantage NBA guys have in terms of seasoning, experience, and physical maturity.
What people sometimes fail to consider in these kind of absurd scenarios is that a professional male athlete tends to reach his physical peak in his mid-late 20s. Female athletes generally reach their peak 5 or so years earlier (which is one reason female tennis and golf is often dominated by teens -- something you never see in the male sports).
So, when we look at the Wizard's roster versus the Kentucky one and we say "it is men playing against boys," that is absolutely the case. When we talk about some of these Kentucky kids being better pro prospects than anyone on the Wiz or Hornets rosters, and I think a couple of them are, it is worth noting that it will likely take a couple years in the NBA for those top "prospects" to reach anything close to their potential.
The notion that the Wiz would not be a prohibitive favorite to win the NCAA tournament is a joke. No, they would not be a sure thing, but I would give them at least a 75% chance of winning - perhaps even higher. I doubt anyone would have given Kentucky or any of the great teams in recent NCAA history more than maybe a 25 or 30% chance of winning the NCAA tourney.
It is fun to laugh and dream and talk about a really great college team versus a pro one, but it would be a joke of a mismatch. Saying otherwise is just foolish.
-Jason "I recall thinking the same thing about 1999 Duke... which could not even beat the last college team it faced" Evans
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And on top of that, you add the size (these guys are all as big or much bigger at the same positions, physical maturity, and additional strength training, practice time, and exposure to much better competition. The Wizards would regularly mop the floor with the Wildcats and any other team in college basketball. They could potentially lose a game against a #1 seed or a team that just couldn't miss from 3. But it'd be a very rare event and it would be the biggest upset ever.
And I think that 1999 team would have gotten destroyed by this Wizards team.
There's also the fact the NBA players are grown men in their physical prime, while college players are still kids. Someone like Raja Bell would the runaway NPOY if you put him on a college team.
Remember when they brought in the "USA select" team to scrimmage the national team, and the college guards couldn't even get the ball across halfcourt vs. Westbrook and Rondo? Just because Marquis Teague may eventually be a decent NBA player doesn't mean he wouldn't get absolutely destroyed today, versus current NBA players.
Jaded Wizards fans like myself will appreciate this one. A Washington fan, tired of the Wizards' recent tendency to blow fourth quarter leads, posted this gem on Dan Steinberg's Washington Post Sports Bog:
Pretty sure we crush Kentucky here. We're almost always up after 40 minutes.
Now, if we're playing 48, we might have problems.
Andre Dawkins: “People ask me if I can still shoot, and I ask them if they can still breathe. That’s kind of the same thing.”
well, hypothalamusly speaking, which rules (spoken and non-spoken) and which referees would we be using in this imaginary matchup?
"Either we're going down, or they are....... Kirk out!"