When watching football, you just about always hear the commentators talking about players boxing others out to make a catch. This is commonly used when talking about players such as Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham. All three are tight ends, but more importantly, all three are former basketball players. This got me thinking, who are some NBA players who would take the NFL by storm?
Honorable mentions –
Dwight Howard (DE) – Too soft
Andre Iguodala (TE) – Appears to lack hand-eye coordination at times
7. Derrick Rose (RB) – I watch Rose play and I can’t help but see a stud running back. The way he euro-steps through defenders suggests that he would be able to maintain his speed through cuts. When he drives towards the basket, he cradles the ball ensuring it doesn’t get stripped. Sure, he’s a little taller than most backs, but when he bursts through openings, he gets low enough to create that ideal center of gravity that a running back needs.
6. Andre Miller (QB) – Throughout his 14 year NBA career, Miller has established himself as one of the premier court generals we’ve ever seen. He’s not flashy, not overly athletic, but he quietly gets the job done. Ranking 10th all-time in assists, he’s demonstrated his unselfishness. He probably doesn’t have a cannon arm, but he always makes good decisions. Among players this year in the top 25 for assists, he has the 2nd lowest turnover average. I can’t imagine him putting up huge numbers, but he would be a quiet, yet efficient, mistake free quarterback.
5. Russell Westbrook (SS) – His unusual combination of size, strength and speed has strong safety written all over him. The 6’3″ point guard has ideal size for a prototypical safety. He plays low enough to the ground to meet a running back at the line. He definitely has the lateral quickness to beat any running back to the sideline. Speaking of sideline, he would never spend time there. Until his freak-accident where he tore his meniscus, Westbrook has never missed a game going back to high school. Not to mention, he can leap out of the gym, or in this case the stadium. I don’t know what his hands are like, so for now, I see a LaRon Landry type player.
4. Nate Robinson (FS) – Standing at 5’10” Robinson is much closer to typical football player size. He’s got more bounce than just about anyone in the NBA. To go along with that hangtime, he has a great ability to play the ball in the air, as LeBron James recently found out. The best part about the undersized basketball player, is that he plays with a chip on his shoulder. Lining up at free safety, he would be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. He would take it personally any time a quarterback threw his way. With his athleticism and will to win, I’d take Robinson 9 out of 10 times.
3. Metta World Peace (DE/LB) – Artest, as I still like to call him, is a big dude. He carries about 260 lbs. with him wherever he goes and with his large frame, he’d be a handful for an offensive lineman to try to contain. Artest lining up at defensive end would be a major concern for quarterbacks. With his size and defensive mentality, he’d get his hands on a lot of passes. He’s quicker than he gets credit for and just ask James Harden, he knows how to use his arms to get around someone. He just has the overall nastiness and tenacity to dominate the trenches.
2. Blake Griffin (TE) – Gonzalez, Gates and Graham. In addition to these three names starting with G, there is another similarity. They are the three most successful basketball players who ended up playing football. Griffin would fall in line to be the next. Throughout his career, he has averaged 10 rebounds a game, showing that he has a great nose for the ball and can go up and get it at its highest point. He’s a freakish athlete who simply would not be able to be denied in a jump ball situation. He’s deceptively fast and has great body control. He has huge hands which make the basketball look small, imagine how easily he’d snag a football out of the air. Imagine Griffin hanging on the cross-bar from his elbow after snagging a touchdown.
1. LeBron James (WR/TE) – Everyone knows about his two-sport dominance in high school. If he announced today that he wanted to play football, he would have 32 offers, each totaling over $100 million to come play wide receiver. At 6’8″ most would say he’s too tall, but I wouldn’t bet on that. He has the explosiveness to get off the line quickly, the speed to be a deep threat and the size to go up over anyone in the NFL, and I mean anyone. Consider how big Calvin Johnson looks, then add 3 inches. I have a hard time imagining your typical 6’0″ cornerback covering him on a goal-line fade.