It's a familiar pastime amongst American sports fans, pondering just how good a US Mens National Team would be if the very best American athletes were footballers. Now of course some skills wouldn't translate. The ability to dunk a basketball in traffic, or hit a ball 450 feet, or overpower tremendously strong 320lb men might not translate at all to soccer.
But a good bit of it might. Sometimes there are guys who are so athletic, and so dedicated, that they might well work out as soccer pros. Steve Nash (while Canadian) is a good example. So is Hakeem, a goalie before discovery by a U of H alumni.
As the Fifa Intestinal Fever continues unabated at what has been, so far, a brilliant World Cup, in the spirit of things here is my ALL NBA USMNT:
GK - Dwight Howard
CB - Paul George
CB - Anthony Davis
RB - Russell Westbrook
LB - John Wall
Central Mid fielder - Chris Paul (I had Beverley here but was convinced otherwise.)
LM - James Harden
RM - Kahwai Leonard
Attacking Midfielder - LeBron James
Striker - Kevin Durant
Striker - Steph Curry
Explanatory notes -
Dwight's reflexes, strength, jumping and ability to catch the ball are the best in the NBA.
George and Davis, huge, fast, strong, deadly in the air. A horror on set pieces for the opposition with LeBron and KD in the mix already.
I like the two way versatility of Wall and Westbrook, and overlaps would be scary.
I'm now putting in Paul as the other central midfielder - exceptional distribution, great defense, and otherworldly flopping ability. The downside? You never go past the 2nd round of anything. Honestly though he's a guy I could easily see as an actual soccer star, unlike many of this list who are probably just too tall.
You might sub in Beverley here for his tremendous workrate and tenacious defending. Not at the same overall level as the other guy, but a real "engine".
I'm actually a bit worried by Harden on the edge, as I think he wouldn't defend in soccer either, but I think the rest of the defense is so stout, especially with LeBron in midfield, that Harden's firepower, attacking, and passing would overcome that easily. Kawaii Leonard is in to provide speed, power and defense down the side.
LeBron is a scary-huge-fast-box-to-box player in an attacking role, but he could drop back and shore up the D if needed.
For the strikers I wanted some height and some craftiness. Durant in the air, Curry on the slick dribbling attack. Both have range. It was a real question of whether to add Curry or Lillard, but I went with Curry, as I think he's slicker on the ball.
(At last, a team taller than the Germans.)
So there you go. Let's see your list.