Before an NBA player ever achieves global recognition, we must remember they were their hometown's hero first. In reality, this glory of representing one's hometown quickly fades away, as almost all NBA players end up playing for cities with which they had no previous affiliation. Just for fun, let's pretend each player that is drafted will play in their home city. While I previously made a list on this topic using current NBA players, this list will include legends and retired players, which should add a whole new aspect to the scenario. We will create and analyze each NBA franchise's greatest all-time hometown starting lineup.
Let's imagine what the best players ever from different cities would look like playing together on the same team, at the same time, at the height of their careers in their own town. Hopefully you'll learn something about your your hometown team, or something about your favorite players. No matter where you are reading this from, I hope this sparks some interesting conversations. This should be fun!
This is every NBA team's all-time starting lineup if players played for their hometown. Some teams have been ommited due to a lack of players, but feel free to comment and let us know who we forgot.
23 Atlanta Hawks
Starting lineup: Norm Nixon, World B. Free, Mike Mitchell, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Dwight Howard
While this team is obviously very talented, the question that remains is whether this team would be able to compete with the other incredible teams in this alternate reality NBA? The Hawks would have great scorers such as World B. Free, Mike Mitchell, and Abdur-Rahim putting up nice numbers, so scoring wouldn't be much of a problem. Defensively, the Hawks have some hard workers who wouldn't just allow anybody to score with ease.
Norm Nixon would be in passing heaven, as he could facilitate easily since he was a great passer in his day. Dwight Howard was a dominant center at one point in his career, and having him would be a great addition to the team. The Hawks would be a solid team, probably middle of the pack, but could anybody on this team really bring home consistent wins? Overall the Hawks would fall well below several other teams on this list.
22 Boston Celtics
Starting lineup: Michael Carter-Williams, Dana Barros, Vinny Del Negro, Nerlens Noel, Bill Laimbeer
What's crazy about this is that Boston has had some of the richest history in all of basketball, but if players played for their hometown, this would not be the case. This Celtics team is full of great defenders, and would have a solid defensive front court in Noel and Laimbeer. Michael Carter-Williams is a big point guard at 6-foot-6, tall and lanky with an impressive nine steals against LeBron James and the Miami Heat during MCW's first game of his career. That had to be one of the greatest performances ever, especially for a rookie.
Dana Barros and Vinny Del Negro would be a great pair that would work well together. However, I believe this team would be one of the weakest teams in this new look league. Although great players, they do not have any real NBA legends to lead the team.
Sorry Boston, but you're not NBA elite in this alternate universe.
21 Brooklyn Nets
Starting lineup: Mark Jackson, Michael Jordan, Stephon Marbury, Bernard King, Billy Cunningham
Michael Jordan. That's really all I have to say about this Brooklyn Nets team. With Jordan, this instantly becomes one of the better teams in the league. Jordan would propel this team to the top, one way or another. Not to mention Michael would be paired up with one of the greatest scorers in NBA history in fellow Brooklyn native Bernard King. This duo would make this team absolutely dangerous. Key elements of this squad would also consist of Mark Jackson, Stephon Marbury, and Billy Cunningham as they would all add significant value to the already great team.
A true center is the only thing this team is really missing, so they would have a difficult time competing against the likes of Shaquille O'Neal and the other all time greats included in this list. That being said, I don't think this team would have much trouble winning games.
20 Charlotte Hornets
Starting lineup: Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, John Wall, Bob McAdoo, Walt Bellamy
Even though this team is comprised of mostly current players, Chris Paul, Steph Curry, and John Wall are all NBA superstars in their own right. Few other guards in the league would be able to contain these three as they would all execute their roles superbly. Steph Curry is possibly the greatest shooter of all time, even leading his Warriors team to the best regular season record in NBA history this year. This says something about Curry's leadership as he was able to make a huge impact on one of the best teams ever.
Bob McAdoo and Walt Bellamy were great big men, and pairing them up with the incredible backcourt the Hornets possess would create a great team. Paul's passing, Curry's shooting, and Wall's speed, would prove to be one of the hardest defensive jobs for any other team in the league.
19 Chicago Bulls
Starting lineup: Isiah Thomas, Tim Hardaway, Dwyane Wade, Anthony Davis, George Mikan
Chock-full of talent, the all-time hometown Chicago Bulls would be an incredible basketball team. Isiah Thomas was one of the best leaders and point guards in NBA history, and he would have a great supporting cast with this new Bulls team. Tim Hardaway and Dwyane Wade are two of the most talented guards to ever play the game, making the Bulls back court very deadly.
Anthony Davis is a budding superstar in the NBA right now, and pairing him up with a lesser known NBA legend like George Mikan would create a very well-rounded team. This lineup as it appears now in our fantasy league would be very tough for any team to beat, even with all the great talent that they would be competing with in the other hometown team starting lineups. I could possibly see this team making a run for the title and maybe even building a dynasty.
18 Cleveland Cavaliers
Starting lineup: LeBron James, John Havlicek, Neil Johnston, Clark Kellogg, Nate Thurmond
Headlined by LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a respectable hometown team. Having LeBron at the point guard position comes with some disadvantages considering he isn't a pure point guard, but it also comes with a multitude of advantages because he can do anything he sets his mind to in the world of competitive basketball. Scorers such as John Havlicek could work off LeBron nicely, as the Cavs would be a smooth team to watch.
Still, even with NBA legends such as LeBron James and John Havlicek, this team most likely wouldn't be a championship contender in a head to head battle against the outstanding teams on this list. The front court of the Cavaliers would be solid, as Nate Thurmond would be holding it down low for Cleveland. LeBron James is one of the lucky players that actually doesn't have to fantasize about playing for his hometown team. He really gets to do it and if anyone deserves it, he sure does.
17 Dallas Mavericks
Starting lineup: Mookie Blaylock, Grant Hill, Larry Johnson, Chris Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge
Even though weaker at the point guard position than other great teams in this alternate reality league, the rest of the Mavericks team makes up for the deficit ten-fold. Grant Hill, Larry Johnson, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Chris Bosh are incredible scorers, which would make Mookie's job at the facilitators position much easier. Grant Hill was one of the most dominate scorers in his prime. Unfortunately, his heyday was sadly cut short due to injuries.
The good news for this article is we are only looking at the players in their prime, so adding Grant Hill would provide superstar scoring for the Dallas Maverick team. Larry Johnson was an explosive scorer for the Hornets back in the day as his offensive presence could only be matched by a few select players. An all around great team, it would be awesome to see this team match up against some of the other incredibly talented teams in this league.
16 Detroit Pistons
Starting lineup: Magic Johnson, Jason Richardson, George Gervin, Dave DeBusschere, Chris Webber
The Detroit Pistons franchise has been pretty successful over the years, but with this new hometown team, new life would be felt all through the city. Magic Johnson is undoubtedly one of the best players ever, so having him running the point guard position would be a dream come true. Magic is considered one of the most dynamic and charismatic basketball players of all time as he was also an inspiration on and off the court.
Jason Richardson in his prime was a beast, and George Gervin was one of the most respected and talented players in NBA history. Dave DeBusschere was an outstanding post player, while Chris Webber would provide some swag and a serious presence down low, rounding out this great Pistons team.
Detroit fans love their basketball team and this starting lineup is surely guaranteed to entertain the crowd. They may not be the bad boys, but they'd still be beloved in Detroit.
15 Golden State Warriors
Starting lineup: Jason Kidd, Damian Lillard, Gary Payton, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce
Now this team would be interesting to watch. Consisting of some of the finest guards in all of NBA history, the Golden State Warriors team would be likely to lose a majority of games because they would be dominated by the other big men in this league. With pretty much no real front court, the Warriors would need to take "small ball" play-style to a whole new level. While probably very exciting to watch, the missing piece of a center would be devastating to the success of the new look Warriors team.
Jason Kidd was a true leader on the court during his playing days as he competed with a lot of heart. This helped him earn respect as one of the most hardworking NBA players of all time. Damian Lillard is a significant threat as he is high capacity scorer, and I believe he would be able to hold his own against some of the best guards in the history. Paul Pierce has had one of the most successful careers of all time, but could he stand a chance against a player like Wilt Chamberlain? I think we all know the answer to that.
14 Houston Rockets
Starting lineup: Jimmy Butler, Stephen Jackson, Gerald Green, Emeka Okafor, DeAndre Jordan
One of the weaker teams in this league, the Rockets would most likely finish at the bottom of the standings. Even with current NBA stars Jimmy Butler and DeAndre Jordan, the hometown Rockets don't have the legendary status that some of the other teams have to really compete in this alternative universe. It would be interesting to see Butler and Jordan go at it against some of the best players in NBA history though. Stephen Jackson could really score during his career, meaning the Rockets would have another scoring option as they look to win as many games as possible. Gerald Green is an incredible athlete, although he still struggles to make a consistent impact in the current NBA. Perhaps with this alternate lineup, the stars will align and things will fall into place for the new look Houston Rockets.
13 Indiana Pacers
Starting lineup: Scott Skiles, Glenn Robinson, Larry Bird, Shawn Kemp, George McGinnis
The Indiana Pacers all-time hometown team is one of the more balanced on this list. The first name that may pop out to you is Larry Bird. "The Hick from French Lick (Indiana)" would lead this Indiana team with much pride, as he and his fellow Hoosiers try to bring home a championship. Shawn Kemp was undoubtedly one of the most explosive players in the league as it seemed as though he could just jump out of the gym.
Knowing Larry Bird could do it all, Kemp and McGinnis would be getting their touches regularly as Bird could not only score but could always find the open man. The two-time All-Star Glenn Robinson knows a little something about winning as he won the NBA Championship in 2005 with the San Antonia Spurs. It would be great to see this team play, as they have some of the most respected players in NBA history.
12 Los Angeles Lakers/Clippers
Starting lineup: Russell Westbrook, Reggie Miller, Gilbert Arenas, Kevin Love, Bill Walton
Considering the Lakers and the Clippers share the same pool of players, the entire Los Angeles area would be brought together for this mega team. A great group of athletes, each player on the team would complement the other teammate nicely. Close games would most likely swing in L.A.'s favor, as Reggie Miller is one of the most clutch players in basketball history. Bill Walton is a legendary center, and Gilbert Arenas was a pure scorer at the height of his career. Russell Westbrook can get down the floor in a hurry as he is an absolute blur on the court. Whether he is grabbing a rebound or intercepting a pass, Russell Westbrook makes it look easy as he totally dominates every game he plays.
With amazing talent at every position, Los Angeles's sights would be set on the championship.
11 Memphis Grizzlies
Starting lineup: Penny Hardaway, J.J. Redick, Oscar Robinson, Campy Russell, Bailey Howell
I was expecting the Memphis team to be pretty bad to be honest, but to my surprise, the Grizzlies hometown team is solid. Oscar Robinson is probably one of the most underrated players in NBA history, as he impressively averaged a triple-double in his sophomore season in the league. Penny Hardaway is a great leader and having him at the point guard position would be a luxury for Memphis. While J.J. Redick is a deadeye shooter, he would most likely be eaten up by the other shooting guards in this new look league. You may not be aware of who Campy Russell and Bailey Howell are, but their stats speak for themselves, as they could handle whatever front court duo would oppose them.
While Memphis usually has more of a low-key entertainment factor these last few seasons, this new team would totally flip the script on that as they would become a very entertaining team to watch.
10 Miami Heat
Starting lineup: Brandon Knight, Mitch Richmond, Eddie Jones, Anthony Mason, David Robinson
While Brandon Knight is definitely a talented player, he has yet to prove he would be able to compete against the legends in this hypothetical league we created. Mitch Richmond, Eddie Jones, and Anthony Mason were all great talents, but the real star of the hometown Heat would be David Robinson. One of the few players to achieve the seemingly impossible quadruple double, Robinson is one of the most talented all-around big men ever. While Robinson would definitely have to will this team to its wins, Robinson is one of the only guys who could handle it. He is one of the most humble players in the league, and he would make all of the players around him better as he would lead by example. On a side note, I wonder would this team be able to beat the big three Miami had in the early 2010s, as that would be a great game to watch.
9 Milwaukee Bucks
Starting lineup: Nick Van Exel, Fred Brown, Latrell Sprewell, Caron Butler, Jim Chones
Considering Milwaukee isn't a big city such as New York or Chicago, it's no surprise that the pool of talent for a small market like this might have trouble competing. Led by the scoring of Latrell Sprewell, the Bucks would have a serious problem winning many games, as they would most likely be one of the weakest teams in the league. Caron Butler could play some nice ball during his prime of his playing days, but his contributions probably wouldn't do much, as the Bucks all-time hometown starting lineup would be in danger of being dismantled every single game. Nick Van Exel would most likely be pressured very heavily by the great back courts in this league, and it would be a battle every night as he would be dogged constantly.
This is probably the only team on this list whose current roster is better than their new look lineup. Now that's saying something.
8 Minnesota Timberwolves
Starting lineup: Tyus Jones, Dick Garmaker, Dan Anderson, Kevin McHale, Mark Olberding
I stand corrected. This new Timberwolves team is just awful, as they would probably take the cake for the worst team in the entire league. Like the Bucks, Minnesota is a market that is just too small to really generate a healthy amount of talent. The only real name to mention here is Kevin McHale, who is actually one of the more talented and respected players ever. However, considering the way McHale played and who he played with, I doubt he would be able to lead this team on his own to a significant number of wins.
Mark Olberding would most likely be destroyed by the dominant centers he would be facing, as he just wouldn't have the athleticism nor the height to compete. Also, when you have a young player like Tyus Jones starting at the point guard position against all-time greats like Magic Johnson, you know this won't turn out well for Minnesota.
7 New Orleans Pelicans
Starting lineup: Avery Johnson, Clyde Drexler, Joe Dumars, Karl Malone, Bill Russell
New Orleans would be one of the premier teams in the league, as their list of scorers would be just too much to handle for most of the other teams in this article. With Avery Johnson being a player that could pass first instead of wanting to score, he would just add more opportunities to the Pelicans' scorers. Where do I start with the core of this Pelicans team? Clyde "The Glide," Joe Dumars, and Karl Malone were all impeccable NBA players, who impacted their team in a very positive way. While Bill Russell could score, his defensive presence down low would just be overwhelming for most of the centers in this new league.
The New Orleans hometown team would only be happy with being the best, as their team is too good to settle for anything less.
6 New York Knicks
Starting lineup: Bob Cousy, Chris Mullin, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Shaquille O'Neal
Pulling some of the best players from many different NBA eras, the Knicks' hometown team would be very successful. Starting with the consistent play of Bob Cousy, the Knicks would have a great point guard to help get everyone involved. Chris Mullin does whatever it takes to win games, whether it be locking down the opposing team's best player, or just knocking down the open three, which would differ nicely from Julius Erving's flashy play-style.
However, the Knicks' real power would be coming from their front court, as they would be absolutely unstoppable pairing up Shaquille O'Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Shaq was one of the most dominant players of all time, as he broke a few NBA rims to prove it. Kareem's statistics show how good Kareem was for just so long in the league. I really don't think any team in this league has the defensive power down low to stop these guys.
5 Orlando Magic
Starting lineup: Eddie Johnson, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Amar'e Stoudemire, Artis Gilmore
When comparing the Magic to the Heat, Orlando has definitely secured themselves as the best team in Florida. The high flying duo, which we got to witness in Toronto, of Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter wouldn't just be entertaining, but would be very integral to the Magic's success. Amar'e Stoudemire was an absolute beast in his prime, as he would be able to compete against the best of the best. Eddie Johnson and the Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore would look as though they would be taking a back seat to the three athletic players I have named before, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be getting their jobs done, even if it would go unnoticed.
Still, while the Magic would be very explosive, just because they would be the better team in Florida, it doesn't mean they would be tough enough to really compete with some of the best teams in the league.
4 Philadelphia 76ers
Starting lineup: Kyle Lowry, Pete Maravich, Kobe Bryant, Maurice Stokes, Wilt Chamberlain
The Philadelphia 76ers could turn out to be one of the best teams in the league, as four of the five players are Hall of Famers. Imagine if Kobe played his career in Philadelphia instead of L.A.? As a Sixers fan, I know I would have loved to see Kobe play in the red, white, and blue, instead of the purple and gold. Kyle Lowry is still proving his worth in the NBA, but he is already considered one of the best players in the league.
The scoring tandem of Maravich and Kobe would be absolutely deadly, as both are considered some of the best scorers of all-time. Maurice Stokes was a beast on the boards, as he averaged over 17 rebounds a game over his career. In my opinion, Wilt Chamberlain is the best player of all time, but many people have speculated he was only that effective because of his freakish height during the era in which he played. It would be very interesting to see him match up with some of the best centers to ever play, as he could really go up against some guys his own size.
3 Portland Trail Blazers
Starting lineup: Terrell Brandon, Damon Stoudamire, Mike Newlin, Terrence Jones, A.C. Green
You wouldn't expect much talent coming out of the thinly populated state of Oregon, hence the lineup you see here. I know I have speculated about which team would be the worst in this alternate reality league, but with no real names to mention, is any other team weaker than the Portland Trail Blazers' hometown team? I guess A.C. Green could get a shout-out, as he was a pretty good rebounder for the Showtime Lakers teams in the 80s.
They wouldn't just be a weak team in this hypothetical league either; there is no doubt this team wouldn't have the talent to compete in the current NBA as well. Terrence Jones does seem to have the athleticism to compete, but he would have to improve his overall skill to make any kind of an impact. Portland fans should be happy that this article could never come true because if it did, the prospects of winning with just hometown talent would be very slim.
2 Toronto Raptors
Starting lineup: Steve Nash, Rick Fox, Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Olynyk, Tristan Thompson
Canada has recently produced some great NBA players, but it hasn't always been that way. Consisting of three current players, the Raptors would be led by NBA legend Steve Nash at the point guard position. Nash is one of the only NBA players to win multiple MVP awards, as his name is now included with some of the greatest players of all-time. Considering Nash can make anyone look good with his passing, Andrew Wiggins has the potential to be an elite scorer, and he would get a lot of good looks with Nash running the show.
While the play of Nash and Wiggins would be fun to watch, considering the rest of their team just isn't up to par with the other great talent they would be facing, I just don't see the Raptors' hometown team being very successful. They'd struggle to even make the playoffs in a fantasy season.
1 Washington Wizards
Starting lineup: John Stockton, Adrian Dantley, Elgin Baylor, Kevin Durant, Ralph Sampson
How do I even begin to comment on this incredibly stacked team? Baylor, Durant, Stockton? The Wizards team is absolutely packed with guys who can do it all, as Washington is one of the more athletic teams in the league. John Stockton would be racking up the assists, as the scorers on his team are incredible. Kevin Durant, Adrian Dantley, Elgin Baylor, and Ralph Sampson were incredible scorers, and make up the impressive core of the team. The length of the Wizards would be a nightmare for any other teams, as all of the players are productive on both ends of the court.
Possibly the best offensive team on this list, the Wizards would be a hard team to stop. The team would be a championship contender for sure. Fans in Washington would be treated to a very successful basketball team.