What if NBA teams could only sign players that were born in their city, or metropolitan areas? How would the NBA look if there was no free agency, draft, or trading? The only way to build a lineup is by finding kids in their local areas.
For starters, three states would dominate the NBA. New York, California, and Texas would take most of the league’s best players and stock up the rest on their benches, leaving very few for the rest of the league. But would they have enough to be a champion?
The results are actually quite surprising. Even with all of the talent coming from those three states, and being dispersed throughout the multiple teams within those states, there are going to be some teams that have enough hometown superstars that they could compete for a championship.
Let’s take a look at what each NBA team’s lineups would look like if they could only play with players from their hometown.
30 Utah Jazz
Hometown Players: Kyle Collinsworth (SF), John Collins (PF)
In college, Kyle Collinsworth was a stud for three seasons at BYU. He averaged 15.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists in his final season while leading them to a 26-11 season and earned an invite to the NIT tournament where they made it to the Final Four before losing by two to Valparaiso. He went undrafted but eventually found a place in Dallas, where he started to get more minutes each week last season.
The other player, John Collins, is another youngster that averaged 24.1 minutes during his rookie season with the Atlanta Hawks, where he looked like their future.
29 Denver Nuggets
Hometown Players: Derrick White (PG), Jason Smith (C)
You either know about Derrick White and Jason Smith or you are not from Colorado. Those are the only two active players in the NBA that come from Colorado, the state where the Denver Nuggets are located.
Derrick White is a first round pick from 2017 and only has one year under his belt so do not give up on him just yet. He only played about eight minutes per game last year but he is part of the San Antonio Spurs, a formerly very crowded lineup that is now looking for young prospects to take over the future of this team.
Jason Smith is a lofty veteran that has played all over the league and will find ways to get you rebounds and defensive stops. He is a bench player that you can put into the game to get some big plays on defense and a couple dunks too.
28 Phoenix Suns
Hometown Players: Jerryd Bayless (PG), Alan Williams (PF)
Now that he is in Brooklyn, Alan Williams could find himself a bigger role on offense, one that could help him become the star he was back in college at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Phoenix, Arizona native has battled for playing time with the Suns for three seasons and should now get a better shot to star with the Nets.
The other active Phoenix hometown native in the NBA is journeyman Jerryd Bayless, who once starred at the University of Arizona before getting drafted 11th overall in 2008.
Although the two men would not be much help against a full roster anywhere else in the league, locally, these are two of the better players to hail from Phoenix, Arizona and go on to play in the NBA.
27 Miami Heat
Hometown Players: Marcus Georges-Hunt (SG), Trevor Ariza (SF), Udonis Haslem (C)
Surprisingly, even as big as a city as Miami is, the number of active, or retired, NBA players is much shorter than anyone would imagine. That might be because most of the big stars in the NBA end up buying homes down in Miami because of how beautiful and luxurious it is to live there. But none of them were born there, they just love staying there during the off-season.
Meanwhile, Udonis Haslem, was born in Miami, played college basketball in Gainesville, and has played for the Miami Heat for 15 seasons, with three NBA titles too. Behind LeBron James, he is the most hometown loyal NBA player there is. He has spent his life representing Miami better than most of the rest of the league reps their own hometowns.
26 Minnesota Timberwolves
Hometown Players: Nate Wolters (PG), Jon Leuer (PF), Mike Muscala (C), Cole Aldrich (C), Alan Anderson (SF), Tyus Jones (PG)
Minnesota is one of the coldest states in the NBA and has not been able to produce very many, if any, studs in the NBA. Not yet, at least.
Nate Wolters has been around since 2013 and has not been able to find himself a safe place to play yet, having been bounced around for five seasons. Jon Leuer has played for five teams in eight seasons while averaging a pedestrian 6.7 points per game over his career. Cole Aldrich and Alan Anderson have been around for a few years now and neither of them have been able to get to the next level yet.
Finally, there is Mike Muscala and Tyus Jones, two players that have shown improvement over the years and could become the two best players from Minnesota in recent NBA history.
25 Sacramento Kings
Hometown Players: Marquese Chriss (SF), Ryan Anderson (PF), Ivan Rabb (C), Quincy Pondexter (F)
The Houston Rockets made a smart move and signed Marquese Chriss this past summer, practically stealing him from Phoenix for another fella from Sacramento. He is a young and talented small forward that has grown tremendously in the past two seasons in the NBA.
The other Sacramento local that was involved in the Marquese Chriss trade is none other than Ryan Anderson, one of the league's most dangerous big men because of his outside scoring range. He has the ability to drain the long ball from just about anywhere on the court.
Ivan Rabb and Quincy Pondexter are the only other two NBA players that grew up close to Sacramento and they belong on this roster.
24 Orlando Magic
Hometown Players: Jordan Clarkson (PG), Vince Carter (SG), Chandler Parsons (SF), Marreese Speights (C)
When Vince Carter was in his prime, he could blow the roof off the building most any nights. He remains an active player after signing with the Atlanta Hawks and at 42 years of age, continues to defy the odds. His production has taken a dip in the past five seasons but that has not stopped him from getting minutes, a problem someone like Marreese Speights had in Orlando last season and in LA the year before.
Jordan Clarkson was turning into a stud in LA before being sent to the Cavaliers last season to join forces with LeBron James to help him try for a fourth NBA title. Now that James is in LA, Clarkson will have to step it up and prove himself without the league's best overall talent.
As far as Chandler Parsons is concerned, he is a mediocre talent that has fooled the Memphis Grizzlies into giving him $100 million for watching from the bench as he heals from whatever injury he gets this season.
23 Milwaukee Bucks
Hometown Players: Devin Harris (PG), Trey McKinney-Jones (SG), Jamil Wilson (SF), Sam Dekker (PF), Dwight Buycks (PG)
For most of his 20s, Devin Harris was a dangerous scoring point guard that increasingly got better each season until he wound up in Atlanta and things began to take a dive. His scoring decreased and he has become a steady eight points a night player which has put him on the bench as a sixth man, or further down the roster.
The rest of the Wisconsin active NBA players are mostly youngsters looking to make a name for themselves like Trey McKinney-Jones and Jamil Wilson. Sam Dekker and Dwight Buycks have been around a little longer but have taken a slow progression towards the next level.
22 Oklahoma City Thunder
Hometown Players: Blake Griffin (PF), Terrance Ferguson (SG), Josh Richardson (SF) Ekpe Udoh (C)
Blake Griffin was born and raised in Oklahoma and ended up being drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2010, where he has spent the past eight years of his life before finally landing back home with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He joined Terrance Ferguson, another local Oklahoma boy, to form a hometown duo that could benefit from each other's talents.
Down in Miami, Josh Richardson has spent the past three years improving his game and becoming a NBA starter that could play for just about any team in the next couple years.
The last active Oklahoma NBA player is Ekpe Udoh, who is a solid bench player that was once the sixth overall pick in the NBA draft, by the Golden State Warriors.
21 San Antonio Spurs
Hometown Players: Andrew Harrison (PG), Xavier Silas (SG), Taurean Prince (SF), Wesley Matthews (PF), Jarret Allen (C)
Xavier Silas has spent five years not playing in the NBA. He finally found himself a roster spot in Boston, where he managed to get two games under his belt. He is now signed with the Denver Nuggets and could get another shot at becoming a full fledged NBA player.
As far as the talented players from San Antonio, Texas are concerned, Andrew Harrison, Taurean Prince, Wesley Matthews, and Jarret Allen are a dangerous group of NBA stars that could be a much better unit than most people would think after seeing the names on the list.
20 Boston Celtics
Hometown Players: Michael Carter-Williams (PG), Shabazz Napier (PG), Nerlens Noel (C), Kriss Dunn (PG), Wayne Seldon (SF)
If not for his injuries, Nerlens Noel could have been one of the scariest defenders in the league. He has never truly recovered and is at a turning point in his career where he is either going to become a stud or fade away. That choice is fully up to him.
With the looks of the rest of the active NBA players from the Massachusetts area, Nerlens Noel would be a great fit with this roster. Michael Carter-Williams is a solid talent of a point guard that has trouble with consistency. But he has the ability to drop a triple-double any night of the week. Shabazz Napier is almost as good but is more of a shooting guard than a point guard.
The other two, Kriss Dunn and Wayne Seldon, are two of the type of players any coach would love to have around, especially in a league that is thirsty for depth.
19 Brooklyn Nets
Hometown Players: Andre Drummond (C), Danny Green (SG), Rudy Gay (SF), Taj Gibson (PF), Kemba Walker (PG)
Kemba Walker is finally the point guard the Charlotte Hornets wanted back in 2011 when they drafted him ninth overall during the NBA Draft. He has made the All-Star team the past two years after averaging 22.6 points, 5.5 assists, 1.1 steals, and 3.5 rebounds per night.
The rest of his starting lineup would be a scoring one with Rudy Gay and Danny Green shooting the ball every other chance they can get.
Andre Drummond and Taj Gibson would be a tough defensive frontcourt that could slow down most teams by causing all kinds of chaos in the paint.
18 New Orleans Pelicans
Hometown Players: Elfrid Payton (PG), De'Aaron Fox (SG), Paul Millsap (PF), Greg Monroe (C), Kelly Oubre (SF), Garrett Temple (SF), Josh Gray (PG), Jarrell Martin (PF), D.J. Augustin (PG)
Down by the Mississippi River, in the alligator infested swamplands of New Orleans, Louisiana, there lies a group of NBA stars that are a combination of veteran leaders and inexperienced rookies.
De'Aaron Fox could be the next big star in the NBA, he is just getting started. Meanwhile, Elfrid Payton, who recently signed with the Pelicans, has shown that he can play either guard position regularly. Paul Millsap is one of the best rebounding power forwards the NBA has seen since Dennis Rodman. He is not the tallest but he knows how to get into position for the board and he can score too.
Greg Monroe, when he was healthy, was a dangerous center coming out of Georgetown while Kelly Oubre has blossomed in the past two seasons to become a major star for the Washinton Wizards.
17 Memphis Grizzlies
Hometown Players: Lou Williams (SG), Corey Brewer (SF), J.J. Redick (PG), Tarik Black (C), Brandan Wright (PF), Cameron Payne (PG), Ian Clark (SG)
The Memphis Grizzlies have always been a defense first, score later type of team and it worked for them over the past decade. However, it sadly never did much to help them when it came to the NBA Finals, or a championship. They have never even been to the Finals.
We are not saying that this homegrown group of talented Tennessee boys could do better, we just think it would be a lot more exciting to see what they could do in the same lineup.
Lou Williams, J.J. Redick, and Corey Brewer could score the roof off the arena every night while Brandan Wright and Tarik Black do their jobs and play tough defense. But a team that can score and has little on the defensive side is one that might not win very, if any, games.
16 Portland Trail Blazers
Hometown Players: Terrence Ross (SG), Domantas Sabonis (PF), Jerami Grant (SF), Mike James (PG), Kyle Singler (C)
After struggling through his first season in Oklahoma, Domantas Sabonis was traded to the Indiana Pacers and has quietly become one of the NBA's best young power forwards. Last year, he finished with 11.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game, bascially doubling his output from a season before in the same average minutes per game.
The former Oregon native would help the hometown Portland team become one of the surprisingly good teams on our list as he would team up with Terrence Ross, Jerami Grant, Mike James, and Kyle Singler to form a dangerous lineup that, as we have seen on our list before, could do a lot to disrupt a team's flow and cause chaos every other night.
15 Toronto Raptors
Hometown Players: Andrew Wiggins (SF), Jamal Murray (PG), Cory Joseph (SG), Tristan Thompson (PF), Kelly Olynyk (C)
The last Canadian team in the NBA is the Toronto Raptors. So they should be full of talented Canadian stars, right?
Well, yes and no. Most of the Canadian stars are just getting started with their NBA careers. Apparently, the NBA has never had such an influx of Canadian talent as it has today.
Andrew Wiggins is a stud that needs to figure out how to be a leader to become a superstar but if he was on a team of Canadian stars, he would fit right in. Tristan Thompson and Kelly Olynyk know how to defend in the post while Jamal Murray and Cory Joseph are two of the better young guards in the NBA today.
14 Detroit Pistons
Hometown Players: Devin Booker (SG), Draymond Green (SF), Jordan Crawford (PG), Kyle Kuzma (PF), Wilson Chandler (SF), Tyler Ulis (PG), Denzel Valentine (SG), JaVale McGee (C)
No one knows how to play in Detroit better than Draymond Green, who played high school basketball about 90 minutes from the city. He then went on to play at Michigan State, which is a little closer to Detroit. He spent his life learning how to earn everything and expect nothing. Hard work has made him into a superstar.
He is joined with Kyle Kuzma, who should shine this year with the Lakers, and Devin Booker, who can drop 60 any given night. Wilson Chandler is a veteran that consistently puts up 13 points and 5.4 rebounds a night while playing tough defense.
Jordan Crawford would round out the Detroit team to make them a team ready to shut down the best offense in the league.
13 Atlanta Hawks
Hometown Players: Malcolm Brogdon (PG), Josh Smith (SF), Derrick Favors (PF), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG), Dwight Howard (C), Jaylen Brown (SF), Al-Farouq Aminu (SF), Jae Crowder (PF)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is 25 years young and is entering his sixth NBA season this year. He has slowly stepped into a role that might make him famous. He is teamed up with LeBron James, who has been able to raise the level of just about any player, in Los Angeles. This year, we will get to see a little more from him on defense and really see the talent he showcased at the University of Georgia all those years ago.
He is joined with some other hometown heroes like Dwight Howard and Derrick Favors, two defensive hustlers that have made a living getting boards and blocking shots. Josh Smith is a shooter that opens the floor because of his range and they would be led by Malcolm Brogdon, who continues to come into his own in Milwaukee where he is entering his third year.
Oh and don't forget about Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder, or Al-Farouq Aminu.
12 Charlotte Hornets
Hometown Players: Chris Paul (PG), John Wall (PG) Brandon Ingram (SF), Kent Bazemore (SG), Hassan Whiteside (C), P.J. Tucker (PF), Montrezl Harrell (C), Ish Smith (PG), Damien Wilkins (SF)
Give Chris Paul four players that are medicore and he can turn them into a 50-win team. He is one of the best pure point guards the NBA has ever seen. He is quick, smart, and knows how to manage an offense from the point guard position. Not only that, he has the ability to take over a game and drop 30 points if needed. Otherwise, he is averaging 20 points and 10 assists per game, making sure to add a few steals too.
What if we also said this team would have John Wall too? If Chris Paul and James Harden can work, then a Chris Paul and John Wall combo would be even scarier.
The addition of one of the league's best young prospect, Brandon Ingram, and give him a few veterans in Kent Bazemore and P.J. Tucker, then the only thing he would need is a good defensive center. Someone like Hassan Whiteside would do just fine.
11 Dallas Mavericks
Hometown Players: LaMarcus Aldridge (PF), Julius Randle (C), Myles Turner (C), Marcus Smart (PG), C.J. Miles (SG), Darrell Arthur (SF)
The state of Texas has produced some of the most hardworking talent in the NBA since its' birth all those years ago. Mookie Blaylock, Grant Hill, and Larry Johnson are among those tough-nosed, triple threats that grew up in Texas and ended up dominating in the NBA.
This version of the Dallas Mavericks would be another one of the same. It would feature LaMarcus Aldridge and Julius Randle as one of this NBA's best frontcourts along with a few other tough contributors in Marcus Smart, C.J. Miles, and Darrell Arthur. Myles Turner would end up being this team's starting center after they realize how much better he is on the floor than coming off the bench.
Julius Randle could move over to the small forward spot and they could go with a very big lineup that would struggle against teams like the Golden State Warriors but would dominate ones like the Los Angeles Lakers.
10 Philadelphia 76ers
Hometown Players: Kyle Lowry (PG), Tyreke Evans (SG), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (PF), Dion Waiters (SG), Markieff Morris (C), Marcus Morris (PF), T.J. McConnell (PG), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF), Wayne Ellington (SG)
The depth of the Philly team would be a little more solid because of the all-around athletes that this team would feature. Between the ball handling skills of Kyle Lowry and Tyreke Evans, to the low-post defense from the Morris twins, this team would be an ugly group to play against.
The entire game would be faster on offense but when their opponents had the ball, they would go up against a suffocating defense that would frustrate younger teams that had yet to face such tough defense at this level.
Kyle Lowry, as we already know, can handle the point better than most anyone else in the league, but the concern would be how to use Dion Waiters and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson because Tyreke Evans is going to hold onto that ball longer than most of his teammates would the entire time he is in the game. It works sometimes but can also be a hinderance.
9 Houston Rockets
Hometown Players: Jimmy Butler (SF), DeAndre Jordan (C), Justise Winslow (PF), Gerald Green (SG), Tim Frazier (PG), Johnathan Motley (PF), Justin Jackson (SF), Danuel House (SG)
On paper, this team would be fun to watch for one reason, the combination of Jimmy Butler and DeAndre Jordan. Both players love to work hard on both ends of the floor. Jimmy plays so hard that he wants out of Minnesota because of how his teammates do not have that same drive as him.
Do not forget about Justise Winslow, Gerald Green, and Tim Frazier, all three of these guys bust their tails all over the court each and every night. As a group, this is one underrated hometown unit.
8 Golden State Warriors
Hometown Players: Damian Lillard (PG), Aaron Gordon (PF), Jeremy Lin (PG), Tim Hardaway (SG)
Damian Lillard has proven that he is worth every penny a team is willing to pay for him but without a partner next to him, it could be tough to see him continue that momentum. The locals from the Oakland area would be a great pairing for him because they all complement one another.
He could move to shooting guard and let Jeremy Lin run the offense with Tim Hardaway playing the small forward position. Aaron Gordon is a stud at power forward and is steadily becoming a star of his own.
7 Washington Wizards
Hometown Players: Kevin Durant (SF), Patrick Patterson (PF), Quinn Cook (PG), Treveon Graham (SG), Ed Davis (C)
Any team that has Kevin Durant is going to have a guaranteed 30-points, or more, a night, because he is virtually unstoppable at his size. He is built like a skinny Larry Bird but can shoot like Stephen Curry, and his range is all over the place.
Quinn Cook is a game manager that could combine with Treveon Graham and Ed Davis to help play solid defense while KD did his thing. The biggest issue is whether or not they can score. Although KD is unstoppable, can he make this unit better or would it be a problem?
6 New York Knicks
Hometown Players: Donovan Mitchell (PG), Sean Kilpatrick (SG), Carmelo Anthony (SF), Tobias Harris (PF), Joakim Noah (C)
Donovan Mitchell came out of nowhere last season to earn himself a spot on the All-Rookie team. It took him 23 games into the season before dropping his first 41 point game. He would end up spending the rest of the year turning himself into the best rookie point guard in the NBA today.
Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony continues to get older and it seems like his scoring does too. That might be because he has never played with a true stud of a point guard until OKC. Tobias Harris and Sean Kilpatrick could both help them be tough defensively and make this a very good unit. Now if only Joakim Noah could stay healthy.
5 Indiana Pacers
Hometown Players: Gordon Hayward (SF), Jeff Teague (PG), Eric Gordon (SG), Zach Randolph (PF), Gary Harris (SG), George Hill (PG), Courtney Lee (SG)
When Gordon Hayward returns this season, he is going to turn the Boston Celtics into the league's toughest Eastern conference lineup. But for the sake of this post, the Indiana native would join forces with some of the league's toughest guards.
Jeff Teague and George Hill play point guard like someone is standing behind them telling them how terrible they are. They play as if they are having their contracts taken away from them next week if they play poorly. Eric Gordon, Gary Harris, and Zach Randolph are the other three men that hail from Indiana and play old school tough.
4 Los Angeles Clippers
Hometown Players: DeMar Derozan (SG), Paul George (SF), Jrue Holiday (PG), Brook Lopez (C), Amir Johnson (PF)
Here is the first team of hometown players that we decided to put together from Los Angeles. The Clippers would feature a stud of a lineup which featured a bunch of number two stars from around the league. But that would not matter when paired together. This team would be fun to watch and definitely fun to enjoy watching.
DeMar Derozan and Paul George need a true blue Point Guard and they have one in Jrue Holiday while also having the benefit of one of the league's most underrated big men, Brook Lopez and Amir Johnson. That frontcourt pairing of Lopez and Johnson could carry this team enough to allow the others to dominate the court.
3 Chicago Bulls
Hometown Players: Anthony Davis (PF), Dwyane Wade (SG), Derrick Rose (PG), Andre Iguodala (SF), Jahlil Okafor (C), Patrick Beverly (PG), Robert Covington (SF), Frank Kaminsky (C), Shaun Livingston (SG)
When Derrick Rose was healthy, he was a top five player in the NBA. Sadly, his entire career was shaped behind a myriad of injuries that started when he was in Chicago playing for the Bulls. He has never been able to stay healthy enough to remind us how fast and how talented he once was but we remember.
So, if you get that Derrick Rose, and give him Anthony Davis, Dwyane Wade, Andre Iguodala, and Jahlil Okafor, you could have a surprisingly good lineup. This is one of those feisty teams that would upset even the best teams in the league from time to time because of their ability to move the ball quickly up and down the court.
Anthony Davis is easily one of the best three players in the league and just keeps getting better. Give him a fast-paced offense, like the Pelicans have now, and you have a dangerous team.
2 Cleveland Cavaliers
Hometown Players: LeBron James (SF), Stephen Curry (PG), C.J. McCollum (SG), Larry Nance (C), Caris LeVert (SF), Kosta Koufos (C), Trey Burke (PG), Terry Rozier (PG), Luke Kennard (SG)
When you take a step back and really analyze this roster of Ohio natives, you recognize something, it would be unstoppable.
If you were to combine the outside shooting of Stephen Curry, and his ability to control the ball and run the offense, with LeBron James, the only thing you need is a solid defender in the post and another outside scorer. Good news for this lineup, they have multiple outside shooters including one of the best pure scorers in the league, C.J. McCollum.
They would be the new age of power offenses in the league and could be a lot of fun to watch. Remember when Dwyane Wade and LeBron James first got together? That is exactly what you would get with Curry and James but with the outside scoring making them a deadly pairing.
1 Los Angeles Lakers
Hometown Players: Russell Westbrook (PG), James Harden (SG), Kawhi Leonard (SF), Klay Thompson (SG), Kevin Love (C)
The better of the two Los Angeles teams has to go to the Lakers because history tells us that the Lakers will always beat the Clippers. Sorry, fans.
It is going to be tough to stop a team that features the former duo of Russell Westbrook and James Harden but by having Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Love also around makes them unbeatable. There is no team or lineup we have talked about that could beat this one.
The only thing that would stop a team like this would be themselves. If Westbrook and Harden had trouble playing on the court together, this team would fall apart rather quickly. Don't forget the defense you would get from Kevin Love and Klay Thompson, who can guard just about anyone in the league at their positions.