As I’ve said before, volleyball might be one of my favorites sports to watch. I’m dead serious. Some of these dudes can fly. They might not be as graceful as the best basketball players, but the process of jumping 40 inches in the air, and then smashing a ball down towards the faces of an opponent is pretty dope. And if you’ve never been to a women’s volleyball game, you seriously need to reevaluate your stance on life (instead of having stuff like lingerie basketball, why can’t we just have a solid professional women’s volleyball league with TV contracts and teams all across the country?).
When you think volleyball in the NBA, the first name that comes to mind is Chase Budinger. He was nearly all-world when he played volleyball in high school, and was voted the best player in the nation. He had the basic requisites for being a beast of an outside hitter (keep in mind, I’m not a volleyball connoisseur, I just like to watch it, so bear with me): hops that get him well above the net, height, decent ball skills and a surfer’s/dude look.
Naturally, with no basketball going on, Chase (the ultimate volleyball name by the way) drifted back towards his true calling (would you rather be one of the best volleyball players in the world or an average NBA player? I’d probably still stick with the NBA) and played in the Corona Light Wide Open beach tournament in Hermosa Beach this weekend.
He’s not the only one making the jump. Kevin Love is too. As we wrote earlier this summer, Love will be playing this week in the Manhattan Beach Open. He told the Los Angeles Times that “”I have the timing down with the hitting and my setting’s pretty good. My blocking’s decent just because it’s like playing at the rim in the NBA, but my passing and my serving are subpar.” Budinger will be there as well.
Okay, this could be pretty cool. But since every NBA player seems to either be playing in the playgrounds or on the beach, who could be the best all-NBA volleyball lineup?
We’d have to start with Budinger, the team’s captain, the icon, the symbol, the guy we’d put in front of the TV cameras so people would know they are indeed watching a volleyball game. We’d rely on him for a lot of our kills because let’s face it, he’s good enough to get us some wins.
Five more spots to fill (we are going with indoor volleyball). Where do we turn next? The second obvious pick is Steve Nash. He seems like he’d be down to get some volleyball in. He’s shown an affinity for other sports, and definitely has the coordination to at least look like a volleyball player (and in terms of style, he could pull it off too). He might be the best passing player in the league, so we’d throw him in there as either a setter or a Libero. Nash setting up my big guns for kills would be poetry. He’d love doing it, and would keep everyone happy.
We’d also need to find a place for JaVale McGee either as a middle blocker or an outside hitter. With his height, wingspan and hops, I doubt anyone could get any higher. He actually might get too high and could end up blocking a lot of balls with his face.
We also need a full-time Libero, a guy who is a great passer, but can also play cat-quick defense. We need someone with great reaction time and extremely quick hands. We need someone like Rajon Rondo. Here, no one would care that he couldn’t shoot. Just use those quick hands, make a couple of nice passes and we are money.
As for my other hitters, give me DeMar DeRozan for a few reasons. First of all, he’s from L.A. so he at least has some roots in a hotbed. Second, he’s agile and fluid. I know he’d pick up the game pretty quick. He’s smooth, but not so smooth that he wouldn’t strike fear into opponents when he sets up for a big spike.
Finally, I’d need some type of opposite hitter to be my defensive anchor on the backside. Who else would be better than Andre Iguodala? Tall. Quick. Has hops. Unreal defender. Could he learn it quickly? I think so. He could definitely do the job defensively and that’s all I would really need.
So there’s my lineup: Budinger, Nash, McGee, Rondo, DeRozan and Iggy. I’m guaranteeing a win.
If your life was on the line, which NBA players would you put together on a volleyball team?
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