February 19, 2018

Drafting the best men’s basketball team

By Dalton Ray —

Who wants another generic, boring feature story on the current men’s basketball team? Right.

So we did the never-been-done-before “draft your team” scenario.

The rules for our drafts were simple: Pick a starting five with a sixth man of the players who have played since 2001.

Our draft order: Dalton Ray (DMR), Matt Bradshaw (MPB), Conner Farrell (CJF) and Micah Brown (MWB).

Draft recap:

1. Russ Smith, 2010-14 (DMR)

2. Peyton Siva, 2009-13 (MPB)

3. Terrence Williams, 2005-09 (CJF)

4. Donovan Mitchell, 2015-17 (MWB)

5. Gorgui Dieng, 2009-13 (MWB)

6. Montrezl Harrell, 2012-15 (CJF)

7. Reece Gaines, 1999-03 (MPB)

8. David Padgett, 2005-08 (DMR)

9. Francisco Garcia, 2002-05 (DMR)

10. Taqwa Pinero, formally known as Taquan Dean, 2002-06 (MPB)

11. Preston Knowles, 2007-11 (CJF)

12. Chane Behannan, 2011-13 (MWB)

13. Ray Spalding, 2015- (MWB)

14. Terry Rozier, 2013-15 (CJF)

15. Earl Clark, 2006-2009 (MPB)

16. Luke Hancock, 2012-14 (DMR)

17. Juan Palacios, 2004-08 (DMR)

18. Kyle Kuric, 2008-12 (MPB)

19. Ellis Myles, 2000-05 (CJF)

20. Damion Lee, 2015-16 (MWB)

21. Larry O’Bannon, 2002-05 (MWB)

22. Wayne Blackshear, 2011-15 (CJF)

23. Mangok Mathiang, 2013-17 (MPB)

24. Jerry Smith, 2007-10 (DMR)

Team Ray: R. Smith (guard), Garcia (guard), Hancock (forward), Palacios (forward), Padgett (center), J. Smith (sixth man)

R. Smith is the face of my team with an extremely dangerous wing pair in Garcia and Hancock. The shooting ability is the strength with four guys on the floor that can hit from anywhere.

With Padgett working the high post, three shooters spreading the floor and the ability of R. Smith to get to the rim, this team is lethal.

Team Bradshaw: Siva (guard), Pinero (guard), Gaines (forward), Clark (forward), Mathiang (center), Kuric (sixth man) 

What my team lacks in big-men, it makes up for in prolific scoring and athleticism.

Siva was the leader for arguably the best Louisville team ever. Gaines is fourth all-time in scoring for the Cardinals and Pinero is the program’s leader in made 3-pointers. Add a powerful forward in Clark and solid big in Mathiang and you have a wickedly talented squad.

Team Farrell: Rozier (guard), Knowles (guard), Williams (guard), Harrell (forward), Myles (forward), Blackshear (sixth man)

Team Farrell reigns supreme because of its versatility on both ends and junk-yard dog attitude.

The tenacious rebounding and paint protecting ability provided by Myles, Harrell and Williams along with the length and speed of Rozier and Knowles will stifle any opponent. The playmaking ability of Williams and Rozier make it possible for Harrell to catch any lob thrown his way or to be able to find shooters like Knowles and Blackshear for easy trays on the perimeter.

Team Brown: O’Bannon (guard), Mitchell (guard), Lee (forward), Spalding (forward), Dieng (center), Behannan (sixth man)

Recency bias and favoritism may have had an effect on my selections. I drafted the players that either had significant tournament experience (Dieng, O’Bannon and Behanan) or possessed the athleticism to impact a game in the final minutes. Overall, I drafted a team with length and speed.

Above all else, with O’Bannon, Mitchell and Lee, this team is one that should not have to worry about a cold shooting night.

Voting results

Through a Twitter poll, we asked our followers who had the best team.

Team Brown, 29 percent.

Team Ray, 26 percent.

Team Farrell, 26 percent.

Team Bradshaw, 19 percent.

You can follow us on Twitter @TheCardSports. 

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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