Happy first NFL Sunday of the season!
Everybody has the football bug with the NFL season - and fantasy football season - getting underway.
That had two members of our NBA.com staff thinking... If you had NBA players suiting up at the skill positions for your favourite NFL squad, who would you want?
Starting with the offence - quarterback, running back and wide receiver, and concluding with the defence - defensive end, linebacker and defensive back, we each selected the NBA player we would want playing for our squad this Sunday.
Take a look and enjoy!
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): Nikola Jokic
He might not be the most mobile quarterback, but the Joker will do plenty of damage for my squad in the pocket. The 7-footer averaged 7.3 assists per game this past season as a product of his insanely elite vision and passing ability. He's even drawn comparisons to six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady… that makes this a no-brainer for me.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): Ben Simmons
To say he has "NFL size" would be an understatement. Ben Simmons would be like a 6-foot-10 Mike Vick.
We've seen what he looks like when he's running downhill on fast breaks in the NBA and it seems like his court vision and playmaking ability increases the faster he's moving. Imagine a pass rush putting the pressure on Simmons, flushing him out of the pocket where he can choose to beat you with his legs or his passing? That's a dual threat quarterback that would keep defensive coordinators up at night.
McGregor: De'Aaron Fox
The perfect blend of shiftiness, quickness and speed makes De'Aaron my ideal pick for the backfield. Talk about a nightmare for defences…this is a guy who you've always got to keep an eye on because he's always liable to make a play at any point. Because of his vision and passing, I'd trust him to execute a trick play or two for me, too.
Irving: Kyle Lowry
Talk about a player that isn't afraid to sacrifice his body as we've seen so many times when he lays it all out on the line to slide in and take charges on even the biggest players in the league. Lowry is a pitbull and would be more than willing to pound the ball in between the tackles and fight for extra yardage on every carry. He also has sneaky speed where he might be able to take a typical halfback dive to the endzone, too.
McGregor: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi's massive hands leads me to believe he'd catch anything in his vicinity. I mean, this is a guy that stole a pass last season without even seeing the ball. Now, imagine him using these instincts on the offensive end when he's actually expecting a pass… I love it.
Irving: LeBron James
There isn't much explanation needed behind this one. Remember what Calvin "Megatron" Johnson did to the NFL during his nine-year career, bullying every corner in the league? Well imagine if Megatron had another three inches and 20 pounds to his frame. That's LeBron James.
LeBron received Division-I offers for football in high school as a star wide receiver and there is no doubt in my mind that he would be one of the best to ever do it if he had chosen that path instead of basketball.
McGregor: Semi Ojeleye
If Semi Ojeleye walked around Boston with New England Patriots gear on, people would probably assume he played for them. Hands down, Ojeleye is one of the strongest players in the league and would absolutely BULLY offensive linemen and wreak havoc in the trenches.
Irving: Montrezl Harrell
Harrell is a force in the paint and a workhorse on the glass. He has tireless energy, embraces physical play and runs the floor extremely well. He's the perfect combination of size, strength, speed and athleticism to come off the edge and put constant pressure on the quarterback. He's strong enough to push offensive linemen around but also quick enough to pull off spin moves or swim moves to find crafty ways to punish the opposing QB.
McGregor: Draymond Green
The 2017 Defensive Player of the Year already serves as the linebacker for the Golden State Warriors perennially elite defence, so this should be a pretty seamless transition. Draymond tried his hand at football in college, but tight end just wasn't the right spot for him. As a defender by nature, him quarterbacking my defence will keep the other guys in check… as well as the opposing offence.
Irving: Marcus Smart
Like Gil just said about Draymond serving as the linebacker of the Warriors defence, Marcus Smart serves the same purpose for his Boston Celtics defence.
The 2018-19 All-Defence First Team selection would make a tremendous linebacker as someone who's both fast and physical. He's the vocal leader of his NBA squad and nothing would change there as the captain of an NFL defence. Smart would be a player who could use his speed to rush the passer, use his strength to clog running lanes or utilize his defensive IQ and quickness to drop back in coverage and mark receivers. If you told me Smart was suiting up at linebacker for the Patriots this weekend, you wouldn't hear one complaint out of me.
McGregor: Patrick Beverly
I have so much respect for corners. Outside of my one-year flag football career, I haven't played much, but CB seems like one of the hardest positions in football as your backpedalling at a disadvantage while facing athletic marvels at the wide receiver position.
It takes pride, physicality and a high defensive IQ to be elite. Lucky for me, "Mr 94 Feet" checks all of those boxes. After seeing him complete a beach workout for his footwork and agility in a pair of Timberland boots, there's no way in my mind I wouldn't trust him to be my shutdown corner.
Irving: Russell Westbrook
You know how they used to say "Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other third is covered by Ed Reed"? Well, Russell Westbrook gives me that same vibe if he were to play DB.
Westbrook would be a terror in the secondary. I'd imagine him being able to cover any receiver in the league just based off of his attitude alone. If you draw up a safety blitz, he'd be in the backfield before the QB could even get into his three-step drop. If a pass gets strung out over the middle, he'd stick wideouts with hits that would make them feel like they ran into a brick wall.
It'd be a no-fly zone with Westbrook ball-hawking as a defensive back.