Imagine if there was a single-elimination basketball tournament today that would solidify which NBA draft class is the best from the past 10 years. In this bracket, each team is made up of 5 players that were all drafted in the same year. Check out just how good some of these teams would be, and which class would prevail as champion. Remember, this tournament is about matchups, and not which team has the most talent. Also, the player’s ability and talent isn’t based on their entire career, but how they would play right now. The top two teams will receive byes in the first round. (C) indicates captain and the name of the team. Since there will be 3 teams in the final round, the highest ranked team will receive an automatic bid to the championship game.
Ultimate NBA Draft Class Tournament
The seeds, ranked by yours truly, are as follows:
|#1) 2009 Draft Class||#2) 2007 Draft Class||#3) 2012 Draft Class|
|PG: Stephen Curry (C)||PG: Mike Conley||PG: Damian Lillard|
|SG: James Harden||SG: Jeff Green||SG: Bradley Beal|
|SF: DeMarre Carroll||SF: Kevin Durant (C)||SF: Harrison Barnes|
|PF: Blake Griffin||PF: Al Horford||PF: Draymond Green|
|C: Taj Gibson||C: Marc Gasol||C: Anthony Davis (C)|
|#4) 2008 Draft Class||#5) 2011 Draft Class||#6) 2010 Draft Class|
|PG: Russell Westbrook (C)||PG: Kyrie Irving||PG: John Wall|
|SG: Derrick Rose||SG: Klay Thompson||SG: Eric Bledsoe|
|SF: Nic Batum||SF: Jimmy Butler||SF: Paul George|
|PF: Kevin Love||PF: Kawhi Leonard (C)||PF: Greg Monroe|
|C: DeAndre Jordan||C: Nikola Vucevic||C: DeMarcus Cousins (C)|
|#7) 2006 Draft Class||#8) 2015 Draft Class||#9) 2013 Draft Class|
|PG: Kyle Lowry||PG: Emmanuel Mudiay||PG: Michael Carter-Williams|
|SG: J.J. Redick||SG: D’Angelo Russell||SG: Victor Oladipo|
|SF: Rudy Gay||SF: Justise Winslow||SF: Giannis (Greek Freak)|
|PF: Paul Millsap||PF: Karl-Anthony Towns (C)||PF: Nerlens Noel (C)|
|C: LaMarcus Aldridge (C)||C: Jahlil Okafor||C: Rudy Gobert|
|#10) 2014 Draft Class|
|PG: Elfrid Payton|
|SG: Marcus Smart|
|SF: Andrew Wiggins (C)|
|PF: Jabari Parker|
|C: Jusuf Nurkic|
#3 vs #10: Team Davis vs Team Wiggins:
The league’s most terrifying young player, Anthony Davis, leads the number three seed in the tournament. As tough as Jusuf Nurkic is, Davis would simply use his fantastic footwork to dominate the young Nuggets player the entire game. Team Davis’ biggest strength is defense and shooting, with champion Draymond Green providing toughness and stretching the floor. Andrew Wiggins had an incredible season, but Harrison Barnes and Green would be able to limit him to 20 points or less.
Final Score: Team Davis wins 106-88
#4 vs #9: Team Westbrook vs Team Noel
Team Westbrook is the most athletic team in the tournament, mostly because they have a fearless freak in Russell Westbrook. The #4 seed in the tournament is really well balanced, as Rose and Westbrook can attack and kick to Batum and Love on the perimeter. DeAndre Jordan anchors the defense, although he hasn’t signed his contract to play in the tournament yet (Sorry, I had to). On the other side of the court, Team Noel is fantastic defensively. They have extreme length, but nobody on their team can shoot. Carter-Williams might not even be able to bring up the ball before Westbrook steals it.
Final Score: Team Westbrook wins 120-94
#5 vs #8: Team Leonard vs Team Towns
Perhaps the most interesting team in the tournament, Team Leonard employs small ball and pace to destroy opponents. The 2015 class is new to the party, but they have the talent to seriously compete in the tournament in a couple of seasons. Karl-Anthony Towns is a beast and can dominate Leonard in the post. However, Mudiay and Russell aren’t quite good enough to defend the perimeter against shooters like Thompson, Irving, and Butler.
Final Score: Team Leonard wins 95-91
#6 vs #7: Team Cousins vs Team Aldridge
Team Cousins isn’t the most balanced team, but led by Boogie, they are extremely talented. Paul George needs to stay healthy if Team Cousins has any chance. Team Aldridge on the other hand is a very technical team that knows how to grind out games. Kyle Lowry and Paul Millsap have both blossomed in recent seasons, and LaMarcus Aldridge has been declared the new face of the Spurs. Aldridge vs Cousins will decide the game. In a sudden turn of events, Boogie gets ejected and Team Cousins has to play with 4 guys in a real grind-it-out game.
Final Score: Team Aldridge wins 98-97
#1 vs #7: Team Curry vs Team Aldridge
Team Curry will be well rested for their first game, which is great news for reigning NBA champion and MVP Steph Curry. Between Curry, Harden, and Griffin, Team Curry is nearly unstoppable on the offensive side. They have arguably two of the best five players in the entire league. DeMarre Carroll adds some defensive prowess, and Taj Gibson is capable of doing the dirty work underneath. Team Aldridge will have to rely heavily on J.J Redick to defend James Harden, which won’t work well in any defensive scheme.
Final Score: Team Curry wins 122-101
#2 vs #5: Team Durant vs Team Leonard
Team Durant’s biggest strength is working the ball down low, which makes this game a nightmarish matchup for Team Leonard. Al Horford and Marc Gasol will put up huge numbers in this game, and their passing expertise will help Durant get clean, open shots. If Team Leonard doesn’t shoot 60% from three in this game, they have absolutely no chance to win against the #2 seed.
Final Score: Team Durant Wins 108-96
#3 vs #4: Team Davis vs Team Westbrook
This game will be an absolute blood bath. Westbrook vs Green is always a treat due to how intense both of those guys play. Anthony Davis will finally match up with someone who might be able to prevent him from putting up a huge game in DeAndre Jordan. Damian Lillard’s defense is not nearly good enough to defend the animal that is Westbrook. In the closest matchup of the tournament, the game will be decided by Derrick Rose’s ability to return to MVP form.
Final Score: Team Westbrook wins 99-98
#2 vs #4: Team Durant vs Team Westbrook
For the first time in their careers, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will be pitted against each other. Tempers are going to flare in this one. Mike Conley, an outstanding defender, will be able to limit Westbrook’s ability to attack the basket. Kevin Durant will have a difficult time shooting due to Batum’s defense and Jordan’s excellent protection in the key. Kevin Love could stretch Al Horford away from the glass, which should lead to plenty of offensive rebounds for Team Westbrook. Team Durant’s exceptional size could hurt them in this game, and lead to dangerous, and potentially game-losing, foul trouble.
Final Score: Team Westbrook wins 97-94
#1 vs #4: Team Curry vs Team Westbrook
Team Curry has only played one game in the tournament so far compared to Team Westbrook’s 3. Russell Westbrook is a freak of nature, but chasing around Steph Curry for 48 minutes is the toughest thing to do on an NBA court. Harden can easily take advantage of Rose’s knees, crossing him up with euro step after euro step after euro step. DeMarre Carroll can leave Nic Batum open on the perimeter to help contain Westbrook. DeAndre Jordan and Taj Gibson cancel each other out in this one. Blake vs Kevin Love is the most intriguing matchup, and one has to question Kevin Love’s toughness after his semi-disappointing year in Cleveland.
Final Score: Team Curry wins 108-102