What If These Players Played For Their Hometown Team?

basketball | 9/1/18

Thanks to the draft system the NBA and all other sports have in place, it’s rare that a player will play for the town they grew up in. This helps balance the league since some cities are the birthplace for the greatest athletes in the NBA right now. After all, things might become a little unfair if all the superstars from Los Angeles played for the Lakers. If teams were composed of only players from their hometown, here is what they would look like. We’re guessing teams like Chicago and Charlotte would almost be too good…

Los Angeles Clippers

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Key players: Klay Thompson, Russell Westbrook, and DeMar DeRozen.

First and foremost, those three key players aren’t even all this Los Angeles team would have to offer, but they are the most important. In the real NBA, the Clippers have never won a championship nor have they even made it to the Finals.

That would surely change if you add Westbrook and DeRozen to the mix. An MVP and one of the best shooters in league history isn’t that bad. They would also have the huge Lopez twins as their big men ready to protect the basket.

Houston Rockets

Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images

Key players: Jimmy Butler and DeAndre Jordan

The Houston Rockets would also be another one of the better teams in a hometown universe. The presence of Butler and Jordan would automatically make anyone else on the team elevate their game. They would have some help from the likes of Gerald Green and up and coming talent Justice Winslow.

The defense would be immaculate with this team, but they would be lacking on the offensive side of things. Still, playing against them wouldn’t be easy.

New York Knicks

Carmelo Al Bello/Getty Images
Carmelo Al Bello/Getty Images

Key players: Carmelo Anthony and Tobias Harris

The Knicks are similar to the Clippers because both teams have other teams in the same city (Nets and Lakers who we will get to later). Starting with the Knicks, they’ll get Anthony to suit back up for them and Harris. Anthony is getting older so he is far from the efficient scorer he used to be, but Harris is still quite young and full of defense.

They would also have sharp shooter Danny Green launching up three pointers with no effort. Overall, the team wouldn’t be too bad, but would the Brooklyn Nets be better?

Dallas Mavericks

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Key Players: LaMarcus Aldridge, Myles Turner, and Julius Randle

The Dallas Mavericks would take tough interior to new heights. Aldridge (left), and Turner (right) are both already formidable big men but tossing in Randle takes it over the top. Nobody would want to take it to the basket with those tough guys waiting on you.

Currently, the Mavericks are in a rebuilding period so they would love if this were real. At the Mavericks current state, they aren’t competing for a championship. If they had these hometown players, that would certainly change.

Chicago Bulls

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Key players: Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose, and Anthony Davis

Ironically enough, Derrick Rose and Dwayne Wade have played for their hometown teams already. Rose was drafted by the Bulls while Wade was traded there a few years ago. Jabari Parker is the latest player to play for his hometown Chicago.

Those three plus Anthony Davis and throw in Jahlil Okafor; you’re in for a rough night playing against that. A former MVP, a Finals MVP and Olympians all on the same team. Bulls fans probably wish this were real.

Los Angeles Lakers

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GettyImages
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GettyImages

Key players: Kevin Love, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard

The Los Angeles area has some of the best talent in the NBA. You saw who the Clippers would have and we didn’t even mention everyone. The Lakers team would bolster some top talent as well.

Outside of the names already mentioned, Paul George and Lonzo Ball are a few others who would be here. From this point, it would really be a toss up on who is the better Los Angeles team.

Detroit Pistons

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Key players: Devin Booker, Draymond Green, and JaVale McGee

The Detroit Pistons have a connotation of toughness attached to them ever since the days of Michael Jordan. Maybe it’s due to the actual city being known to produce some tough public figures, but nonetheless, things wouldn’t change with their hometown players.

If you haven’t heard yet, Green used to kick people in their groin. Booker isn’t one to take lightly either. He may be young but he’s already making a name for his self as one of the toughest competitors.

Washington Wizards

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Key players: Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, and Avery Bradley

Kevin Durant alone is enough to make any team a good team. Then you add in the defense stopper Avery Bradley with slashing forward Rudy Gay and the Wizards would be a force to reckon with.

The team the Wizards currently have is already pretty good with John Wall and Bradley Beal. It makes you wonder if the hometown kids could take down the true roster. That would be a good game to watch.

Brooklyn Nets

Dave Reginek/Getty Images
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Key players: Kemba Walker, Andre Drummond, and Kenneth Faried

Among all the teams on this list, the Brooklyn Nets real team is probably the worse off. They would cherish to have any of their hometown players come and hoop for them. Even if it were just Andre Drummond.

Unfortunately, that won’t be happening anytime soon. However, having Kemba Walker and Drummond would drastically improve their team. It wouldn’t make them championship contenders, but at least they could sneak into the playoffs.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Key players: LeBron James, Larry Nance Jr., and CJ McCollum

There is no way a team that has LeBron James on its roster isn’t going to be good. It’s actually statistically proven. All he needs is good teammates around him.

James with CJ McCollum alone would be an amazing duo. James has already played with Larry Nance Jr (left) and gone to the finals with him. The boys in Cleveland might be a lot to handle on the court if this were to happen.

Philadelphia 76ers

Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Key players: Kyle Lowry, Marcus Morris, and Markieff Morris

Before recently, the 76ers were the laughing stock of the NBA. After “trusting the process” and drafting some talented players, they have managed to climb their way back to near the top of the food chain.

As a matter of fact, this hometown team would be a step backwards to what they have now. No disrespect to Kyle Lowry, but Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are a nightmarish duo to try and defend for 48 minutes. Still, these Philadelphia natives would have some bite to them.

Golden State Warriors

Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Key players: Damian Lillard, Jeremy Lin, and Aaron Gordon

This much different Golden State Warrior team would be interesting to watch. Of course, not as exciting as the current Warriors but they would still be worth the money spent. Lillard and Lin alone make an intriguing guard combo.

While Gordon is no Kevin Durant, he still is in the top three in the NBA as far as leaping ability goes. So while Lillard and Lin shoot long three pointers, Gordon will be the one making fancy slam dunks.

Charlotte Hornets

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Key players: Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, John Wall, and Hassan Whiteside

Does anything else need to be said here? Those four names alone are able to beat a lot of current NBA teams. Curry is already a proven champion and Chris Paul has the most heart in the NBA if you ask his peers.

This version of the Charlotte Hornets team would be the greatest team they’ve ever had on the court. Curry has already vocalized he wants to be a Warrior until he retires, so don’t hold your breath Hornets fans.

Miami Heat

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Key players: Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Knight, and Trevor Ariza

The Miami Heat as they are currently assembled are in pretty good shape. They don’t need much added to their roster to make them more of a complete ball club. Their hometown heroes wouldn’t be that bad as replacements.

Brandon Knight knows how to score the basketball pretty well. Trevor Ariza is an NBA champion and knows what it takes on the defensive side of the ball to win games. The Miami fan base wouldn’t be that upset with these guys.

Memphis Grizzlies

Bob Levey/Getty Images
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Key players: Lou Williams, Corey Brewer, and JJ Redick

Let’s not act like Lou Williams isn’t a walking basket. If you don’t know who he is, he’s probably one of the most proficient scorers in the NBA right now. And Corey Brewer is a lesser version of him. So this team would be able to score the ball.

Adding in one of the best shooters ever in JJ Redick only sweetens the deal. We’re not saying they’re going far into the playoffs with this team, but they would sure be exciting to watch during the regular season.

Indiana Pacers

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Key players: Jeff Teague, Mike Conley, and Gordon Hayward

Since their stacked team in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the Pacers have been a middle of the pack team for a decade. Swapping rosters with the hometown kids might be an improvement.

Gordon Hayward is a proven all-star, and so is Jeff Teague. Mike Conley at one point was the highest paid player in the NBA, you just never hear much about him. This wouldn’t be a bad team to call your favorite if you’re a Pacers fan.

New Orleans Pelicans

Elsa/Getty Images
Elsa/Getty Images

Key players: Elfrid Payton, and Thaddeus Young

Due to the Pelicans being a relatively new franchise, we can’t judge them based on their past success. We can, however, look to the bright future they have with Anthony Davis as their anchor.

The way their roster is currently set up, they would have no need for the hometown players. Elfrid Payton (right) has a lot of potential, but he is light years behind Davis. New Orleans fans would be irate if this became a reality.

Toronto Raptors

Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Key players: Tristan Thompson, Corey Joseph, and Andrew Wiggins

The Toronto Raptors have always been an interesting team. They never have been at the top of the food chain, but they still manage to hang around. They’ve had tremendous players like Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, and DeMar DeRozen.

Their hometown players aren’t that bad either. Corey Joseph (left) has previously played on the Raptors before, so it wouldn’t be new to him. Khloe Kardashian would have a tough time keeping Tristan Thompson in check if he played in his home city.

Atlanta Hawks

Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Key players: Dwight Howard, Malcolm Brogdon, and Derrick Favors

There was once a time when the Hawks were always a threat to win. Time went by and legends retired. Recently, they’ve been in rebuilding mode. Boy, would they love to have Malcolm Brogdon (#13), a former Rookie of the Year, to build around.

As you can tell by Dwight Howard’s jersey (left), he’s already been a Hawk. He didn’t have his best time out there, but he did put in a lot of effort. We don’t know what’s going to fix the Hawks outside of better players and smarter coaching.

Boston Celtics

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Key players: Nerlens Noel, Shabazz Napier, and Michael Carter-Williams

The Boston Celtics would never allow for their roster to become filled with garbage time players like these. GM Danny Ainge would rather cut off his own hand before becoming the worst team in the league.

We’re not bad-mouthing players like Shabazz Napier (right) and Nerlens Noel (left), but if they’re your best options, then you have no options. They are, however, great backup and role players. Boston just doesn’t breed the right basketball talent it seems.

Kevin Durant

kevin durant
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Kevin Durant is from the Washington D.C. area, and we think it’s safe to say that if he played alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards would probably have a championship by now.

Just imagine a back court with three major NBA superstars like that. Include the fact that Washington plays in the East, so they wouldn’t face the Warriors in the playoffs. If you had choose Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green versus Bradley Beal, John Wall and Kevin Durant, who would you pick?

James Harden

james harden
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

You already know that James Harden could play for a super team with the Los Angeles Clippers, but what if it was just him? Could he carry the Clippers like he has carried the Houston Rockets?

Harden is a one-man show, and would instantly upgrade the Clippers’ roster. And in 2019, that roster isn’t half bad. They pushed the Warriors to six games in the first round of the playoffs. With Harden on the roster maybe they would have gotten over the hump.

Kyrie Irving

kyrie irving
Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

This pairing might not be as far-fetched as it sounds. It’s widely believed that Irving is on his way out in Boston and has two options for where he wants to play next. He can join LeBron on the Lakers, or he can sign with the Knicks.

Of course, if he goes to New York, he might not be alone. It is also considered a desirable location for Kevin Durant! Just imagine the two of them paired up and running the table on the East Coast.

Louis Williams

louis williams
Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images

One of the greatest sixth men in the history of the NBA, it’s shocking that Louis Williams has never found his way to his hometown Atlanta Hawks. But what if did?

Considering he carried the 2018 Clippers to the playoffs coming off the bench, then almost single-handedly beat the Warriors, we think Atlanta could use him. It wasn’t that long ago the team with a perennial NBA Finals contender. Perhaps he was the missing piece they didn’t know they needed.

Gordon Hayward

gordon hayward
Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Gordon Hayward was a special player in the NBA before signing with the Celtics and breaking his leg. It’s taken him a long time to get back to form, but he’s there now, and would be a perfect fit with the Indiana Pacers!

Another bubble playoff team, the addition of Hayward would instantly make the Pacers a contender. Add him into the young and hungry talent in Indiana and the league would instantly be on alert!

Kobe Bryant

kobe bryant
Fu Tian/China News Service/VCG
Fu Tian/China News Service/VCG

The NBA would look a whole lot different today if Kobe Bryant had played for his hometown Philadelphia 76ers. Without him, who knows what would have happened to the Lakers’ dynasty. It might never have existed.

Instead, we’d be remembering all the incredible game he had in the city of brotherly love. Can you think about how crazy his final, 60 point game would be if he had accomplished it in his hometown colors? Then again, maybe he considers Los Angeles his hometown now with how good it’s been to him.

Damian Lillard

damian lillard
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Damon Lillard loves the Bay Area. When he showed up his hometown of Oakland to take on the Warriors in the 2019 NBA playoffs, he wore a custom made Oakland Athletics jersey.

If he had also been able to play for his hometown Warriors, who knows what would have happened. It’s likely this would be one of the only moves that hurt a team more than it helped. Not because of Lillard though, because of whom it means wouldn’t be on the Warriors. Golden State is a perfect storm of players, after all.

Kevin Love

kevin love
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Here’s a scenario: Damian Lillard runs into the paint, then swings the ball out to Kevin Love, who sinks a three from the corner. The crowd goes wild and Love enjoys the praise of his hometown fans.

Would this make the Trailblazers a Finals favorite, though? Love does have one ring on his finger. Would he have multiple playing with Lillard instead of LeBron? This is one that is interesting to us. Love has never been able to be the difference in a team, but is an exceptional compliment for already great teams.

Matt Barnes

matt barnes
Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Matt Barnes was never a superstar, but he was always fun to watch. It’s just a shame he never got to share that hometown glee with his own Sacramento Kings. He did get close with the Warriors, though.

Would Barnes have made a difference Sacramento? Probably not. The problems with the team go beyond the roster that gets assembled every year. Still, having a homegrown talent like Barnes on the roster would have been a good incentive for fans to show up to every home game.

Blake Griffin

blake griffin
Duane Burleson/Getty Images
Duane Burleson/Getty Images

This pairing has almost come to pass more than once. Blake Griffin, who became a star in the league with the Los Angeles Clippers actually had a chance to play for his own Oklahoma City Thunder.

Unfortunately for him, the Clippers traded him to the Detroit Piston instead, where is one piece in a massive rebuild project. The Thunder, on the other hand, always find their way into the playoffs and are arguable one superstar away from competing for the NBA Title.

Derrick Rose

derrick rose
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

This is more of a ‘what if’ scenario than anything else. Derrick Rose has played for his hometown Chicago Bulls before. He even won the NBA MVP with that team. Then he got hurt, and after his rehab was never the same.

What if Rose had never gotten hurt? For a brief moment before his injury it looked like he was the second coming of Michael Jordan. Then it crashed down. Now he’s a Minnesota Timberwolf.

Anthony Davis

anthony davis
Cassy Athena/Getty Images
Cassy Athena/Getty Images

Could Anthony Davis to the Chicago Bulls actually happen? The move would instantly make Chicago relevant again, and there is no reason to believe he plans to sign another contract with New Orleans.

According to sources, Davis won’t even consider contract extensions from the Pelicans. He wants out, and he wants to be traded. Really he’s wanted to be traded for the past few seasons, but with his free agency approaching, it might be now or never for New Orleans to make a move.

Russell Westbrook

russell westbrook
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

You had to know this one was coming. Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Clippers probably won’t ever happen, but just imagine pairing him up with that team’s young talent!

With his ability to pass and lead, the Clippers would be close to unstoppable. Too bad for them that Westbrook’s love for Oklahoma City is insurmountable. He’s a Thunder player for life, and wants to prove that he can win without anyone’s help! We bet he can.

Chris Bosh

chris bosh
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

How many titles do you think the Dallas Mavericks would have won with Kevin Bosh? The team won once with Dirk Notwiztki, and we think would have won at least one more if Bosh by the big man’s side.

It’s not hard to think about, really. Bosh was a major reason that Miami Heat went on the incredible run they did with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. That makes us think a similar run would have been possible in Dallas with Bosh.

Dwayne Wade

dwayne wade
Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic
Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic

The Bulls would be a really good basketball team with the talent that has come out of Chicago. Dwayne Wade became a superstar leading the Miami Heat to championship before LeBron James showed up.

We can’t even fathom how he would have changed the culture in Chicago if he had landed there instead. Especially considering the era he played. It would have put him right alongside Derrick Rose, creating a two-man wrecking crew that would be nearly unstoppable.

Kyle Lowry

kyle lowry
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Kyle Lowry is a key piece for the Toronto Raptors. When the team acquired Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs, they traded DeMar DeRozan and opted to keep Lowry.

That move wouldn’t have been possible if Lowry played for the 76ers, though. Put him on the team he grew up rooting for, and maybe Philadelphia beats the Bucks, then takes on the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals. Would Kawhi be enough for Toronto to overcome Lowry and Embiid?

Stephen Curry

stephen curry
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Stephen Curry playing for the Charlotte Hornets is not something any Golden State Warriors fan wants to think about. If he had played for his dad’s team, the Warriors dynasty wouldn’t exist.

Instead, the Hornets would be winning title after title. Kevin Durant might get a lot of the credit for the Warriors’ success, but don’t forget that before he got to town, Curry won back-to-back NBA MVPs. That’s not an easy thing to do and sadly it didn’t happen in Charlotte.

Klay Thompson

klay thomson
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Speaking of tearing down the Warriors dynasty, did you know that Klay Thomspon grew up rooting for the Los Angeles Lakers. Thompson in Los Angeles would be an interesting pairing. At the start of his career, it would have meant Kobe Bryant was his mentor.

And if developed into the players he’s become in Oakland, the Lakers might never have fallen off the map. That means LeBron never would have come to the Lakeshow, and the team might have a few more winning seasons in the last several years.

Chris Paul

chris paul
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Wherever Chris Paul goes, the team he’s on wins. With the Clippers and the Rockets, Paul has shown just how valuable his NBA IQ is when it comes to winning games in crunch time.

The only downside for Paul playing for the Hornets is his injury history. He would still need talent around him to help the team become great. In that way he’s like Kevin Love: a great complimentary piece who shouldn’t be confused with a franchise player.

Lance Stephenson

lance stephenson
Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images
Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

What would the NBA be without Lance Stephenson? A great player who has been on a series of bad teams, Stephenson has always stood out in his career. One of the most mentally challenging players to go against, he would be a solid addition to the Brooklyn Nets.

Would Stephenson be a change maker in Brooklyn? Probably not. But he would help mature the young players on the team, who are so close to competing year in and year out!