Let's be honest for a second. We all judge a book by its cover and more often than not, that ends up being a huge mistake. We have a bit of a cliche on our minds regarding how NBA players should look, so it's kind of bizarre to see someone breaking that mold.
Steve Nash and Jeremy Lin are two examples of this. In fact, Lin had trouble entering the Warriors and Knicks arena as the guards didn't think he actually played for the team. Today, that's nothing more than a funny story, but it must have been quite frustrating at the time, though.
Notably, the players we're about to mention must have been through the very same thing over and over throughout their careers. Today, we're going to put an end to this narrative by letting you know about the 'Do you play basketball?' lineup, featuring 5 guys that don't look like NBA players.
PG - J.J. Barea
Well, J.J. Barea is 5'10'' and white, two traits that are rarely seen in NBA players. He often looks way shorter than most of the guys in the hardwood. But make no mistake, he's strong, fast, savvy, and crafty enough to thrive among giants.
Barea has been a cornerstone for the Dallas Mavericks organization for years. He's mentored countless players, was a part of their Championship squad and has been in the league for 13 seasons now. He's more of an NBA player than most guys in the league.
SG - T.J. McConnell
Joel Embiid made fun of T.J. McConnell's looks during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers because he clearly wasn't like your average NBA player. Still, he overcame his lack of athleticism with a great court vision and high basketball IQ.
McConnell is never going to be a starter in the league but he's got the skills to be in the NBA for over a decade. He's a crafty playmaker, a solid three-point shooter, and has even proven to step up in the clutch. Even if he doesn't look like an NBA star.
SF - Joe Ingles
Joe Ingles can flat-out ball. This guy has the whole package. He's got the handles, the shooting skills, can create off the dribble, pull-up, and knock down shots consistently from all three levels, even if he looks slower and not as athletic as half of the guys in the league.
He's well aware of it, as he once told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski: Let's be real ... I've got a receding hairline, I'm slow and I'm probably not the most jacked up with abs and all that, but I'm still going to beat you one-on-one. Settle down." We agree.
PF - Jared Dudley
Jared Dudley has been pointed out in social media countless times over the past couple of years. Some fans claim his roster spot should have gone to a more skilled and athletic player. Little do they know that Dudley brings a lot to the table in limited minutes.
Dudley never relied on his athleticism to dominate. He was a major problem in college and embraced his role in the league. He's got outstanding defensive instincts and is the defensive staple of the team when he's on the court. He can also shoot the ball at a high clip.
C - Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic made the most of the pandemic to put an end to the narrative against him. He was a bit slow, unathletic, and slightly overweight for being an NBA player but now looks slim, strong, and ready to rumble in the Orlando bubble.
Jokic has always played at his own pace. His game goes through his handles and skills, not his athleticism or physicality. Even so, it's great to see him in such good shape, especially with the playoffs right around the corner. Way to go, Niko!