Throughout the history of basketball, players have come from all over the world to grace the hardwood. From Europe to Africa to the Middle East, nearly every location in the world has been represented in the NBA at one point or another. It should come as no surprise that the U.S. is the most represented country in the NBA by a wide margin. It is bound to happen when the sport is based out of and primarily played in that country.
Nearly all 50 states have been represented in the NBA as well. They have been represented so much throughout history that nearly every state can produce an all-time starting lineup. Some states are stronger than others, while some states may get laughed at when their lineup is introduced. How does each state stack up against one another? Let’s take an in-depth look.
Starting Lineup: G Eric Bledsoe, F Robert Horry, F Charles Barkley, C Ben Wallace, C DeMarcus Cousins
We start our list strong with the team out of Alabama. The clear strength of this lineup is its size and interior presence. A former league MVP, Charles Barkley is already enough for one team to handle on the post, but to add in bruisers like Ben Wallace, a 3x Defensive Player Of The Year, and Cousins will make for a long night for opposing teams. We know at the very least with those 3 that the trash-talking battle will be won.
The backcourt doesn’t have the sexiest names in the world, but Robert Horry and Eric Gordon are more than capable of steadying the offense. Gordon is a career 37.1% 3-point shooter making him valuable when defenses inevitably crash into the paint on their 3 bigs. Horry didn’t earn the name “Big Shot Bob” for nothing. Gordon and Horry are also very capable defenders, but if opponents get past them, they have the right reinforcements to make up for it in the paint.
Starting Lineup: G Mario Chalmers, G Trajan Langdon, G Dashien Nix, F JT Thor, F Carlos Boozer
I was shocked I was able to make a lineup from Alaska. There are some glaring weaknesses with this team. First, there are two rookies in JT Thor and Dashien Nix who have barely spent any time on the floor in their young careers. Trajan Langford was a college standout at Duke but was out of the league after just 3 seasons and went overseas. That leaves us with veterans Mario Chalmers and Carlos Boozer.
Don’t get me wrong, by no means are Boozer and Chalmers bad basketball players. It is just that these aren't two guys you would necessarily want as your 1st and 2nd options. Chalmers is a league champion, yes, but that has a lot more to do with guys named Dwyane Wade and LeBron James than it does him. Boozer was a fighter, scrappy, and an asset to every team he joined. We have seen Boozer fall short with more around him like Deron Williams and Derrick Rose, so it’s not unfair to say a team with Boozer, Chalmers, 2 rookies, and a quick exit from the league is on the lower echelon of teams on this list.
Starting Lineup: G Jerryd Bayless, F Sean Elliott, F Matisse Thybulle, F Kevin Knox, C Marvin Bagley III
The lineup for Arizona is an interesting one. On one hand, you have 2 savvy veterans in Bayless and Elliott who can facilitate and make plays for the offense. On the other hand, you have Bagley and Knox, 2 bigs with large expectations only to have underperformed and be traded by the team that drafted them. I don’t hold a lot of hope for a team that has to get their scoring from Sean Elliott and Marvin Bagley, even though at his peak, Sean Elliott was good for 20.0 PPG.
Despite their offensive shortcomings, this team will be pesky on defense. Thybulle is one of the best young perimeter defenders in the game and that is where his value is added to the lineup. Bagley and Knox are tough interior defenders, but their effort has come into question on more than one occasion. All in all, despite having the pro talent, this team sinks into the Alaska tier on our list and won’t be very competitive stacked against the other teams here.
Starting Lineup: Fat Lever, G Mike Conley, G Joe Johnson, F Glen Rice, F Scottie Pippen
This lineup has it all. Fat Lever might just be one of the most underrated players ever. At his peak, he could give you 18-19 PPG and 7-8 APG, making him a perfect point guard to facilitate this team. Conley is the same type of guard as Lever with a high basketball IQ and playmaking skills, so the lack of size on this team is going to be overshadowed by their pace. This lineup is small but will be giving you buckets for 48 mins guaranteed.
Glen Rice, Joe Johnson, and Scottie Pippen will be carrying the scoring load for this squad. All 3 are premier shot creators of their time, capable of having high-scoring outputs at any given moment. Pippen will be the main cog on defense, slightly diminishing his offensive output, but with bucket getters like Rice and Iso Joe, defenses will be scrambling for solutions. Arkansas has fielded the most offensively sound team thus far.
Starting Lineup: G Russell Westbrook, G James Harden, G Klay Thompson, F Kawhi Leonard, F Paul Pierce
If you thought Arkansas had it going on, California has a top 5 lineup of this entire thread, probably more like top 3. 2 of the greatest playmakers in league history make up the backcourt with Westbrook and Harden. Westbrook can control the pace of the game and successfully run an offense with his brilliant court vision and ability to explode to the rack. Harden at his peak besides being a smart ball-handler and playmaker, is capable of giving you anywhere from 30.0 to 36.0 PPG. This type of production from the guard positions is vital to success. Let’s just hope it turns out better than it did in Houston.
The remaining positions know how to get the job done on an elite level on the biggest stages, proving invaluable to any lineup. Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and Paul Pierce have a combined total of 6 NBA Championships with 3 Finals MVP awards. Kawhi being one of the best two-way players in recent memory will be the primary on-ball defender while Pierce will take on more of a scoring role. Klay will get a ton of open looks and what more could you want from one of the greatest shooters to ever live? Although they run a small-ball lineup, look for California to be one of the toughest states to beat.
Starting Lineup: G Chauncey Billups, G Charlie Williams, G Darrick Martin, G Derrick White, C Joe Kleine
Aside from Chauncey Billups and Derrick White, the names in this lineup don’t spark much enthusiasm. But, who doesn’t love Billups and the early 2000s Pistons? There will be no questions of leadership from this team. Derrick White is currently making somewhat of a name for himself by playing a pivotal role off the bench and as an injury filler for the Celtics on their 2022 Eastern Conference Finals run.
As for the other 2 guards and a big man, we have to dig deeper into the archives. Charlie Williams is a former ABA standout with the Memphis Pros and Pittsburgh Pipers. At his peak, he was an 18-20 PPG point guard. Darrick Martin was a 13-year veteran who played for 8 different teams in his career. In his best season, he was able to put out 10.0PPG to go along with 4.2 APG. Not mind-blowing stats, but still one of the best Colorado has to offer. As for Kleine, he somehow managed a 15-year career despite averages of just 4.8 PPG and 4.1 RPG as a center. This lineup strikes fear into no one’s eyes.
Starting Lineup: G Calvin Murphy, G John Williamson, F Rick Mahorn, C Mike Gminski, C Marcus Camby
The State of Connecticut will probably fall somewhere in the bottom half of our list, but there are some great underrated players in this lineup. Calvin Murphy was a pretty good point guard for the Houston Rockets who averaged over 20.0 PPG and & 7.0 APG multiple times in his career, providing some scoring for a lineup that needs it. The same goes for his backcourt partner, John Williamson. Williamson was a prolific scorer for the Pacers and Nets. In 1978, he averaged 29.5 PPG for New Jersey.
Rick Mahorn is best known for his days with the Bad Boy Pistons. His championship experience and hard-nosed playstyle are exactly what this team needs. Marcus Camby was also a defensive force to be reckoned with who led the league in blocks 4 different seasons. Mike Gminski is not a name many may know but he could play. During the late 80s and early 90s, Gminski had multiple seasons of over 16.0 PPG and 9.0 RPG. This lineup may not be the most intimidating, but they will certainly fight and compete.
Starting Lineup: G Walt Hazzard, G Donte DiVincenzo, G Bones Hyland, G Terence Stansbury, G Joey Graham
Unfortunately for Delaware, the best lineup one can put together using players from their great state is an all-guard lineup. Let’s not hold it against them that they haven’t produced a notable NBA big man yet, please. All jokes aside, it would be hard for any team that consists of all guards to compete, maybe even harder for this one.
First, let me say that Hyland and DiVincenzo have a ton of promise and potential. DiVincenzo turned out to be a good 3 and D player off the bench for the Bucks championship squad, averaging 10.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 3.1 APG in 2021. Hyland put the league on notice in 2022, his rookie season. Bones averaged 10.1 PPG in just 19.0 MPG. Walt Hazzard was an All-Star for the Seattle Supersonics in 1968, averaging 24.0 PPG, the only All-Star Selection of his career.
Starting Lineup: G Gilbert Arenas, G Mitch Richmond, F Tracy McGrady, C Artis Gilmore, C David Robinson
It should come as no surprise that Florida has one of the toughest lineups on our list. Florida has been breeding ballers as far back as the history of the game goes. There are no offensive weaknesses anywhere on the floor in this lineup. Arenas, T-Mac, and Richmond are all prolific scorers throughout the game's history who have all been near or at the top of the league in scoring. I mean, McGrady has given us some of the greatest offensive performances we have ever seen ala 13 points in 33 seconds.
Artis Gilmore has been historically underrated in his career. Although he did most of his damage in the ABA, it is still a general fact that he is the greatest big man in Chicago Bulls History. With career averages of 18.8 PPG and 12.3 RPG on over 58% shooting, that fact is hard to deny. David Robinson is one of the great two-way bigs of the game. The 1995 NBA MVP finished his career with averages of 21.1 PPG and 10.6 RPG in arguably the toughest big man era of basketball. If we were to put these lineups into a tournament, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team in the final four or taking home the title.
Starting Lineup: G Walt Frazier, G World B. Free, F Anthony Edwards, F Shareef Abdur-Rahim, C Dwight Howard
There is no shortage of basketball skills from top to bottom of Georgia’s lineup. You may be shocked to see Anthony Edwards crack this lineup so early in his career, but there is no doubting how he fairs stacked up against top-tier talent. Edwards is already putting up 20.3 PPG for a career average and he keeps getting better. You can never go wrong with Walt Frazier as your point guard either. An NBA Champion, All-Star, and All-NBA player, Frazier is generally a top 10 point guard of all-time on most lists.
One can only hope we get the Orlando version of Dwight Howard. Not saying he hasn’t been productive elsewhere, but there’s nothing better than a 3x Defensive Player Of The Year and perennial All-Star. The most interesting player here is Shareef-Abdur Rahim. Shareef was an absolute bucket throughout his career, scoring over 15,000 points in 12 seasons of service. This team presents a world of problems for opponents trying to slow them down.
Notable Players: F Cedric Ceballos, C Red Rocha
Unfortunately, when I said that nearly every state can produce an all-time starting 5, Hawaii was one of the exceptions. Hawaii has only produced 2 NBA players in its history. Cedric Ceballos was a slightly above-average forward in the NBA for 11 years. He was a consistent scorer who at his peak averaged 21.0 PPG consecutively in 1995 and 1996. He was also super efficient shooting the ball, leading the league in FG% in 1993 and shooting exactly 50.0% for his career.
Red Rocha is not a household name by any means. That is probably because he played in the 1950s and no one talks about that era of basketball. Regardless of era, Rocha was a 2-time NBA All-Star who had a couple of great seasons in between very mediocre/forgetful seasons. In his 2 All-Star seasons, he averaged 13.0 PPG and 8.1 RPG. Can we get some more basketball players from The Aloha State though?
Starting Lineup: G Luke Ridnour, F Charlie Black, F Deb Smith, F Dale Wilkinson, C Steve Hayes
Ok, I know what you are thinking. Who the hell are these guys? Well, the 5 men listed above are the only 5 players in Idaho state history to play in the NBA. I am using the term “play” very loosely here. Luke Ridnour is the most notable name here, having played from 2004-to 2015 with games. Ridnour had a decent start to his career early on in Seattle and Minnesota, averaging 11.7 PPG and 4.6 APG in 3 seasons with the Timberwolves.
The rest of this lineup is going to need to be introduced. Deb Smith and Dale Wilkinson each gave one year of their lives to the NBA and combined for 87 total points between them. The only difference is they played 40 years apart. Steve Hayes played 5 seasons in the NBA in the 1980s but was nothing more than a journeyman backup center. Charlie Black is another one from the 1950s who played 4 full seasons in the NBA and had multiple seasons of 10.0 PPG or slightly above. It is safe to say without going into more detail, this lineup will not be competing for any championships.
Starting Lineup: G Isiah Thomas, G Dwyane Wade, F Anthony Davis, F Dan Issel, C George Mikan
Illinois coming up clutch with a lineup to break us out of the small stretch of underwhelming ones. Illinois kicks it off with a backcourt of champions in Isiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade. Isiah was the heart and soul of the Pistons team that bruised and dazzled on their way to 2 championships in 1989 and 1990, including a Finals MVP for Thomas in 1990. Who can forget Wade in 2006 too? Before LeBron and Bosh, Wade, with Shaq at his side, led Miami to its first title in franchise history in just his 3rd season.
George Mikan should be held in higher regard by NBA fans, but his status is questioned by the time in which he played. Regardless, 23.1 PPG and 13.4 RPG for a career with 5 championships are beyond noteworthy. In this lineup, it wouldn’t be outlandish to say AD would play the Small Forward given his ability to shoot to go with “The Horse” as the 4 and Mikan at Center. Issel’s career flies under the radar a bit despite having a 22.6 PPG and 9.1 RPG career stat line. Teams are going to have to work overtime and be willing to get extra physical to beat this lineup over a 7-game stretch.
Starting Lineup: G Dick Barnett, G Louie Dampier, F Larry Bird, F Shawn Kemp, C Zach Randolph
Believe it or not, every player in this lineup is a 15,000 career point scorer or better. Barnett and Dampier played in the 60s and for their time were 2 of the best guards in the game, yet overlooked because of guys like Jerry West and Oscar Robertson. They are both former All-Stars who could score the ball at will and facilitate in other ways if called upon.
If there is anyone you could have to be the primary option on your team, Larry Bird is one of the first you would select. The 3x NBA Champ and 2x Finals MVP would probably just use his left hand only until he faced off against the Michigan squad and Magic Johnson. Shawn Kemp and Zach Randolph are complete opposites yet nearly the same player. Kemp was an explosive and athletic big who could throw down dunks with the best of them. Randolph looked like he had no business being on the floor yet cooked the opposing bigs with crafty footwork and soft touch around the basket. It is gonna take an all-time defense to stop a team that put the ball in the hoop at the rate these guys did.
Starting Lineup: G Kirk Hinrich, G Bob Hansen, F Harrison Barnes, F Nick Collison, C Raef LaFrentz
More than anything, this team is going to be fun to watch. This would reunite Kansas teammates Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison, who both enjoyed solid NBA Careers. Harrison Barnes would probably be the number one option on offense as the best scorer here by far. Hinrich was a tremendous facilitator with the 2000s “Baby Bulls” and that is the exact role he would have here.
Bob Hansen enjoyed a 9-year career in the 80s. Although he was never near All-Star level, he still scored nearly 4,000 career points, making him the 2nd highest scoring guard in Iowa history behind Hinrich. In his 1st 4 seasons with the Nuggets, Raef LaFrentz averaged 13.2 PPG and 7.7 RPG as a very serviceable big. As fun as this team would be to watch because of the energy they bring, I wouldn’t expect many wins out of them.
Starting Lineup: G Warren Jabali, G Larry Drew, G Lionel Hollins, G Lucius Allen C Alvan Adams
Surprisingly, Kansas did not leave us many choices for a starting lineup. With a lineup of 4vguards and a center, you would hope that the team has more than 5 All-Star appearances between them. That is not the case. Alvan Adams was an All-Star in his rookie season and finished his career with averages of 14.1 PPG and 7.0 RPG.
The other 4 to round out this lineup mainly made of guards are underwhelming at best. Larry Drew is a surprise here, averaging 20.1 PPG and 8,1 APG in 1983, by far career highs. Warren Jabali, the only other All-Star in this lineup, did so 4 times in his career and finished his career as an ABA legend. He would never get the chance to crack the NBA despite averaging 17.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 5.3 APG for his career.
Starting Lineup: G Rajon Rondo, G Cliff Hagan, F Dave Cowens, C Wes Unseld, C Arnie Risen
NBA champions, NBA MVPs and Finals MVPs make up the lineup for the state of Kentucky. Rajon Rondo is one of the most consistent playmakers in history. His presence proved vital not once but twice on title runs with the Lakers and Celtics. Even in two completely different roles, he can impact a game tremendously. Wes Unseld is one of the greatest centers in league history winning a League MVP in 1969 and a Finals MVP in 1978. Unseld led the league in rebounding once and FG% twice.
Dave Cowens may just be the most disrespected MVP of all-time. He was an 8x All-Star, a 3x All-NBA Team Selection, and a #x All-Defensive Team selection. He won the 1973 League MVP averaging 20.5 PPG and 16.2 RPG. He went on to win 3 championships in his career. Cliff Hagan and Arnie Risen had decent careers in the 1950s. Hagan scored over 14,000 points in his career, was a 6x All-Star and an NBA Champion.
Starting Lineup: G Joe Dumars, G Clyde Drexler, F Karl Malone, F Bob Pettit, C Bill Russell
There can’t be a lot to complain about when the centerpiece of your team is the greatest winner to ever pick up a basketball. Bill Russell, his 11 championships and label as one of the greatest defenders ever, make this team a force to be reckoned with right out of the gate. Then you add in the man who currently sits 3rd all time in points scored, Karl Malone. Karl Malone was one bad dude, with 14 All-Star and All-NBA Selections, 4 All-Defensive Selections, and 2 league MVPs.
Already you have 2 of the greatest at their respective positions and then you add in Drexler, Dumars, and Pettit. All 3 are NBA champions who could score the ball should the defense collapse on Malone and Bill. Drexler could do it all, averaging 20.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 5.6 APG over his 16-year career and won a title in 1995. Bob Pettit is one of the greatest players of the 50s/60s with an astonishing 26.4 PPG and 16.2 RPG career. Dumars was an overlooked threat himself, winning a Finals MVP in 1989 with the Pistons. This lineup would have to be on everyone’s radar to take home some gold.
Notable Players: G Duncan Robinson, F Jeff Turner
We have reached that time on our list again where another state has failed to produce enough players for a lineup. This time it is the state of Maine where current bench player Duncan Robinson and 80s/90s bench player Jeff Turner are the only 2 NBA players to ever hail from The Pine Tree State.
To be fair, Robinson has already been to one NBA Finals in his young career and is currently on the verge of another with the Miami Heat. While Duncan is a 3-point specialist and scores more, it seems his role has been diminished lately similar to that of Turner's former one 30 years ago. Could Duncan be out in South Beach?
Starting Lineup: G Sam Cassell, G Steve Francis, G Victor Oladipo, F Jeff Green, F Michael Beasley
This lineup might have the worst offensive chemistry of any team ever assembled. Aside from Sam Cassell, every player here wants the ball in their hand at all times. Rightfully so, considering these guys are all talented scorers in isolation sets. Michael Beasley had his issues, but there is no denying his talent. He showed flashes of it in 2011 when he averaged 19.2 PPG with Minnesota among other scoring outbursts sporadically in his career.
Victor Oladipo is a serious two-way threat with the ability to score over 20 points and take the ball away about 2.4 times per game like he did in 2018. He seems to be returning to form currently on a solid playoff run with the Heat as well. Steve Francis is another talented scorer who couldn’t get out of his own way. At his peak, he averaged 21.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 6.4 APG to go with being named an All-Star 3 times. Although the talent is immense, chemistry is essential and it may just be the Achilles' heel for this lineup.
Starting Lineup: G Dana Barros, G Travis Best, G Vinny Del Negro, F Bill Laimbeer, C Nerlens Noel
Just one glance at this lineup and you know it is a bunch of Beantown brawlers. They may not be the most offensively gifted but the bruises will certainly show the morning after the game. Bill Laimbeer is a 2-time NBA champion and an enforcer for the most badass team of all time, the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons. His frontcourt partner, Nerlens Noel has been a bit underwhelming in his NBA career. 8 years in and it appears to be coming to an end, but he did show serious promise early on as a defender and rebounder.
Dana Barros is a crafty Boston native, who put up subtle yet top-notch scoring numbers. In 1995, he put up 20.6 PPG and 7.5 APG in the only All-Star season of his career. Travis Best was another bench player who played a pivotal role on a contending team with the 90s Pacers. Best wasn’t a 15 or 20 PPG guy, but he was smart and made quick decisions, resulting in positive outcomes. Vinny Del Negro rounds out the lineup, mainly used for his facilitating abilities and instincts.
Starting Lineup: G Magic Johnson, G George Gervin, F Chris Webber, F Draymond Green, C Mel Daniels
This very well may be the most well-rounded lineup thus far. You have elite playmaking with Magic and Draymond, elite scoring with Gervin, versatility with Webber and it goes on and on. There is no playmaker on the level of Magic Johnson. His ability to control the pace of the game, whether on a fast break or set offense, is the best there has ever been. Gervin is a top 10 scorer of all time, who can put the ball in the hoop at all 3 levels. Magic is going to get him his buckets.
Webber and Green complement each other perfectly. Draymond is a high IQ defender and floor general who can get Webber to the right spots on that side of the ball. Webber is a versatile scorer who likes to run the floor, perfect for Magic's offense, and can pop it from the mid-range at will. Mel Daniels gets overlooked due to most of his time coming in the ABA with the Pacers. Nevertheless, he is still the best center in franchise history and should be recognized as such. Judging by the Indiana team we already built, Larry Bird is gonna be pissed when he keeps losing to Magic.
Starting Lineup: G Jalen Suggs, G Dick Garmaker, F Mark Olberding, F Kevin McHale, C Randy Breuer
Team Minnesota will not be turning any heads. Kevin McHale is far and away the best player to come out of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. McHale scored over 17,000 points in his career with 2 Sixth Man Of The Year awards, 6 All-Defensive Team selections, and 3 rings. Jalen Suggs just finished his rookie season with the Orlando Magic and it is clear that the talent is there, he just needs more experience. Suggs finished the year with 11.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 4.4 APG.
Olberding was a forward in the 70s and 80s, who peaked in 1982 when he averaged 13.8 PPG and 6.5 RPG. Dick Garmaker’s playing days were back in the 1950s, and he enjoyed a solid career. He averaged 13.3 PPG and 4.2 RPG with the Lakers and Knicks and was named an All-Star 4 times. Minnesota would be hovering down on the lower tiers of teams built on this list.
Starting Lineup: G Mo Williams, G Monta Ellis, F Purvis Short, F Spencer Haywood, C Al Jefferson
This team has speed. Monta Ellis is one of the greatest scorers in Mississippi history, tallying over 14,000 points in his career. He was lightning fast on the floor, but that should come as no surprise when your nickname is “The Mississippi Bullet”. Mo Williams gets a bad rep as one of the guys that LeBron carried in Cleveland, but he had a pretty decent career. He was an All-Star in 2009 averaging 17.8 PPG and 4.1 APG.
Spencer Haywood is an ABA/NBA legend who in his rookie year averaged 30.0 PPG and 19.5 RPG. He also won the ABA MVP for his performance. For his career, he finished with 20.3 PPG and 10.3 RPG and has his jersey retired by the Seattle Supersonics. Purvis Short is relatively unknown, but he was a great scorer for the Warriors of the 80s. Although he was never an All-Star, Short enjoyed a string of 5 seasons in a row averaging at least 20.0 PPG, including 1985 when he put up a whopping 28.0 PPG. This team is going to battle, especially in the paint with Haywood and Jefferson. They have the outside scoring, inside scoring, and rebounding to compete and defeat the other teams on this list at a high rate.
Starting Lineup: G Jo Jo White, G Bradley Beal, G Larry Hughes, F Jayson Tatum, F David Lee
There are only 2 players in Missouri history who averaged over 20.0 PPG in the NBA, Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal. They are both young superstars who are toward the top of their positions in today’s game. Tatum is already a 3x All-Star and 2x All-NBA selection, while Beal is a 3x All-Star and 1x All-NBA selection. We already know what these 2 can do. This lineup will be all about the supporting cast.
Jo Jo White was a 7x All-Star himself in the 70s. He was more than capable of scoring the ball, but more so as a facilitator, having averaged 5.0 APG for his career. David Lee is a smaller big of course, but man would he fight for rebounds. Lee has multiple seasons in his career of over 20.0 PPG and 11.0 RPG. One thing about this lineup is that they are going to get theirs on offense. Even Hughes has been a 20.0 PPG scorer while leading the league in steals. Not the best lineup we have built so far, but far from the worst.
Starting Lineup: F Adam Morrison, F Phil Jackson, F Larry Krystkowiak, F Mike Lewis, C Ed Kalafat
Let’s not sugarcoat this. This lineup is awful. There have been 11 players to hail from Montana in NBA history and just 5 of them eclipsed 1,000 points scored for their career. They are all in this lineup. If Phil Jackson was their coach, I would give them a shot at sneaking in a few wins, but as their primary offensive option? Not so much.
Adam Morrison made this team. That should tell you right there, the sparse selection there was from Montana. Although Morrison had a ton of potential coming out of Gonzaga, he never amounted to much in the NBA. I am still shocked at how wrong the Bobcats got that one. The other 3 players joining Morrison and Jackson aren't any more exciting. Krystkowiak was a backup forward for most of his career in the 80s and 90s but he did average 12.7 PPG and 7.7 RPG in his 3rd year as a pro. Kalafat played for just 3 seasons in the 50s and still managed 1,000 points for his career. Mike Lewis was a 2x ABA All-Star in the 70s, averaging 12.1 PPG and 11.9 RPG for his career. If they’re lucky, and I mean very lucky, they wouldn’t finish as bad as Morrison’s Bobcats in 2007.
Starting Lineup: G Kenny Sailors, G Fred Hoiberg, G Rex Walters, F Bob Boozer, C Dave Hoppen
Bob Boozer is easily the best player in Nebraska history and will be the “star” for this Nebraska squad. Boozer played 11 years in the NBA and scored over 12,000 points. For his career, Boozer averaged 14.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG. As for Boozer’s supporting cast, it is not ideal for a team wanting to tally W’s.
The rest of the players here were pretty much role players, but they also are the only players in Nebraska history to eclipse 1,000 points in the NBA. Kenny Sailors is the best of the bunch, although he played in the 1950s. In 1950, Sailors averaged 17.3 PPG and 4.0 APG, making him the most accomplished Nebraskan outside of Boozer.
Starting Lineup: G Greg Anthony, G Ricky Davis, G C.J Watson, F Pat Garrity, F Troy Brown Jr.
To be completely honest, I am a fan of the Nevada backcourt. Ricky Davis is mostly known for his horrid attempt at a triple-double, but he is far and away Nevada’s all-time leading NBA scorer with just under 10,000 career points. He enjoyed a solid start to his career in Cleveland and Boston, where he averaged over 16.0 PPG for both franchises. Greg Anthony was also a solid guard in the NBA. In 1996 with the Grizzlies, Anthony had a career year averaging14.0 PPG and 6.9 APG.
Troy Brown Jr. is the only player in this lineup who is active. Although he does have the potential to improve, it is kind of crazy that he cracks this lineup in just his 4th season. Pat Garrity and C.J Watson were pretty much backups and role players but still enjoyed longer careers than most would expect. While this lineup would be fun to watch on the court, scoring and size are going to be points of weakness for this Nevada lineup.
Notable Players: Matt Bonner
Fortunately, this is the last state we run into that has failed to produce a 5-player lineup. Matt Bonner is known mostly for his time as a Florida Gator, but he did enjoy a 9-year career in the NBA. Bonner's career highs of 6.3 PPG and 3.2 RPG are nothing special in the slightest, but hey, I couldn’t do it. He also has 2 rings to show for it and who cares if he rode the Spurs' success to get them? He’s the best NBA player in New Hampshire history!
Starting Lineup: G Mike Bibby, F Rick Barry, F Tom Heinsohn, F Dennis Rodman, C Shaquille O’Neal
Can you imagine the fireworks with Dennis Rodman and Shaq on the same team? The most dominant force and one of the greatest rebounders/defenders ever in the same frontcourt? Ticket sales would skyrocket. Then you add in the greatness of 24.8 PPG from Rick Barry on offense, and it is a recipe for success. Bibby and Heinsohn round out the lineup very well for New Jersey.
Mike Bibby should be in contention for one of the greatest players to never be named an All-Star. He was a natural-born leader and key piece for the early 2000s Sacramento Kings, who were contending for championships. In 2006, he peaked with the Kings at 21.1 PPG and 5.4 APG. Tom Heinsohn rounds out this lineup with great championship experience. In his 9-year career, Heinsohn won 8 titles with the Celtics, was named a 6x All-Star, and a 4x All-NBA Team Selection. This team is dominant, has a championship pedigree, and is sure to be a contender for the top spot when all is said and done.
Starting Lineup: G Andre Roberson, G Rudy White, F Bill Bridges, F Damion James, C Alex Kirk
New Mexico has only produced 7 NBA players in its history. Of those 7 players, only 2 have five years of experience or more. Bill Bridges is the only player of those 7 to have a noteworthy NBA career. Bridges was a 3x All-Star and 2x All-Defensive Team selection. He also won the 1975 NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors, although by that time he was already well past his prime years.
Andre Roberson is a 7-year vet who last played in the league with Brooklyn in 2021. Most Notably, Roberson was a starter for the Thunder between 2015 and 2018. The other 3 players in this lineup can only be considered fillers. Especially when you consider that Alex Kirk only played 5 games in his NBA career.
Starting Lineup: G Tiny Archibald, G Michael Jordan, F Julius Erving, F Bernard King, C Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
New York has produced the 2nd most NBA players in NBA history, right behind California. So it should come as no surprise that they have put together the best lineup out of all 50 states. 2 of the top 3 players of all-time stars in this lineup in Michael Jordan and Kareem, sparking our imaginations full of what-ifs and possibilities. Dr. J, who also should be considered top 20 of all-time, brings his flashy and productive style to an already loaded lineup, and to top it all off, you have 2 of the most underrated players ever with Archibald and Bernard King.
Between these 5 guys, there are 59 All-Star appearances, 17 scoring titles, 13 League MVP awards, and 14 NBA championships. New York combines winning, heart, leadership, and skill to form the greatest state lineup created. There are no weaknesses on either side of the ball and, as previously mentioned, 3 of the greatest to ever lace them up on the same floor. There is no way New York loses in a 7-game series to any of these other lineups.
Starting Lineup: G Chris Paul, G Lou Hudson, F James Worthy, F David Thompson, C Walt Bellamy
Now that the dust has settled a bit on a Chris Paul-led team blowing yet another 2-0 playoff series lead, let’s get back to reality. He is still one of the greatest point guards in history who elevates his team to new heights wherever he goes. He is the perfect floor general for this team. “Sweet” Lou Hudson was a consistent scorer who is the perfect complement to CP3’s playmaking. Hudson recorded 5 seasons of 25.0 PPG and 5.0 APG or better in his career.
James Worthy gets a bad deal when it comes to his career because of being surrounded by 2 other all-time greats in Magic and Kareem. Worthy himself was a baller, taking home the Finals MVP award in 1988. He also shot 52.1% for his career, averaging 17.6 PPG. David Thompson is another scorer and a guard who spent some time at forward, so that is where he is plugged in here and the lineup is rounded out by Walt Bellamy. Bellamy was a 4x All-Star who averaged 20.1 PPG for his career.
Starting Lineup: G Tyler Johnson, G Duane Klueh, G Glenn Hansen, F Doug McDermott, C Mark Landsberger
With only 6 players to ever come out of North Dakota, it should be no surprise that the lineup looks like this. Imagine how bad the guy that got left out was? Sorry, Les Jepsen. “Dougie McBuckets” will be the primary offensive option for this team and although it can be fun watching him go to work, it is not an ideal situation. McDermott has averaged 9.2 PPG over his 9-year career.
The only other player of note on this roster is Tyler Johnson. Johnson has enjoyed a steady 7-year career with numerous teams looking for a spark off the bench. Johnson has been just that, specifically with Miami and Brooklyn. Johnson has averaged double-digit scoring numbers most recently with Brooklyn in 2020.
Starting Lineup: G Stephen Curry, F John Havlicek, F LeBron James, F Nate Thurmond, C Jerry Lucas
This lineup brings together a duo that NBA fans have been clamoring for years now, LeBron James and Steph Curry. The possibilities and limits are endless when you combine the shooting abilities of Curry with the playmaking/pure dominance of LeBron James. LeBron’s ability to elevate the performance of those around him is otherworldly and would work wonders for Steph. Can you even elevate Steph Curry’s game? That is a scary thought.
The guys around LeBron and Curry are no scrubs either. Havlicek is arguably the greatest Sixth Man of all-time, named to 8 All-Defensive Teams and 13 All-Star Teams. Nate Thurmond and Jerry Lucas put up spectacular numbers as big men in a time dominated by Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Thurmond averaged 15.0 PPG and 15.0 RPG for his career, while Lucas poured in 17.0 PPG and 15.6 PPG. Giving LeBron and Steph legitimate big men to work the inside-outside game they love to play could prove to be disastrous for opponents.
Starting Lineup: G Mark Price, G Ron Boone, G John Starks, F Blake Griffin, F Wayman Tisdale
Oklahoma will be playing small ball with this lineup as Wayman Tisdale and Blake Griffin each stand at 6’9. Tisdale was consistent in his career, guaranteed to give his team double-digit scoring efforts and a handful of rebounds every time he saw the floor. In 1990, Tisdale exploded for 22.3 PPG and 7.5 RPG, so the abilities to score and be impactful are there. Blake Griffin’s best work came in Los Angeles earlier in his career where he was a 5x All-Star and 5x All-NBA Team selection. Despite his lesser performances lately, Griffin still averages 19.8 PPG and 8.2 RPG for his career.
Mark Price and Ron Boone could probably take the title for most underrated backcourt on our list. Boone had a 13-year career between the ABA and NBA, scoring more than 17,000 points, good for 16.8 PPG. Price was well before his time, given his ability to shoot the ball in an era where it wasn’t utilized often. Even so, Price was still able to have a career with 10,989 points and 4,886 assists. Both Boone and Price would be vital to the success of this lineup.
Starting Lineup: G Damon Stoudamire, G Danny Ainge, F A. C. Green, F Domantas Sabonis, F Jerami Grant
Two small ball lineups back to back as we discuss the state of Oregon’s best lineup. The offense is most likely to run through Stoudemire and Sabonis, the 2 best scorers and playmakers in the lineup. Sabonis has been a true triple threat in his career so far, averaging 14.4 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 3.6 APG over 6 seasons. Despite being just 5’10", Damon Stoudamire played like he was 6'5" with his ability to shoot from distance and blow by defenders off the dribble. Stoudemire averaged 6.0 APG for his career, making him the guy you want primarily handling the ball for this team.
Danny Ainge was a 1x All-Star in Boston but certainly a key piece to 2 championship teams. On the 1986 title run, Ainge averaged 15.6 PPG and 5.2 APG, bringing crucial championship experience to the starting backcourt. A. C. Green is basketball’s Iron Man and will give you solid minutes as an impactful perimeter defender. Jerami Grant is still young but producing at a high level the past few seasons in Detroit. Since joining the Pistons in 2021, Grant has averaged 20.9 PPG, the best scoring output he’s produced.
Starting Lineup: G Pete Maravich, G Kyle Lowry, G Kobe Bryant, F Paul Arizin, C Wilt Chamberlain
Yet another championship-caliber squad on our list comes from the state of Pennsylvania. Two consensus Top 10 players of all time lead this team in Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain. Kobe brings the mamba mentality and elite play on both sides of the ball, while Wilt brings his mythological athleticism and offensive numbers. It would be an NBA fan's dream to see these two teams up on the court, but could their competitive drive and fiery nature cause them to butt heads? More than likely.
Aside from Wilt and Kobe, Pennsylvania provides some flair in the form of “Pistol” Pete Maravich. "Pistol" was ahead of his time with his wizardly handles and seemingly 360-degree vision. An offense with Kobe and Wilt and a guard to handle the ball like Maravich is an offense that could score 150 points per night. We can’t forget about the high IQ play provided by Kyle Lowry or the extra scoring from Paul Arizin. With all the attention on Wilt and Kobe, these guys are sure to play a crucial part in any type of success.
Starting Lineup: G Ernie DiGregorio, G Tom Garrick, G Joe Hassett, F Marvin Barnes, F Earl Shannon
As small as Rhode Island is, it surprisingly has produced enough NBA players to field an entire team. Just not a very good one. Just 4 of the 11 players hailing from Rhode Island have debuted since the 1940s and just 2 have debuted since the 1970s. Only one has scored 5,000 total points or more and that is the clear No.1 option, Marvin Barnes.
Barnes played 6 years in the NBA with 5 different franchises. His first 2 seasons were tremendous, averaging 24.0 PPG in each season and 15.6 RPG his rookie season, followed by 10.8 RPG the following year. Barnes would hardly touch those numbers again in the NBA, but still finished with averages of 16.0 PPG and 9.1 APG.
Starting Lineup: G Ja Morant, F Khris Middleton, F Alex English, F Larry Nance, F Kevin Garnett
A combination of more recent players dominates our lineup for the state of South Carolina. Kevin Garnett is currently the highest-ranking player on this list and with good reason. KG could impact a team on both sides of the ball without needing to score, it just turns out he was good at that too. Don’t let the forward dominant lineup fool you on this one either, some of these forwards played like guards.
Alex English is the perfect example of that. One of the most underrated scorers in history, English scored the most total points in the 1980s. Yes, more than Magic, Larry, and Mike. He is still the all-time leading scorer in Nuggets franchise history. What more can be said about the leap Ja Morant took in 2022? Morant went from potential star to budding superstar/MVP candidate. Morant and Middleton are 2 players not scared of the moment. Middleton was a closer numerous times for a Milwaukee Bucks title run and Morant led the Grizzlies to a 2nd place finish in a loaded Western Conference.
Starting Lineup: G Jon Sundvold, G Mike Miller, G Med Park, C Jared Reiner, C Ray Ellefson
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the only 5 players to ever play in the NBA from South Dakota. Jared Reiner and Ray Ellefson each only played in the NBA for 2 seasons and neither could muster up averages of over 3.0 PPG. The best player here is Mike Miller, who was a scorching sharpshooter and can be argued as a top10 3-point shooter of all time. Miller played 17 years in the league and totaled 10,973 career points.
It definitely is not going to be beneficial to have Mike Miller as your main guy on a team wanting to win. The only other player worth mentioning here is Jon Sundvold. He played from 1984 to 1992 with the Heat, Spurs, and Supersonics. Sundvold would finish with a career average of 7.7 PPG and 3,886 points total.
Starting Lineup: G Oscar Robertson, G Penny Hardaway, G Lou Williams, G JJ Reddick, F Bailey Howell
Another guard-heavy lineup presents itself from the stare of Tennessee. Although no bigs besides Howell stand out from the crowd in Tennessee, the guard play is very good. First, Oscar Robertson is one of the greatest point guards in NBA history and was averaging triple-doubles back before it was cool. Penny Hardaway is another bigger guard who could play SG if needed with elite handles and different ways to score a bucket.
Lou Williams is arguably one of the best Sixth Men off the bench in league history, able to boost a team and impact the flow of the game by scoring, facilitating, or playing swarming defense. JJ Reddick is another player able to provide a boost to an offense, simply with his ability to get open and knock down long-range shots. Bailey Howell was a career 18.7 PPG and 9.9 RPG player who was a 6x All-Star and 2x NBA Champion.
Starting Lineup: G Trae Young, G Jimmy Butler, F Grant Hill, F Chris Bosh, F LaMarcus Aldridge
The star power is heavy in this lineup from Texas. No one should be concerned about if this team can perform under pressure because everywhere you look is someone who thrives in crunch time. Jimmy Butler is proving it again in 2022 as he has brought the Miami Heat within one game of the NBA Finals once again. Trae Young proved it in 2021 when he led a young Hawks squad to the Eastern Conference Finals in just his 3rd season.
Bosh and Aldridge were both top 10 power forward talents at the time of their peak and it can be argued they were top 5. Aldridge has been named an NBA All-Star 7 times and to the All-NBA Team 5 times with career averages of 19.1 PPG and 8.1 RPG. Bosh, after winning two titles alongside Wade and LeBron in Miami, was forced to call it quits early due to a heart condition. He finished with 11 All-Star appearances, 2 titles, and career averages of 19.2 PPG and 8.5 RPG.
Starting Lineup: G Byron Scott, F John Collins, F Tom Chambers, F Danny Vranes, F Jeff Judkins
Tom Chambers, John Collins, and Byron Scott will be the “big 3” of sorts for the state of Utah. Collins, the only active player in this lineup, has proven himself to be a highly valuable Power Forward in today’s NBA. In just his 5 years in the NBA, Collins is fast approaching 5,000 points and has already been a key member of a Conference Finals squad.
Tom Chambers was a 4x All-Star and 2x All-NBA team selection whose career high was 27.2 PPG. Chambers proved to be vital to the 1993 Suns team by accepting a Sixth Man role and nearly propelling them to a championship. Byron Scott is Utah’s primary ball-handler and playmaker. He also was somewhat of a scorer in his day, totaling over 10,000 points over 13 seasons. Scott was a member of 3 NBA championship teams, bringing invaluable experience to this lineup.
Vermont has produced no NBA players in state history.
Starting Lineup: G Allen Iverson, F Bob Dandridge, F Ralph Sampson, C Moses Malone, C Alonzo Mourning
They must breed them big in Virginia because this lineup is just that. Coincidentally, this team is led by the shortest man on the floor, Allen Iverson. The Answer makes this list almost on his 2001 NBA MVP season alone, where he led the Sixers to the NBA Finals behind a regular season of 31.1 PPG. He led the league in steals and scoring simultaneously 3 times in his career. Bob Dandridge to compliment Allen Iverson as a scorer is a match made in heaven. Dandridge averaged 18.5 PPG for his career.
Malone, Sampson, and Zo make for one of the toughest matchups on our list. Moses Malone is a top 10 center of all time. If not for rare kidney disease, we could be talking about Mourning the same way, at least defensively. Mourning led the league in blocks twice while also claiming 2 Defensive Player Of The Year awards. Malone won 3 League MVPs, a Finals MVP, and led the league in rebounding 6 times.
Starting Lineup: G John Stockton, G Zach LaVine, G Brandon Roy, G Jamal Crawford, G Jason Terry
A lineup of all guards presents a myriad of problems for any lineup. The team out of Washington will have to rely on athleticism, speed, and pure skill to take home some wins. If there is any team that could do it, it’s this one. The offense will run through the all-time leader in both assists and steals, John Stockton. Although it would be nice to see how he performs without a legitimate big man.
Scorers like Zach LaVine, Brandon Roy, and Jamal Crawford round out the supporting cast. Crawford, a stupendously effective player off the bench most of his career, is a crafty finisher with the ability to create his shot wherever he wants on the floor. The same can be said for Zach LaVine. He is a little less flashy with the handles but still an effective scorer from all 3 levels. The story of Brandon Roy is enough to break basketball fans' hearts everywhere. Before the knee issues that stole his career, even the late Kobe Bryant dubbed Roy ‘One of the toughest matchups I have ever had’.
Starting Lineup: G Jerry West, G Hal Greer, G Deron Williams, G Freddie Lewis, G Jason Williams
If you thought 5 guards were bad for Washington, West Virginia is made up solely of point guards. However, just as previously mentioned, this team has plenty of speed, IQ, and pure skill to compete. Jerry West gets a bad rep sometimes for failing so much in the NBA Finals, but I dare you to name me 10 other players you'd rather have at his position to get you there. Deron Williams was considered a top PG for his time, but only for a short period. He recorded multiple seasons of 10.0 APG or better.
Hal Greer has previously been mentioned as one of the most underrated players of the 1960s. With his 19.5 PPG career average, he would be the perfect beneficiary to defenses collapsing on West and Deron Williams. “White Chocolate” Jason Williams brings the fast pace and high IQ to a lineup that needs opponents who inevitably have that size advantage.
Starting Lineup: G Nick Van Exel, G Terry Porter, G Fred Brown, G Caron Butler, F Latrell Sprewell
There seems to be a theme as we wrap up our list of all-time starting fives. There is no size. I mean, sure, you can grab the guy who is 6’11, and that played one year with 3.2 PPG, but where is the fun in that? I would much rather watch scorers and underrated players like Van Exel and Terry Porter figure out how to compete with a bigger lineup.
Each player in this lineup eclipsed the 10,000-point mark in their career, aside from Caron Butler, who fell just shy. This is another lineup that will rely on speed and pray that Van Exel’s shot falls because we know he liked to chuck them up. Sprewell is another versatile scorer who can make opponents pay from all 3 levels. Mismatches on bigs would do wonders to Sprewell’s game.
Starting Lineup: G Vern Gardner, G Jimmy Darden, F James Johnson, F Mike Dabich, C Floyd Volker
I’ll be honest, after James Johnson, you could pretty much throw darts at names and select the other 4 players to be his teammates. James Johnson has enjoyed a 13-year NBA career totaling over 5,000 total points, 2,000 total rebounds, and 1,000 total assists. While he may not be a lethal scorer striking fear into opponents with his offense, Johnson is a black-belt and professional MMA fighter, so at least Wyoming has that going for them.
The other 4 guys not named James Johnson have a combined 6 years of NBA experience. Gardner leads the way with 3 years averaging 8.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG surprisingly higher numbers than Johnson. Playing for 3 years in the 1950s can be a little detrimental to your standing, though. Johnson was the only player in this lineup to debut after 1970.