Californian ballers are known for their talents and feel for the game. Every Californian is born with a basketball on his hands. Either Lakers, Clippers, Warriors or even Kings, everybody roots for their team.
European kids are die-hard basketball fans as well, even though basketball is played on such a different way overseas, but the ones that end up making it to the US dominate the NBA on their own way.
California has enough standout players to create a National team of their own, while Europeans in the NBA could also form a death squad and challenge the best teams in the world. So, today, we’re going to go ahead and imagine the game we’d love to see: Team California vs. Team Europe.
PG: Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook, Mr. Triple Double himself, is the man in charge of pulling the strings of the offense for this team, so you know opposing defenders are going to be in a lot of trouble trying to contain him.
Westbrook is arguably the most athletic point guard ever, a guy nobody can stop on a fast break and whose ability to fill the stat sheet makes him a huge threat night in and night out, even though his shot selection may be questionable at times.
SG: Paul George
Paul George has grown to become one of the best two-way players in the league, being a top 5 candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year award in back-to-back seasons while still being a lights-out scorer.
Of course, he’s still in debt when the clutch time is upon us, but he’s the kind of player every Coach would love to build his squad around. He has unlimited tools on both ends of the floor and could even slide all the way to the PF spot.
SF: James Harden
Harden is arguably the best scorer in the league, a guy that’s capable of leading the NBA in points per game on a yearly basis and arguably the best ever when it comes to drawing contact from opposing defenders.
CheckingHarden can get extremely frustrating and he has just so many different ways to hurt your defense that he’s not even fair anymore. Of course, his commitment to the defensive end is questionable at best.
PF: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard is the best two-way player in the league when healthy. He can check LeBron James, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry and then light you up for 27 points on the other end.
He just keeps getting better and better in the offensive end and even though he tends to disappear in the clutch, there’s just so many ways the Klaw can score and impact the game that he’s a yearly candidate for the MVP and DPOY.
C: Kevin Love
Kevin Love doesn’t get the recognition and praise he deserves, as he’s one of the most skilled big men in the league when it comes to scoring from all three levels, facilitating and even rebounding.
He may not be a dominant defender down low but is more than capable of staying in front of quicker guards and wings, so he’s not a defensive liability either. He’s the perfect 2nd or 3rd scorer.
Bench: Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, Aaron Gordon, Brook Lopez, Jrue Holiday, Darren Collison
Team Californians feature the ultimate second unit, balancing youth with experience, athleticism with physicality and of course, shooting with top-tier defensive expertise as well.
For defensive purposes, they got Klay Thompson, a top 10 two-way player in this league, while Aaron Gordon can do his part as well. Brook Lopez has even grown to become a threat from the three-point line, so they have a little bit of everything.
If you’re in need of buckets, just hand the rock out to Lillard or Jrue Holiday, while Collison is an above the average playmaker to pull the strings of the offense.
PG: Goran Dragic
Goran Dragic may not be a top-tier point guard, but he’s a skilled combo guard that can get hot in the blink of an eye and either take things on his own hands as a scorer or facilitate to make his teammates better.
He may not wow you with athleticism or speed, but he makes up for it with great basketball IQ. Also, he always comes huge in the clutch and is not the kind of guy that is going to back down from a challenge.
SG: Luka Doncic
The fact that Luka Doncic is a rookie is something that I just can’t seem to fathom. C’mon, this guy looks like he’s been in the league for over a decade, taking veterans to school with his crafty moves.
Doncic is not much of a defender and maybe he’ll never become one, but he’s got sky-high upside in the offensive end of the floor. He’s unselfish, fast, a great facilitator and an underrated scorer and rebounder.
SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo is arguably the only player in the world that doesn’t need a jump shot to dominate in this league, as he’s shown on a yearly basis while leading his renewed Milwaukee Bucks.
Antetokounmpo can play and guard one through five and he keeps getting better and better, while also putting up a lot of work on his overall game. He’s going to be the league’s MVP in no time.
PF: Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps Porzingis first came into the league with a lot of doubts over his head, as everybody thought he was something more of the likes of a new Andrea Bargnani instead of the second coming of Dirk Nowitzki.
Well, he’s really proven his doubters wrong as he’s grown to be one of the most promising players in the world. He’s an underrated defender with a huge wingspan and a solid scorer from all three levels.
C: Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic is a better passer and playmaker than most point guards in this league, a walking triple-double threat and a shooting guard trapped in the body of a Serbian giant. So yes, we’re really high on him.
Jokic’s defense is questionable, to say the least, but he makes up for it in the other end of the hardwood with elite basketball IQ, crafty moves and handles, and the ability to pull up from three-point land.
Bench: Nikola Mirotic, Marc Gasol, Bojan Bogdanovic, Dennis Schroder, Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nikola Vucevic
This team’s second unit is really balanced as well and features a lot of sharpshooters in Nikola Mirotic, Danilo Gallinari and Bojan Bogdanovic, three guys that can go 4/4 from beyond the arc in the blink of an eye.
Big men are also a huge factor here, with Nikola Vucevic dominating both sides of the glass with his scoring and rebounding ability, while Marc Gasol handlings the rim protection duties down low.
Dennis Schroder, on the other hand, has proven to be a great facilitator and a streaky scorer, while also being a solid defender when focused at that end of the hardwood.
While Team Californians have a clear upper hand when it comes to scoring talent, Team Europeans feature more size and balance on their roster.
Team Cali would love to take up the pace and turn this game into a shootout, while Europeans would try to make the most of their size to try and slow down their sharpshooters, while pick and pop to the three-point threats or pick and roll with Jokic on the court.
At the end of the day, we believe this one could go down to the wire considering how different both styles of playing can be. Still, we believe talent will always prevail in this kind of matchup.
One-on-one, Team California have better players on every spot than Team Europe, so that’s why we think they could win this game 110-100.