Weird NBA Q&A is back! Welcome to an alley-oop of fantastical, out of bounds, bizarre questions aiming to spark some joy in the basketball-shaped hole in your hearts.
My first guest is Def Pen colleague Lance Roberson, a long-form writer for Def Pen who has also written for The Smoking Cuban, Ridiculous Upside and Nugg Love.
My second guest is Allana Tachauer. Allana is a sports media freelancer who has written for sites like NBA.com, HoopsHabit and AllUCanHeat; been featured in Miami Heat TIPOFF Magazine; and guest starred on NBC Sports Chicago’s Bulls Outsiders.
I’ll be playing along as well, tossing my own questions off the backboard. Y’all ready?
You have to put an NBA team in a state that doesn’t currently have one. Give us the city, team name and color scheme.
Allana Tachauer: Please trust me when I say I’ve wracked my brain trying to come up with a more original answer for this, but the truth of the matter is, Las Vegas simply deserves an NBA team. So, with that being said, I’m proposing the Las Vegas Swish, complete with a clean black, white and gold color scheme.
Lance Roberson: Seattle, although a deserving city, is a little too on the nose. Therefore, I’ll go with a city full of love for basketball, but void of a professional NBA team. Not only would Las Vegas be a fun NBA city, but it would also serve as a strong homecourt advantage. Imagine players having too much fun on the town, only to lose due to hangovers or lack of sleep. The color scheme of the team would make sense using gold and black in the design. As a city not far from the desert, a snake as the logo would suffice. Las Vegas Vipers rolls of the tongue.
Chris Trew: My love for Las Vegas is as bright, tall and ridiculous as the laser beam shooting out of the top of the Luxor. But I’m turning it off for the sake of variety. I’m putting a team in Maine. We’re going to siphon off some of that default setting Celtics fandom for New Englanders. Is this dumb? No, it’s bold. Fortune favors the bold. Is my team’s name dumb? Yes, they are the Main Liners. The Portland Main Liners. Our colors are black, red and white. We can’t wait for our annual matchup with the “other” Portland team.
Time for the expansion draft for your new franchise. If every team got to protect their best three players, who would you be targeting? Give us your ideal eight-player rotation.
Tachauer: I feel like there’s a way to loophole this (I mean, three best players by whose standards?) but I’ll try and play fair…
PG Spencer Dinwiddie, G Josh Richardson, C Myles Turner, F Brandon Ingram, F Kelly Oubre Jr., R Coby White, R Derrick Jones Jr., R Larry Nance Jr., #Swaggy
Roberson: PG Lonzo Ball, SG Seth Curry, SF Will Barton, PF Draymond Green, C Jarrett Allen, R Dennis Schroeder, R Matisse Thybulle, R Jae Crowder
Trew: PG Fred VanVleet, SG Marcus Smart, SF Buddy Hield, PF Michael Porter Jr., C Kevon Looney, R Justin Holiday, R Austin Rivers, R Brandon Clarke
What is the five-year plan for your team? Are you building through the draft? Are you targeting a star? Where do you realistically see this team in five years?
Tachauer: First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way: This franchise will never tank for a rebuild. Point. Blank. Period.
Heat Big Three model. … Seriously, name a more perfect combination than neon lights and superstars. However, I see the Swish flourishing with a youth movement version of that – in other words, imagine a roster built around the best fresh legs in the league. Sure, it may take a few years (and a top-tier coach) to reach title contention level, but man, would that squad be fun to see develop.
Roberson: Playoff aspirations come to mind when I look at this balanced roster. Although void of a superstar, formidable defense and competent 3-point shooting gives the Vipers a chance to land the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The NBA draft is the Vipers’ prime focus. However, naturally, residing in the entertaining world of Las Vegas provides a competitive advantage in free agency.
Trew: If we don’t win the Draft Lottery at least three times in a row we are in serious trouble.
Buy my book where I eavesdropped on and interacted with NBA players behind the visitor’s bench in New Orleans for multiple seasons.