It doesn’t take a statistician to predict which “topic” will dominate headlines when the NFL dead period collides with an NBA free agent class that includes both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Sure, the arbitration hearing on Jimmy Graham’s position and Josh Gordon’s alleged DWI might sneak into the sidebar for one 24-hour cycle. However, you’d be hard-pressed to go an hour on any sports-related broadcast without hearing “LeBron” at least five dozen times.
So, instead of fighting with the NBA, we thought we might join the party. At the start of World Cup XI mania, we introduced our starting St. Louis Rams soccer lineup, with Kenny Britt slotted to replace the now-infamous Tim Howard in goal and Robert Quinn taking over Jozy Altidore’s spot as a striker. Now, we wanted to try our luck at hand-picking a five-man starting basketball roster, comprised of the top talents from the St. Louis Rams depth chart.
Point Guard – Austin Pettis (6’3, 203 lbs.)
The point guard is the “captain” of the court, similar to Pettis’ current role as the “leader” of the St. Louis Rams young receiver corps. Pettis is an easy pick for point guard, especially if you’ve seen any of the highlights from his annual “Austin Pettis Foundation Celebrity Basketball Game.” With excellent handles, a smooth stroke from behind the arch, and some “Lob City”-esque anticipation skills, Pettis would be the “floor general” of the court that we all hope Sam Bradford will be on the football field this year…
Shooting Guard – Trumaine Johnson (6’2, 208 lbs.)
Trumaine Johnson, like Austin Pettis, lettered three times in basketball for Edison High School in Stockton, California. The uber-athletic shooting guard was even named captain in his senior year, was voted as the MVP of the team, and even finished the season as an All-Conference selection. Johnson fits the mold of a traditional shooting guard, with the quickness and instincts to find a way to make plays at the basket. While he may not having the shooting talent of a Kobe Byrant or Reggie Miller, Johnson could undoubtedly fill up a highlight reel with some high-flying finishes at the rim. Moreover, with sneaky-good hands and a knack for “lock down” man-to-man defensive, he might resemble a poor man’s Dwayne Wade or a less-annoying Lance Stephenson.
Small Forward – Brian Quick (6’3, 218 lbs.)
Brian Quick was a standout “swing” forward at Ridgeview High School before moving over to football in his senior season. As a junior, Quick was selected to the Region V All-Region team in South Carolina, nearly averaging a double-double for the Blazers. Despite some lack-luster NFL pre-draft workout results, the former Appalachian State standout shows an impressive combination of speed, agility, and jumping ability. His experience on the football field with “moving without the ball” should help the slightly-undersized forward take advantage of that athleticism. With Quick not being the most dynamic of scorers in high school, he would likely play a Jimmy Butler or Luol Deng role, cleaning up missed shots off the backboard and providing a strong, physical defensive presence on the other end of the floor. Never hurts to have a consistent 10-10 player (points-rebounds) on the court…
Power Forward – Jared Cook (6’5, 254 lbs.)
Jared Cook might be the only player on the St. Louis Rams that could challenge Kenny Britt for the “Most Athletic” designation. With a 41 inch vertical and 4.49 40-time, it should come as no surprise that Cook was not a “one sport” athlete in high school. The current Rams’ offensive weapon was also a “first-team All-Conference, All-State, and Super 11 Team selection by The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and was rated the 24th-best basketball player in the state of Georgia” during his senior season at North Gwinnett High School, according to his Rivals scouting profile. The former top recruit might be a tad undersized for a traditional NBA power forward, but with his freakish athleticism, long arms, and overall mass (250+ lbs.) he should be able to compensate on the court.
Center – Sean Hooey (6’9, 304 lbs.)
Officially listed at 6’9 inches tall by the St. Louis Rams, Hooey is the only man on the roster tall enough to demand some respect in the paint. Believe it or not, Hooey once sported a trim, 245 lbs. frame back in 2007, prior to his commitment to play for the University of Cincinnati. As a one-time tight end and offensive tackle standout, the nimble giant has demonstrated some surprising quick feet and excellent hands, which could help him transition into a rebounding monster as the center-piece of the St. Louis Rams front court. While Hooey may be undersized, at least in terms of height, he can certainly make up for it with shear bulk; think of him like the Glen “Big Baby” Davis of the St. Louis Rams.