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Imagining an NBA All-Volleyball Team

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Looking back at NBA All-Star weekend, it’s hard not to imagine those freaky athletes doing other freaky sports. What other sport could NBA athletes really succeed at, though? Some may argue football. Others would love to see their nimble feet and big bodies try to dominate soccer. Me? I say volleyball. Think about it for a minute. Volleyball combines lateral agility with skilled footwork, hand-eye coordination and the ability to try to physically out jump your opponents over and over again. Basketball players would thrive on a volleyball court.

Let’s take a look at which positions some of the NBA’s best would play on a volleyball court.

Setter

Ben Simmons

What does a setter do? The setter is essentially volleyball’s point guard. However, point guards are usually shorter and nimble. Setters do not have to be that short. A setter must be athletic, smart, and distribute the ball well. It can be a thankless job because you aren’t the main attraction, but a good setter sets the tone. Lefty setter’s can be especially useful. Being lefty and playing at the net allows them to either attack or distribute– two things Simmons does extremely well. He’s also an extremely athletic player with the ability to go up and get a ball, something very successful setters do well. If I were to recruit any NBA player to play setter for my team, Ben Simmons would be the perfect fit.

 

Just a sample of what Ben Simmons could do to people on the volleyball court.

Outside (Left Side) Hitters

Paul George & Kawhi Leonard

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard share a lot of traits, both physically and mentally. They are both exquisite two-way players. Both can carry a team to victory offensively. Most importantly, they are the most consistent players on their respective teams. These traits translate directly to what an outside hitter is supposed to do in volleyball. The outside hitter is often the one that gets the most sets in a match. Outside hitters typically play their own defensive back row and do not get subbed off for anyone else. They are truly utility men with diverse skill sets.

These guys have the perfect combination of defensive prowess and offensive skill to be all-star outside hitters!

Right Side Hitter

Giannis Antetokounmpo

What is Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s calling card as a basketball player? The Greek Freak, a lanky, athletic, multi-faceted player with the ability to play defense against a lot of the best players in the world. An effective right side is often predicated on the idea of being able to shut down the other team’s most consistent offensive player’s. Seeing as Giannis plays such tough defense, protects the rim by blocking pretty much everything thrown at him, and has one of the highest reaches in the NBA, he is the perfect candidate for right side hitter on the NBA all-volleyball team. One of the NBA’s leading candidates for DPOY makes Giannis the best option on the right side because he can jump with and shut down pretty much anyone from any other team.

Giannis would be one of the most intimidating right side hitters ever!

Middle Blockers

Joel Embiid & Anthony Davis

Like basketball, these guys are the men in the middle, the defensive enforcers, and often the biggest guys in the gym. Middle blockers would most likely be people that play basketball as centers. First of all, Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid are large human beings. Imagine guys as physically imposing as them going up for two-handed blocks instead of one! Scary. They have just the right amount of agility, length, and pure dominance to be ultra-effective middle blockers. Plus, JoJo seems to have a bit of a background in volleyball…

Anthony Davis with an in-game volleyball spike! Now put him on a volleyball court and see what kind of damage he does…

Libero/Defensive Specialist

Stephen Curry & Patrick Beverley

Libero’s and defensive specialist’s are often the smallest guys on the volleyball court. However, that doesn’t mean they are not effective or important players for a volleyball team. I would argue that they are the heart and soul of a volleyball team because they are in charge of passing (bumping) the ball with the most consistency. Most often, they are the guys who start the play by passing out of serve receive. They sit in the back row of the court and have the ball hit at them all day long and have to be able to get under it and find their setter.

Steph Curry and Patrick Beverley are perfect for these positions because they are some of the hardest working small guys in the league. Pat Beverley is often regarded as one of the most tenacious defenders in the league with a knack for finding the ball. Steph is great at finding and passing the ball to the plethora of shooters that the Warriors have surrounded him with. Also, it helps in Steph’s case that he seems to have a working knowledge of how volleyball works (see above video with Joel Embiid) and inherited the volleyball gene from his mother (she played college volleyball at Virginia Tech).

Steph Curry’s mother, Sonya Curry (left), playing as a setter at Virginia Tech. (San Francisco Chronicle)

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