Which team would be better: a six-foot group headlined by Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant or a six-foot group with Jimmy Butler, Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard, Khris Middleton and Zion Williamson? We’re having fun with the main question in this week’s mailbag by putting together teams of current NBA players that are all listed at the same height — which also reveals something important about the nature of versatility.
Throughout the NBA season, I’ll answer your questions about the latest, most interesting topics in basketball. You can tweet me directly at @kpelton, tweet your questions with the hashtag #peltonmailbag or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best questions focus on a general topic rather than a specific player or team, and anything that allows me to do original research to understand how the game is played is welcome.
In addition to the main question, this week’s mailbag also addresses your questions about:
• The relative predictive power of NBA summer league and preseason performance.
• How PJ Tucker’s loss could affect the Milwaukee Bucks’ defense.
If you had to build a team of players who are all exactly the same height, what would be the optimal height for success?
I’m assuming we’re playing a playoff tournament with the best rosters any height can put together. Let’s go through the rosters of the competing teams. All players are categorized by their listed height on NBA.com.
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Russell Westbrook
SF: Bradley Beal
PF: Jrue Vacation
C: Marcus Smart
Main reserves: De’Aaron Fox, Eric Gordon, CJ McCollum, Jamal Murray, Norman Powell
In terms of sheer talent, the 6-foot-3 team stands with everyone. Yes Morant didn’t even break my projected rotation because of the other ball handlers in front of him and players functioning taller than their height. But as well as Gordon, Holiday, Powell and Smart are able to defend bigger opponents on switches, I think the lack of legitimate rim protection would ultimately doom this team to an early exit in our tournament.
PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
SG: DeMar DeRozan
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Mikal Bridges
C: Draymond Green
Main reserves: Lonzo Ball, Jae Crowder, Danny Green, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert
If we go historically, the 6-foot-6 team (capped by Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley) has a fair chance of winning the whole thing. In terms of current talent, this group can scrape together enough size with Draymond Green and Crowder in the middle, but falls short in terms of starpower.