Blog Entry

Could Brandon Marshall play in the NBA?

Posted on: August 12, 2010 10:02 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 11:10 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

That's the question NBA blogger Matt Moore (what, even the Panthers quarterback needs a hobby) and I set out to answer in a series of emails Thursday night when Brandon Marshall announced he was heading to the NBA if the NFL lockout actually occurs. These are those emails.

Brinson : So, Brandon Marshall wants to play in the NBA when/if the NFL gets locked out. Unfortunately, there's not enough roster spots to go around for my NFL peeps to just make the jump (not to mention 75% of them couldn't make it in the L), but it kind of brings up an interesting question: which guys from the NFL could ball it up in the NBA?

I think at some point we've discussed crossing over the other way (Bron would be an epic tight end and Allen Iverson's high school tapes still make me drool) but who the hell is your first pick from the NFL pool if you're creating a basketball team? Or, alternately, could Marshall make it? At 6'4", 230 he at least has the body, if not the game.

Moore: As I said in my post (SYNERGY, BABY), he's got a combo-guard's body, but a small forward's skillset. Maybe with his soft hands and awareness, his handle would actually be pretty good. Wait, why does it sound like I'm building his profile? Anyway, his athleticism would transfer, and that's really the big determining factor. Athleticism is at a premium in the NBA. Work ethic and focus are much more important in the NFL, and that's why guys like Wes Welker likely wouldn't translate well. But Marshall is kind of an ideal candidate.

I'd be interested to see some of the taller, slimmer defensive ends at power forward and center. But even then, most would be too small. Julius Peppers is 6-7 and 283. That's small forward height with power forward weight. As a comparison, Josh Smith is 6-9 and 234. That weight differential is what would probably make the most awkward translation. Then again, most NBA players would likely be destroyed by the sheer physical nature of these guys.

Brinson: I love that you thought of Wes Welker, who's barely taller than me . (Although, hey, Earl Watson, Muggsy and Spud made it ...) But you're right -- Marshall would be a good candidate to shift leagues.

As would Peppers, who, I'm sure you know, played ball at Carolina. So he's got a pedigree, not to mention being a freakish athlete. Size would be an issue, though: you almost never see NFL players even sniff the high end of six feet.

Also, think about guys like Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates (who also played basketball). Gates is 6'4", 260 and fast, which makes him an unbelievable tight end prospect. But in the NBA? He'd be a fat shooting guard. (Or, so Gates doesn't beat me up next time I see him, how about "stocky"?)

Moore: I mean, that's really the issue. It's not a matter of the NBA guys being more athletic, it's that they're athletic at the things which make them good at basketball. How's that for some obvious analysis? Essentially, all those high flying catches you see in the NFL? That's an average NBA jump. That's "kind of trying for a rebound on the perimeter" in the NBA.

Now, the explosiveness would probably translate. The way tight ends, defensive linemen, linebackers, running backs, and receivers come out of their breaks? That would work well on the perimeter, provided they could dribble. Of course, they'd have to be able to finish at the rim, but then you'd think the hyper aggression might get them there.

Hey here's an idea. Ray Lewis versus Kevin Garnett. I know they're both past their primes, but think of the insanity on the floor.

Brinson: Yeah, I'm pretty confident that Gates can dunk without any real issue, but he's not going to be going against six-foot-tall DBs when he's attacking the hoop or boxing out people on the block. Or as you put it "kind of trying for a rebound on the perimeter," a.k.a. a "Vince Carter Rebound."

Here's the other problem -- how many shots is Gates going to get off with J-Smoove guarding him? Like 10 out of every 20 with a lot fadeaways mixed in?

How about instead, we just bring Tractor Traylor out of retirement and have he and Andre Smith go NBA Jam style with Garnett and Ray-Ray? Fat AND crazy -- that's something I can get behind.

Moore: Bringing it back home, if Marshall can shoot, then I think he could conceivably make a roster. I mean, how many guys at the end of a bench are there only for their athleticism? I think that the size differential between NFL (shorter and more muscle) and NBA (longer and lankier) means it's going to be difficult for anyone, but Marshall's receiver-to-combo-guard may be the model.

You know, if we can't get Tractor Traylor back.

Do you think Marshall could ball in the NBA? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @cbssportsnfl and @cbssportsnba .


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Could Brandon Marshall play in the NBA?

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:47 am

Could Brandon Marshall play in the NBA?

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Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: August 15, 2010 12:24 pm

Could Brandon Marshall play in the NBA?

wingman, I am confused by your comment. I might understand better if yout comment read

"For every truly gifted basketball (NBA-calibur) athlete there are ten truly gifted football (NFL-calibur) athletes."

This can be seen by comparing the all-star games of both sports. 28 NBA players made a roster for the 2010 NBA All-Star game. The 2010 NFL All-Star game had 52 starters (including special teams) and 27 players either threw or caught a pass. It is absolutely true that it is more difficult to make an NBA roster (though, this is mostly because the rosters are so small comparatively), but it is also true that most of the "non-skill" position players would have NO hopes of making an NBA roster because their "athletic" skill-set is undesireable in the NBA.

In my opinion, the only NFL players with a chance at playing in the NBA are wide receivers and the occasional TE. Only they have the height-weight ratio necessary to compete in the NBA (Shaq is an enigma and so are Mugsy Bogues and Spudd Webb). RB's/FB's/CB's are often too short, most QB's are too slow, and LB's are just a little too bulky.

Football may be more like a war zone, but it is much more like 4 second bursts of speed than a marathon. Thus players who are plenty physical, but can't pass a simple conditioning test (I'm looking at you Haynesworth) would never be able to keep up in the faster pace of the NBA.

I don't mean to discount the possibility of an NFL athlete having a chance of making an NBA roster, but when 394 NFL players weigh over 300 pounds I can't help but think that most players in the NFL would have NO chance of making an NBA roster.

Since: Sep 19, 2007
Posted on: August 14, 2010 1:47 pm

Could Brandon Marshall play in the NBA?

I think "softer" is the key word here...

The very true fact of the matter, is that a supremely talented basketball player has a far lower chance of making the NBA, than the supremely talented football player has of making the NFL.

My point... for every talented football player, there are 10 talented basketball players . It's simply far easier to find guys with "subtle soft" skills than it is to find mean players who dont fold after the first hit. If anything, NBA players have far better acting skills and thats about it.
 I dont see how you can dismiss NFL players as a joke...

Basketball is like running a marathon through a school zone... Football is like running a marathon through a war zone.

When subtle and soft are determining factors, my argument speaks for itself.

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