• Cameron Tabatabaie

Starting Five: The Best of Basketball Cinema

In the past, I’ve worked to deduce the top basketball movies of all time. I had a fair bit of help to come to a definitive list. With real sports still on hiatus, we must again lean on the fictional to scratch our basketball itch.

As such, let’s answer the question no one is asking: what would be the best fictional starting line-up for a game of hoops?

Point guard: Bugs Bunny, Space Jam

This team isn’t going to struggle to score the ball. As such, you need a classic facilitator at the point. Bugs Bunny certainly fits the bill.

On offense, Bugs has an impressive bag of tricks. He can set you up the old fashioned way. Or he can get on a moped and get you the rock as a cosplay mail-carrier.

The fun doesn’t stop on defense. Bugs can steal the ball with his hands as well as his ears. Just ask Elmer Fudd - Bugs Bunny can foil any plan.

Shooting guard: Billy Hoyle, White Men Can’t Jump

Hoyle’s inability to dunk with money on the line keeps him in the back court. But otherwise he’s without a doubt starting-caliber talent.

Like Bugs, he can help handle the ball, and he’d give opposing offenses fits. His half-court hook shot suggests he makes an excellent resource for spreading the floor. And his trash-talking prowess is second to none.

Hoyle has a killer jumpshot, but he can also take it to the hole as needed. When push comes to, he can take it to the rim with some success.

Small Forward: Jesus Shuttlesworth, He Got Game

Shuttlesworth was recruited as a small forward to Big State. He drives with confidence, and with Hoyle spreading the floor, he should have enough space to work his magic.

This also brings up an important point: Young Ray Allen was a force attacking the basket. That’s sort of an unfair mark - I have no idea if Woody Harrelson can actually ball - but it’s intellectually important to note nonetheless.

Shuttlesworth is no LeBron. But he is a similar focal point for our fictional offense in the same way. And importantly, JS can do damage shooting the ball, as he’ll have to sort of have a your-turn, my-turn attack with the team’s power forward.

Power Forward: Monica Wright, Love & Basketball

Monica plays a no-nonsense, defensive brand of basketball. She’s the glue for this team’s locker room, the sense of calm on a team full of strong personalities.

Monica can also ball with the best of them, importantly. She may be undersized depending on the opposition, but we’ll leave that to the team’s starting center to pick up the slack. Monica’s days as a point guard should translate nicely in such a dynamic offensive system.

Center: Jackie Moon, Semi Pro

Jackie’s propensity for inside-out offense is reminiscent of Nikola Jokic. On a squad with a bunch of ball-handlers, why not throw in a big man with a delicate touch?

It’s Jackie’s skills at the free throw line that really earn him a starting spot. We’ve seen players like DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond ride the pine down the stretch because of poor foul shooting. Not an issue with Jackie Moon.

Sixth Man: Air Bud

In reserve we’ll throw this team one last bone. A deadeye shooter with an insatiable work ethic and a knack for getting his paws on the ball.

Most of our starters can play multiple positions. As such, Coach Carter shouldn’t have trouble staggering their minutes. In between, he has one of the most accomplished shooters in the game available to come in for some instant offense.

Let us know your thoughts on this star-studded fictional team on Twitter @otgbasketball.

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