I’ve heard it from all of you, so let’s not even do the whole “Haha Dylan, the Sonics aren’t there anymore” or any different version of the joke. Let’s call this a fun, fantasy squad. A fantasy squad of players currently on NBA rosters, all who either attended high school or college in Western Washington. This fantasy roster is very doable, seeing as there’s 16 players in the league right now, so I’ll give you my starting five, seven bench players, three roster inactives, and a coaching staff.
- G Isaiah Thomas, fourth year out of the University of Washington
- G Tony Wroten, third year out of the University of Washington
- F Terrence Ross, third year out of the University of Washington
- F Marvin Williams, 10th year out of North Carolina and Seattle Prep
- C Spencer Hawes, eighth year out of the University of Washington
Right off the bat you know where the scoring is coming from — the backcourt. Thomas is coming off a season in which he averaged 23 points and six assists per 36 minutes in his time with the Suns and Celtics, and Wroten averaged 20 points and six assists per 36 in a 30-game, injury-shortened season with the Sixers. If Thomas and Wroten are able to drive and dish, guys like Ross and Williams will be able to shoot (with help from other shooters on the bench).
The problem with this team is going to be apparent from the outset — no depth in the frontcourt. May have to ask Spencer Hawes to play a career-high in minutes per game (his previous high was 30.9 in 2013-14 as he split time with the Cavs and the Sixers, and this past year the Clippers played him only 17.5 minutes in the regular season and a measly seven minutes per in the playoffs). Marvin Williams may also need to play close to 30 minutes a game because as you’ll see in a moment, this bench does not have many guys to spell them without going very small.
- G Jamal Crawford, 15th year out of University of Michigan and Rainier Beach High School
- G Rodney Stuckey, eighth year out of Eastern Washington and Kentwood High School
- G Aaron Brooks, seventh year out of the University of Oregon and Franklin High School
- F Quincy Pondexter, fifth year out of the University of Washington
- F Martell Webster, 10th year out of Seattle Prep
- G C.J. Wilcox, first year out of the University of Washington
- G Justin Holiday, second year out of the University of Washington
I was tempted to insert Jamal Crawford into the starting lineup – a temptation that has surely haunted his coaches for years – but he’s proven he’s reliable coming off the bench throughout his career and his still getting it done today. But as great as Crawford is, he’s an example of the gift/curse of this team: so many guards, so few big men. Which is why I’d play a lot of three-guard and maybe even four-guard lineups, spreading the floor with shooters like Wilcox, Holiday, Brooks, and Ross. I’d also more than likely have two guys on the floor at all times who are capable of running the offense/the point i.e. Brooks, Thomas, and even Wroten.
Use In Case of Emergency
- G Avery Bradley, 5th year out of the University of Texas and Bellarmine Prep
- G Nate Robinson, 10th year out of the University of Washington
- G Jason Terry, 16th year out of the University of Arizona and Franklin High School
I can very much envision a scenario where Avery Bradley is able to stay healthy, perform well in practice, and earn a chance to suit up. Nate and Jason Terry however made the squad to help team chemistry and provide veteran presents.
The Coaching Staff
- Head Coach Quin Snyder
- Assistant Coach Chad Forcier
- Assistant Coach Luke Ridnour
- Assistant Coach Bob Weiss
I was working my way through each team’s coaching staff as desperation and failure were setting in. I had worked my way through almost every NBA coaching staff without finding a coach who had attended high school or college in western Washington. I had amassed a few former Sonics players and coaches and was prepared to go down that route if need be, and then I came to the Jazz. Quin Snyder, the first-year Utah Jazz head coach, attended Mercer Island High School. He will be our head coach and he’ll be joined on the bench by Spurs assistant Chad Forcier, an alumnus of Rainier high school (south of Olympia), and former Sonics player, assistant, and head coach Bob Weiss. I’ve also convinced Luke Ridnour to retire and join the coaching staff.
There may not be a professional basketball team that plays in the Emerald City anymore, but the NBA is littered with UW alums and players who went to high school in Seattle, Tacoma, and everywhere in between.