If you assembled an NFL offense and defense with current members of the Clippers roster, they might be one of the most athletic football teams ever assembled. Of course, they might struggle with a lack of bulk on the interior, but they would more than make up for it on the edges. Take a look at how it make breakdown.
The biggest advantage the Clippers would have is length and speed, so it seemed necessary to spread out opposing defenses. The faux Clippers offense would use a number of three and four receiver sets and flex out their all-world tight end.
Matt Barnes: This is the most obvious selection in the entire group. Barnes was a high school All-American and scored 45 touchdowns as a receiver in his two years at Del Campo High. He is 6-foot-7, a matchup nightmare, tough enough to withstand the punishment from bulkier corners jamming him at the line and has the kind of straight-line speed that would make him a deep threat.
Jamal Crawford: He’s got the quickness, hands, long arms and height that would make him a perfect fit on the opposite side of Barnes. He could also line up in the slot. Crawford would also have an ideal offseason workout partner in former high school teammate Nate Robinson who was a cornerback at the University of Washington.
J.J. Redick: Talk about a route runner. The way Redick runs defenders around screens with precision would translate well as a slot receiver or flanker. Imagine Barnes split wide with Redick breaking off underneath routes.
Blake Griffin: This would be ridiculous. Think Julius Thomas and Antonio Gates, but faster, taller and more athletic. Griffin would be the most challenging matchup problem in NFL history as a tight end. He could be flexed out or just take off from his usual position bookending the right tackle and beat 2-deep coverage up the seam. Good luck in goal line situations, too.
DeAndre Jordan: The quarterback needs someone to protect his blindside so likely no one better to do it than the Clippers’ best rim protector. Jordan is clearly not the prototypical left tackle in terms of girth, but he makes up for it with his reach. Plus, imagine an unbalanced line with Jordan on a tackle eligible.
Ryan Hollins: On the right side would be Hollins. Similar to Jordan, he’s a guy with a tremendous reach. His dogged energy would make him perfect for slowing high-motor defensive ends. His slight frame would also be protected by having a tight end to his right.
Jared Dudley: He has footwork and savvy. He’s also a do-it-all kind of player that has long talked about doing the little things to help his team win. He would likely lineup at left guard next to Jordan.
Byron Mullens: The biggest body on the Clippers (7-foot, 275 pounds), if he put on a little “football” weight, he could be a mammoth lineman. He would be ideal next to Hollins on the right side of the line.
Hedo Turkoglu: Everyone on the Clippers has raved about Turkoglu’s basketball IQ and his ability as a passer. So, why not have him anchoring the line. He’s obviously undersized in terms of weight, but who isn’t on this interior group?
Chris Paul: He’s the league’s best leader, played quarterback in his youth, and is arguably one of the best passers in league history. It’s a no-brainer. Besides, Paul is quick enough that zone read plays could be a deadly fallback plan.
Willie Green: Hard-nosed and “sneaky” athletic, Green fits the bill as a go-to back. He is bulky enough to take a pounding, but fast enough to avoid big hits. And don’t forget about his toughness. He played a portion of last season with a torn meniscus, starting 60 of the Clippers’ 82 games.
Third Down Back/Kick Returner
Darren Collison: He’s the fastest player on the Clippers and has a nose for finding creases in a defense. Collison would be a great change of pace for the offense, imagine him in a Darren Sproles type of role.
Defensively, the team would have to take advantage of their speed and pursuit to the ball, meaning a 3-4 scheme is likely the best fit. It helps that the Clippers are one of the top teams in the NBA in steals. This secondary would be a group of ball hawks.
DeAndre Jordan and Ryan Hollins: Imagine two 7-footers coming off the edge. Opposing quarterbacks would have tiny windows to throw through, Jordan’s speed and leaping ability alone would be a nightmare for any offense to handle.
Jared Dudley: His footwork, again, comes into play. He would be able to take up space and be nimble enough to get around linemen to make plays in the backfield.
Blake Griffin and Willie Green: The same reasons Green would make an ideal running back would be why he should be on the strong side linebacker in the 3-4. Griffin, on the other hand, think Jevon Kearse 2.0. Put Griffin on the weak side and there is nothing an offense could do to protect their quarterback. Griffin, who leads the NBA in fouls drawn, would also likely draw his fair share of holding penalties.
Matt Barnes and Antawn Jamison: Barnes has a nose for the ball defensively. And while he might be a better fit at safety, this team is going to cover a ton of ground from sideline to sideline. Putting Jamison alongside him adds a veteran leader that will command respect.
Jamal Crawford and Darren Collison: Crawford’s long arms would allow him to jam receivers at the line and Collison’s combination of quickness and lanky 6-foot frame and surprising strength could make him a shutdown corner.
Chris Paul and Reggie Bullock: Paul would be the strong safety. Again, playing the role of a leader, Paul would make a majority of the calls in the secondary and his experience as a middle linebacker in Pop Warner would allow him to play close to the line of scrimmage. Bullock makes sense at free safety because of his build. He is 6-foot-7, so he can cover a ton of ground and he’s a young, athletic wing player in the NBA, who “loves” playing defense.