NBA to NFL Crossover: Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler

by Aaron Lopez

From his 3-point shots to his finger-roll layups, everything Wilson Chandler does looks smooth and easy.

Red-zone touchdown catches would probably appear effortless as well.

With NFL training camps in full swing, we thought it would be interesting to see where Chandler and some of his Denver Nuggets teammates would fit best if they traded their basketball gear for a helmet and shoulder pads.

So far, Kenneth Faried (defensive end) and Nate Robinson (cornerback) occupy spots on defense, while Arron Afflalo (quarterback) and Ty Lawson (running back) are playmakers on offense. Chandler seems best-suited for catching passes.

NBA Position: Tight end

Following in the footsteps of former college basketball players Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Julius Thomas, Chandler would be a great target for quarterbacks looking for someone with great hands and impressive height.

The 6-foot-8 Chandler would present plenty of matchup problems, and it’s easy to imagine him nonchalantly flipping the ball to the referee after scoring a momentum-changing touchdown.

As with any former hoop star, blocking would be the toughest challenge for Chandler. Stepping in front of a 275-pound defensive end or a 250-pound outside linebacker is no fun for anyone.

NFL Counterpart: Jimmy Graham

Yes, Graham is more flamboyant. No, he doesn’t share Chandler’s affinity for tattoos. But at 6-foot-7, Graham is among the tallest players in the NFL, and he played basketball for four seasons at the University of Miami.

Like Chandler, Graham also makes thing look easy as he outleaps defensive backs for passes down the sideline or over the middle. He enjoyed dunking the ball over the goalposts after touchdown catches, but the NFL banned that practice for the upcoming 2014 season.

Final thought:

Gonzalez, a surefire first-ballot Hall of Fame selection, would have been another good choice, but he retired after the 2013 season. Gonzalez also played basketball in college (California) and was a lot like Chandler in the fact that he carried himself with an even-keeled demeanor in victory and defeat.