NBA to NFL Crossover: Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo

by Aaron Lopez

The next time Arron Afflalo calls attention to himself will be the first time.

He’s the ultimate team-first guy who sets the tone for his teammates simply by working hard and holding everyone else to the same standard. It’s a no-nonsense approach that has served him well in seven NBA seasons.

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

We’ve found spots for Nate Robinson (cornerback), Kenneth Faried (defensive end) and Ty Lawson (running back). Because of his leadership traits, work ethic, scoring capability and ever-improving playmaking skills, Afflalo seems well-suited as a signal-caller.

NBA Position: Quarterback

At 6-foot-6, Afflalo would have no trouble seeing over his offensive line to find receiving targets running routes over the middle. He also has the agility to improvise when the pass protection breaks down around him.

The successful quarterbacks command attention and respect in the huddle and in the locker room. Afflalo is poised to provide similar leadership for the Nuggets as he tries to instill a championship mentality among his teammates.

NFL Counterpart: Russell Wilson

Yes, Wilson is about a half-foot shorter than Afflalo, but they both carry themselves with poise and a quiet self-confidence. Wilson is underrated among his NFL peers as the Seahawks defense gets much of the credit for Seattle’s success in his two seasons.

After guiding the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory last season, Wilson’s days of flying under the radar are coming to an end. He was seventh in the NFL with a 101.2 quarterback rating in 2013, and his 539 rushing yards were third among all QBs.

Final thought:

Afflalo and Wilson are proven winners. Afflalo appeared in two NCAA Final Fours while at UCLA, and he reached the postseason in each of his first five NBA seasons with the Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets. Wilson guided Seattle to the playoffs as a rookie and then helped bring a championship to the Pacific Northwest.