A couple years ago, Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game did a post on our ideas to improve All-Star weekend. One of my suggestions:
Also, a Two-on-two tournament between players from each state and country (that has two player represented in the NBA). Games would be short, probably to seven. This could bring some March Madness-type Cinderella stories to the weekend. And think of the potential for jersey sales.
Because the NBA hasn’t run with the idea (and because we could probably use a fun distraction from the Pistons’ season), I created the Two-on-Two for Brotherhood Basketball Tournament (inspired by the 1992 tournament of the same name won by Sidney Deane and Billy Hoyle), or TTBBT for short. Greg Dooley of MVictors deserves credit for paving the path of the faux tournament.
Here’s a rundown of how the TTBBT works:
- How do teams "win”? Votes from blog readers.
- How will the “games” work? First to seven, by 1s (shots behind the arc are worth 2). Team allowing a basket takes the ball out at the top.
- Will games have scores? Yes, determined by percentage of votes each team receives (e.g., a team receiving 70 percent of the vote wins, 7-3).
- Who’s eligible? Anyone who spent time on an NBA roster this season.
- How are teams determined? A player can represent his birthplace, where he grew up or a country where he holds citizenship. Spending a year at prep school doesn’t qualify a player to represent the state of the school. It’s an inexact science.
- Do injuries count? All injuries before the TTBBT begin count, so no China this year. For real-life injuries during the TTBBT, suspended disbelief.
- How long will the TTBBT last? The winner will be chosen All-Star Sunday.
Without further ado, here are the 58 teams that comprise the 2011 TTBBT:
Gerald Wallace and DeMarcus Cousins
Wallace provides the type of offensive and defensive combo from a wing player necessary to compete. Cousins has the raw ability, not necessarily the discipline, to compliment that. Alabama will be dangerous.
Mario Chalmers and Carlos Boozer
For such a small state, Alaska has one very talented player (Boozer) and another (Chalmers) who complements him well.
Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola
There might not be a team with more chemistry than this one. Ginobili and Scola have played together internationally, and they’ve keyed Argentina performing better than the sum of its parts.
Mike Bibby and Richard Jefferson
Both players are past their primes, like much of Arizona’s population. But both still shoot well, and if their jumpers are falling, they could win a TTBBT game or two without breaking much of a sweat.
Derek Fisher and Joe Johnson
Fisher does a lot of little things to make a five-man team better, but in a 2-on-2 game, his impact might shrink. Johnson will have his work cut out for him to carry the load.
Patrick Mills and Andrew Bogut
Bogut’s screens and Mills speed could be devastating in the 2-on-2 game. Add in Bogut’s ability to protect the rim, and Australia will be lower seed capable of pulling an upset.
Leandro Barbosa and Nene
Barbosa excels at getting up and down the floor, but that won’t matter in this half-court format. Nene’s game should translate to all styles.
Russell Westbrook and Paul Pierce
At some point, a lack of a big man might stop this duo. But even with Tyson Chandler’s snub, Westbrook and Pierce should advance deep into the TTBBT.
Steve Nash and Joel Anthony
How much will Nash’s superb passes pay off if Anthony receives them all? Had he taken a different approach to the game, Nash had to a chance to go down as one of the best shooters of all time. He’ll have to get a more selfish to give Canada a chance of winning multiple games in this tournament.
Chauncey Billups and Jason Smith
In his younger days, Billups probably could have carried Smith to at least one TTBBT win. Now? They have an outside chance of reaching the second round.
Ryan Gomes and Marcus Camby
As long as they don’t have to play perimeter defense, Gomes and Camby have a chance. But that glaring weakness probably won’t make up for their moderate strengths – interior defense, rebounding and post scoring.
Joey Graham and Stephen Graham
As identical twins, they might be hard to scout. Otherwise, this team is as wholly unspectacular as you’d expect from Delaware.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Serge Ibaka and D.J. Mbenga
For all the flashes of brilliance Ibaka has shown, he doesn’t handle the ball well. Mbenga certainly won’t help with that.
District of Columbia
Kevin Durant and Ed Davis
Ed Davis can do enough of the little things to complement a star like Durant. That should be worth at least one win, but a second is a tossup.
Charlie Villanueva and Al Horford
Villanueva plays a physical game better than most believe he can. Horford plays a finesse game better than most believe he can. Still, these two don’t necessarily complement each other.
Tracy McGrady and Amar’e Stoudemire
McGrady got the edge over Vince Carter, because he’s been excelling in the pick and roll with Greg Monroe. He should feast with Stoudemire.
Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum
If Batum’s 3-pointer is on, how will defenses keep Parker out of the paint? Batum’s length should be useful on defense.
Josh Smith and Dwight Howard
Howard and Smith are dominant inside and skilled and agile enough to play outside the paint. Georgia is a legitimate contender.
Dirk Nowitzki and Anthony Randolph
With Chris Kaman injured, this probably isn’t Germany’s year. Nowitzki and Randolph could win at least one game, though.
Rodrigue Beaubois and Mickael Pietrus
On a deep Mavericks team, Beaubois hasn’t had a chance to showcase all the potential he’s supposed to have. Pietrus will defend, but Guadeloupe will have to count on Beaubois stepping up offensively.
Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade
A pair of MVP candidates, Rose and Wade are a bit similar. But for strong guards with great all-around games, similar isn’t necessarily a problem. It will take several games before having two guards causes concern.
Eric Gordon and Zach Randolph
A pair of fundamentally sound players, Gordon and Randolph give Indiana an abundantly solid team. Although they’re far from favored, they’re good enough to win the TTBBT.
Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison
These former Kansas teammates, who played four years together with the Jayhawks, should work extremely well together. But they’ll face pairs with a lot more talent.
Danilo Gallinari and Andrea Bargnani
If both players shoot well from the outside, they won’t have to worry about grabbing offensive rebounds. A barrage of 2-pointers is the only way Italy will overcome its glaring weaknesses (defense and rebounding), but that’s not such a longshot proposition.
Samardo Samuels and Roy Hibbert
With the right teammate, Hibbert could provide fits for several TTBBT teams. That’s not Samuels.
Earl Watson and Maurice Evans
Considering the basketball love in Kansas, this team is a bit underwhelming. At least Kansas has a team, unlike a fellow basketball-crazed and NBA-team-less state, Kentucky.
Darius Songaila and Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Maybe a couple years ago, these two could have made a Cinderella run. Now, they’ll likely bow out quietly.
Danny Granger and Paul Millsap
Low-post scoring, outside shooting, rebounding, defensive intensity – this team has it all. But it might not have anything in enough abundance to contend.
Carmelo Anthony and Rudy Gay
Both players are excellent scorers, but are they too similar for their own good? Maryland has one of the most talented team in the TTBBT, but that’s probably not enough to win the title.
Antoine Wright and Jeff Adrien
Massachusetts has a team. Isn’t that nice.
Jason Richardson and JaVale McGee
Richardson can score and defend outside. McGee can score and defend inside. Not sure how much they’ll make each other better, but individually, they have main skills covered.
Kris Humphries and Joel Przybilla
Both players should rack in a ton of rebounds. Unfortunately, that’s, in part, because they’ll miss a ton of shots themselves. Neither player creates his own shots, and that’s a huge weakness in this format.
Monta Ellis and Al Jefferson
If Ellis and Jefferson don’t fight each other for shots, Mississippi could advance deep in the TTBBT. More likely, the talented ball hogs won’t win more than a couple games.
Brandon Rush and David Lee
A pair of athletic players, Rush and Lee should make their opponents lives difficult. Their opponents should probably win anyway, though.
Francisco Elson and Dan Gadzuric
If you can make a jumper, you’ll beat Netherlands. Elson and Gadzuric don’t defend outside of the paint, and they’re not great at scoring in it.
Marcus Banks and C.J. Watson
Banks and Watson will pressure the ball on the perimeter. If they generate enough steals, they could steal a game – but that’s a longshot.
David West and Andrew Bynum
A good, not great team. West handles the ball better than most his size, but can either player throw an entry pass to the other?
Lamar Odom and Elton Brand
Odom and Brand are smart and talented players. They’re not as spry as they once were, but is wiser better?
Chris Paul and John Wall
No team will pass better. The speed and ability to dish these two have will render almost any defense useless. But can they figure out how to defend teams with bigger players? That’s all that’s preventing them from winning the TTBBT.
Stephen Curry and LeBron James
Curry’s 3-point shot should give LeBron plenty of room to drive to the basket, not that he needs an extra advantage. Plus, LeBron is strong enough to defend bigger players. Ohio might be the favorite to win the TTBBT.
Shelden Williams and Blake Griffin
Can Griffin create off the dribble well enough to carry Oklahoma? Williams’ screens should give him a chance.
Ronnie Brewer and Kevin Love
Love will finally get a chance to show what he can do without the weight of the Timberwolves organization on his back. But is Ronnie Brewer much better? (Thanks to Breene Murphy of ClipperBlog for reminding me Kevin Love grew up in Oregon.)
Tyreke Evans and Kobe Bryant
Evans and Bryant pack a formidable scoring punch, and both can defend. But deeper into the TTBBT, who will grab rebounds or handle bigger players?
Carlos Arroyo and Jose Barea
Both players are at their best with the ball in their hands. What does the other do on offense, and what do both do on defense? Not a great combination.
Andrei Kirilenko and Timofey Mozgov
Mozgov, a rookie, has been learning this year, and Kirilenko is hanging on as a productive player. Russia has a window to advance in the TTBBT, but it probably won’t open until next season.
Peja Stojakovic and Nenad Krstic
Krstic is perennially underrated, but Stojakovic’s downfall hasn’t been exaggerated.
Benoh Udrih and Sasha Vujacic
Udrih and Vujacic have played better this season than most expected, but they’re still Udrih and Vujacic. They’re good enough to win a game if their opponent tanks, but that would take a perfect storm.
Raymond Felton and Kevin Garnett
Two good players who complement each other well. Felton and Garnett will run the pick and roll and bring max effort on defense. With Garnett on the team, intensity won’t be lacking, and that gives South Carolina a chance.
Paul Gasol and Marc Gasol
The second brother team, the Gasols are both good players. Can two big men who pass well make up for having no guards to make entry passes? Can the Gasols, who move well for bigs, defend on the perimeter? Ability isn’t a question. Fit together is.
Shawn Marion and Thaddeus Young
Marion and Young should both excel in a tournament that doesn’t lend itself to positional constraints. But they might not have enough skill to win multiple games.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Bosh
Both are excellent power forwards who can score in the low post and in the mid-range. They’re good enough to ride that skill for a while, but they probably won’t match up well in later rounds.
Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur
A bigger team that passes well. Turkoglu and Okur’s two-man offense should exceed the sum of its parts. Their two-man defense should equal the sum of its parts – and that’s a problem.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Raja Bell and Tim Duncan
Duncan doesn’t dominate like he once did, but the U.S. Virgin Islands’ defense should be stingy.
Ben Gordon and Luol Deng
Gordon was built for a two-man game. If Deng rebounds, this team could be dangerous.
Keith Bogans and Reggie Williams
An old-school, new-school debate about which Virginia player is better would be more interesting than watching these two play together.
Jason Terry and Rodney Stuckey
Washington has several near-equal candidates to fill its team, and Aaron Brooks, Jamal Crawford and Marvin Williams could make a case they belong. But Terry and Stuckey should attack opponents from all angles and play solid defense.
Deron Williams and O.J. Mayo
Williams’ skills will be put to the test. His passing makes big men better, but how will it impact someone like Mayo? If Williams doesn’t make Mayo appreciably better, can the point guard take over the game himself?
Devin Harris and Carl Landry
The former Big Ten players will play hard, and they’ll play smart, and they fit together. This is a sold, although unspectacular, team.
The bracket will be released tomorrow.
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