With the MLB season well underway and the NBA playoffs beginning it’s hard not to wonder what kind of a basketball lineup the Yankees could come up with. Here is my starting five, including the first off the bench. Share your suggestions in the comments.
Didi Gregorius - Point Guard
The point guard is the captain of the offense, calling out plays and positioning his teammates. As the new Yankees shortstop, Didi has somewhat similar responsibilities. Point guards also generally have high steal totals, and I’m always eagerly awaiting Didi to flash some leather in the hole, robbing opponents of what used to be an easy single. He’s also superbly athletic and quick, with great instincts. I can’t think of a better person to man the point for my Bronx basketball team.
Masahiro Tanaka - Shooting Guard
This pick is going to surprise some people, I’m sure, but hear me out. His deception with a baseball is unmatched, why wouldn’t that convert over to hoops at least a little bit? He has outstanding command with the ball and can do pretty much anything he wants when it’s in his hands. He also has the 'lead by doing, not saying' kind of attitude, perfect for my high scoring player. And, when the game is coming down to the wire and my team needs a quick three points, like an October game seven, the ball will be in Tanaka’s hands.
Alex Rodriguez - Small Forward
Rodriguez’s combination of size and strength is rare on a basketball court. He’s about five inches shorter than LeBron James, but toe to toe with him in athleticism (in him prime, but we can pretend right?). We know he can defend off the ball, just ask Bronson Arroyo about the 2004 ALCS. Plus we would get some fantastic gifs of Rodriguez arguing fouls and taking a charge in the lane.
CC Sabathia - Power Forward
Sabathia has the height and in recent years weight to play power forward. He’s the perfect combination of mean and goofy for under the basket. For some reason I keep picturing an Amar’e Stoudomire style game from Sabathia. Having a lefty in the starting lineup will keep opposing defenses on their toes as well. Sabathia is also my top candidate to rock a headband out of all the players on my team. Not sure why, but it just seems most unnatural for him to not have something on his head during a game.
Dellin Betances- Center
At 6’8" Betances is the tallest player on the Yankees roster. That alone makes him an obvious fit for the role of big man. Add in the intimidation factor plus his sheer power and you have a fantastic anchor to your team. It seems batters aren’t too fond of stepping into the box against him, so I’d imagine they’d like to avoid him in the low post. Betances at center seems like the best fit on the team.
Brett Gardner- 6th man
If there’s one thing I want out of my first guy off the bench it’s effort and energy. Gardner brings both of those, plus some impressive speed and athleticism. He has Steve Nash potential, but for now a generally stacked lineup pushes him to the bench. (Side note: Nick Swisher would literally have been the perfect sixth man if still a Yankee).