Which NFL Players Would Have the Best Shot at Making It in the NBA? Top Candidates Include Anthony Richardson, Micah Parsons, and Cooper DeJean

    Austin Rivers sparked conversation about if NBA or NFL players are more capable of switching sports. These NFL athletes have the best chance.

    A much-debated topic has been whether NFL players or NBA players are more capable of playing in each other’s sport. After long-time NBA player Austin Rivers reinvigorated this debate on Monday morning, we decided to put a list together of the NFL players who would be the most capable of playing in the NBA.

    Austin Rivers States NBA Players Are More Capable Than NFL Players of Switching Sports

    It was 11-year NBA veteran and ESPN analyst Rivers who started the debate when he went on The Pat McAfee Show.

    “I can take 30 players right now in the NBA and throw them in the NFL,” said Rivers. “You cannot take 30 NFL players and put them in the NBA.”

    “Where the best athletes in the world are, that’s us,” said Rivers before sharing his take comparing NBA and NFL players. “All you got to do is catch the ball and run north or south. It ain’t complex.”

    Rivers did, however, say that the quarterback position is the exception to his statement. His comments didn’t go unnoticed, however, with former NFL star J.J. Watt jumping in on the conversation.

    “You don’t got a job in either right now, go head and try it,” said Watt.

    Which NFL Players Would Be the Best in the NBA?

    There are plenty of NFL players with generational athleticism, but not all of them have the experience or skill set to cut it in professional basketball. Here’s a list of NFL players who would have the greatest chance of succeeding in the NBA.

    Anthony Richardson

    “He probably would’ve won this year’s dunk contest,” said Chicago Bears defensive tackle Gervon Dexter of Anthony Richardson last year when he was going through the pre-draft process. He also shared that he and Richardson played AAU basketball together and that Richardson, due to his athleticism, could have played any position in the sport.

    Standing at 6’4″, 245 pounds, Richardson would likely profile as a small forward.

    Dating back to college, he’s been spotted playing basketball. His mixture of size, speed, and just pure athleticism allows Richardson to be able to do anything on the court he wants.

    Micah Parsons

    One of the obvious answers to this question is Dallas Cowboys EDGE Micah Parsons. At 6’3″, 245 pounds, Parsons has the size and athleticism combo that Richardson has as well.

    In the NBA Celebrity Game, Parsons put together an MVP performance with 37 points and 16 rebounds.

    When asked how much he would score in an NBA game, Parsons has shown his confidence. “I’m averaging 20 [points],” said Parsons with no hesitation. Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud did, however, say he was delusional following his answer.

    MORE: Which NBA Players Would Have the Best Shot of Playing in the NFL?

    Jimmy Graham

    In terms of someone who’s proven it on the court, there’s New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham, who played forward for the Miami Hurricanes’ basketball team in college. Graham appeared in 120 games during his time there from 2005-2009, starting a third of them.

    In his junior season, he averaged six points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. Graham also had a 52.6% field-goal percentage. The Hurricanes made it to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed that year, with Graham putting up nine points and seven rebounds in the team’s first-round win.

    Mo Alie-Cox

    Similar to Graham, Mo Alie-Cox is another tight end who proved it on the court. Before ending up on the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2017, Alie-Cox was the starting forward for the VCU Rams. He played 142 games and competed in four NCAA Tournaments with them.

    Alie-Cox is VCU’s all-time leader in career shooting percentage (57.4%) and second in career blocks (255). He helped them win the 2015 A-10 Tournament and a share of the 2016 A-10 regular-season title.

    Standing at 6’5″, 267 pounds, it should be no surprise that he had a dominant presence on the court.

    Cooper DeJean

    Another super athlete is rookie cornerback Cooper DeJean, who was just drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles out of Iowa. DeJean was asked if he could beat Caitlin Clark, one of the greatest college basketball players of all time, in a 1-on-1, and he said yes.

    KEEP READING: Top 7 NFL Players That Played College Basketball

    At 6’1″, 203 pounds, DeJean would play guard. His 38.5-inch vertical jump and 10’4″ broad jump, however, are a big factor in his game and ability to fly up on dunks. As you’d expect, DeJean’s high school basketball highlights don’t disappoint.

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