In honour of Back To School week, the NBA.com staff discusses their all-time starting lineups for some of the most elite basketball schools in NCAA history.
An important disclaimer: We're looking to identify the best NBA players from each school, not necessarily which players were the best while in college. The NBA All-Star that didn't play much in college is prioritized over the All-American that didn't have the same type of impact in the NBA.
MORE: Which college team would win an all-alumni tournament?
Where do you even start? There's no shortage of options given Kentucky's boatload of NBA talent, but I decided to go with John Wall and Rajon Rondo in the backcourt with Tayshaun Prince, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins rounding out the frontcourt.
Wall has lived up to his No. 1 overall selection with five All-Star appearances, nearly averaging a double-double (18.9 ppg, 9.2 apg) for his career. Rondo has led the league in assists three times and steals once, earning him four All-Star appearances, four All-Defensive selections and an NBA championship. Prince is also an NBA champion with four All-Defensive selections. The young frontcourt of Davis and Cousins have both put together solid careers thus far, each averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Cousins has earned All-NBA honours twice, with Davis showing flashes of a future NBA MVP.
Snubs: Center/Forward Dan Issel played well before my time, putting together a Hall of Fame career as a seven-time All-Star, five-time All-ABA, ABA Rookie of the Year and an ABA Champion. - Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)
Kyrie Irving and Jeff Mullins get the nod in the backcourt. Irving is a legitimate MVP candidate and proven clutch-time assassin with arguably the best handles in the league. He's an easy pick to run the point. Mullins gets the slight nod over J.J. Redick, who is the better shooter but can't match the overall production of Mullins, a 3-time All-Star and leading scorer on a Warriors team that featured Hall of Famers Jerry Lucas and Nate Thurmond. Grant Hill, Elton Brand and Carlos Boozer fill out the frontcourt. Hill had the highest NBA ceiling of any Duke player while both Brand and Boozer developed into reliable All-Star bigs.
Snubs: If we were basing it off their college careers, then Johnny Dawkins, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Shane Battier, J.J. Redick and Jay Williams all would have received closer looks. - Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13)
Let's start with Michael Jordan, who is the best or second-best NBA player of all-time depending on where you think LeBron James ranks in the GOAT debate.
Now let's get a little funky by making Jordan the point guard and surrounding him with Vince Carter at shooting guard and James Worthy at small forward to give UNC the best - and most entertaining by a long shot - backcourt on this list.
Then let's round out the starting lineup with Rasheed Wallace, a four-time All-Star who brings some much-needed toughness and shooting at power forward, and Bob McAdoo, a five-time All-Star, a three-time scoring champion, a two-time NBA champion and a one-time league MVP at center.
Seriously, who's beating this team?
Snubs: Antawn Jamison, Jerry Stackhouse, Sam Perkins, Charles Scott, Billy Cunningham, Bobby Jones and Kenny Smith. Nobody said this would be easy. - Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)
I elected Jo Jo White and Andrew Wiggins as my backcourt, with Paul Pierce, Joel Embiid and Wilt Chamberlain in the frontcourt.
Jo Jo White won two NBA championships, earning the Finals MVP in 1975-76. He was a seven-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection in his Hall of Fame career. Wiggins has averaged 19.7 points per game through four seasons, earning Rookie of the Year in 2014-15. Pierce was the Finals MVP of his one NBA championship in the 2007-08 season, finishing top-15 in all-time scoring on his way to a Hall of Fame campaign. Embiid has shown he has the potential to be an all-time great big man despite playing less than 100 games thus far. He averaged 22.9 points and 11 rebounds last season en route to his first of many All-NBA honours. Chamberlain's Hall of Fame career speaks for itself, with four MVPs and two championships among averaging 30 and 22 for his career.
Snubs: Forward Danny Manning was a two-time All-Star and the 1997-98 Sixth Man of the Year. - Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)
There are three no-brainers as far as I'm concerned: Russell Westbrook, Reggie Miller and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That gives UCLA a do-it-all guard and one of the greatest shooters in NBA history in the backcourt, plus arguably the greatest big man to have ever played the game at center. To get the most out of them, let's put Kevin Love at power forward and Gail Goodrich at point guard. Love is a career 37.0 percent shooting from 3-point range (on 4.4 attempts per game) and Goodrich led the 1971-72 Lakers in scoring, both in the regular season and playoffs. That makes for as well-rounded on an all-time college roster as you're going to get.
Snubs: Bill Walton. Kareem was just too good. Also apologies to Marques Johnson, Sidney Wicks, Baron Davis, Kiki Vandewghe and Jrue Holiday. This is Westbrook and Kareem's team, and they needs all the spacing they can get. - Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)