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  • Jordan Banegas

All-WAC NBA Team

The NBA restart is off and running, giving sports fans like us life and something to watch for the first time in months. And watch it I have, as a first time NBA League Pass subscriber I haven’t missed a game. As I’m glued to my couch, I couldn’t help but notice the impressive talent that has come out of the Western Athletic Conference over the years. That’s when I decided to put together an all-WAC NBA team made up of players who are WAC alum and are now in the NBA. Who makes the list and how would that team fare against other NBA squads? You decide for yourself!

Center: JaVale McGee (Nevada 2007-08)

The Lakers big man is now starting alongside LeBron for the championship favorites in the NBA bubble. McGgee has made his way around the league starting in Washington, and winning two titles with Golden State. The 7 footer is known for his defensive prowess, freakish athleticism and frequent appearances on Shaqtin’ a Fool. Who remembers his up and under dunk in the Pan Am during the 2008 WAC Tournament? I knew he was a next level player after that slam.

Forward: Pascal Siakam (NM State 2014-16)

Need I say more? NM State’s greatest power forward, is an all-NBA type talent who is still on an upward trajectory. The NBA’s Most Improved Player could make an argument to win the award two years in a row as he makes the jump from “energy guy” to all-star starter. Siakam has made the Raptors franchise his own by refining his game to make himself into an elite scorer. No longer just a slasher/defender, Pascal is shooting an impressive 36% from long range, making him nearly impossible to defend on high ball screens. The world now knows about our diamond in the rough, but who remembers him eating up the WAC night in and night out?

Forward: Paul Millsap (Louisiana Tech 2003-06) 

The four-time NBA all-star is the 2 to Denver’s 1-2 punch in the front-court with Nikola Jokic. Millsap spent most of his career in Atlanta on the team’s that continually fell just short of the finals thanks to LeBron. The 6’8” power forward entered the league as an above average rebounder and defender but has honed his offensive skills to be a force on both ends of the court. Many of his rebounding records still stand in the Western Athletic Conference as well as the memories of him dominating our Aggies down low.

Guard: Paul George (Fresno State 2008-10)

The second all-NBA player on this list, George and Siakam would make an incredible duo. George was the face of the Pacers for years before a brief stint in OKC prior to teaming up with Kawhi in Los Angeles. George was an athletic high flyer at Fresno State but flew under many radars during his two years there. His growth spurt in college is what put his draft stock over the edge and got him into the 2010 lottery as the tenth overall pick. His poster dunk against Idaho at the 2010 WAC tournament got everyone out of their seats, much like this in-game 360 windmill--oh my!

Guard: Ramon Sessions (Nevada 2004-07) 

Ramon had an admirable NBA career but this is a significant dropoff from the other starting five. Sessions is now playing overseas but the depth at WAC point guards was too thin to go another route. The 6’3” facilitator made his way around the NBA but spent his prime years in Cleveland, LA and Charlotte. Sessions was the point guard for the #13 ranked Nevada Wolfpack when they hit the buzz saw that was Reggie Theus’ Aggies in the Pan Am in 2007. That upset is still the rowdiest the Pandemonium center has been in the last 20 years.

I’ll just be covering the starting five as depth really becomes an issue after that and would mostly be filled in with two-way players like Sim Bhullar, Jemerrio Jones, Zach Lofton and Jonathan Gibson. The starting five remains a real contender in the bubble with three all-stars and two all-NBA talents in George and Siakam. I’d love to see the WAC against the best of them. Not bad for the little conference out west.

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