Our next profile details a team that has been an also-ran for much of its existence. They’ve made two Final Four appearances, but have only finished in the AP top 25 eight times in history. Despite these hardships, they’ve produced a steady stream of NBA talent since their rise under Bobby Cremins in the 1980s. While the NBA Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are the lowest-ranked team in our tournament, they field an entertaining roster full of playmakers and shooters.
Mark Price, one of two point guards in the starting lineup, was a player who was ahead of his time. He was one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, who played with remarkable efficiency. The greatest shooting point guards of the modern era have become multiple MVPs (Steve Nash and Stephen Curry), and provide a template for how Price could be utilized in the modern-day game. He’s joined in the backcourt by Stephon Marbury. While his negatives are well-known, he peaked as a talented offensive force who is one of only five players to average over 19.0 points and 7.0 assists per game for his career (joined by Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Isiah Thomas, and Russell Westbrook). While he’s an awkward fit alongside another point guard, his penetration skills should blend well with Price’s shooting. Kenny Anderson is a similarly talented point guard who will come off the bench and mirror much of what Marbury brings to the starting lineup. Anderson dominated the ball less than Marbury (with a career 21.3% usage percentage versus Marbury’s 25.4%), and will replace Marbury whenever the offense is not flowing. Jarrett Jack will play sparingly as the fourth point guard on the roster. Jon Barry, the lone pure shooting guard on the roster, provides valuable long-distance shooting with noteworthy efficiency (once finishing second in the league with a 64.5% true shooting percentage).
Matt Harpring and Dennis Scott will split time at small forward. Harpring was a solid player who moved well without the ball and had an effective mid-range game. Scott, on the other hand, was a long-range bomber who is best known for playing off of a dominant center (Shaquille O’Neal in Orlando). Both are useful role players who will contribute to their offensive attack. Derrick Favors and Thaddeus Young will share minutes at power forward. Favors is a traditional four who will help them compete on the glass while protecting the paint. Young is a smaller, quicker player who boosts their athleticism and provides a different look against bigger players.
Chris Bosh, an 11-time all-star selection, is the team’s starting center. Bosh was a mid-range master throughout his career who developed a three-point shot over time. He served as the fulcrum of Toronto’s offense before adapting as a third option in Miami, where his solid all-around game helped them win two titles in four Finals appearances. He doesn’t have the bulk of a traditional center, but his quickness is a tremendous asset on both ends of the court. He’s backed up by John Salley, a solid defender who won four titles in his career, and Matt Geiger, a fiery, athletic big man who excelled on the offensive glass.
The NBA Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are a fun, balanced team who opponents will have difficulty defending. They can field an elite shooting lineup featuring Price, Barry, Scott, and Bosh, and should utilize their athleticism and quickness to play an up-tempo game. While they face a tall task in their first-round matchup, the success of their NBA talent should be celebrated.