The top ten players in the NBA, or David Stern is mad

David Stern is sitting in his pimped-out office at NBA headquarters on 645 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, mere blocks from Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center, contemplating the state of his beloved league. TV ratings for the NBA Finals are just about lower than reruns of the Tyra Banks Show, NBA referees were last seen buying helmets and shoulder-pads in preparation for the post-Donaghy era, one of his draft picks, Chinese sensation Yi Jianlian, seems to think that all Milwaukee residents ever do is milk cows and eat cheese and a rogue group of millionaires are intent on extraditing the Sonics franchise to Oklahoma City of all places. And, these problems only begin to scratch the surface of dilemmas on Stern’s, admittedly brilliant, mind.

Given this unyielding pressure, let’s assume that Stern finally snaps and calls a hasty press conference to announce that in order to add some much needed spice to the beleaguered league he is breaking up the NBA, declaring every player a free agent and instituting a draft, fantasy basketball-style, from a pool of all 490+ NBA players. The fantasy NBA draft, where the largest US markets by population will select in order, is set for Tuesday, August 28, 2007 (Stay with us people, this article is definitely going somewhere).

Who Would Isaiah Thomas Pick?

Following the announcement New York Knicks GM Isaiah Thomas throws the greatest party the world has ever seen – having in an instant rid himself of the horrible contracts, and equally appalling talent, that he’s so unskillfully amassed over the years. But, with the first pick of the NBA fantasy draft he then proceeds to pick oft-injured forward Chris Webber and immediately signs him to a 6 year contract worth a record $192 million.

“We were looking for versatility with our first pick and Chris Webber is THE most versatile power forward in the league today,” Thomas tells reporters. “I happened to see some game tape from when Chris played for the Golden State Warriors and I was completely sold! I ordered my assistant coaches to burn all of the subsequent footage of Chris’ games, because I had seen enough! As long as Chris can remember how many timeouts we have left, I feel we have the steal of the draft, at the first pick no-less.”

Simultaneously a massive splash is heard in the East River, as every single red-blooded New York Knicks fan jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge, incidentally setting a new Guiness World Record for the most people simultaneously jumping off bridges – the Los Angeles Lakers are on the clock.

The 2007 NBA Fantasy Draft

Given this scenario, as fanciful as the circumstances may sound, it got us thinking; If your franchise had a top ten pick in the 2007 NBA fantasy draft, where your owner could select any NBA player he chose, what would that draft look like? (Note: David Stern set the draft order based on the top ten US markets by population that also currently has an NBA franchise – so, no San Diego or San Jose).

Jerry Buss Drives Kobe Bryant Nuts

Stern walks out to the podium at Madison Square Garden. “With the 2nd pick the Los Angeles Lakers select Kobe Bryant.” After giving some thought to Dwayne Wade and LeBron James for about 2 seconds, the Lakers are more than content to bring their disgruntled superstar back into the fold. On both ends of the floor Kobe Bryant is a more skilled player than James or Wade – he’s a better shooter, better defender and a better clutch scorer. Yes, he’s older, but Kobe is still in his prime and the Lakers – the glamorous franchise that it is – wants to win now. Kobe Bryant, for his part, immediately goes on The Today Show, Larry King Live, Meet the Press, Inside the Actor’s Studio and American Idol, and asks to be traded. He even accepts a role in the next Will Farrell basketball-based movie where he ironically plays an NBA superstar asking to be traded.

With the 3rd pick the Chicago Bulls select LeBron James. Bulls GM John Paxon loves James’ unselfish play and his ability to physically overpower just about every other guard and most small forwards in the league. Besides, LeBron is certainly the leader in the clubhouse of over-exposed NBA superstars and fits right into that media-friendly role vacated by “his airness” Michael Jordan. After learning that Jordan’s number “23” is perpetually retired, LeBron successfully petitions the league to switch his jersey number to the roman numerals XXIII.

With the 4th pick the Houston Rockets select Tim Duncan. With Kobe Bryant and LeBron James off the board, the clear selection is the crazy bank-shooter from the Virgin Islands. Besides, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey takes a little pleasure in snagging the four-time NBA champion from their cross-state rivals the San Antonio Spurs. Duncan, for his part, is devastated by the move for having to leave his long-time friend David Robinson back in San Antonio. He takes up writing Haiku and hiking to get over the seemingly devastating pain and a hopelessly broken heart.

With the 5th pick the Philadelphia 76ers select Dwayne Wade. It feels like deja-vu all over again for Wade, who was originally picked 5th overall by the Miami Heat in the real NBA draft. The Philadelphia franchise for its part is ecstatic to bring in a superstar guard that doesn’t believe he’s playing within a black hole and actually acknowledges the other four players on the floor with him, and values the importance of practice – a unique player indeed!

Hassellhoff and Nowitzki in the same frontcourt?

With the 6th pick the Phoenix Suns select Dirk Nowitzki. As tempting as it must have been to draft Steve Nash in this spot, and not break up the good vibes they have going in the valley of the sun, Nowitzki and his versatile game is entirely too much to pass up at this pick – particularly given Nash’s advanced age. Phoenix likes shooters at every position, so what better anchor to a shooting team than a 7-footer who can light it up from anywhere on the floor. Nowitzki could not be more excited, as he pops in his latest David Hassellhoff CD and jumps into his drop-top convertible for the long road-trip from Dallas to Phoenix. (He’s German, give him a break)

With the 7th pick the San Antonio Spurs select Amare Stoudemire. Having lost out on the Tim Duncan sweepstakes, Spurs GM R.C. Buford looks to fill the void left at Power Forward. The surgically repaired knees are a bit of a concern, but given Stoudemire’s youth, he was graded slightly higher on the Spurs’ draft board than players like Gilbert Arenas, Kevin Garnett, Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Steve Nash. In the subsequent rounds – in a clear ploy to confuse Spurs fans and TV announcers everywhere -- Buford attempts to build the all-Stoudemire team by also drafting Damon Stoudamire and Salim Stoudamire to play alongside Amare.

With the 8th pick the Dallas Mavericks select Kevin Garnett. The choice for Mark Cuban came down to Garnett or young power forward stud Chris Bosh. Sure Bosh has the age thing going for him, but Cuban wants to win now. Garnett probably couldn’t lead a gaggle of ducks to water, but the seeming lack of leadership skills are perfectly counterbalanced by his unearthly rebounding and defense, heart and hustle. Besides, Mark Cuban has never heard of Chris Bosh, but he did see Garnett in that Adidas commercial where the NBA star freakishly appeared from inside some type of plant.

Spontaneous combustion and the all-NBA legend team

With the 9th pick the Detroit Pistons select Chris Bosh. Just missing out on Garnett, and with Steve Nash still sitting in the green room, the Pistons take one of the most exciting and talented young players in the NBA today. Bosh’s workmanlike game and team-first attitude is a perfect fit for the “motor city” and its clever GM Joe Dumars. Everyone is happy and all seems well, but as Bosh sits down to calculate the amount of actual tax dollars he’ll save in the US, as opposed to his last Canada-based team, his head spontaneously combusts and explodes into a thousand pieces. The Pistons are back on the clock.

With the 9th and a half pick the Detroit Pistons select Yao Ming. The Chinese population in Troy, Michigan couldn’t be more excited, and Yao Ming is thrilled right along with them. (How can you not like Yao Ming?)

With the 10th pick of the 2007 NBA fantasy draft the Indianapolis Pacers select Dwight Howard. With Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash, Gilbert Arenas and Tracey McGrady still on the board, the Pacers go for a power forward, following the mantra that unless there’s a player at guard that is truly head-and-shoulders above the rest always select a big man. Overcome with excitement, Dwight Howard takes a running jump, reaches the top of Conseco Field House and puts a large life-size sticker of his smiling mug on the arena roof. Pacers GM Larry Bird announces that his team will no longer participate in the rest of the fantasy NBA draft, but will instead field a team with himself, and pals Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwan, Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, Kevin McHale, Patrick Ewing, Robert Parish, James Worthy and Dominic Wilkins around his young star.

Whether it’s age in the case of Steve Nash, health in the case of Tracy McGrady, poor shot selection in the case of Gilbert Arenas or the unusual personality and the lack of defense in the case of Carmelo Anthony, those four players were left out of the top ten in David Stern’s fantasy NBA draft. Teams went for size for sure, but outside of Chris Webber of course, we believe the players drafted would probably go in the same order if this type of draft were to happen in real life.

Disagree? (or agree). Post your comments now by clicking below.


Anonymous said...

ahhhh? who's the first pick? did i miss it? u started off with the second pick, anyway, for the first pick i would have picked Nash.

b4hoops said...

The 1st pick was Chris Webber by the NY Knicks. That's why all the NY fans jumped into the East River. :)

I considered Nash several times throughout the draft, but he's just too old at this point to start off a franchise with.

white hot eboy said...

Pretty cool idea for the mock draft. I'll be checking you out. Eboy.

b4hoops said...

Thanks man! I'll catch you here and on Slam Online. Nice blog btw. I also hate Hurley with a passion, but who doesn't?