The NBA draft is coming up later this month. Before the NFL draft, Sports Illustrated annually runs a special "Ultimate" Mock Draft, in which every player in the NFL is available for picking. I thought I'd do an NBA version of this. Here are the rules, for those of you who haven't seen this on SI. Everybody on the planet Earth is available for picking, and teams select in the order they would have if there hadn't been any trades involving first round picks. Here we go.
1. Portland Trail Blazers - Tim Duncan The Blazers are tempted, but they keep their heads on straight, stay off the LeBron James party bus, and take the most consistently excellent player the NBA has seen in a long time.
2. Seattle Supersonics- LeBron James Seattle is thrilled that King James fell to them at number 2, and are more than happy to jump on the bus. The arrival of the most tantalizing talent in decades makes rainy Seattle seem sunny. Charles Barkley jumps out of his seat and shouts something about "the man" and "go-to guy" and "fourth quarter." Nobody listens to him.
3. Atlanta Hawks - Steve Nash Atlanta has been lacking a true point guard basically since it's existence, but those days are over. GM Billy King realizes that, with Nash on board, he could round out his starting five with Cher and the Three Stooges, and they'd all average in double figures.
4. Memphis Grizzlies - Dwayne Wade Experts wanted Dirk Nowitzki here, but based on their experiences with Pau Gasol, the Grizz know that having a dynamic, talented point guard who's already been a champ sure beats the hell out of having a soft, 7-footer from overseas.
5. Boston Celtics - Greg Oden Well, Boston fans, there ya go.
6. Milwaukee Bucks - Dirk Nowitzki The MVP fell alot farther than expected. Bucks fans are hoping he pans out better than Andrew Bogut did.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Amare Stoudemire Stoudemire is tall, athletic, talented, loves to win, and comes straight out of high school. Sort of like a younger version of Kevin Garnett. "But, wait," Wolves fans say. "Are we just going to start that whole process over?" "Quiet!" shouts Kevin McHale. "I won championships playing for the Celtics!"
8. Charlotte Bobcats - Kevin Garnett Garnett is better than at least 3 of the players taken before him. Funny how much prestige you lose playing in Minnesota.
9. New York Knicks - Kobe Bryant "You think I need a big man like Yao Ming?" asks Isiah Thomas defiantly. "Yeah, well I think these Knicks are just one more high-priced, score-first guard away from a championship!"
10. Sacramento Kings - Yao Ming The 7'6" Great Wall of China moves west to California. Ming is huge, talented and only keeps getting better every season. This could end up looking like a steal of epic proportions in 7 or 8 years.
11. Indiana Pacers - Allen Iverson "Whatever you do," new (and former 76ers) coach Jim O'Brien pleads, "don't pick Iverson. I can't deal with him for another five years." Oops.
12. Philadelphia 76ers - Tony Parker The dynamic Frenchman is cat-quick, unselfish, and a proven winner. That said, Philly picked him more so Eva Longoria would be at their games.
13. New Orleans - Chris Paul Paul is clearly a special talent, and New Orleans could very well have been in the playoffs this season had he not missed time with injury. If it ain't broke, the Hornets think, why fix it?
14. L. A Clippers - Dwight Howard It came down to Howard and the incumbent Elton Brand, and Los Angeles' new favorite team goes with the youth, talent, and dogged rebounding in Howard.
Picks 15-30 will come tomorrow