FreeDrafto #437A: The New Beginning: The Mock
Whatever FreeDarko-ness is, there's one thing we can all agree on: These days, it's in short supply around the league. The Suns are dead. The Hawks will disband. Larry Brown is about to put the clamps on Charlotte. Lamar Odom couldn't get a deal. You all know the rest.
The 2003 draft was supposed to usher in a new crop of superstars; 2007's was to replenish the league with an entire first round ready to start. In this year's, FreeDarko sees a unique opportunity: ourselves. Like no draft since perhaps the lost art of 1990, 2008's prospects have it within them to send a shockwave of FD core value throughout the Association. However, for this to happen, the right players must end up with the right team.
And thus, here assemble myself, Dr. Lawyer IndianChief, Brown Recluse, Esq., Ty Keenan, Carter Blanchard, and special guests Tom Ziller and Dan Shanoff. We drew lots and then ran through the teams in order, thinking hard along the way. Please, love it.
1. Bulls: Derrick Rose
I'm very tempted to collude and send him to Miami for the Rose/Wade/Marion triumvirate, but Chicago needs a core piece. Gordon, Luol, Thabo, and most importantly Tyrus all got a little lost this year -- now they have someone to organize them as they attempt to undo the Skiles reign of terror. The only downside is that we'll be treated to endless features on how he's a local boy fulfilling a childhood dream to wear the uniform and eat deep dish while base-jumping off the Sears Tower. (Ty Keenan)
2. Heat: Ovinton J'Anthony Mayo
Riley valuing seriousness over talent might end up being for the best for the league for two reasons: First, the slight to Beasley could be good for his constitution if it lends a bitter drivenness to accompany his lighthearted goofiness. Second, the dysfunction of a Wade/Mayo backcourt could be hard to resist. I envision two independent and totally unrelated offenses; alternately no one running the show or everyone trying to at once. (Carter Blanchard)
3. Timberwolves: Michael Beasley
The next Suns, if Telfair can get a qualifying offer. Jefferson as the ABA Amare, Beasley as a less friendly Matrix, and Rashad McCants rolling like Barbosa in a frozen cranberry bog. Hoiberg takes over in October, Ettore Messina knifes Wittman by Christmas. 8th seed! (Tom Ziller)
4. Sonics: Jerryd Bayless
His jersey No. 0 will be a hit in Oklahoma City. Luke Ridnour's Seattle jersey hits that one clearance rack that you see at Champs where you always are kind of tempted, "For $12.99, does it matter who the player is?" (Dan Shanoff)
5. Grizzlies: Brook Lopez
Because it's always funny when NBA teams start looking like college all-star teams (Lopez, Warrick, Gay, Conley Jr., Crittenton). Also, Lopez fills an obvious need and his slow-but-sure-footedness in the post/hispanic last name will make everyone in Memphis forget about Pau Gasol, right? In addition, Lopez is clearly the Stax records to Oden's Motown. (Dr. LIC)
6. Knicks: Kevin Love
Although on first glance, he seems like an odd fit with the Knicks, his cockiness and sense of entitlement is totally New York. And while he can't run the floor like Amare, his uncanny outlet passes will fuel D'Antoni's running game. (Brown Recluse, Esq.)
7. Clippers: Joe Alexander
The Clippers needing a PG means nothing to me, since I believe in the return of Shaun Livingston. Replacing Elton Brand, if it comes to that, also isn't that relevant to my life. I'm all about them drafting Alexander, playing him and Al Thornton at the same time, and watching Livingston find a new life as the caretaker of this chaos. The less he can run himself, the more he can focus on making sure these two mismatched twins are moving in the right direction (Bethlehem Shoals)
8. Bucks: Danilo Gallinari.
There's something compelling about a team full of combo forwards who usually take jumpers -- it'll be like a bizarro version of the Hawks. Except, if Redd leaves, there will be no top dog around to bring any sense of order to their baskets. I'm pretty sure this is Skiles's private hell. (TK)
9. Bobcats: Russell Westbrook
With Westbrook running the break alongside Gerald at full tilt, not even LB could shackle this crew. In addition to the awesome highlight reels that this will inspire there's the off chance that they could transform their wealth of athleticism into a defensive identity and actually become halfway decent, and there's little I want as desperately as a relevant Bobcats team. Hawks-'Cats Playoffs! (CB)
10. Nets: Ryan Anderson
Thorn needs someone who can participate in amazing discussions of Joy Division to divert L. Frank while Thorn writes love songs to Thibodeau and tries to introduce Vince to Devin Harris. Also, Nenad Krstic will be frustrated to the point of punching Boki, and Rod Benson will blow himself up (the only negative repercussion). (TZ)
11. Pacers: D.J. Augustin
Augustin, who is the guy who Danny Granger thanks when Granger is 3rd Team all-NBA next season, heralding Granger's greatness like the Silver Surfer does for Galactus. In a CP3-crazed world, extra points for D.J.'s GPA and Gulf Coast cred. (DS)
12. Kings: DeAndre Jordan
Can someone just put Brad Miller out of his misery already? He is the last remaining cog from those ultra-sad Kings teams of the turn of the millenium. He's also the only thing really standing in the way of Ron Artest grabbing the keys and Kevin Martin jumping in the sidecar to take on the world. DeAndre Jordan is harmless enough to make all of this happen. (Dr. LIC)
13. Blazers: Anthony Randolph
What do you do when you're already stacked at every position with promising young talent? You get the youngest and most promising player on the board, which is Anthony Randolph. Plus, it'll be funny to watch him, Aldridge, and Outlaw walk around together. (BR)
14. Warriors: Alexis Ajinca
Nellie is often referred to as a mad scientist. In Alexis Ajinca, he will meet his ultimate Frankenstein. Seven feet, two inches and equipped with a 7'6" wingspan, Ajinca is Brandan Wright athletic, has Diaw-like finesse and passing skills, and can pop off from beyond the arc. This thin giant plays with equal parts snooty aplomb and clumsy abandon, and acts that way, too. Also, no one can decide if he's still bursting with potential, or already counts as a bust. At long last, Nellieball will discover its perfect big man, which alone should assure Don sticking around a few more seasons. (BS)
15. Suns: Eric Gordon
As long as Nash and Amare are around, I refuse to believe that they're fated to aesthetic irrelevance. They'll never run like they used to, but Gordon would give them a desperately needed shooter who's also capable of bulling his way into the paint. There are such things as exciting halfcourt offenses. Whenever possible, they should include broad-shouldered, possibly overweight guys with goofy ears. (TK)
VERY IMPORTANT INTERLUDE:
BR: It's really a shame that in any draft, especially the FD draft, Eric Gordon would fall so far. I had him high on my board, just lower than Randolph.
BS: I've come up with an explanation for Gordon slipping: Doesn't he have short arms?
DLIC: Also, he hasn't been able to lose the "fat" tag.
TK: Didn't we decide last time that he isn't actually fat? I should make it clear that I'm still very much okay with calling him fat.
DS: I personally like calling him a fatty, but I recognize that he merely has a big round head.
CB: Also, is being fat really an FD strike? Not that Gordon qualifies at all, but surprisingly mobile fattys are just about my favorite type of player.
BR: Dwight Stewart, that fat (round faced) guy on Arkansas who only shot 3s = totally FD.
16. Sixers: Chris Douglas-Roberts
Mostly because I'm not sure I want to live in a world where Willie Green starts on a playoff team. CDR could add some scoring excitement without disrupting the delicate balance of the Sixers' gangly swarming defense. I really like the thought of Iggy, Thad and him all on the court at the same time, switching assignments on each defensive possession, stumbling all over each other on the offense, with Miller trying desperately to bring order to the beautiful awkward mess. (CB)
17. Toronto: JaVale McGee
T.J. Ford always gets to pick first in Dodgeball, and he always takes Jamario! Bosh exerts his pressure on Colangelo (borne of 2010 free agency) to get the Dodgeball equalizer. (Calderon -- T.J. always takes him over Rasho in the final round of the Dodgeball draft -- gets pissed at JaVaLe's headhunting ways and bolts for Miami. Calderon-Wade-Mayo-Marion-Blount for days.) (TZ)
18. Wizards: Donte Greene
One Andray Blatche obviously wasn't enough. If Greene can avoid Blatche's penchant for hookers and DUIs and embrace Dan Steinberg and the Wizznutzz, Greene will fulfill his potential as one of the Top 3 most FreeDarko players in this year's draft. And I was the guy who tabbed Julian Wright as "Most FD" a year ago, so I earned at least one year's worth of iffy picks (DS).
19. Cavaliers: Mario Chalmers
Danny Ferry adds yet another three-point shooter to the Night of the Living Dead sequel that is LeBron biding his time in Cleveland. Chalmers will get to join the ranks of Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall, Wally Szczerbiak, Damon Jones, Daniel Gibson, Delonte West, and the rest of the guys that get to stand behind the three-point line and watch LeBron dunk. Plus, Chalmers fills the heart-wrenching Alaskan void left by Carlos Boozer. (Dr. LIC)
20. Nuggets: Trent Plaisted
Plaisted is a devout Mormon, a good student, and has already been married for a year. He's the kind of solid citizen who can balance out AI, Melo, K-Mart, and the rest of the Nuggets. His face-up game would also be a good complement to Camby and Nene, but the main thing Plaisted brings to the table is negative swag. (BR)
21. Nets: Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky
The Nets have way too many mildly intriguing big men on their roster, (inevitably) replacing Vince Carter is like one of those movies where you have to stay in your aunt's haunted mansion, and Richard Jefferson deserves one more shot at "best player on bad team." I'm not disparaging dude, but his brand of SF is uniquely suited to that role. Thus, stuck waiting, frustrated, and sad, the Net opt for the shortest player anyone could conceivably take in the first round, despite this being a draft of mildly intriguing bigs. No more redundancy, no promises for the future. (BS)
22. Magic: Bill Walker
The "surround Howard with shooters" plan has the potential to get boring as he acquires more/any post moves, so let's inject them with a freak wing who could gruesomely injure himself any minute now before it's too late. Plus, apart from whatever Walker brings to the table, he will make a great buddy for Howard: Bill's acrobatics will challenge Dwight to stay true to his beastly self and, at the very least, their mutual love of on-court props (urine-soaked towels, popcorn, capes, etc.) will produce the greatest dunk contest moment ever -- a transcendent attempt that prominently features a bidet, a Redenbacher heir, and the drama freaks from a local high school. (TK)
23: Jazz: Roy Hibbert
Not necessarily because the Jazz would want anything from him (other than maybe replacing Jarron's 6 fouls per 40 min), but because Roy would certainly want to be with the Jazz. They're pretty much the only team that would give him time to lumber down the court, plus Mehmet's vertical would make him feel better about himself. Draftee's needs >> team's needs. (CB)
24. Sonics: Goran Dragic, Slovenia
The death of Watson/Ridnour is complete. Also, Dragic: Magic performed by dragons. (TZ)
25. Rockets: Brandon Rush.
He will make an ideal replacement for T-Mac, when McGrady is (finally) shipped out of town. At least he is a proven postseason winner. Rush is the stealth contender for FD ROY. Darryl Morey is the smartest GM in the NBA; he's with me on this, I'm sure. (DS)
26. Spurs: Semih Erden
Spurs....obscure foreigner....funny name....will blossom...etc. (Dr. LIC)
27. Hornets: Nicolas Batum
Chris Paul has become so dominant that you draft guys whose talents will mesh well with his. Think of the success the Nets had giving Jason Kidd Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson to throw alley-oops to. Batum is probably the most athletic player in this draft, so if he's available here (which he won't be), it's a no-brainer. Since the Hornets already have a very solid team, they can provide a nurturing environment for this young buck. Plus, he's French, which gives him a better chance than most at making sense of Creole. (BR)
28. Grizzlies: Darrell Arthur
I know the point of this exercise is to wile out and visit lightning and steam upon the entire league-scape. I also know that, sometimes in the middle of a drug binge, you look over at a friend and think "damn, he needs some water and a sandwich." So while it's tempting to saddle the Grizz with yet another running joke, or insanely FD prospect who may or may not be crushed by circumstance, instead I'm handing them that sandwich. Arthur's not the most glamorous player in this draft, and he might go 15 years without a Stu Scott moment. But he's sane, solid, and skilled, and in this NBA, mental stability manifested through non-brute production (see West, David or Jamison, Antawn) is the new Charles Oakley. (BS)
29. Pistons: Robin Lopez
As Dumars hopefully begins to cast off some pieces and organize the team around Stuckey and the other reserves, the bench will need a reinvigoration. What better way to provide that than with a shot-blocking center with the most gracefully awkward post moves around. Lopez will also serve the important role of designing Disney Princess tattoos for the whole gang: Amir gets Belle, because both want more from this world. (TK)
30. Celtics: Serge Ibaka
It might not have been the most important thing, but on some level the absence of whiteys (no offense, Scal and Scot) had to have helped facilitate the total buy-in to Ubuntu at least a little bit. With all due respect to Kosta and everyone else left on the board, Serge probably has a leg up on the whole thing—the Congo is only a hop, skip, and a jump away from South Africa, so he probably knows Cheetah already. Most importantly, at 6'10" with supposedly the highest vertical of the draft, he can hopefully offset some of the flat-footedness of the rest of his team. (CB)