First Annual Memorial FreeDarko Dinosaur Draft


John Wall can go to hell. There are dinosaurs that want to play in this league, and while many of them have probably been extinct for millions of years, their memory lingers on. Shoals, Ziller, and Eric Freeman are proud to present the First Annual Memorial FD Dino Draft. We can only hope you learn as much as we had to. Oh, also, someone needs to start a boobs and draft site. It would do millions of eyes per day!

1. New Jersey - Velociraptor


The widely acknowledged best propsect in the draft does not come without serious concerns, notably that widely available "Jurassic Park" scouting tape shows him to be twice his real size and that he works best in packs with similar players. Still, it's hard to argue with the Swift Robber's tremendous speed, intelligence, and ability to jump passing lanes and create transition opportunities at the other end. Yes, Chris Paul's injury this season may scare some teams from taking a small guard, but the Nets need to go with the closest approximation of a sure thing we have in this draft. Plus, you know that first game against Toronto will have more familial intrigue than even the Lopez Civil Wars. (Eric Freeman)

2. Minnesota - Gallimimus


The unfortunately named "chicken imitator" represents a major jump forward not only in dinosaur evolution, but in scouting philosophy. For years, scientists have quasi-racist-ly wondered if Africans made better long-distance runners because of genes, or Africa, or something equally deterministic. The Nuggets have yet to draft a player from the Himalayas, and the hyberbaric chamber didn't stick as a training fad. But with Gallimimus—a fleet, active dinosaur even at almost ten feet tall—the body temperature of roughly 102 degrees Fahrenheit will no doubt come in handy in the wilds of Minnesota. Warming up may not literally mean "getting warm," but no question this beast will be ready to play faster than its human teammates, and be slowed less by the creaks, aches and pains that come with living in cold country. (Bethlehem Shoals)

3. Sacramento - Carcharodontosaurus


Strangely enough, size and toughness corresponded more tightly in the prehistoric world than in today's NBA. Carcharodontosaurus, one of the largest predators ever, combines tenacity and brawn like few prospects. It'd be considered a can't-miss prospect if not for perceived attitude problems. The Algerian big man has a killer instinct with the tools to implement pain, but it's a black hole who thinks pretty highly of itself and doesn't like to share the rock. (Or anything.) Carcharodontosaurus is also said to have a sticky buy-out option with its Italian club. Shades of Fran Vasquez? Sacramento has been able to pull international players (Peja Stojakovic, Hedo Turkoglu) in the past, and Carcharodontosaurus just fits too well to pass up at No. 3. (Tom Ziller)

4. Golden State - Amargasaurus


Hailing from the La Amarga region of Argentina, this is perhaps the most intriguing and confusing sauropod in this class. Off the court, expect him to turn Anthony Randolph onto the joys of club mosses and ferns, which should treat his stomach much better than the raw turtle meat Monta convinced him to try last season. Scouts can't agree whether Amargasaurus's spines support a sail, hump, or horny sheath -- each of which portends a different path for his career. Don Nelson hasn't seen a philosophical battle this stark since the early days of Dirk Nowitzki. Amargasaurus isn't versatile; he's a Rorschach test. And Nellie is absolutely sure that it's a 12-foot small forward, not a post guy. For a man who loves to prove his point with little regard for reptilian decency, there's no more desirable player. (EF)

5. Washington - Mononykus


Undersized, and with short arms and ridiculously long, powerful legs, Monoykus is certainly one of the most engimatic players in this draft. It prefer to play in the post, clearing out space (shades of Moses wit dat azz) and then meekly popping in a shot with expert touch. Such are the advantages of living life like a giant ant-eater when away from the court. Mononykus certainly fits in with the overall strangeness of the Wizards team, but most importantly, brings back some of the toughness lost when Caron Butler was traded. It also, in a way, replaces Antawn Jamison, as its unorthodox work in the paint both keeps teams on their toes and leaves room for Gilbert Arenas and Andray Blatche to operate. Better than Jamison, actually, since it not only makes space for itself, but has a Varejao-like knack for getting others players better looks. Also, it is already blue, which has to save DC some money somehow. (BS)

6. Philadelphia - Gojirasaurus


Ed Stefanski, a secret monster flick fanatic, can't pass up Gojirasaurus. The demonic theropod fits the Philadelphia mold, with incredible athleticism gilding over crummy fundamental skills. A tweener, like every other Sixer not named Sam Dalembert or Elton Brand, Gojirasaurus figures to study under Thaddeus Young and fill in in smallball lineups. Finding the right coach to get Gojirasaurus on the right path remains a priority for Philadelphia; like Young and Andre Iguodala, Gojirasaurus would have been a disaster under Eddie Jordan. If Philadelphia makes the playoffs, the rookie could have a Beauboisian impact. (TZ)

7. Detroit - Tyrannosaurus Rex:

Tyrannosaurus Rex

You know the legend: few players have garnered so much hype while in college (even at the tiny University of Montana). He's the king of the predators, the hadrosaur to end all hadrosaurs. It's no surprise that a downtrodden franchise would go for a big-name player who can bring in fans, especially in a town where everyone is looking for excuses to hold on to their dollars. Unfortunately, noted draft expert Jack Horner thinks everyone has it wrong, and that T. Rex has been scavenging stats from harder-working players for years, taking the attendant acclaim when he really only showed up late and picked at the bones of the opposition. On the other hand, he trained with Eddie Franklin, one of the finest coaches of our era. And just imagine how much that intro music will work up the crowd! (EF)

8. L.A. Clippers - Stygimoloch


On the surface, a very Clippers pick. Ten feet long, four feet tall, you figure whoever their GM is got his numbers confused. But as is often the case with the Clip Show, there's something far more troubling afoot here. Stygimoloch, whose name means either "Demon from the River Styx", "Thorny Devil", or "Horned Devil from the River of Death," looks evil and crazy and owes its fearsome moniker to the legend of River Styx, which you cross to get to Hades, and Moloch, the devil in the Jewish faith. In fact, it's the only dinosaur with Hebrew on its jersey. So we have an ancient, revolting drone of Satan whose name directly refers to the Jews—a people who, as it so happens, are to forced to acknowledge Donald Sterling as one of their own. Sterling is reunited here with his henchman of eons ago, proving that he is, if not the devil, at least in league with him. (BS)

9. Utah - Caudipteryx


If Jameer Nelson is a crib midget, Caudipteryx is a ... midget crib midget. The Boykins-with-bite hails from China, where it developed ball skills and quickness chasing cockroaches and dandelion blossoms. Caudipteryx is a real showman, something Utah's royal Miller family embraces despite the conservative roster the Jazz employ. Thank goodness Caudipteryx waited until Hot Rod Hundley retired to make itself draft-eligible, though -- it would have given the old man a half-dozen strokes a year. Watching this oviraptor is bound to make the heart palpitate and stop at the same time. (TZ)

10. Indiana - Camarasaurus


Even after all these years, the Pacers can't shake the demons of The Brawl, maintaining their commitment to nice young boys with sharp haircuts even as they languish in the late stages of the lottery. Camarasaurus fits their franchise ethos perfectly. A world-traveled type who's already plied his trade in several continents, he was nice enough to provide diggers in squeaky-clean Utah with the most complete sauropod skeleton ever found in 1922. The bad news is that he has holes in his vertebrae and might not want to do much more than eat trees. But Roy Hibbert worked out pretty well, and you could have said the same things about him in 2008. (EF)

11. New Orleans - Prenocephale


Small, speedy, and with gigantic eyes that indicate its superior vision, Prenocephale is yet another prime point guard to call New Orleans home. Chris Paul is a crown jewel of today's NBA, and Darren Collison might have been the finest PG in last year's rookie class. The Hornets, who have so little to their name, really have choice but to try and play them together. Marcus Thornton brings some pure scoring fire power, but someone has to spell Paul and Collison if the team really does go with a "best available" approach to the starting line-up. Or, if one is traded, the team will need a back-up. Or, if things get really crazy, and someone recognizes that even a 4-foot tall dinosaur is still really fucking strong and athletic, maybe Preneocphale can become like a scaly cross between Tyson Chandler and Brad Miller. (BS)

12. Memphis - Chirostenotes


Chirostenotes may be Greek for "narrow handed," but don't think Memphis's point guard of the future has Kwame paws. Despite its regrettable height, Chirostenotes has a solid trunk and figures to be the rare guard with a post presence. Chirostenotes' vicious defensive energy should also help shore up the Grizzlies' weaknesses on that end, and like Kyle Lowry before him, Chirostenotes will keep Mike Conley looking like Matthew Lesko. Hasheem Thabeet + Chirostenotes = marketing gold. (TZ)

13. Toronto - Avimimus


Most prognosticators have assumed that the Raptors would take some variety of their namesake, but Bryan Colangelo has always had more imagination than that. With Chris Bosh likely leaving town in a few weeks, this is a franchise in transition, so what better way to literalize things than by taking a creature that has as much in common with a bird as a reptile. Avimimus, the Bird Mimic, looks like a prehistoric turkey and can even fly a short distance in a manner similar to that of a chicken. Sure, that might not sound like much, especially for a player this small, but this is all about baby steps. You can't learn to fly until you first hop with extreme awkwardness. Eventually, the Raptors will soar like eagles. (EF)

14. Houston - Ouranosaurus


No one has ever accused Daryl Morey of skewing obvious, but he's also not devious. Ouranosaurus, a relatively docile creature that's nevertheless earned the title "brave monitor lizard", is right up Morey's alley. It's 6'7", has a fin that serves as an invaluable offensive weapon (i.e. it can block everyone's line of sight), and is equal parts savage, noble monster and thoughtful, upright reptile-cow. Ouranosaurus likes efficient, high-percentage shots, and knows how to get them, just like how in nature it finds pine cones and leaves that it doesn't have to stretch to eat. Some see a prospect lacking in real size, or low on clear-cut plans of attack. But this dude is resourceful and capable of reading the situation to find his spot, a fitting replacement for the dearly departed Carl Landry. Get in and fit in. That's its motto, and it might as well be the credo for the Yao/Martin/Adelman Rox. (BS)

15. Milwaukee - Dromiceiomimus


The world again applauds John Hammond's good fortune. After Colangelo reached for a bird mimic at No. 13, the Bucks saw Dromiceiomimus, the emu mimic, slide to them at No. 15. Shades of DeRozan over Jennings. Dromiceiomimus slides right into Milwaukee's brilliant power forward rotation (Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute), offering less refined skills but tremendous speed in the open court. Luke Ridnour was born to hit Dromiceiomimus with bounce passes. There are some concerns as to whether Dromiceiomimus can co-exist with Andrew Bogut, given Bogut's stated hatred of bling and loud hip hop, two of Dromiceiomimus' fundamental loves. (TZ)

16. Charlotte - Nanotyrannus


All discerning NBA fans can agree that the Bobcats have embarrassing riches of viciousness in their frontcourt. Yet before the arrival of Stephen Jackson, their perimeter players have typically been style vacuums of the order of Raymond Felton and D.J. Augustin. Nanotyrannus, a 6'6" hadrosaur some analysts think may simply be a juvenile T. Rex, can help continue the trend that Captain Jack started. If other wings are smooth, Nanotyrannus is the kind who will dunk on your head and then eat your baby right after it hatches. Oh, plus he's the first dinosaur to be CAT-scanned and lived for a relatively short period of just one million years. In other words, he sounds exactly like a perimeter version of Gerald Wallace. (EF)

17. Chicago - Baryonyx


A huge, huge steal for Chicago. There have never been any questions about the skill, motivation, physical ability, or intelligence of Baryonyx (or "Heavy Claw" as it was nicknamed as the University of Niger). Heavy Claw is an inside-outside threat with highly-evolved passing skills, the kind of creator the Bulls badly need. It even scored a 1300 on the SATs. The concern was that, because of the incredible risk its talons pose to the basketball, the NBA would declare it ineligible for the league, as it did with Pteroactyl and other flying reptiles. Throughout high school and college, HC was outfitted with its very own protective glove, but the NBA felt this violated its Laws of Equipment. Luckily, when Leon Rose threatened to sue, the league relented. However, the situation remains tense, with both sides vowing to take this all the way up to the Supreme Court if it should go to trial. The Players Association has refrained from taking a side because it's still not sure if it can speak for the dinosaurs. (BS)

18. Miami - Euoplocephalus


If Pat Riley is really coming back, he needs to add a banger to help distract everyone from what Michael Beasley has become. Enter Euoplocephalus (aka "Well-Armored Head," the most literal streetball name ever). Euoplocephalus is Al Horford in Jeff Bower's body. Paul Millsap and Brandon Bass and, hell, even Glen Davis have continued to sing the tune of the rough-and-tumble undersized power forward. Euoplocephalus has short, stout legs, but weighs over two tons. It will be exceedingly difficult to ref Euoplocephalus, should the beast ever reach his potential and co-lead the Heat deep into the playoffs. (TZ)

19. Boston - Edmontonia


This postseason, the Celtics are proving that age and midseason lethargy don't necessarily consign a team to an early playoff exit. They're surviving in any way possible. Sixty-six million years ago, Edmontonia extolled the same ethos and became one of the last surviving dinosaurs through a combination of dogged resilience and determination. Plus, it's already green and white. No uniform necessary. (EF)

20. San Antonio - Maiasaura


You look at Malasaura and see an unremarkable, slow, medium-sized herbivore. That's why you don't work for the Spurs front office. They know that a Malasaura bone is the only fossil to thus far make the long journey into outer space, which is exactly the kind of detail that Popovich and Buford are looking for. Can I tell you for certain how it will be used, or what the implications of this fact are? No, but that's why I'm writing this dinosaur mock draft instead of working for the Spurs. (BS)

21. Oklahoma City - Einiosaurus


You want to know how comfortable Einiosaurus is in his own skills? It has a hooking bottle-opener nasal horn, two superorbital horns, and two frill spikes ... and Einiosaurus doesn't eat meat! Like Kevin Durant, Einiosaurus could gore you on every possession, but holds it back, waiting for the right opportunity. (Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook could learn something from Einiosaurus.) The "Buffalo Lizard" should study under Nick Collison in order to learn the ways of the rebound and the drawn charge, though the next time Einiosaurus hits the deck will be the first. (TZ)

22. Portland - Argentinosaurus


The Blazers are at a crossroads with Kevin Pritchard potentially heading out the door and Greg Oden seemingly becoming less a part of the team's future plans with each passing year. This next season needs to be a time to figure things out and decide which of their considerable young assets should be kept around and which should be dealt for needed pieces. In short, they don't need any more players around to make things even more complicated. That's why Argentinosaurus is the perfect pick -- even at 97 million years of age, he won't be ready for the NBA for at least another season. The fossil record on this beast is startingly incomplete, but at an estimated 24-feet-tall, the potential is certainly there. I even hear Paul Allen's already booked him a sail barge to Spain, where he's likely to replace Tiago Splitter in the Real Madrid lineup. (EF)

23. Minnesota - Troodon


You look at this pick and think, hey, even David Kahn takes days off. He probably just sprung for Troodon because it can run the floor and has vicious teeth, much like a Timberwolf. It's not even three-feet tall, which also represents an obvious scouting oversight. But wait, there's more. For reasons inexplicable to those of us not thoroughly immersed in the warm, murky baths of paleontological discourse, Troodon has been singled out as "Most Likely to Evolve Into Something Totally Weird" in the annal of dinosaur-dom. Here is a quote, drawn from said broth of knowledge: "In the early 1980s, paleontologist Dale Russell, curator of vertebrate fossils at the National Museums of Canada, in Ottowa, explore the notion 'What if Troodon had survived and continued to evolve and get brainier?'. The resulting "Dinosauroid" was a model of a large-brained, reptilian biped with enormous eyes, three-fingered hands, an absence of external genitalia (typical of reptiles), and a navel." The Corey Brewer experiment has spawned an imitator—or maybe Kahn just wants to leave behind the reptile son he never could have in life. (BS)

24. Atlanta - Sauropelta


Sauropelta has been very well-scouted, which explains why he dropped so far out of the lottery despite a solid defensive body of work in college. The Rocky Mountain product is a bit of a tweener (both SF-PF and Nodosauridae-Ankylosauridae), and it has no long-range consistency. To succeed in the league, Sauropelta will have to work harder than anyone else on the court, which, to be fair, it has shown the ability to do. Jay Bilas cannot believe Sauropelta fell this far, and is planning on torching a Ukrainian farmer's market as a result. (TZ)

25. Memphis - Supersaurus


Yes, it's another big man for the Grizzlies just a year after Hasheem Thabeet. But the difference in expectations renders it a solid pick nonetheless. At this late stage in the draft, you're drafting for role players rather than potential stars, and no one expects Supersaurus to be anything more than a space-filler and shot-blocker in the paint. You know that old saw about how you can't teach size? James A. Jensen coined it when he found the first bones of the species in 1985. (EF)

26. Oklahoma City - Iguanadon


Call it the Myth of the Dinosaur Jeff Green, or maybe Jeff Green with Dinosaur Qualities, which would make up for the shame Green amassed during the playoffs (and may yet never live down). Iguanadon is, as its name implies, part-iguana, part-dinosaur. Sometimes bipedal, sometimes galloping about on all fours, it's unassuming enough that no one would mistake it for a Garnett or Anthony Randolph-like impact-dinosaur. Nor, really, is it a useless dino-tweener. Green is one of the few players that warrants the description of "hybrid", in that he's neither here nor there, rather than subject to a variety of limitations. His formlessness is his freedom—not ground for his dismissal, nor his heroic burden. So it is with Iguanadon, just doing its thing and trying to make due with some of the best qualities of two distinct phases in reptile development. It is also ten feet tall, which will probably come in handy more than we currently anticipate. Myth of Gigantic Dinosaur Jeff Green Doubling as the Center OKC So Badly Needs? I think that's what I always wanted Alexis Ajinca to be, right down to the dino part. (BS)

27. New Jersey - Masiakasaurus


Mikhail Prokhorov makes his first political pick, having let Rod Thorn handle the lotto selection. Prokhorov has a deal on Madagascar which needs some ... lubrication, so the prime minister's bro's neighbor's nephew is now an NBA player. Congrats, Masiakasaurus, you tiny but vicious lizard. Rafer Alston ought to be relieved he fled Jersey when he could, and man, Corey Booker's going to have a lot of problems to sweep under the rug. The highlight of Masiakasaurus' career might be when Stu Scott calls him "the next T.J. Kidd" on draft night. (TZ)

28. Memphis - Segnosaurus


Every year, a player drops because of a bizarre measurement or medical tic that scares off many unimaginative general managers. This year, that player is Segnosaurus, an impressive player known for his omnivorous versatility. At the combine, though, he tested poorly in speed drills and has been recognized as the first therizinosaurid to be classified from more than just its arms. (There was also a smear campaign perpetrated in the Robert Bakker novel Raptor Red that he's a burrower, but no actual evidence has proven this behavior.) In other words, he's not prototypically "long." But while that classic draft adjective has application to real basketball, it's not necessarily a kiss of death, even for a now-extinct animal. Segnosaurus will enter the league with something to prove and could become one of this class's biggest surprises. (EF)

29. Orlando - Carnotaurus


Holy cow . . . literally. Carnotaurus, whose name means what you think—something about "meat" and "bull"—is a twelve-foot tall raw dynamo with a gigantic single horn on its head. Some messed-up scouting had him pegged as a color-changing weirdo, as seen in Jurassic Park. Amazing how much screwed-up dinosaur evaluation was in the early days (of dinosaur evaluation, not dinosaurs, which have always been old), right? This thing is perfect for Orlando. Carnotaurus could prematurely end the career of either Gortat or Brandon Bass, thus getting rid of one of those malcontents and solving the crowded frontcourt. It is also highly unlikely that its offense could be more rudimentary than Dwight Howard's, a challenge the young superstar would have to address. Carnotaurus will be an important practice player and, down the road, hard-bitten D-League legend that serves as the subject for a Bull Durham-like epic of dust. (BS)

30. Washington - Afrovenator


Some names just scream "NBA" -- Sleepy Floyd, Tiny Archibald, Julius Erving, J.R. Rider, Rafael Araujo, Afrovenator. This '90s throwback -- think Larry Johnson minus a finger and an opposable thumb -- likely doesn't have the speed to be a factor in uptempo games, but Flip Saunders is typically content to let his flex offense piddle around, so Afrovenator could play a key bench role behind Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee. The key here, however, comes off the court, where the good-nature Afrovenator promises to rekindle the mid-Oughts love of life the Wizards exuded. Gilbert Arenas has been too spoiled by controversy to crap in someone's sneaker. But Afrovenator can get away with it. (TZ)

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At 5/18/2010 2:52 PM, Blogger Quantavius Sturdivant said...

the "eddie" reference made me spit out water. brilliant as always.

At 5/18/2010 2:58 PM, Blogger SpoonyBard3000 said...

Wow, you guys really stuck with that - good for you. I'm going to spend the next couple of hours looking at the actual players and trying to figure out who's who.

"Oh, also, someone needs to start a boobs and draft site. It would do millions of eyes per day!"

Salma Hayek would go first every time.

At 5/18/2010 3:37 PM, Blogger Jay said...

I'm not passing to a fucking Dromiceiomimus. Get me on a team with that Edmontonia. White Dinos FTW!!!

At 5/18/2010 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahahahahahaha. This is beyond hilarious. Well done.

Stygimoloch is the perfect Clipper. I can see the Clippers actually drafting him.

At 5/18/2010 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you guys made a tiny oversight. Minnesota is picking 16th, not Charlotte.


At 5/18/2010 6:50 PM, Blogger Josh Dhani said...

haha lol nice work!

At 5/18/2010 8:23 PM, Blogger Jim said...

You had me at Beauboisian.

At 5/19/2010 5:12 AM, Blogger Nrrrd Grrrl said...

How do you expect Avimimus to hold the damn ball? I don't think he could even pull his hands close enough to his chest to secure it. Guess he's more for the passing.

Seriously though. The mental image I have of these dinosaurs on the court is pretty hilarious.

At 5/19/2010 8:38 AM, Blogger d said...

I quickly scrolled down to see what Philadelphia was getting.

At 5/19/2010 9:25 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

This is brilliant. Also, I hate to pick nits but the T. rex picture is wrong, plus it's not a hadrosaur.

At 5/19/2010 11:16 AM, Blogger Tom Deal said...

Wallosaur/Arenaptor backcourt here we come.

At 5/19/2010 12:54 PM, Blogger StaceyGoods said...

"Plus, you know that first game against Toronto will have more familial intrigue than even the Lopez Civil Wars."

Absolutely Clowning!


At 5/19/2010 9:30 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

not sure where to begin, so i'll just go with this is pretty awesome

At 5/20/2010 3:33 AM, Blogger darryl howerton said...

what about dino radja???

At 5/20/2010 7:48 PM, Blogger A Johnston said...

We had a very similar idea: http://tgrtns.blogspot.com/2010/04/first-annual-all-dinosaur-team-pt-1.html, but have thus far been too lazy to finish it.

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At 11/11/2010 2:21 PM, Blogger Rich Muhlach said...

you have Washington twice and no Lakers?

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At 3/22/2013 5:25 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

As the dinos were remarkable as well their career. thanks to them for all these years that they worked. They are even famous at Hostpph.com

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