Love how Dave puts the pressure on him RE: following Manning.
(Editor’s Note: When we last left our heroes, they had just finished up the logistics on the idea that was going to save basketball in this country. Please keep in mind that this was exchanged over email and is presented in its original format so it has a ton of errors we ask you to forgive us on. Onto the draft results…)
Eddie (E): Alright, now that we’ve got the formation of the league down, let’s get this draft rollin’:
1) New York (vets): LeBron James — I have LeBron penciled in here for obvious reasons: best all-around player in the game, can play any position, will make all his teammates better, gives me flexibility with my next few picks, and appears to be (finally) working on his post game. Whether you like it or not, he’s the best damn player on the planet. I’ll excuse him for a lackluster performance in the Finals. I’ll make sure to draft a go-to clutch player in the later rounds. I suppose the argument could be made to draft Dwight Howard here since the center position is pretty egregious in the league. I’ll gladly settle for LBJ, though.
2) Austin (youngsters): Kevin Durant — Austin has the chance to draft the greatest player in the University of Texas’ history? Could there be a more perfect match? This is a no-brainer.
Chicago’s on the clock…
Matt (M): That Durant to Austin move wasn’t even intentional. Wow. This league is going places. My picks:
3) Chicago (vets): Dwyane Wade – the home town hero goes to where he possibly should have done in the first place. Could you imagine the Bulls starting five with Rose, Wade, Deng, Gibson, and Noah?? This is me shaking my head at what could have been. You could easily make the argument that Wade is the most dominant player in the league and he makes way too much sense to justify explaining it further.
4) LA (youngsters): Blake Griffin – the most electrifying man in sports entertainment is no longer the Rock. It’s Blake Griffin. Let’s keeep him in the city that he’s about to own for the next six years. He’s already one of the top three power forwards in the game and essentially is becoming Dwight Howard at the four. He’ll entertain in a city that demands it first and foremost above winning.
5) Boston (vets): Dwight Howard — I really, really want to take Dirk Nowtizki here because of the Larry Bird comparisons, but I can’t pass up the most physically dominant big man in the game. Boston’s always been a basketball city that has prided themselves on their defense, so snagging Howard, the best defender in the league — by a long shot, is perfect. I’m passing on a lot of offensive stars (Dirk, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul), but you can never discount the importance of defense. Also, Dwight hasn’t even reached his potential yet…and that’s scary to fathom.
6) New Orleans (youngsters): Derrick Rose — It’s time for the first of many talented PG’s to go. Rose isn’t your traditional Chris Paul-like PG. He’s not going to rack up 10+ assists in many games, and I’m okay with that. The thing I most admire about Rose is his motivation to constantly get better. Last year he focused on improving his 3-point shot, and the improvement was stark. This off-season he’s working on his post game, something LeBron should have been working on for years now. New Orleans should be comforted by the fact that they get the most explosive and versatile PG in the game (sorry, Russell Westbrook). They also get the league’s MVP.
Philly’s on the clock.
7) Philly (vets): Kobe Bryant – I apologize profusely for not selecting Dirk Nowitzki here, but a nasty city like Philly doesn’t deserve a class act like Swish. Instead we’re going in the hometown direction again with the Black Mamba. A lot of people aren’t giving him as much credit as he probably deserves anymore which opens up a bizarre universe where the most famous player in the league is actually underestimated. I love his knowledge of the game and most especially that he boldly claims to be the best one-on-one player in the NBA which will be wildly entertaining given the probably lack of defense we’re going to witness. I say he makes a bold comeback from injury.
8) Vegas (youngsters): Russell Westbrook – We have to go with an athlete that at least appears to be semi-crazy in honor of the first Vegas pick. Westbrook fits that criterion, along with being one of the most dominant athletes in the game. As the number one option for team Vegas he’s going to get the 30 shots a game he needs to be successful and I’d like to recommend to the Vegas head coach that he actually starts at shooting guard (which I think the Thunder might need to consider doing next year, with Harden at the point). Big questions arise for you now with the chance to come back and pair him with John Wall for what would unarguably be the fastest backcourt in the history of basketball. Anxious to see if you go with him or a big man.
1) Vegas (Youngsters): LaMarcus Aldridge — It’s super tough for me to pass on the idea of teaming up Wall and Westbrook, but the PG position is ultra deep for the youngsters. Instead, I’m taking one of my favorite PF’s in the league, Aldridge. He does everything you want out of a PF. He’s creative in the post, he’s exceptional off the pick-and-roll, he can rebound well, and lastly, he has crazy range. People will knock this pick for me not drafting Westbrook’s former UCLA teammate, Kevin Love, but I just picked the best big man available…and I think that’s Aldridge.
2) Philly (vets): Dirk Nowtizki — After you apologized profusely about not selecting Dirk Nowitzki, I’m going to go ahead and team him up with Kobe anyway. Why not team up two of the greatest players of our generation? Dirk’s postseason run was pure beauty. Every possession he knew he was going to score, but for him it was more how should he score? Should I pull up for a quick unblockable jumper, Ibaka? Gasol, should I back you down and torch you with the baseline fadeaway? Bosh, how about I just get you in foul trouble? He can do it all. Question for you, Matt: Who takes the Final shot of the game — Kobe or Dirk?
M: Dirk takes that shot and it’s not even debatable as of this moment. I think Kobe would even suggest it out of his respect for NBA titles.
3) New Orleans (yongsters): Kevin Love – Taking a look around I realized quickly that the youngsters don’t have much to go with in terms of big man. With that in mind, New Orleans grabs Kevin Love and doesn’t think twice. He has an argument as one of the top five pick and roll guys in the NBA and like Aldridge, he has unlimited range. This is going to take a whole lot of the burden of scoring off of Rose in the same type of formula that should have worked with Carlos Boozer (RIP). I love the idea of Love throwing outlet passes to Rose as well to spark our first bona fide fast break team in the IBL.
4) Boston (vets): Chris Paul – This was the most intriguing pick of the draft so far in my not so humble opinion. You could go unlimited directions with Dwight Howard already locked up in the post. This is a no brainer for me though as the thought of Chris Paul throwing alley-oops to Dwight Howard every nigh gives me one of those four hour erections doctors warn you about in the Cialis commercials. Don’t call a doctor though. I’m enjoying this. Seriously though, remember the one season CP3 had a healthy center who was competent when it came to timing a jump in Tyson Chandler? All that team did was finish second in the Western Conference and come within a game of the West finals date with the Lakers, which I’m going to go out on a limb and say they would have won, given CP3’s expertise at picking apart the Lakers and their lack of point guard depth. This team is the favorite to win the title, as it stands now.
5) LA (youngsters): Al Horford — We already have two potent PG-PF combos established for the youngsters — Westbrook/Aldridge and Rose/Love — so it would make sense to grab a guy like Wall or Rondo right here, right? Not so fast. LA’s in a favorable position in that they can grab either Wall, Rondo or Curry on the way back. We’ve already established that big men aren’t easy to come by for the youngsters, which is why I’m taking Horford with this pick. Horford is reliable, and reliable is always good. He’s not going to wow you with his stats, but his effectiveness from mid-range is going to prevent teams from doubling Griffin. He’s also a great defender with a knack for blocking shots. LA already has their offensive star in Griffin; now they have a defensive presence to go along with him.
6) Chicago (vets): Deron Williams — This was the hardest pick of the draft for me so far. I was tempted to take ‘Melo here but Chicago already has their go-to scorer in Wade and both players excel on isolation, one-on-one situations. Pau Gasol, Amar’e Stoudemire and Zach Randolph were also tempting, but there are plenty of solid PF’s for the vets. That’s why I opted for Deron Williams, an unselfish, do-it-all PG that before last season, was always in the “best PG in the world” conversation. With an array of talented PG’s already taken, you can’t go wrong with taking one of the best PG’s around. Chicago wins the best backcourt award thus far.
The draft has indeed taking a turn towards difficulty in regards to the youngsters. I fear for their prospects against the veterans.
7) Austin (youngsters): Steph Curry – this pick might seem like a bit of a reach but allow me to make my case. My next two picks are based on the philosophy that successful threes like Durant and LeBron need to be paired with an incredibly gifted power forward or shooting guard in order to be dominant. The best example of the former being Bird and McHale and the latter being Jordan and Pippen. Using the lessons that history has taught us, we soon realize that the youngsters are lacking at the four position which leaves us with no choice but to go with a incredibly gifted two guard. I know, I know, Steph Curry isn’t exactly what you’d call a prototype shooting guard in the NBA. Consider though that OKC has forever regretted taking James Harden rather than Curry, who was the other logical choice for this pick. While Harden might prove to be the reincarnation of Manu Ginobli in the coming years, at this moment, for one season, you take Steph Curry. He’s an offensive savant and his ability to exploit angles and the whole use of the basketball court is only rivaled by Steve Nash, a player many people are starting to compare Curry to. I love the idea of Steph and KD teaming up to create one of the best offensive attacks in the league so far. Also, it’s just plain boring to pair up current teammates and hence we have to dismiss Harden as a potential candidate.
8) New York (vets): Amare Stoudemire – Although I really wanted to go with Monta Ellis or Manu Ginobli here (hint, hint, hint on the way back), let’s pair LeBron with the power forward he always should have had in Cleveland. Remember that the Cavs had a chance to grab Stoudemire but stubbornly refused to part ways with (gulp) JJ Hickson…twice! I love this pairing as it brings together a duo that likely should have agreed to play together in the first place in the infamous offseason of “The Decision.” Amare can show LeBron the ropes in the city that never sleeps, help him build his business empire, and oh yeah, win a ton of basketball games while they’re at it. This also leaves a ton of direction for the next pick which I think will be one of the most enjoyable (and interesting) selections thus far.
1) New York (vets): Manu Ginobili — Decisions, decisions. New York could go in a variety of different ways right here. They have LeBron who could play either PG-PF as well as Amar’e who can play PF or C. Let’s continue by selecting another versatile player: GINOBILLLLI! I’m taking Matt’s advice and giving New York one of the most intriguing players of our generation. Imagine if he replaced Kobe or Wade on their respective teams…What would his stats look like? You could easily argue Manu’s the most complete SG in the league. He has his patented, unstoppable step-back elbow jumper; he has one of the best pump fakes in the league; there’s no denying him getting into the lane; he can easily catch fire from three land; he’s unselfish; and most importantly for New York, he can take over in crunch time. The lineup possibilities for this teams are scary!
2) Austin (youngsters): Joakim Noah — Matt, you surprised me a bit with your Curry selection, but I can’t really knock it (although I may have gone Eric Gordon with that selection). I want to go Wall or Eric Gordon here, but with Durant and Curry you have two guys who can score at will, but, unfortunately, don’t really play defense. So, it’s time to sure up their frontcourt with a defensive anchor who will focus solely on getting boards, blocking shots, and hacking people when they enter the lane. That guy is Joakim Noah. Unlike Westbrook, Noah and Curry will make sure Durant gets his 25+ shots a night. This is shaping up to be the ultimate KD squad. I’m thinking 38+ PPG is a real possibility.
3) Chicago (vets): Pau Gasol – Arguably one of the top ten players in the league. All the Lakers have done since he came over in that infamous trade is win two finals, play in a third, and go to the West Semis. Many would argue that Gasol took a step back last season when something was clearly affecting him during the playoffs whether it was an injury or heartbreak, we may never know. I still love him here with Wade and Williams. He doesn’t mind taking a back seat to superstars and his unselfish play will fit perfectly with D-Will’s pass first mentality. Did I mention he’s probably the most technically gifted big man right now? And that he has great range. Great value here for Chi town.
4) LA (youngsters): John Wall – I almost went with Rondo here but in my opinion he doesn’t bring enough offense to the table. It was clear a guard was the go to pick and who else but the fastest player in the league could fill that role better? Wall proved to be an excellent distributor last year in his rookie season and if he can learn to make better decisions, we’re looking at a guy who can easily average 10+dimes for a season. Plus we had to get someone who could throw awesome no-look alley-oops to Blake Show.
5) Boston (vets): Carmelo Anthony — In the words of good ole Dicky V: ‘ARE YOU SERIOUS?!’ Boston now takes a commanding lead as the best team drafted thus far. By adding ‘Melo, an offensive monster, Boston has about everything you could look for in your first three picks. Passer? Check. Scorer? Check. Defender? Check. Rebounder? Check. Shot blocker? Check. Clutch performer? Check. Three-point shooter? Not yet. I expect Boston to add a three-point threat (Ray Allen?) as well as a HOF PF (Duncan? Garnett?) in the next two rounds. Have I mentioned this is my favorite to win the IBL title yet? Oh yea, maybe I’m too giddy about this squad. Matt, temper my expectations for me. Or do you also agree that this team is on the verge of being unstoppable?
6) New Orleans (youngsters): Eric Gordon — New Orleans gladly takes the best available SG left for the youngsters. Gordon will help ease the scoring load for Rose as well as defend the Wades, Kobes and Ginobilis of the world. Gordon’s one of the most underappreciated players in this league. The dude averaged 23 PPG last season playing alongside Blake Griffin. He’s okay being the second fiddle, and on a team with Rose, he’ll be just that. With Rose’s penetration ability, Gordon will have the luxury of shooting numerous three-point shots per game or slashing to the lane for easy finishes, two things he excels at. Imagine if Rose had Gordon on Chicago? Now we get to see just how deadly a Rose team can be with a competent SG.
7) Philly (vets): Tim Duncan – One thing we’ve learned over the past five years is that pairing an excellent defensive center with a superstar at any other position equates to great success. Look at the Lakers or this years Mavs as great examples. It was with that thought in mind that I decided to roll with the big fundamental and obviously I passed over Bynum because we’re trying to mix it up. The Boston squad is now by far the oldest team in the league with a combined 40+ years of league experience between Dirk and Kobe and now Timmy. Obviously Duncan can’t be relied upon as a scorer anymore, but he’s still one of the five most influential defenders in the game. It was tough to not choose Garnett here for the same reason but I don’t like having to match him up with some of the other centers in the league whereas Duncan can still hang.
8) Vegas (youngsters): DeMarcus Cousins – I couldn’t help myself on this pick. We have to roll with a theme of complete craziness when it comes to the Vegas squad. What better way to do that than insert a guy into the mix who nearly tried to fight one of his teammates on the court last year after being passed up for a game winning three-pointer! Re-read that sentence real quick. A center was legitimately pissed for being passed up on a three. You have to love this. I expect him and Russell Westbrook to spend many a Vegas morning trotting out of a strip club while the sun’s already been up for an hour. Can’t wait to hear the stories that come out of this.
1) Vegas (youngsters): Rajon Rondo — Vegas is already set with their PF (Aldridge) and C (Cousins) and also have a go-to scorer who can play either PG or SG (Westbrook). It’s time to take the best player available at PG-SF, and I believe that is Rajon Rondo. When Matt drafted Westbrook in the 1st round he insisted he starts at SG not PG. Well, Matt, your wish is my command. Although Rondo’s shooting ability is akin to Matt Moore’s throwing ability, there’s no denying Rondo’s exceptional on-ball defense, non-stop motor, and overall court vision. Good luck to the rest of the IBL guards who have to chase Rondo and Westbrook down the court for four quarters.
2) Philly (vets): Steve Nash — Philly’s really embracing this veteran thing. By selecting Nash they now have four players older than 32. Collectively, though, this is the smartest team in the IBL — and it’s not even close. Who’s not cheering for this team to win?
3) New Orleans: Roy Hibbert – I wanted to go with Marc Gasol here but I felt like the NOLA team would have been left a little too thin in regards to post defense. Enter Hibbert who emerged as one of the better defensive big men in the league last year and who has proven he is a legitimate shot blocker as well. He’ll clog up the middle and do all the dirty work while his more talented and more athletic teammates handle the burden of scoring.
4) Boston: Kevin Garnett – The problem that Boston has right now is that it’s selected three players thus far known more for the manner in which they don’t really seem to be number one guys aka true alpha dogs. I know that’s a huge knock to lay on Chris Paul, but just look at the way he plays buddy buddy with LeBron and lets him make all his decisions for him to see the real him. I have a lot of doubts about Paul being able to stand up to Dwight and Melo’s constant complaining and thus we have to bring in one of the strongest personalities in the NBA to set them straight. This also creates the most dominant front line in the history of basketball ever. Holy crap is this team good.
5) LA (youngsters): Rudy Gay — I flirted with teaming Tyreke Evans and Wall up together, but I don’t like the fact that Evans demands the ball in his hands to be effective. LA’s going with Rudy Gay instead. Why Rudy Gay? All Memphis did when he got hurt was make an improbable run to the playoffs, defeat the number-one seed Spurs, and nearly upset OKC in shocking fashion. Well, it would be foolish to forget that Gay was having an all-star season before he went down with injury. He was shooting a ridiculous 40% from three, hittin’ game-winners in LeBron’s grill (link), slammin’ all over Iggy (link), and finally reachin’ his potential we’ve been waiting to see for years. LA now has someone to matchup with LeBron, Carmelo and Durant. Love this pick for LA.
6) Chicago (vets): Andrew Bynum — Chicago smartly selects the best remaining C available, someone capable of limiting (and even outplaying) Dwight. I consider Boston as currently having the greatest team assembled (CP3/’Melo/Garnett/Dwight), but with this selection of Bynum, Chicago puts themselves in excellent position to defeat the favorites. Give Chicago a talented SF on the way back (Paul Pierce? Danny Granger?) and this team’s starting lineup is solidified with absolutely zero flaws.
7) Austin (youngsters): James Harden – I hate to follow your lead and pair guys together who already play with each other in the NBA (Durant), but to pass on Harden again would be criminal. I bashed him earlier in the Steph Curry selection, but putting these two in the same back court would be an absolute pleasure to watch. Also, it’s extremely important that we maintain the themes of all the respective teams. Keep Austin weird. Harden’s beard will fit right in.
8) New York (vets): Nene – We need to ensure that LeBron’s team stays as athletic as possible and never succumbs to the pressure of slowing down the offense as the Heat did this past season. With that in mind there were two logical choices here in Josh Smith and the man I eventually went with, Nene. My reasons for selecting the Brazillian were that he’s used to a high tempo offense from his time in Denver, he’s a quietly effective defensive presence, and also that he has the ability to step out to clear the lane for LeBron and Manu’s perpetual drives to the basket. One of the more underrated players in the game today.
E: Let’s go ahead and include the starting five for each of these teams as we draft them.
1) New York (vets): Starting five: PG: Jason Kidd SG: Manu Ginobili SF: LeBron James PF: Amar’e Stoudemire C: Nene — Yup, I’m going with a 38-year-old over-the-hill PG with this selection. It doesn’t seem like the logical pick when players like Monta Ellis, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson and Lamar Odom remain, but New York’s a team built to run. LeBron easily could run point and lead the fast break (as could Manu), but I prefer he and Amar’e slashing to the lane while Manu finds the open spot in transition. New York gets a player that will knock down the open jumper, run the half-court offense to perfection, find the hot hand, and make the extra pass. New York’s loaded with scorers; now they get someone who will constantly feed those scorers. Expect New York to grab a backup SG on the way back.
2) Austin (youngsters): Starting Five: G: Stephon Curry G: James Harden SF: Kevin Durant PF: Serge Ibaka C: Joakim Noah — I couldn’t resist taking Ibaka here. Although this pairs together Harden, Durant and Ibaka, Austin was in desperate need of a PF. I drafted Durant #1 hoping this would be his team. I’m okay to see him channel his inner Allen Iverson and shoot 30+ shots a game. Let’s see if Austin can get Durant to explode for 40+ a night Rucker Park style. He now has two big men who can’t create their own shot but play outstanding defense and two guards who can both play PGs when asked to. Matt, what’s the over/under for PPG from Durant?
3) Chicago (vets): Starting five: PG – Deron Williams, SG – Dwyane Wade, SF – Paul Pierce, PF – Pau Gasol, C – Andrew Bynum — It can never hurt to add a guy with championship pedigree, who completely understands why its important to be unselfish, and is the best three available on the board. Great add here for Chicago to complete the starting five. They’re going to be tough to beat.
4) LA (youngsters): Starting Five: PG – John Wall, SG – Tyreke Evans, SF – Rudy Gay, PF – Blake Griffin, C – Al Horford — I don’t like this team’s chances, but it will be interesting to see them play, to say the least. Evans brings a rare ability to get any shot on the floor that he so chooses, unfortunately we don’t know if he’ll pout about not getting the amount of shots he used to. He’s the best player available for the youngsters and fills the need at shooting guard perfectly.
5) Boston (vets): Starting Five: PG – Chris Paul, SG – Ray Allen, SF – Carmelo Anthony, PF – Kevin Garnett, C – Dwight Howard — Monta Ellis or Ray Allen or Joe Johnson or Stephen Jackson? My reason for selecting Allen was simple: he can shoot and he’s not going to demand the rock. Joe has a tendency to isolate too much (Boston has ‘Melo), we all know Ellis needs the ball a lot (CP3 will control the hallf-court offense), and Stephen J is well, Stephen J (Boston doesn’t need someone to ruin team chemistry). Grabbing the best pure shooter in the league and someone who will be the recipient of numerous kickouts from Dwight and ‘Melo as well as take plenty of transition threes off passes from CP3 seems like the ideal choice here.
6) New Orleans (youngsters): Starting Five: PG – Derrick Rose, SG – Eric Gordon, SF – Nicolas Batum, PF – Kevin love, C – Roy Hibbert — Every team needs a glue guy. Batum’s someone who can knock down the open three, defend perimeter scorers, and has a knack for making the timely steal. He reminds me of a poor man’s young Shane Battier. There’s a reason Portland is unwilling to trade Batum, right?
7) Philly (vets): PG – Steve Nash, SG – Kobe Bryant, SF – Lamar Odom, PF – Dirk Nowitzki, C – Tim Duncan — I realize now this probably won’t be the starting lineup, however I had to grab Odom, easily the best sixth man in the league. He can come in and play any position on the floor and is coming off the best statistical season of his career. He’ll be a great backup in relief of Dirk and Timmy.
8) Vegas (youngsters): PG – Rajon Rondo, SG – Russell Westbrook, SF – Derrick Williams, PF – Lamarcus Aldridge, C – DeMarcus Cousins. The first gamble in the draft in that we haven’t even seen him play a game yet. I know what I saw in the NCAA tournament. That’s enough for me on Williams. Can’t wait to see Rondo and Westbrook dropping dimes to him for huge dunks.
Let’s go quick hits the rest of the way, without explanations. Reminder that each team gets eight players only.
1) Vegas (youngsters): Marc Gasol
2) Philly (vets): Monta Ellis
3): New Orleans (youngsters): Danilo Galinari
4) Boston (vets): Chris Bosh
5) LA (youngsters): Brandon Roy
6) Chicago (vets): Tony Parker
7) Austin (youngsters): Aaron Afflalo
8) New York (vets): Tony Parker
1) New York (vets): Joe Johnson
2) Austin (youngsters): Brandon Jennings
3) Chicago (vets): Zach Randolph
4) LA (youngsters): Javale McGee
5) Boston (vets): Andre Iguodala
6) New Orleans (youngsters): Paul Millsap
7) Philly (vets): Luol Deng
8) Vegas (youngsters): OJ Mayo
1) Vegas (youngsters): Kyrie Irving
2) Philly (vets): Al Jefferson
3) New Orleans (youngsters): Kyle Lowry
4) Boston (vets): Jason Terry
5) LA (youngsters): Michael Beasley
6) Chicago (vets): Danny Granger
7) Austin (youngsters): JJ Hickson
8) New York (vets): Gerald Wallace
Tomorrow we’ll have a final breakdown for you including the actual rosters, power rankings, predictions, etc.
He was clearly joking with the reporters. Doesn’t change the fact that Stern is going to absolutely destroy him
A couple of things on this in all seriousness though. David Stern is not going to take this comment lightly in the post-Donaghy era. Expect a GIGANTIC fine coming Kahn’s way. Furthermore, I doubt Kahn makes it past this season with his job. It’s not like the guy has done a good job anyway. In fact, he should have been ousted years ago. Only now he made the commissioner of the NBA his enemy and don’t think the single biggest ego in all of sports is going to take this lightly. Stern may not be able to directly fire someone, but let’s just say he can, uhmm, make things happen. From ESPN:
Wolves general manager David Kahn said he knew Minnesota was “dead” when it got down to the final three of himself, Utah executive Kevin O’Connor and Nick Gilbert.
“This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines,” Kahn said. “Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin: ‘We’re toast.’ This is not happening for us and I was right.̶