There's no LeBron in the group, or Kobe, or Dwight Howard, or even a Kevin Durant. In the upcoming NBA draft, Ian Thomsen writes on SI.com, there's no standout star, and there's very little certainty about who will be chosen when.
To clear up all the confusion, I'd like to humbly submit our own mock draft, borne of painstaking minutes of online reading. Rather than hit you with the full thirty picks, which could blind you with brilliance, I give you the first fifteen of the draft.
Pick 1, Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James, F, Miami.
This organization, still reeling from the loss of LeBron James to Miami before the 2010 season, tries to establish a solid foundation by choosing LeBron James to be the center of their offense. Owner Dan Gilbert points out that last time around, James "didn't suck ass like most of the other dudes." "What did we really expect anyway?" asks a visibly defeated Chris Grant, the Cavs' GM. "We're the Cavs. We're gonna, what, win the championship?" Grant then shakes his head slowly for nine minutes without stopping.
Pick 2, Minnesota Timberwolves: Kyrie Irving, G, Duke. And Derrick Williams, F, Arizona.
It's becoming evident that to win in today's NBA, a single star player isn't going to cut it. That's why the T-Wolves wisely stock up on talent here. GM David Kahn doesn't realize that Pick 2 means pick number two, not choose two players; nobody has the balls to correct him.
Pick 3, Utah Jazz: Etta James, Vocals.
When they were in New Orleans, the Jazz was a pretty great name, but it's a cruel joke since they're in Joseph Smith country. But no more, says GM Kevin O'Connor, whose choice stuns thousands of Jazz fans, again proving that Jazz fans and jazz fans are mutually exclusive. Anger at the pick is tempered slightly by the fact that "At Last" is a great song to dance to, if only Jazz fans were permitted to dance.
Pick 4, Cleveland Cavaliers: the city of San Diego.
The Cavaliers organization smartly chooses the city of San Diego, Calif. to join the team. Drafting all 3 million residents, the infrastructure, city government and physical location might be unprecedented, but NBA Commissioner David Stern will allow it after being shown a single photo of East Cleveland. After 14 seconds of debate, the Cavaliers will ask that since they can't move San Diego to their location, maybe the Cavs should just move there?
Pick 5, Toronto Raptors: Iman Shumpert, G, Georgia Tech.
Many would consider Shumpert a reach here, but he can fill a need for the Raptors; specifically, the need of brand-new coach Dwane Casey to say the name "Shumpert."
Pick 6, Washington Wizards: Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania.
The Wizards are the odd men out in Washington. Everyone else in D.C. can show off their popular young stars -- Stephen Strasburg, Alex Ovechkin -- and the Wizards need to keep pace. That's why a 7-foot Lithuanian with an unpronounceable name who talks like a '90s valley girl is the pick here.
The Kings are in a rut. They haven't won a championship since 1951, they haven't won a playoff series in eight years and they've been last in their division four of the last five. This year, their slump continues as they select Cousins, the exact player they selected last year in the draft. Cousins' reaction, "I'm a lot less happy to be a King this year," is hardly noticed by fans, who swear the name sounds familiar, but they aren't sure why.
Pick 8, Detroit Pistons: the city of Cleveland.
A pick experts could see coming after Cleveland's selection of San Diego at number 4. After all, Cleveland now boasts a fully functional arena where the power doesn't get shut out every two weeks and there are fewer than 50 rats. The Pistons can also take comfort in the temperament of the Cavs' fanbase, which will tolerate anything short of physical beatings from its teams. Pick 9, Charlotte Bobcats: Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas.
Cuban, renowned for being outspoken and highly visible in Dallas, has entered the draft so that he can fully dominate the game from all angles. However, unwilling to wait for the Mavericks' selection at pick 26, Cuban will buy the Bobcats and select himself here, naming himself the starter at a new position on the court, "Mark Cuban." His referee tryout is scheduled for August.
Pick 10, Milwaukee Bucks: Me, G, Denver.
Competing in the Western Conference is harder than ever, which is why the Bucks make a wise move here and select me. At a towering 6-3, I can generate scoring off the dribble and keep my teammates involved, and also play defense like a goddamn python and also a wall (made of defense). Brilliant pick here by the Bucks, tempered only by the fact that hell no I'm not moving to no Milwaukee.
Pick 11, Golden State Warriors:
Even Golden State management has forgotten this team exists. At the podium, Stern reads "Golden St - nah, it's Utah's turn."
Pick 12, Utah Jazz: Jimmer Fredette, G, Brigham Young.
An outstanding scorer with an ability to shoot from anywhere, Fredette is an exceptional threat who will immediately change the Jazz's whole game. He's also a white Mormon. Jazz fans quickly forgive the team for its earlier selection of Etta James, who they now refer to as Etta Jimmer.
Pick 13, Phoenix Suns: An American Flag, F, America.
In the state that's become a symbol of battles over immigration, the Suns are switching sides. Previously, the team had protested the tough immigration laws passed in Arizona last year. But the Suns have changed their tune, especially now that Sen. John McCain has so wisely pointed out that immigrants probably started Arizona's wildfires. Outraged (as the Suns, they see fire as a competitor), the Suns show their patriotic colors with this pick.
Pick 14, Houston Rockets: 2009 Ford F-350.
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One of them with them dual tires on the back there. Man, that's nice. That's a nice truck. Could go off-road in that baby a lot.
Pick 15, Indiana Pacers: A black guy.
Stung by years of criticism that they draft and sign a strangely high number of whites, Pacers President Larry Bird decides to play it safe here and choose a minority. Bird has named a few possible picks: high-scoring Providence guard Marshon Brooks, Congolese center Bismack Biyombo, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Kanye West and "that funny loud guy from the Rush Hour movies."
-- Look for the Nuggets to pull a surprise at pick 22 (rumor has it they've got their eye on me). The draft starts tonight at 5:30.