NEW YORK - MAY 19: New Jersey Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov addresses the media during a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on May 19, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
The Basketball Gods are not nearly as benevolent as you think. If they get their way, the NBA Draft will look a lot like this.
In every NBA Draft Lottery and NBA Draft, there are the clear-cut favored sons. Just like in the real life NBA, for every one team that wins, another loses. Witness the lottery of 2011, in which the Cleveland Cavaliers picked up the No. 1 pick ... with the selection that the L.A. Clippers had forfeited to save some cash and blow Baron Davis on out of town. The Basketball Gods smiled on Cleveland that day in May, yes. But at the same time they spit cosmically hilarious venom at the Clippers.
Think of The Basketball Gods as cruel pranksters, mischievous dalliers who seek to inflict pain on the unholy and maximize schadenfreude in the execution. (Basically, think of them as the actual Greek and Norse gods you learned about in middle school.) What tricks will they have in store for us in 2012? Let's make some predictions. Let's mock.
Note: this is not the actual draft order, only the most cruel but legitimately possible draft order according to my assessment.
1. BROOKLYN NETS: ANTHONY DAVIS
Why would The Basketball Gods give Brooklyn the No. 1 pick?
- The Basketball Gods have abandoned Portland, who gets this pick if it's not top three.
- Bruce Ratner leveraged this team to gentrify/destroy a neighborhood, basically. Mad black hat swag.
- Jay-Z not only has sway over young players, but holy spirits. Game recognize game.
- Mikhail Prokhorov. See Bullet No. 3.
2. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS (VIA TIMBERWOLVES BY WAY OF CLIPPERS): THOMAS ROBINSON
Tom Benson hasn't been an amazing philantropist for New Orleans and southern Louisiana for any other reason than having a soul and a heart. But the karma is a nice benefit.
This result will have major ramifications down at No. 8. DUN DUN DUN.
3. SACRAMENTO KINGS: MICHAEL KIDD-GILCHRIST
Hear me out! Sacramento pretty much despises the Maloofs right now. A great number of fans have crossed fingers, hoping the Maloofs go broke soon enough for the Kings to be kept in Sacramento. You know what could help the Maloofs keep the team? Having a better product on the court, one that draws helpless, basketball-crazy Sacramento fans back into the gym in droves. Basically, having a good team could save the Maloofs' bottom line ... the last thing fans want.
These cruel conflicts are the lifeblood of the evil.
4. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS: BRADLEY BEAL
"I hate the Bobcats." -- Anonymous Basketball God, 2012
5. WASHINGTON WIZARDS:
ANDRAY ANDRE DRUMMOND
There's no way the Wizards will take Andre Drummond given the purge of the past year. (A purge, mind you, that will continue the second the team can amnesty Andray Blatche.) But what if the Wizards end up at No. 5, and what if the draft workout season makes it perfectly clear that Drummond is no worse than the No. 5 prospect in the draft -- and could be the best, in the end. Imagine it plays out like the 2010 draft, where there was a clear safe No. 1 (Davis now, John Wall then), followed by uncertainty. Consider Drummond as Cousins. The teams Nos. 2-4 can make a case for someone else. The team at No. 5 cannot.
This is what The Basketball Gods want: a team like the Wizards deciding whether to shoot themselves in the face or in the knee. Pick 1.
6. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: HARRISON BARNES
Like everyone else, The Basketball Gods became angry with LeBron James in 2010. Not because of The Decision, but because of LeBron's decision to hold his infamous spectacle at a Boys & Girls Club with children present. It was a move clearly designed to shield King James from the multiple strikes of lightning that The Gods wished to rain upon him, and it upset them so deeply that instead of seeking retribution later they opted to turn Cleveland into a powerhouse that will crush him someday.
7. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS: JOHN HENSON
Everyone thinks that just because the NBA until recently owned the Hornets that they'll win the draft (the entire draft) as a parting gift. And everyone is absolutely correct.
8. UTAH JAZZ (VIA GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS): WHO CARES?
It's not going to happen, Golden State. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
(The official pick here is Kendall Marshall.)
9. TORONTO RAPTORS: JARED SULLINGER
If Toronto really wants to be America's European Team From Canada, The Basketball Gods will help. They offer the least European player in the draft, but one with a body that, if it came attached to a less skilled player, would definitely be headed to Europe out of college.
10. DETROIT PISTONS: PERRY JONES III
The Basketball Gods like to create apparent Twin Towers duos to get fans' hopes up, then watch those hopes fizzle like Alka-Seltzer. Spencer Hawes-Jason Thompson wallpaper>
11. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS: DAMIAN LILLARD
The Basketball Gods are automatic fans of any prospect named "Damian." "Beezlebub," also.
12. MILWAUKEE BUCKS: TYLER ZELLER
The Basketball Gods couldn't risk Zeller going to the Western Conference and starting a rivalry with Cole Aldrich.
13. PHOENIX SUNS: AUSTIN RIVERS
This is a placeholder pick. The Basketball Gods will assign Phoenix the most injury-prone prospect available, because they want to see the world-famous medical staff sweat.
14. HOUSTON ROCKETS: MEYERS LEONARD
Here's your center, Morey!