NBA fans made their minds up long ago that the league were going to televise the All Star draft.
“This is the best idea they’ve had since scrapping the microfiber balls over 10 years ago!” Surely they wouldn’t mess this up. Surely they couldn’t miss such an opportunity.
Uh, about that. The All Star draft will not be televised.
The game itself was getting so uncompetitive that after last year’s event, Houston Rockets guard and NBA Player's Association President Chris Paul called Adam Silver to discuss how they could improve it. Having the fans (mostly) vote for the starters, the coaches voting for the reserves, and having the two top vote-getters pick teams, was thought to be the way, adding a element of pride to proceedings.
Ultimately, though, in consultation with the Player's Association, it was decided that showcasing the selections of captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry would place them in an impossible situation.
‘Do I pick the best player or my best friend? What a bind!’
For this season at least, the decision to not broadcast the draft has been made, seemingly to keep the players happy, acknowledging their sensitivities and the issues this could cause. It must be said, Lou Williams tweeting ‘LOL’ at his non-selection and Paul George’s ‘outrageous’ snub - according to Russell Westbrook - means you cannot avoid unhappiness, no matter if the box is turned off. But it has been made anyway.
Never mind that James and Curry will inevitably have to answer a million questions about who they selected. At GiveMeSport, we’ve decided to stage our own draft, which will be so accurate you won’t miss out on the lack of a television show.*
- James, as the top vote-getter from all starters, will be one team’s captain and select first.
- Curry, the top vote-getter from the West, will be the other captain and pick second.
- The picks will alternate until all eight remaining starters are off the board.
- When the draft moves onto the reserves, the order will reverse and Curry will select first.
- The captains do not need to meet any positional quotas, true to the current day’s ‘positionless’ game.
‘Please enter your dial-in code.’
The two captains are connecting with Silver, who is sitting in his New York City office with a coffee mug inscribed ‘#1 NBA Fan’. Once on the line, Curry and James say their hellos and are hoping there will be no ‘frozen envelope’ scenarios here.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is sitting next to Silver with one hand on Twitter and the other balancing on a table for fear of collapsing in excitement. Sweat is building on his forehead as Silver says to James: “LeBron, tough luck with the Cavs so far. Seems Kyrie Irving would be a great point guard for you about now. Still, the chance to play with him one more time lies right here. Can I have your first pick please?”
And so the alternating drama begins.
LeBron James, pick #1
- Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
Durant is arguably the best player on the board and won All Star MVP honours in 2012. He has faced James in two Finals and surely a team which can field one of or both of the league’s top two players is unbeatable. Durant, as an added bonus, is one of only four players averaging over two blocks a game on the season, which will come in handy when he has to guard Mr. Curry in the pick-and-roll. Warning, Kevin, he likes to shoot.
Steph Curry, pick #1
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
A man who likes to keep his house happy, Curry is prevented from selecting teammate Durant so reacts to James’s pick with a shot of his own. The three-point marvel wishes to avoid nasty words and swatted shots from the King, so immediately employs the Greek Freak to play the role as ‘LeBron stopper’. If anyone remembers last year’s 192-182 fiasco, Antetokounmpo dunked on Curry while he lay on the floor. Avoiding another one of those is essential.
LBJ, pick #2
- Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics
Now now now, what do we have here? We can’t let a little rivalry/hatred get in the way of fielding a competitive team. James considered selecting all guards ahead of Irving but is so sick of the Cavs’ recent run of poor form that he wishes to reunite with Kyrie and his healthy hips once more. As long as James doesn’t forget to pass him the ball, or accidentally on purpose barrel into him on a dunk attempt, we will see father and son reunited. Oh, and scoring the basketball is a good thing in the All Star game - first to 200 wins! - and Kyrie has illustrated his around-the-basket prowess with his new Boston mates.
SC, pick #2
- Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
In need of another scorer but unwilling to show any weakness to the Houston Rockets, Curry glides over James Harden and takes a man who scored an All Star record 52 points in last year’s event. Shooting a career high 35% from deep, Davis adds a very versatile component to Steph’s Stars.
LBJ, pick #3
- James Harden, Houston Rockets
Well, that was a mistake, Stephen. James immediately swipes The Beard up, eager to steal some of that facial hair for the top of his own head while constructing one of the most dangerous backcourts in NBA history. Captain Curry is surely sick of the sight of Harden on the opposing side, but he’s blown his chance to team up here.
SC, pick #3
- Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
The tactic has clearly shifted: go big against James’s fleet-footed guards. Embiid, Curry believes, is the perfect person for an All Star game as,in addition to him being extremely good at doing basketball things, he has only two jobs in the City of Angels: don’t practice, and put on a show. Those, my friends, are Embiid’s specialities.
LBJ, pick #4
- DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans
Conscious that this new draft event may lead to the entire thing ‘kicking off’, James takes bodyguard Cousins to act as the go-between for screens and dust ups while also kickstarting the first ever edition of ‘who really deserves more attention in the Big Easy?’. James and Cousins can also hit up the paint for some high-low magic.
SC, pick #4
- DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
DeRozan is the last of the starters taken. Curry is expected to take up most of the scoring load and isn’t concerned with the Toronto star’s lack of a three-ball, more hopeful he will produce the goods because of DeRozan’s roots; Compton-born and a product of USC, he is bound to be inspired.
SC, pick #5
- Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Get in my belly, fellow Warrior. Steph beefs up the shooting with a familiar teammate, someone he can barely deal with being separated from. Thompson will also provide that laissez-faire touch, much needed with all those courtside celebrities taking themselves oh so seriously.
LBJ, pick #5
- Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
If you can’t beat them, join them. That plus James wants Green to tail Curry throughout this game, setting him a mission to 1) prove he is the best defender in the league by keeping his team-mate and the two-time MVP scoreless and 2) for a large sum of money kick him in the groin and put him out of action until at least early October.
SC, pick #6
- Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Seriously angry for not being a starter, not having teammate Paul George along for the ride, the Warriors having four players selected again and getting another chance to go up against Durant, Westbrook is particularly fired up for this one. Curry is reasoning on the call with Silver that the Oklahoma City guard is one of the most talented players on the list, but secretly hopes Durant and Westbrook curse each other out without actually killing one another.
LBJ, pick #6
- Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
Hmmmmm, still no Kevin Love surfacing. The unicorn is in L.A., and he means business in his first All Star appearance. Some potential spice for the pot; imagine if Phil Jackson actually leaves his Montana home and makes the weekend trip!
SC, pick #7
- Al Horford, Boston Celtics
If the All Star game wishes to be taken seriously, then its captains need to act in such a way. Curry has studied the Horford/Irving pick-and-roll throughout the season and is conscious to keep that apart at least for one night. Using Horford as much as humanly possibly from 24 feet will be imperative, and Curry might be able to learn a few secrets on the art of setting a beautiful pick too.
LBJ, pick #7
- Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Well, you can’t have enough shooting. Get ready for a tutorial in the step-back jumper.
SC, pick #8
- John Wall, Washington Wizards
“Damn it I don’t need any more point guards but I need to know who is the king of DC!!”. The Wizards are crumbling internally, so here begins the first inter-franchise rivalry since, well, James and Irving.
LBJ, pick #8
- Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
After a two-year hiatus, there aren’t many better players when it comes to true shot-making, and Lillard is as fun and motivated as they come. Desperate to get out of Portland for a few days after his meeting with owner Paul Allen about the future of the franchise, Lillard can also use his time in L.A. to network with fellow hip hop artists.
SC, pick #9
- Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Fearing for Love’s sanity and wanting to know what made former Warriors consultant Jerry West insist they keep Green and not trade for Love, Curry deems it unnecessary to ask K-Love for a doctor’s note if the Cavalier is to miss any practice time. Everyone is eager to see what James truly thinks of his ever-greying teammate (a status which will change next season when he is put out of his misery and traded to the Clippers*).
* This might not happen.
LBJ, pick #9
- Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves
One of two All Stars for the T-Wolves, the first time they’ve had a duo in the game since Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell in 2004. Butler has sparked Minnesota to third in the Western Conference and can defend any of the guards on Curry’s side.
SC, pick #10
- Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Immediately putting an end to the Minnesota love-in, Towns has a habit of stacking the box score, so he’s in the right place in L.A.
LBJ, pick #10
- Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
One of the stories of the season and certainly playing as a number two draft pick should, the Pacers' leading scorer has improved his points average nearly by nearly ten to 24.2 per game, and is deserving of James’s company. A nice addition so late in the draft.
SC, final pick
- LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
The big man wanted out of San Antonio last summer and now he’s teaming with the likes of Antetokounmpo, Davis, Embiid and Love. Is that enough forward talent for you, LaMarcus?
LBJ, final pick
- Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
This is why we don’t release the picks. Toronto might want to rage a little if they knew their two All Stars were picked dead last in both the starter and reserve pools. Even so, if Kyle Lowry is your final option - adding to an already stacked depth chart at guard for James’ squad - the NBA
is in a pretty good spot in 2018.
Final (Mock!) Rosters
Team James (starters)
- Kyrie Irving
- James Harden
- Kevin Durant
- LeBron James
- DeMarcus Cousins
Team Curry (starters)
- Steph Curry
- DeMar DeRozan
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Anthony Davis
- Joel Embiid
Team James (reserves)
- Draymond Green
- Kristaps Porzingis
- Bradley Beal
- Damian Lillard
- Jimmy Butler
- Victor Oladipo
- Kyle Lowry
Team Curry (reserves)
- Klay Thompson
- Russell Westbrook
- Al Horford
- John Wall
- Kevin Love
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- LaMarcus Aldridge
As you can see, both captains have gone for a mix of other-worldly skill, height, shooting and insane ability to play basketball. With a draft pool like that, it would be hard not to.
Commiserations to Mr. DeRozan, Mr. Lowry and every single NBA player who wasn’t considered for the All Star game. None of this was real, anyway.