We've done this before, two years ago, heading into the NBA's draft lottery. It's a pointless exercise to run a mock draft before the NBA actually settles on the first 14 picks of June's draft, though that hasn't stopped some sites, so we're going to give you the best bit of analysis one can provide in the hours leading up to Wednesday night's lottery, which will be held on ESPN around 8:15 or so, Eastern time.
That's right, we're judging the team representatives. The poor saps that have to sit through this mess, 13 of whom are going to lose out on the right to Kentucky center Anthony Davis, all of whom had to work through an NBA season that didn't end in a trip to the postseason. There's lots of misery to go around, so click the jump and take a look at who is showing up, and who should be showing up at the dais in New York City.
14. Houston Rockets — Chandler Parsons.
Who they should have picked? Chad Parsons.
Yes, Chad Parsons. Chandler's brother, who is listed on the NBA's media website as a "Rockets guest" as the team sidles up to take in (for the third year in a row) the lowest rung in the NBA lottery. Houston isn't even bothering to send a team executive to sit in the actual "Lottery Room," where the official drawing is held, because they clearly don't think much of their chances.
So send Chad up. As the brother of an NBA forward, he's probably pretty tall. He probably looks like Chandler, and he'll probably fool ESPN. Wins for everyone, mediocrity for all.
13. Phoenix Suns — Mark West.
Who they should have picked? Adam West.
Batman, dude. Batman.
12. Milwaukee Bucks — John Hammond
Who they should have picked? Scott Skiles
The Bucks and their coach are engaged in a bit of a standoff, as Skiles doesn't appear to want to have anything to do with this team, but doesn't want to walk away from guaranteed money to coach in 2012-13. The Bucks probably wouldn't mind not having to pay Skiles, who has clashed with the Bucks' more untradeable players, but aren't going to eat his contract.
So send him to New York, embarrassed. See how it goes.
11. Portland Trail Blazers — Wes Matthews.
Who they should have picked? Wes Matthews Sr.
10. New Orleans Hornets (pick conveyed from Minnesota) — Monty Williams.
Who they should have picked? This giant table full of crawfish.
Apologies to our readers from New Orleans, but your fine city has much to be proud of. Monty Williams, a driven and defensive-minded coach that has enabled the rebuilding New Orleans Hornets to overachieve in his two years on the job, is one of them.
A giant table full of delicious crawfish is another one of them. And, possibly, preferable.
9. Detroit Pistons — Brandon Knight.
Who they should have picked? Eh.
It's the NBA's most boring team, picking near the end of yet another lottery. Outside of springing Kwame Kilpatrick from jail to take part, and giving him a series of energy drinks along the way, I just can't really be bothered to care.
8. Toronto Raptors — Dwane Casey.
Who they should have picked? Dwane Casey.
You tell Dwane Casey that he's not your choice.
7. Golden State Warriors — Bob Myers.
Who they should have picked? Eric Freeman.
I've been working with Eric Freeman since the fall of 2010, and in that time he's proven to be just about as unflappable as they come in spite of his Golden State Warriors fandom, a needed element at a website "run" by a guy known to fly off the handle in yelling at the TV after watching as a player wordlessly accepts a cup of sports drink from a team employee without showing gratitude.
And yet, if the Warriors were to see this pick fall below seventh in the draft, it would automatically head to the Utah Jazz in an ages-old deal that once netted the Warriors nine games of Marcus Williams back in 2008-09. And if that were the case, I think Eric (replacing GM Bob Myers) might offer us a conniption, or two. And I think it might be funny. And they have a German word for this. And I'm a sickie.
6. Brooklyn Nets -- Irina Pavlova.
Who they should have picked? Isiah Thomas.
Last March, with his leverage shot to hell because of Dwight Howard's since-regretted decision to sign up for one more year in Orlando, Nets GM Billy King did his team absolutely no favors by making a deal for declining Portland Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace. Not only is Wallace likely to pick up his player option for $9.5 million (more than he'll make in his first year in the open market, though the option does exist for GW to take on a smaller starter salary in return for a long term deal) next season, thus cutting into the Nets' salary cap room, acquiring Gerald for a year and a month potentially cost the team its first-round pick.
Unless it lands in the top three -- and as you can tell the Nets are statistically slated to get the sixth pick -- Portland will receive the lottery selection.
So why not, instead of sending one of team owner Mikhail Prokhorov's deputies up there, ask the currently jobless Isiah Thomas to act as Brooklyn's go-to guy? Thomas, you'll no doubt recall, ran New York's other team into the ground from 2003 to 2009, and possibly pushed the Knicks toward sending all manner of assets Denver's way for the right to overshoot for Carmelo Anthony. When the selection goes Portland's way, metropolitan fans can remind themselves that as bad as Billy King has been in his time as GM of both the Philadelphia 76ers and Nets, he's still got one up on Isiah Thomas.
For now, at least.
5. Sacramento Kings — Adrienne Maloof-Nassif.
Who they should have picked? Absolutely anyone else.
Mind you, I wrote this before looking this woman up online and finding out that she was a cast member of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." The Maloof's delusion and self-absorption knows no bounds.
To recall, in the midst of a years-long fight to get the city of Sacramento to bend over backwards with their tax dollars in order to fund a new stadium for the Maloofs (a family that has alternately threatened to move the Kings, even after a half-decade of lottery futility, to either Las Vegas or Anaheim), the team has decided to let a person who came from money, married a reality TV show doctor, and presumably represents every distasteful thing about the Maloof family to represent the organization onstage in New York City?
Actually, we're wrong. This is the perfect choice. Our apologies, Sacramento.
4. New Orleans Hornets — Monty Williams.
Who they should have picked? The Wild Tchoupitoulas.
Sorry, again, Monty.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers — Nick Gilbert.
Who they should have picked? Penn Jillette.
Gilbert, the son of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, famously "won" the lottery last year as the Cavaliers shocked the NBA by vaulting up seven spots to take the first overall pick and franchise stud Kyrie Irving. Hoping for the same sort of luck again this year, Dan is turning to his precocious son again; thereby doing his child a terrible disservice along the way.
In a shocking bit of poor parenting, Dan Gilbert is teaching his impressionable son that "luck" is a real thing in this universe, instead of reminding him that we are all the masters of our own destiny, tiny specks in an unending universe, and that success in business and life is to be TAKEN, and not handed to us by some cosmic whatszit.
Noted skeptic Penn Jillette should have taken Gilbert's place, lest the child start to assume that a specific pair of underwear would somehow aid the Cavaliers in winning games, or that sleeping on a certain side of the bed would create a massive early morning snowfall and, eventually, what school executives call a "snow day."
(Which is, of course, just another excuse to limit productivity amongst our nation's youth. "Snow day." For shame.)
There's still time, of course, to prevent the younger Gilbert from a wasted lifetime of fanciful pursuits.
2. Washington Wizards -- Zachary Leonsis, part-owner and son of team owner Ted Leonsis.
Who they should have picked? Nick Gilbert.
As a burgeoning capitalist working in his playing prime, Gilbert should have sold his interests to the Wizards as they hope to vault up the rankings and grab their second top pick in the last three years. Such a move would represent the second-shadiest sellout Dan Gilbert has had to endure since purchasing the Cavaliers in 2004.
1. Charlotte Bobcats — Rich Cho.
Who they should have picked? Rich Cho.
Holy cow, yes the Charlotte Bobcats should be going with Rich Cho. Anything that reminds the 629 Charlotte Bobcats that remain that the days of Michael Jordan acting as the end-all regarding scouting and influence over player personnel decisions are over.
Because it is over, right? Tell me it's over, MJ.
If it isn't, Jordan would be well-served to send this version of himself to the podium, instead.