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June 27 - Dem Franchise Boys

The world gets their first look at the New Republicans this Wednesday night as the NBA Draft
suddenly relocates 30-50 young men from college campus housing to waterfront condo living at
worst.

This is a funny draft, a signpost at the fork in what has been a fairly straight road for the last 10 years
or so. It's the first draft where you can't go cruising the high schools. Lebron James- had he gone to
college instead of taking the $90 million contract- would be the centerpiece of this draft if the NBA had
operated under their current policy in 2003.

Therefore, this is the weakest draft we've seen in some time. Everyone with monster skill came out
early, before the NBA forced you to stay in college for at least a year. This draft is a lot like having your
pick of the prettiest fat girl at the party. Aside from the possibility of seeing an 18 year old like Gerald
Green being able to order a 23 year old Shelden Williams to carry his bags, this draft just isn't as fun
as it was in 2003, for instance.

Not that there isn't some talent. It's just a draft where no one can guess who will go #1. There's no
Baby Shaq out there, nor is there a Little LeBron, or a Wee Wade. The Portland Trailblazers only
managed to win 18 or so games last season, and whoever they end up drafting probably won't even
crack their starting lineup.

Regardless, the NBA Draft will still sail forward this Wednesday, and will be a good thing to have on
the Internet while watching Pedro pitch against the Sox. We here at the Blog will do our best to provide
you with an idea of Who needs What, and Why.

- Toronto
These guys have the #1 pick, and- surprisingly- no one is threatening to not report if Toronto selects
them and tries to pay them with Canadian dollars. Toronto has 2 solid power forwards (Chris Bosh
and Charlie Villaneuva), and little else. At least 5 names have been mentioned here, but I think that
the Raptors would be foolish not to take the draft's one legitimate center, Texas Longhorn LaMarcus
Aldridge. This pick may very well be traded.

- Chicago
They butt-raped the Knicks in the Eddy Curry deal, and currently own both
this year and next year's Knick picks as payment for chubby center Eddy
Curry. Pretty much every magazine/website in the world has them taking
LSU kangaroo Tyrus Thomas at this pick, and it sounds good to me.

- Charlotte
Air Jordan has a lot of say in who the Bobcats take, and his last draft pick
was bust Kwame Brown at #1 in 2000 or so. Charlotte has a servicable
center and a nice pair of forwards in Okafor and freak-of-nature Gerald
Wallace, so I'll give them Washington 2 guard Brandon Roy.

- Portland
The Jailblazers basically need a guy who doesn't smoke endo, won't punch out the coach, and- most
importantly- will put some butts in the seats. Let's give them Adam Morrison and his silly mustache.
Morrison was far and away the best college player in the world last year, but the NBA sees him as
being too slow to guard Wade, and too weak to guard Lebron. Adam is white, you see. People who
follow this stuff tell me that Morrison will be the highest drafted American white since Golden State
blew their 2002 draft by taking Mike Dunleavy's son, aka Mike Dunleavy Jr.

- Atlanta
No one since General Sherman or Wayne Williams did more damage to Atlanta's psyche than Billy
Knight did last year when he passed up on Rookie of the Year Chris Paul. Let's count on them doing
something stupid again this year... like taking Randy Foye to play the point,  even though he's a
shooting guard.

- Minnesota
Bumbling former Celtics have the next two picks (3 if you count Houston, who has a former Celtic
official running their club now). Kevin McHale has Kevin Garnett, Ricky Davis, and little else. It seems
very difficult to imagine him passing on UConn's freakishly athletic Rudy Gay.

- Boston
For all the venom I spew about Danny Ainge, he seems to be a fine evaluator of young talent. He also,
as they used to say about William Howard Taft, has the can't-be-taught ability to have his plate out
when opportunity is raining down. Italy's Andrea Bargnani may be the next Dirk Nowitzki, or he may be
the next stiff white guy the Celtics draft ahead of a more talented US guy (see Micheal Smith/Tim
Hardaway, 1989). Look for the Bag Man to drop right into Danny's lap at #7.

- Houston
People will tell you a lot of things, but what Houston really needs is a burly guy to hang out near Yao
Ming on the court and make sure nobody f*cks with him. 260 pound Shelden Williams couldn't be
out-qualified for this job if God himself crafted a human for this purpose.

- Golden State
They have a nice backcourt, and little else. What the really need is a center, and the best one left at
this point is 7 footer Patrick O'Bryant... who isn't Irish. He needs a few years to develop, but so does
Golden State.

- Seattle
They are in at least 3 different trade discussions, and look to be a good bet to ship their pick to either
Phoenix or New Yawk. I'm just gonna pretend that they keep their pick, and use it on UConn point
guard Marcus Williams.

- Orlando
Disney has a good young team, but they have a giant hole at shooting guard. Why
not give them a scrapper like Ronnie Brewer, son of former NBA baller Ron
Brewer?

- New Orleans
The Hornets have the 12 and 15 picks. Let's give them power forward Cedric
Simmons at this pick, and see who's left at 15 when they come up to bat again.
These two picks would be mighty nice to package together and jump up into the
top 6, but the shabbiness of this draft most likely will prevent that from happening.

- Philadelphia
They could use players everywhere, and may even be discussing a deal to move Allen Iverson. Let's
just give them JJ Redick now, so Iverson won't be the guy in the Philly backcourt that has been
arrested the most recently.

- Utah
The Jazz need a shooting guard, and may as well gamble on one of the Michigan State kids... why not
Maurice Ager?

- New Orleans
Back here again... let's give them Saer Sene, who has a 9'5" winspan (he can grab the rim without
jumping). This dude just started playing the sport a few years ago, but there's always a chance he'll
become the next Olajuwon... who also had just taken up the sport when Houston took him in the draft
(ahead of Air Jordan, I may add).

- Chicago
They have a talented-but-slow point guard. Let's give them a speedy guy with a 42" vertical leap to
back him up... maybe Jordan Farmar.

- Indianapolis
They just need a guy who isn't going to run into the stands and puinch people. Memphis guard
Rodney Carney seems like a nice enough kid.

- Washington
There's a point where your team has sucked enough to have had several drafts where they got fairly
good players. Now, the team is too good to get a top player from the draft, and too weak to seriously
challenge for the title. Washington is in that area code now, and hope they catch lightning in a bottle
with Temple's Mardy Collins.

- Sacramento
The Kings need an impressionable young kid (or a non-English-speaking Euro) for Ron Artest to take
under his wing. Why not 20 year old Shawne Williams?

- New York
They'd select Incompetent General Manager, but they already have one of those. Let's give them the
next worst thing, Francis/Marbury/Crawford clone Shannon Brown.

- Phoenix
The Suns might want to reconsider the 6'8" center plan, even with Amare returning next year. Let them
have Oleksiy Pecherov, who was the best tall guy playing in the Ukraine last year.

- New Jersey
The soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets have #23 and #22, so let's give them a tall
guy and a short guy. Ummm...  Hilton Armstrong and Rajon Rondo.

- Memphis
Someone deserves the Swiss guy, so we'll give Thabo Sefolocha to the
Grizz.

- Cleveland
Cleveland needs one thing- a guy who Lebron likes. Let's give them
English center Joel Freeland, who may at least crack LBJ up in the locker
room with his silly accent.

- Los Angeles Lakers
There are only 60 or so shots per team in the average NBA game, and Kobe wants 35 of those for
himself on the Lakers.  Will Blaylock is a good bet to pass the ball, so we'll send him out to La La
Land.

- Phoenix
The Suns may be moving Shawn Marion, so we'll give them another UNLV guy, Louis Amundson.

- Dallas
The Mavericks almost won it this year, and may only be a piece of the puzzle away from winning it next
year. Who is that puzzle piece? It's not PF Josh Boone, who will enjoy plenty of Texas basketball from
his seat at the end of the bench.

- New York
The nightmare continues as Isiah gets two rookies to ruin with his lack of talent. May as well line
Quincy Douby up for him.

- Portland
I don't shut down a mock draft until someone named Pops Mensah Bonsu is taken.
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