Tuesday, 30 August 2011


The year is 2025 and a group of mad scientists have cloned every superstar from NBA history. Conveniently, those players are now all exactly the same age - twenty. Oh, and they're all eligible for the 2025 NBA draft.

Meanwhile, the memories of every NBA coach, general manager, scout and fan have been wiped. Nobody can remember these players' careers, so there is no benefit of hindsight. Jordan hasn't got six rings, LeBron hasn't made The Decision, Alcindor hasn't converted to Islam and Penny hasn't injured his knee.

So, based purely on height, athleticism and talent at the age of twenty, who would be drafted above whom?

This is the NBA's ultimate fantasy draft.

1st Pick
Shaquille O'Neal (C, 7'1", 325lb)
There are plenty of big men to choose from, but none with Shaq's combination of size and athleticism. Dominant post player with thunderous dunks. His only weakness is his free throw shooting but, with the right coaching, he'll soon hit 70% from the stripe. Loves food.

2nd Pick

Wilt Chamberlain (C, 7'1", 275lb)
One of the most impressive physical presences in the draft. Excellent athlete for his size. Can dunk from the free throw line. Needs the ball in his hands to keep him happy. Fills up the box score. Good length (and claims he knows how to use it).

3rd Pick
LeBron James (SF, 6'8", 250lb)
The best overall athlete on the board combining incredible strength, speed and leaping ability for his size. He can slash to the basket but needs to work on his jump shot. Potentially a lockdown defender and triple-double waiting to happen. Charismatic and fiercely loyal.

4th Pick
Lew Alcindor (C, 7'2", 225lb)
Not the strongest center on the board but definitely one of the most skilled - he destroyed opponents during the pre-draft workouts with his sweet hook shot. His height makes him nearly unstoppable. Needs to improve his work ethic to become a dominant defensive force. Deeply religious. Rarely smiles.

5th Pick
Magic Johnson (PG, 6'9", 215lb)
Magic was easily the best passer in pre-draft workouts and made everyone around him better. No matter who was on his side, his teams won games with style during the workouts. Has more groupies than the Beatles.

6th Pick
Kevin Garnett (PF, 6'11", 220lb)
Unbelievably skilled forward for his height. Plays with great intensity, especially on the defensive end where he inspired his teammates and led by example. Good passer. Must add weight and avoid making inappropriate cancer jokes.

7th Pick
David Robinson (C, 7'1", 235lb)
Incredible athlete and defensive force with a chiselled physique. He passes the eye test. Can score in the post or out to fifteen feet. During pre-draft workouts, he shied away from one-on-one battles. Favourite film: Saving Private Ryan.

8th Pick
Chris Webber (PF, 6'10", 245lb)
Jack of all trades. Can pass the ball better than any other power forward. Very skilled player, fun to watch. Can hit the occasional three-pointer. Rebounds well. Athletic. Unusually baggy shorts.

9th Pick
Ralph Sampson (PF/C, 7'4", 228lb)
Incredible leaping ability, especially considering his size. Can hit the mid-range jump shot or attack the basket. Decent defender with potential to develop further in this area. Prefers to play away from the basket. Brittle.

10th Pick
Tim Duncan (PF/C, 7'0", 260lb)
Fundamentally sound big man with good size and strength. Does exactly what you want with little fanfare: rebounds, defends, scores. Likes swimming with sharks. Dislikes showing emotion.

11th Pick
Michael Jordan (SG, 6'6", 215lb)
Otherworldly athlete who only slips this far because big men are more desirable. Lockdown defender who can hit the big shot with the game on the line. Fearless competitor. Suffers no fools. Dabbles in golf, baseball and gambling during spare time.

12th Pick
Kobe Bryant (SG, 6'6", 205lb)
See above (but substitute golf, baseball and gambling with soccer, hotel workers and Italian).

13th Pick
Yao Ming (C, 7'6", 310lb)
Simply a massive human being. Fantastic free throw shooter. Solid passer. Can block shots. His upside is off-the-charts. Cultural differences, language barrier and fragile feet are concerns.

14th Pick
Akeem Olajuwon (C, 7'0", 255lb)
Polished post moves and stingy defense are his calling cards. Can dominate at both ends of the court. Draft position hurt slightly by concerns over his real height and age. Chose basketball over soccer and ballet.

15th Pick
Julius Erving (SF, 6'7", 210lb)
His leaping ability has to be seen to be believed. He soars like a bird and can palm the ball with ease. Intelligent (wanted to be a doctor when he was younger) and charismatic. Massive hands.

16th Pick
Allen Iverson (SG, 6'0", 165lb)
Quickest player in the pre-draft combine. Explosive first step. Flashy dribbler with a lethal crossover move. Can score against players a foot taller. Rebellious nature and hatred of practice hurt his draft stock.

17th Pick
Dwight Howard (C, 6'11", 265lb)
Incredible physique - built like superman and can fly like him too. Intimidating shot-blocker. Post moves are somewhat robotic. Weak free throw shooter. Unnaturally happy.

18th Pick
Larry Bird (SF, 6'9", 225lb)
He has polarized scouts and general managers alike. On the one hand he is a lethal shooter, incredible passer and plays every game like his life depends on it. On the other hand he is slow, white and has an awful haircut.

19th Pick
Patrick Ewing (C, 7'0", 240lb)
Scouts love his defensive potential. Very nice jump shot for a center. Good size. A real grafter - which makes up for his mediocre athleticism. A bit plodding at times. Jamaican.

20th Pick
Penny Hardaway (PG, 6'7", 195lb)
Similar skillset to Magic Johnson but not quite as big or strong and, unlike Magic, can shoot the three with regularity. Talented dribbler and passer. Equally adept at taking over a game or deferring to teammates. Potentially a talented defender. Penchant for wearing a plaster on his cheek.

21st Pick
Bill Walton (C, 6'11", 250lb)
Rumoured to be more like 7'1" (was bare-footed when the measurements were taken, which fits the hippy stereotype). Arguably the best all-around center in the draft, he can do it all. Particularly strong on the boards. Ginger.

22nd Pick
Shawn Kemp (PF, 6'10", 230lb)
Ferocious dunker and shot-blocker. Extremely gifted athlete with great strength and leaping ability. His game still needs refining but he has all the tools to dominate his position. Developing jump shot. Weight Watchers spokesman.

23rd Pick
Dominique Wilkins (SF, 6'8", 230lb)
Offensive machine. Torched Adam Morrison for 63 points in a pre-draft workout. One of the best athletes in the draft and arguably the best dunker but a lazy defender. A highlight reel waiting to happen.

24th Pick
Jason Kidd (PG, 6'4", 195lb)
Good height for his position. Seemingly has eyes in the back of his head. Excellent rebounder for his position. Plays tough defense but can't shoot. Huge head. Unknown ethnicity.

25th Pick
Blake Griffin (PF, 6'10", 251lb)
Tremendous athlete. Explosive forays to the basket. The man you want on the end of your alley-oops. Uncanny dribbling ability for a big man. Strong rebounder and can find the open man. Drives a Skoda. Unknown ethnicity.

26th Pick
Tracy McGrady (SF, 6'8", 235lb)
Cousin of Vince Carter. Excellent all-around ability. Can flat out score the basketball. Excellent range. When he gets hot, he gets really hot. Capable defender... when he wants to be. Exciting player with a flair for the dramatic. Loves to sleep.

27th Pick
Vince Carter (SG, 6'6", 215lb)
Cousin of Tracy McGrady. Recorded the highest vertical leap in the pre-draft combine results. Can score from distance but prefers to attack the basket with reckless abandon. A bit selfish at times. Hates defense and Canada.

28th Pick
Derrick Rose (PG, 6'3", 190lb)
After Iverson, the fastest player in the draft. Incredible first step - can blow past even the toughest defenders. Needs to develop more of a pass-first mentality. Can take over games in the fourth quarter with his scoring ability. Must work on personality.

29th Pick
Dirk Nowitzki (PF, 7'0", 245lb)
The most talented European on the draft board. Exceptional shooting ability, especially for a seven-footer. His fadeaway jump shot is unguardable. One of the most talented offensive players in the draft. Mediocre defender and rebounder. Plans to spend his first paycheck on a sunbed and stylist.

30th Pick
Kevin Durant (SF, 6'9", 215lb)
Similar player to Nowitzki but three inches shorter and twice as cool. Deadly from long range. Potentially a decent defender but must add bulk to his lithe frame. Spokesman for the International Backpacking Community.


  1. This is a cool idea. But I have a question: so, no NBA career to measure them by, but what about college? If college careers are being considered, I think Pete Maravich and David Thompson should make the list, and Bird would rank higher (his college stats were insane). Also, where's Isiah? What about Clyde? This list seems pretty heavy on big-men. I don't think AI would go that high, and I don't think KG would go over true big-men like Wilt and DRob. Also, I think Hakeem would go higher.

  2. Thanks for the comments. The list is completely subjective and, to be honest, I wrote it for fun and didn't worry TOO much about the final rankings. That said, big men are obviously more desirable than guards, hence the list is full of centers. I agree KG might go below Wilt and the Admiral. Hakeem might go a little higher. As for the college careers, I considered those for players who actually played in college, and I imagined what players like KG, LeBron and Kobe would have done after a couple of years dominating the NCAA. Isiah and Clyde definitely could scrape into the list. Maravich? Maybe.

  3. For the heck of it, here's my list:

    1)Lebron [he was ready for the NBA at 16]
    7)Bird [30/13/5 in college]
    11)Jordan [went after Hakeem in real life]
    14)Moses Malone
    17)Doctor J
    18)Chris Paul
    20)Derrick Coleman [the biggest bust of this draft]
    21)David Thompson
    23)Dwight Howard
    28)Blake Griffin
    30)Danny Manning

  4. I can't really argue with your rankings. They are very well thought out. However, after a couple of years of college 'ball, I expect Dwight Howard would be more highly regarded than a few of the players ahead of him. Not sure about Rose above Iverson but who knows. Nice list, thanks for sharing.

  5. I think AI would be hurt by his questions about his character, and his size.

    It's hard to come up with a list of just 30 when you have all of history to choose from. Think of all the great young talents that didn't make either list:

    Oscar Robertson
    Jerry West
    Jerry Lucas
    Bill Russell
    Artis Gilmore
    James Worthy
    Greg Oden
    Gerald Green (remember him? he was supposed to be another TMac or Kobe....)

  6. Oden should probably be in both our lists but, lets be honest, the Blazers should have recognised his injury problems. Wade? Not at the age of 20. There's definitely a strong case for Oscar Robertson and some of the other older players. I don't think Gerald Green would have been a top pick even after 2 years of college. He was athletic... but so was Bill Walker, James White and other similar players.

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