I really had trouble staying in my seat while I was watching the Kings-Lakers series. Then again, I had trouble staying awake to watch the Nets-Lakers series.
I am, however, seriously getting antsy over Wednesday's NBA draft. Two of my more favorite players, Yao Ming and Jason (not Jay) Williams, will probably be chosen with the top two picks and I can't wait to see both tear it up on the court.
As likely as Ming is going to Houston, I don't think anything else is set in stone. There are way too many ifs and potentially franchise caliber players right now. What with Dajuan Wagner (the anti-Allen Iverson clone), Yao Ming, and especially Jason Williams, NBA general managers are going have to pretty much cross their fingers and hope they don't pull a "Kwame Brown."
Granted, this year's NBA draft, like every draft before it, is rather chaotic and unpredictable, but I think I still can predict what teams will pick which players in the first round. Plenty of Sportscenter and ESPN specialists already have. Without further do, here is my mock NBA draft for 2002:
1. HoustonYao Ming (If not Ming, then they have Chris Wilcox lined up, just in case they want to trade down.)
2. ChicagoJason Williams (This is an obvious pick for the Bulls, but Jerry Krause might be the only man stupid enough to mess this up.)
3. Golden StateMike Dunleavy Jr. (Memphis's Jerry West drools over the thought that maybe the Warriors will pass over this Larry Bird clone.)
4. MemphisNickoloz Tskitish-vili (Kinda like Dirk Nowtizki, but younger!)
5. DenverDaJuan Wagner (Take Iverson and make him buff and slower.)
6. ClevelandCaron Butler (Dropped this far because of his poor defense.)
7. New YorkChris Wilcox (He's huge; he's explosive; the Knicks would give their left nuts for him.)
8. LA Clippers (from Atlanta) Curtis Borchardt (I really hate to choose this guy. But it's pretty obvious he's going to be picked. I would go with the Brazilian. Anyone smell a trade?)
9. PhoenixMaybyner "Nene" Hilario (Brazilian who speaks Portugese, which may make fitting in with him teammates difficult. But hey, he's athletic, so why not?)
10. MiamiDrew Gooden (Perhaps the rare forward in the lottery who can play now and contribute.)
11. WashingtonQyntel Woods (Draws comparison to Tracy Mcgrady; but I don't like him. I see Jordan grooming him into the next Richard Hamilton)
12. LA ClippersAmare Stodemire (Has issues; but athletic and a highschooler.)
13. MilwaukeeMarcus Haslip (Better defense than offense. Could go lower with Jared Jeffries's stock skyrocketing.)
14. IndianaJarred Jeffries (Indiana product who should go higher. He gained two inches and tons of muscle. I definitely wouldn't be surprised if he jumped to the top 10.)
15. Houston (from Toronto)Jamal Sampson (Decent center; good passing hands.)
16. PhiladelphiaMelvin Ely (Tough guy. A great senior product.)
17. CharlotteKareem Rush (Has a cool name; he could be a potential sleeper.)
18. OrlandoFrank Williams (Point guard who ought to rate higher because of his talent and height, but is slow and lazy.)
19. UtahChris Jeffries (Has injury issues but could be a potential steal. Great defense and hustle.)
20. Toronto (from Seattle via New York)Jason Jennings (Great blocker and inside presence. Could go higher if teams are willing to sacrifice talent for bulk.)
21. PortlandCarlos Boozer (Duke's brawn; he can put points on the board.)
22. Phoenix (from Boston)Rodger Mason (Great ball handler. Played point for Virginia. He can really penetrate at will.)
23. DetroitRod Grizzard (Potential sleeper too.)
24. New JerseyDan Dickau (John Stockton clone; I think the Nets need him in case Kidd leaves.)
25. Denver (from Dallas)Bostjan Nachbar (One of the most highly coveted European. Has great outside game. Similar to Stojakovic.)
26. San AntonioJiri Welsch (Crazy point/shooting guard with good passing abilities.)
27. LA LakersDan Gadzaric (The Lakers need a legit backup center; They will take a local UCLA product if he's available.)
28. SacramentoTayshaun Prince (The Kings will make a good steal with Prince. He's lanky but he's got great outside feel and long arms.)
Gossip/Drama/Trade Rumors floating: Jerry West appears to be talking to the Clippers about trading his fourth pick for the Clippers eighth and twelfth picks. The Clippers are really mulling over this and it seems highly unlikely, considering Dajuan Wagner might drop all the way to the eighth pick, allowing the Clippers to keep their extra first round pick. Lamar Odom is also being shopped to the Hornets for Baron Davis. It doesn't look plausible unless the Clippers throw in Wagner, but even I would think this trade would be pretty ridiculous. Odom is young and talented; he is not a second tier throw around like Jeff McInnis.
Houston is putting out feelers to the Knicks organization on a possible trade for Latrell Sprewell. The Rockets would draft Yao Ming with their first pick and send him to New York in return for Sprewell and change. Perhaps Houston could throw in the oft-injured Glen Rice to make the deal work. I think the Rockets would be wise in making this trade. Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs are throwing out veterans' names to high lottery pick teams for Hilario, the Brazilian sensation. This looks as likely as the Grizzlies getting Dunleavy Jr.
Summer Movie Plug: Rather than watching bball crap movies, such as "Like Mike" or "Juwanna Mann," please for the love of God, watch "Waking Life." It has all the essentials for a pretentious University of Chicago movie: decent music, trippy conversations, and sketchy animation.