I know how the lottery picks in the 2011 NBA Draft in a few weeks are likely to go, and I know how I’d like to see them go. Two very different things. Here’s my hope for the latter:
1. PHOENIX SUNS (from Cavaliers via Clippers): Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke. In a shocking move, the Suns trade three large Pizza Bianco pizzas and time-share rights to the Mogollon Rim to the Cavs and take Steve Nash’s long-term replacement at point guard. “We really struggled with giving up the third pizza,” Suns GM Lance Blanks admits.
2. PHOENIX SUNS (from Timberwolves): Derrick Williams, F, Arizona. Citing a loophole in the rules alteration made long ago that eliminated territorial picks, the Suns issue a formal challenge to the league over Williams’ rights and are awarded the selection. In accordance with his new endorsement deal with Greyhound, Williams announces he will commute to games from Tucson, “to lower my carbon footprint.”
3. PHOENIX SUNS (from Jazz, via Nets): Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky. Phoenix issues another controversial challenge to the NBA on the grounds that “Jazz” is the most ridiculous nickname imaginable for a team given its location in Utah, and that they do not deserve the pick on that basis alone. NBA Commissioner David Stern agrees, and the Suns select their long-term replacement for Kyrie Irving at point guard, who is their long-term replacement for Steve Nash. “We’re playing for the long term,” says Lon Babby.
4. PHOENIX SUNS (from Cavaliers): Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania. The NBA declares it’s “just not fair” for Cleveland to have two of the top four picks, and awards this selection to Phoenix after randomly picking the city out of a hat.
5. PHOENIX SUNS (from Raptors): Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut. Convinced that Leandro Barbosa is their answer at point guard, Toronto sends this pick to Phoenix in exchange for a Colangelo to be named later. The Suns select Walker, who will be the long-term replacement for Brandon Knight at point guard, who is the long-term replacement for Kyrie Irving at point guard, who is the long-term replacement for Steve Nash at point guard. “I’m not going anywhere,” says a puzzled Nash.
6. PHOENIX SUNS (from Wizards): Enes Kanter, C, Turkey. Anxious to prove they can make it work with a player from Turkey after the failed Hedo Tukoglu experiment, the Suns trade the rights to Clem Haskins’ 1973-74 season to Washington.
7. PHOENIX SUNS (from Kings): Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State. The trade of this pick from Sacramento to Phoenix completes the Kings’ apology to the Suns for defeating them in the 1981 NBA Playoffs, when the franchise was located in Kansas City. “About freakin’ time,” grumbles longtime Suns season ticket holder Dave Amster, who still hasn’t really gotten over it.
8. PHOENIX SUNS (from Pistons): Alec Burks, SG, Colorado. Anxious to help the Motor City in its ongoing recovery from financial crisis, the Suns acquire this pick for “cash considerations.” Blanks elaborates, “We said we’d consider giving them cash at some point.”
9. PHOENIX SUNS (from Bobcats): Bismack Biyombo, F/C, Congo. The Suns swap their first pick in 2215 with Charlotte in order to obtain this prospect as a favor to announcer Al McCoy, “who just loves saying ‘Biyombo,’” according to broadcast partner Tim Kempton. Additionally, says Babby, “We’ve been looking to get a more Congolese feel for a while now.”
10. PHOENIX SUNS (from Bucks): Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas. Phoenix acquires this pick by yelling, “Fire!” at the Prudential Center in Newark when Milwaukee is on the clock. In the chaos that ensues, the Suns snap up the selection.
11. PHOENIX SUNS (from Warriors): Donatas Montejunas, F/C, Lithuania. Concerned that earlier selection Jonas Valanciunas will feel lonely, the Suns trade for his countryman in exchange for a promise not to draft any more players from Lithuania, “unless there’s someone really good we forgot about,” Blanks clarifies.
12. PHOENIX SUNS (from Jazz): Jan Vesely, SF, Czech Republic. “Hey, he’s not Lithuanian,” Babby points out, handing over to Utah officials the actual jazz musical instruments that were traded for this pick. Former Utah Coach Jerry Sloan, a self-described “wild man on sax,” announces he will come out of retirement to play halftime shows in Salt Lake City.
13. HOUSTON ROCKETS (from Suns): Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU. Feeling pretty solid on long-term solutions at point guard, the Suns swap this pick to the Rockets in exchange for their 14th pick in this draft, and playoff series victories the Suns should have won against Houston in 1994 and 1995. The league voids the exchange and awards Houston the pick, however, with Commissioner David Stern pointing out that if the original deal had been consummated, “We’d lose a legendary quote” (“Never underestimate the heart of a champion”). The Suns lose this pick, but settle for slapping Mario Elie around a little with a wet fish.
14. PHOENIX SUNS (from Rockets): Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State. Despite the controversial stripping of the Suns’ previous pick, the Suns are awarded this selection anyway out of sympathy for having to add translators for Valanciunas, Biyombo, Montejunas and Vesely to their payroll. In addition to getting Faried, Blanks happily notes, one of the translators “looks like he might be a long-term solution at point guard.”