Imagining the 2018 NBA All-Star Draft: Starters Edition

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LeBron James and Stephen Curry
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors look on during the first half in Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 12, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

With the league deciding not to televise or release the results of the upcoming NBA All-Star draft, we can only imagine how the selection of the starters would go. Let’s do that.

As the leaders in votes for their respective conferences, LeBron James and Stephen Curry are our captains, each standing on opposite sides of the NBA on TNT set. The other eligible starters – Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins – are lined up across from James and Curry, playground style. Without further ado, here’s our host, Ernie Johnson.

Imagining the 2018 NBA All-Star Draft: Starters Edition

EJ: Welcome to the first ever NBA All-Star draft. You all know the rules, but let’s just remind the captains. There’ll be 30 seconds on the clock for each pick, and the draft will be in snake format. And, in honor of the greatest snake of them all, we’ll let his teammate Steph have the first pick. But before that, each of the captains is welcome to share some opening words. Perhaps a Bible verse, if you so choose.

Curry: You waste no time at all with the cheap shots, huh, Ernie? I guess that’s what Barkley’s been whining about. Anyway, I’d just like to start off by apologizing to the fans for last year’s All-Star weekend. I know I missed a lot of half-court shots, but I am in no way pro-cancer, as some have made me out to be in recent months.

EJ: LeBron, anything to add?

James: Yeah, I’m just excited. I’ve always wanted to be a GM, have an influence on draft picks and trades. It’s something I’ve never really gotten a chance to do. This’ll be a lot of fun.

DeRozan: Ya’ll better not let me get picked last. I ain’t about that.

(Curry and James share a slightly terrified glance.)

Curry: Believe it or not, I was always getting picked last myself back in the day.

Embiid: Yeah, because you’re a skinny midget. (Everyone laughs uncomfortably)

E.J: Alright, let’s get to down to business. LeBron, you have the first pick.

James: No, I don’t. Steph does.

EJ: LeBron, you received the most overall fan votes, which means-

James: I know, Ernie, but I traded it. Steph has the first pick now.

EJ: You traded it? For what?

James: Oracle Arena’s unlimited supply of Twix. They always have these mini Twix bars in the locker room, and they’re pretty damn good. So, I got ‘em for the rest of my NBA career.

EJ: And Steph, you agreed to this trade?

Curry: Yeah, I’ve always been more of a Milky Way kind of guy.

(EJ looks from Curry’s face to James’. LeBron nods.)

EJ: Well, alright, I guess it’s settled. Steph, you have the first pick. And no, Chuck – if you’re out there watching – Allen Iverson is not eligible for selection.

Curry: I’ma go with KD.

EJ: I can’t say I’m surprised. Kevin, anything to say in advance of All-Star weekend?

(As he walks over to join Curry by his side, Durant keeps his head is buried in his phone, furiously typing. He seems to be getting angrier as he types, and he’s oblivious to everything that’s been going on around him.)

EJ: Kevin?

Durant: What? Oh, sorry, I was just, uh, texting.

(Durant’s phone starts blaring.)

Curry: What’s with all the Twitter notifications, Kev?

EJ: You know what, let’s just move on.

Curry: Are you…? Kev, I told you to stop-

EJ: LeBron, you’ve got the next two picks.

James: Alright, Ernie. Let me get my boy, Yah-niss Ade-do-koon-bo.

EJ: Have you been practicing that pronunciation? I’m not sure I’ve even got it down that well.

James: Well Ernie, I’ve got to stay busy when I’m not playing basketball. We don’t practice, J.R. [Smith] broke the Nintendo Switch, and I finished reading The Hunger Games years ago.

EJ: Giannis, what do you have to say about starting in your second consecutive All-Star Game?

Antetokounmpo: Man, seeing all these stars up here on the big stage, I’m just happy the fans don’t hate me yet.

(All 27 Milwaukee Bucks fans wince somewhere in suburban Wisconsin as they hear the word “yet.”)

EJ: And on that note, LeBron, you have another pick now.

James: Hmm…give me Kyrie.

(Silence.)

(More silence.)

(A bit more silence.)

James: What’s the problem? We need a playmaker.

EJ: Kyrie, do you have any comments about this shocking turn of events?

Irving: I’m not saying that the commissioner set this up, but I’m not saying he didn’t set this up, you know what I mean?

EJ: I’m not sure I do.

Irving: Let me break it down for you, Ernie. You see, the perpetual colloquialism of the omnipotent legislator is causing an enigmatic constitutionality that calls Adam Silver’s conscientious foundations into question. We can’t just accept what we’re told. Do your own research, you feel me?

EJ: Alright, um, let’s move back to Steph. You’ve already got your teammate, Kevin Durant, and now you’ve got two more picks. DeMar DeRozan, Joel Embiid, James Harden, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins are still on the board.

Curry: I’ma be straight up with you, Ernie. DeMar scares me. Vince Staples wouldn’t lie. I choose DeMar.

(DeRozan discreetly flashes what seems to be some kind of hand signal, then walks over to join Curry and Durant.)

EJ: DeMar, what does it mean to you to represent Canada’s team in this game for a fourth time?

DeRozan: I love it, man. It’s unreal to me. But we’ve got to show up in the playoffs. We’ve got to make people question Jae Crowder’s manhood this time around. Also, I only got picked fourth? FOH.

EJ: Steph, give us your next pick.

Curry: Nicknames are important, Ernie. Everyone calls ‘Bron the “King.” What else is the king? The lion. And who fought lions in Africa? Joel Embiid.

EJ: Steph, you do know that he didn’t actually-

Curry: I’m taking the Twitter god, Ernie.

EJ: So, Joel, this will be your first All-Star Game, in just your second season in the league. What’s on your mind right now?

Embiid: As I said on the night of the starters announcement, I have moved on from Rihanna. Can you slide into Cardi B’s DMs for me? I want to date her now.

EJ: Joel, I don’t think-

(EJ stops mid-sentence, trembling slightly, as Embiid glares down at him. Embiid breaks into a huge grin.)

Embiid: Nah, I’m just playing with you, Ernie. I haven’t moved on from Rihanna.

EJ: Speaking of moving on, we’re down to our final three picks. LeBron, you’ve got to choose two out of Boogie, The Brow, and The Beard. What are you thinking?

James: I’m thinking these mans need some better nicknames.

EJ: Oh, come on, ‘Bron, you don’t like Boogie? And the beard, it’s an iconic form of facial-

James: Just stop it, Ernie. You’re embarrassing yourself. Anyway, I need some defense and physicality. I know it’s an All-Star Game, but I haven’t had that stuff in two years.

EJ: Ah, yes, I’ve heard that Timofey Mozgov is dearly missed in Cleveland.

James: Let me get AD and DeMarcus, the Bash Bros. That’s their new nickname. We’re not calling them anything else from now on.

EJ: LeBron, not to criticize, but are you sure you don’t want to go with James Harden, arguably the leader of the 2018 MVP race thus far? I’m not quite sure how he’s even fallen to this point in the draft.

LeBron: Ernie, everyone has a role to play. Let the GM do his job, and you do yours. I don’t like when other people try to interfere with a job that they’re clearly not cut out for, you know? Stop trying to find a way to fit out and just fit in. Be a part of something special! Just my thoughts.

EJ: OK then. Well, we don’t quite have time for Anthony and DeMarcus to give their thoughts, but I do want to let Steph have his final pick, who will inevitably be James Harden. Steph, anything to say about the NBA’s leading scorer falling into your hands with the last selection?

Curry: If I could just call up Klay and see-

EJ: It’s in the rules that you must-

Curry: Yeah, I know, but-

EJ: Steph-

Curry: Best two-way shooting-

EJ: Steph Curry selects James Harden to round out his team! James, are you surprised at all that you were selected last?

Harden: Surprised? No, not at all.

EJ: Really? And why’s that?

Harden: Well, when you’re compared to famous tyrants and dictators all the time, you kind of get used to-

EJ: How about we just-

Harden: Well, the point is, I don’t mind. I mean, everybody hates Chris, too.

Davis: Didn’t that show end in, like, 2009?

Harden: No, I mean-

EJ: I think James is saying that his 10.4 free throw attempts per game over the last five years have been worth it. Let’s leave it at that. Now, I want to get some final thoughts from our captains. Steph, anything that stands out to you?

Curry: Well, I always hoped I’d get a chance to play with Harden.

(Everyone looks around, wondering whether the last three minutes of discussion just happened. James loudly snorts air out of his nose.)

Curry: What?

James: Bruh.

Curry: Are you calling me a liar?

James: I ain’t callin’ you a truther.

(Everyone starts to get riled up, yelling and jawing with each other. The camera briefly zooms in on James’ closed fist by his side, then pans to EJ. The trash talk continues in the background as EJ raises his voice to be heard.)

EJ: So, I guess that wraps up the 2018 NBA All-Star draft! From all of the NBA on TNT crew, I’m Ernie Johnson. Have a good night!

 

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