2014 NBA Fictional Athlete Mock Draft

Matt Haupert@@matthaupFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

2014 NBA Fictional Athlete Mock Draft

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    Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

    Forget about Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Who would the Cleveland Cavaliers take with the top pick in the 2014 NBA draft if Jesus Shuttlesworth from He Got Game, Buddy from Air Bud and Calvin Cambridge from Like Mike were all on the board?

    In this, the first annual NBA Fictional Athlete Mock Draft, I'll walk through the 15 lottery picks in the 2014 draft and project which player each team would select from a pool consisting entirely of fictional movie basketball players.

    I have conducted rich scouting reports of each player, considering not only overall talent and NBA readiness, but also how well each player fits into the schemes of specific teams.

    There are a few differences between the NBA draft that exists in the real world and the one that exists in the fictional world that you are about to enter:

    • There is no minimum-age requirement. Players are eligible to enter the draft straight out of high school, or middle school, or wherever else they come from.
    • There is no species restriction. Human beings, dogs, animated creatures, monsters and everything in between are eligible for the draft.
    • Only fictional characters are eligible, though careful consideration will be given to how these fictional characters will fit in with real-life NBA rosters.

    After speaking to several GMs around the league, I've been able to get a pretty good sense of which fictional characters impressed at this year's fictional combine and who is being targeted by certain teams.

    Therefore, if the NBA does choose to draft exclusively from a fictional pool on Thursday night, my predictions should prove to be perfectly accurate.

    Without further ado, the Cleveland Cavaliers are on the clock.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jesus Shuttlesworth (He's Got Game)

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    Jesus Shuttlesworth is universally regarded as the top high school basketball player in the nation, by far the best NBA prospect in the draft and an undeniable asset to any team. Scouts have likened Shuttlesworth to a young Ray Allen because of his similar style of play and uncanny physical resemblance.

    There were initially murmurs about Shuttlesworth committing to Big State to play college ball, but when he learned that in this fictional world there was no minimum-age requirement for the draft, he quickly opted for NBA, hoping his new salary will help him lift his family out of poverty. Coming from a tough upbringing, the young man has carved his own path to success with a relentless work ethic and a fiery passion for basketball.

    Shuttlesworth should provide a big scoring threat for the Cavaliers and will form a star-studded backcourt alongside point guard Kyrie Irving. He will no doubt make an immediate impact and is certain to play a role in quickly turning this Cleveland franchise around.

2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jimmy Chitwood (Hoosiers)

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    High School standout Jimmy Chitwood from Hickory, Indiana, is probably the safest pick in the entire NBA draft. He is guaranteed to be a contributing role player right away with the potential to become one of the best all-around players in the league.

    Chitwood is not nearly as athletic as Shuttlesworth, which is why many GMs have expressed major doubt in his upside. However, he is an extraordinarily efficient ball player and an offensive powerhouse, as shown in this advanced statistical analysis of his performance in the state championship game. He rarely misses shots, never turns the ball over and has an extremely high basketball IQ. He's a guy who will work hard every day and set a very positive example in the locker room.

    In addition, Chitwood will bring a sense of poise and leadership to a club whose future currently rests in the hands of the very young, very raw Giannis Antetokounmpo.

    Chitwood is a clutch player, and could serve as the face of the franchise for years to come.

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Calvin Cambridge (Like Mike)

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    Though he is wildly undersized and underage, Calvin Cambridge provides by far the biggest upside in the entire draft. Unfortunately, he also has the lowest floor.

    At his best, Cambridge will immediately be the best player in the NBA, with the potential of being one of the greatest of all time. He can dribble, he can pass, he can defend and he can score from anywhere. In fact, despite his small stature, he can basically dunk from anywhere. Cambridge has been described as a very young Michael Jordan, as his style of play and ability to take over a game are just like Mike.

    The big knock on Cambridge is his reliance on his sneakers. With them, he's a superstar, but without them, he's actually a really horrible basketball player, even for his size and age. This makes him a bit of a risk, but with another pick at No. 10, the 76ers are willing to take a flier on the kid. Cambridge will relieve Michael Carter-Williams of some ball-handling duties, and if he lives up to his potential, the two would form one of the strongest young backcourts in the NBA.

    The Sixers hope that Cambridge can keep his shoes intact long enough to enjoy a fruitful career in the NBA for the next 20-25 years.

4. Orlando Magic: The Wolf (Teen Wolf)

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    The Magic will be looking for a true point guard to allow them to shift second-year player Victor Oladipo to shooting guard, a role that he will fill more comfortably. The Wolf, alter ego of undersized and underskilled high school student Scott Howard, could fill this need for Orlando in a dynamic fashion.

    Since he is literally a wolf, The Wolf provides a unique mismatch against any opposing PG in the league. His ball-handling skills are otherworldly, his ability to drive to the basket is unlike anything we have ever seen and, as he demonstrated on a dismal Beavers team, he is capable of taking the game into his own hands and winning by himself when necessary. The Wolf would immediately become the top option for the Magic, taking pressure off of Oladipo and giving him a chance to thrive in his new under-the-radar role.

    The Wolf does come with a lot of baggage. He is violently aggressive and hot-headed and could cause a lot of conflicts on and off the court. In addition, he's a notorious ball hog, though this could be partly due to his horrible supporting cast with the Beavers. The Wolf's alter ego, Scott Howard, is not a legitimate NBA prospect, as he stands at only 5'3" and possesses junior varsity skills at best. If Orlando ever needs to rely on Howard in his non-wolf form, it'll be in trouble.

    Nevertheless, The Wolf's immense upside and the possibility of a dynamic Wolf-Oladipo duo will be too much to pass up for the Magic, who could be one werewolf away from contending in the weak Eastern Conference.

5. Utah Jazz: Clarence Withers (Semi-Pro)

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    Clarence Withers has been on the radar of NBA teams throughout his impressive career with the Flint Tropics of the ABA, but he really burst onto the scene when he stunned the world by scoring on the first ever alley-oop.

    While the play has since become commonplace in basketball, Withers is still remembered for doing it first, which has brought him perhaps more media attention than his abilities actually warrant. A versatile player, the Jazz hope to play Withers as the small forward so that Gordon Hayward can move to his natural position of shooting guard.

    Withers may be a reach, as he might not end up developing into the top scoring option that Utah needs. Though his upside isn't as great as some of the other remaining players in the draft, Withers has proven himself at the semi-professional level and is almost guaranteed to at least be a solid contributor in the NBA for a number of years.

6. Boston Celtics: Pound (Space Jam)

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    The Celtics will be looking for a dynamic big man who can protect the rim and score points in the paint, and will be overjoyed to see Pound, a monster with the basketball ability of Charles Barkley, slide out of the top five.

    Pound will cause major problems for every other big man in the NBA because he is literally a monster. Pound can dunk the ball with ease from anywhere on the court, paradoxically making him a threat in the paint and from behind the arc at the same time. He is actually unstoppable on both offense and defense, and has made every single shot he has ever attempted.

    Though he has an unimpressive career record of 0-1, this can be attributed mainly to the fact that the Tune Squad blatantly cheated (sorry, guys, you can't use dynamite to play defense) and Michael Jordan's arm grew to an absurd length to sink the game-winning shot, which almost never happens in the NBA.

    The only reason he falls this far in the draft is because the guy is a total jerk, and nobody really wants to deal with it.

7. Los Angeles Lakers: Neon Boudeaux (Blue Chips)

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    Following their worst season ever, and still relying on a rapidly aging and falling-apart Kobe Bryant to carry the team, the Los Angeles Lakers are desperately looking for the player that they can build around as the next face of the franchise, regardless of position.

    Western University standout Neon Boudeaux will be an absolute steal for the Lakers at No. 7.

    Boudeaux stands at 7'1" and weighs 324 pounds, making him an absolutely massive NBA big man. Though he isn't as polished and efficient as the other elite big in the draft, Pound, Neon has an arguably higher upside. Despite having hardly played basketball, he has terrorized opponents with his rare combination of strength and quickness.

    Boudeax is currently in the middle of a scandal that involved receiving gifts from Western University to lure him into playing there, which led to the firing of his coach. The NCAA has yet to take action. Concern over this controversy may have been the only thing keeping Boudeax out of the top five.

    The Lakers, however, will be happy to add a player with such a bright upside that could become the new focal point of the team.

    Besides, there's something about a combination of Kobe Bryant and Neon Boudeax that just seems to have "championship" written all over it.

    Multiple times.

    I don't know, maybe I'm just crazy.

8. Sacramento Kings: Elliot Richards (Bedazzled)

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    The Kings are in the market for an upgrade at the power forward position, but could use a dynamic playmaker at any position, as they lack a real major scoring threat in their current rotation.

    The Diablos' Elliot Richards could fill Sacramento's positional need while also bringing them star power that they have not seen in years. A big, strong playmaker, Richards has the ability to carry a team on his back and score massive point totals—last season, he smashed Wilt Chamberlain's single-game scoring record of 100 points.

    A very motivated and selfless player, Richards' IQ is astonishingly low. Indeed, he appears to be one of the least intelligent athletes in the history of professional sports. Will this put a limit on his NBA career? Maybe.

    All the Kings know right now is that Richards can lead the team in scoring his rookie year, and the team is more than willing to take a flier on that chance.

9. Charlotte Hornets: Billy Hoyle (White Men Can't Jump)

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    After an exciting season culminated in a run to the playoffs, the Charlotte Bobcats—now the Hornets—were sent home packing at the hands of the Miami Heat as soon as they arrived.

    Needless to say, the season was a positive one for Charlotte, and the franchise might be just one or two pieces from really making an impact in the weak Eastern Conference.

    The Bobcats will be looking for a scorer in the draft to provide a reliable alternative option behind Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker. Billy Hoyle seems to be an ideal fit here.

    Though he lacks the raw athletic ability of the other top-10 picks, he makes up for that with a brilliant skill set and the ability to dribble the ball, distribute it expertly and get it into the hoop when need be. He lacks much potential for star power, but could play a key role as a complementary piece in the lineup and brings a certain level of competitive edge.

    Some teams have expressed distaste in Hoyle due to his occasionally dirty play and constant trash talking.

    At a fictional press conference last week, Hornets owner Michael Jordan, who once played professional basketball himself in the pre-LeBron NBA, said that he was not deterred at all by the trash talking, and saw it more as a sign of passion and desire than a character flaw.

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Saleh (The Air Up There)

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    After finishing with the second-worst record in the NBA, the 76ers are looking to stockpile as much talent as possible all across the floor.

    With Michael Carter-Williams returning from a strong Rookie of the Year campaign, Nerlens Noel returning from an injury that cost him his debut season and two top-10 picks, the Sixers have the chance to turn this entire franchise around seemingly overnight.

    After using the third pick in the draft on dynamic guard Calvin Cambridge, Philly will turn its attention to the frontcourt with the 10th pick, selecting the player with the most upside of all the remaining prospects: Kenyan big man Saleh.

    Saleh is one of the rawest prospects in the draft, with very little basketball experience. His size and explosiveness, however, coupled with his killer instinct in the paint, have scouts already drawing comparisons to a young Hakeem Olajuwon.

    If both bright young stars reach their potential, Noel and Saleh could form the most feared frontcourt in the NBA, and with a starting lineup featuring carter-Williams, Cambridge, Noel and Saleh, the Sixers could develop into the team to beat in the East.

11. Denver Nuggets: Kyle Lee Watson (Above the Rim)

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    With a roster that is already relatively deep at all the positions, what the Nuggets really need is a dynamic playmaker on the floor who can be a legitimate No. 1 scoring option and provide some star power to a group that desperately needs it.

    At No. 11, the surefire bets are all gone, but Kyle Lee Watson remains as a player who could be a real difference-maker in the NBA right away. Lee Watson was a bright young player in high school who had his sights set on playing for the NCAA powerhouse Georgetown Hoyas.

    If it weren't for a string of off-court concerns, he may well have ended up being a top-five pick, but many teams are afraid he won't be able to last in the league. Denver vehemently believes in him, and his game has never been a question, so look for Kyle Lee Watson to make a splash on the Nuggets.

12. Orlando Magic: Moses Guthrie (The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh)

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    If Orlando is looking to continue its rebuild by selecting the best player available, Moses Guthrie will be a no-brainer in this spot, referred to by scouts as a fictional, monotone version of Julius Randle.

    However, Guthrie brings with him some major concerns. Already an experienced player in the fictional NBA for the fictional Pittsburgh Pythons (later the Pittsburgh Pisces), the star forward has proven two things:

    1. He's an unbelievably selfish player on and off the court, and pairing him up with Teen Wolf could cause a lot of unnecessary drama.

    2. He's not a winner, and only experiences team success with the help of weird astrological magic, which Orlando does not have an abundance of.

    Despite this, Guthrie is a superstar talent who has already he proven he can compete at the highest level. Perhaps a change in scenery, a bright young lineup and a werewolf teammate who is way better than he is will be just what Guthrie needs.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Sandy Lyle (Along Came Polly)

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    The Timberwolves, desperate to show superstar Kevin Love that they can build a winning team around him right now, were anxious to take Saleh, Kyle Lee Watson or Moses Guthrie, but the 76ers, Nuggets and Magic crushed their hopes of landing any of the three prospects.

    At this point, a surefire star does not remain on the board, and Love has already told management that he refuses to share the court with the dog from Air Bud.

    Sandy Lyle has absolutely no basketball ability whatsoever. Literally, none. He's worse than you. He's worse than me.

    However, it has been rumored that Love and Lyle were best friends back in high school, and that Lyle is really good at getting Love pumped up before games, so drafting him could be a way of showing Love that the T-Wolves are committed to winning with him through and through.

    Hopefully it works out, or Minnesota will be stuck with a wasted pick and a weird haircut.

14. Phoenix Suns: Troy Bolton (High School Musical)

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    The Suns have expressed serious interest in Troy Bolton, the young UC-Berkeley recruit out of East High.

    Though the general consensus is that the Suns will take Bolton with this spot, the pick is already considered to be the biggest first-round reach since the Denver Broncos made Tim Tebow the 25th pick in the 2010 NFL draft, which proved to be a failed experiment.

    Bolton is a bit of a wild card as an NBA prospect. Like Tebow, he receives overwhelming attention from the media and has a massive fanbase. While this could help put Phoenix in the national spotlight, it would likely serve as a distraction. In addition, Bolton has expressed commitment issues with professional basketball, citing a potential career in theater as one he might like to explore. His drive and work ethic are questionable, and it is unknown whether he will choose to remain in basketball, especially if he struggles early on.

    The Suns have extensively praised Bolton's intangibles, namely his leadership skills and ability to bring the best out of his teammates. They consider him a strong ball-handler and distributor and a solid backup point guard who could flourish under the guidance of superstar Goran Dragic.

15. Atlanta Hawks: Buddy (Air Bud)

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    Standing at just under two feet tall, Buddy has a major size disadvantage that scared off a lot of owners in the top 10. In addition, he plays with all four limbs on the floor, making him literally incapable of dribbling the ball. Despite this, Buddy is a ferocious defender and one of the sharpest shooters in the draft. If he can find open shots on the perimeter, he could become one of the most feared three-point shooters in the league.

    Buddy is a bit of a wild card, as he has limited experience and has never played above the middle school level. He's a high-risk, high-reward player with a solid basketball IQ and great character. Buddy and Kyle Korver should form a dynamic duo in the wings, which will fit nicely into Mike Budenholzer's three point-heavy system.

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