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Original Issue

Defense Mechanisms

IT'S MY GREAT pleasure to introduce you to our first-round draft pick. Tremendous athleticism, upside, versatility, impressive length, a nice base, defends multiple positions, and boy, can he spread the floor. Rarely have I seen a floor spread so well. It was like peanut butter. I'm telling you: You're going to love this kid.

Kid? He's 23.

And 23, of course, was the number worn by Michael Jordan. And LeBron James. And Herm Fuetsch. Our analytics department says this gives our guy a 2-in-3 shot of being a Hall of Famer, or 66%, if you're not into fractions.

Speaking of percentages ...

Yes, he struggled to shoot the rock this year. He did shoot one pedestrian, but it was just a surface wound, and anyway we've looked into that, and we're comfortable with his makeup. Honestly, that just confirmed what we already knew: He's a fiery guy who needs to work on his decision-making. His teammates are always behind him.

That's because they're scared to be in front of him.

We don't believe that to be the case. Listen, we're drafting basketball players, not choirboys. And when you talk about his shooting, keep in mind: He can get his shot any time. Any. Time. Making it will come later. But he's a winner. His team won 25 games this year, compared with 14 the year before.

He played more the year before.

And this just speaks to his unselfishness. He is a leader. Consistent. Unselfish. He's an unselfish leader, and a consistent winner, and—

You're saying the same thing over and over.

Again, that just points to his consistency. All he does is win.

That is literally all he did.

It might seem that way to you. But we got him into our facility for a workout, and he blew us away with his athleticism. At the end of the day, we just couldn't pass.

Neither can he.

That's your opinion. You're entitled to it. But we think his court vision is underrated. When we worked him out, we placed him under the basket and said, "There's a walnut somewhere on the court. Find it." He saw it before the shot clock expired. You can't teach that.

So where do you envision him playing?

Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, a bit on the West Coast when the schedule calls for it. The usual places.

I meant: What position?

Oh. He's a natural three. There isn't any doubt about that. That's where he belongs—24/7, 365 days a year. But we also plan to use him at the two when we go big, the four when we go small, the five if we go tiny and the zero if we can sneak him on the court when nobody is looking. He reminds me—I shouldn't say this, it's not fair, and I don't want to place expectations on the kid—but he reminds me of Kobe Bryant with Allen Iverson's quickness and Magic Johnson's basketball IQ. But we just want him to be him.

Honestly, between us, we were just glad he was there so we could grab him.

Well, on the topic of grabbing things ...

I think you're referring to the grocery store incident, which we've looked into. It was unrelated to the pedestrian situation, and it was a big misunderstanding. He had every intention of paying for that tomato sauce. Again, we're comfortable with it. I watched the security footage, and when he plucked the jars off the shelves, he showed his impressive wingspan. That translates to the NBA game. And he has matured a lot since. We believe in his character. He comes from a good family.

Look, you can't draft an NBA-ready talent like this every day, especially because you can draft only once a year. We feel good about it. He'll fit nicely with our team, with our culture. We expect him to be a big piece of the long-term puzzle, as—

[Phone buzzes.]

Hang on.

[Pause. Leaves room for 10 minutes. Returns.]

We just traded him. Got a great offer. Sorry to see him go. But you're going to love the guy we got....

It's a pleasure to introduce you to our first-round draft pick. I'm telling you: You're going to love this kid....

What will be the biggest shocker at the NBA Draft?

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