Hoop Dreams

Imagine It: Tim Duncan as a Net, and LeBron James as a Knick

And before you ask, drafting a project wouldn't slow down the rebuilding process. Given their salary cap woes, the Knicks have to think about rebuilding through the draft. So in an irony that Kurt Vonnegut would eat whole, the more the Knicks suck next year, the rosier their future looks. The big prize in next year's lottery is Ohio schoolboy LeBron James, a Kobe Bryant clone who would have been the No. 1 pick in this draft—as a junior—if he had been eligible this year. James combines Jordan-esque hops with a pass-first Magic Johnson mentality. (Last week he broke his wrist in an AAU game on a play in which he jumped so high he hit his defender in the head with his knee.) Would James look good in white and orange? Does David Stern wear a Knick jersey under that suit? Will next year's NBA draft lottery be run like a Florida presidential election?

Repeat after me, hoops fans: "Victory through defeat." Imagine Duncan in the Swamps and LeBron in the Garden. The future's so bright we've got to wear shades.

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