SI.com's Chris Mannix clearly missed all of the NBA playoffs. He's crafted a mock draft with a spin: all NBA players are available. It's a cute little way to drum up traffic. LeBron James is first, followed by Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Yao Ming and KG. It's tough to argue with any of the selections. However, my beef comes with his ranking of Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce:
12. Sacramento Kings: Dirk Nowitzki, PF, 30. Before the 2006 NBA Finals, Nowitzki probably would have been a top three pick. But Nowitzki's inability to develop a reliable post-up game has cost him a few spots. Still, the sweet-shooting 7-footer is a building-block player.
17. Toronto Raptors: Paul Pierce, SF, 30. Pierce can get physical with smaller forwards and drive around bigger ones. A durable player (only one full season of fewer than 73 games), the 10-year veteran proved in the NBA Finals that his defense is underrated.
Dirk over Paul? Really? Didn't Nowitzki allow the Mavs to lose four straight in the 2006 Finals? Didn't Dirk and the Mavs win 67-games the following year only to lose in the first round? All Pierce did was outplay LeBron James and Kobe Bryant en route to the championship. He also led the C's to the greatest playoff comeback ever in Game 4. I rest my case….