Welcome to Hoop Dreams, a season preview unlike any other you’ll read before the 2016-17 season tips off. The premise is simple. We’ll be providing 30 of these fictional forays because it simply stinks that only one team can win the title each year. The list of contending teams seems to shrink with each campaign, and we wanted to provide something to those fans who only get to dream of Larry O’Brien during the offseason. Before October, every team can win the NBA title. Don’t believe us? Then keep reading. – Ed
Somewhere in the University City section of Philadelphia, a group of 76ers fans with degrees in biology and bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania read Brian Grubb’s preview for the Sixers. The following passage stuck out to them:
STEP 3 – There must be a virus. Not a lethal virus. We’re not trying to kill anyone here. But someone must create a synthetic virus that temporarily saps people of their ability to play professional basketball, kind of like the space laser the aliens used in Space Jam, but contagious and lasting for exactly one calendar year only. Then everything goes back to normal, with no long term side effects or lingering damage.
“What a great idea!” one says, and the group gets to work. The possibility of a Sixers championship leads them to put their degrees to use, sneaking into labs at UPenn at night until the virus – and, more importantly to them, the antidote – is complete. The plan to strip everyone of their talents before DMing Joel Embiid and getting the antidote into his hands is laid out, acted upon, and done.
But there is a problem that these Sixers fans did not consider. In Milwaukee, there is one man who is not impacted by this virus. Well, he’s not really a man.
Rather, he’s a freak.
While everyone’s talent rapidly deteriorates, Giannis Antetokounmpo is motoring along doing all of the things that turned him into the most intriguing talent in the NBA. Only now, he is doing it against tall people without any semblance of basketball skill. His box scores make no sense – he has at least one game with 75+ points, steals, rebounds, and blocks. He may even get 75+ assists if throwing the ball off the backboard to yourself before you dunk on fools becomes an assist-able action.
But more importantly, his ability to stay strong in the face of a hellacious virus has turned him into a psychical marvel. So while the rest of the league goes to hell, Giannis mysteriously disappears for a few weeks.