It's Tuesday morning October 26, and everybody is getting ready for the season opener.
You turn on the television, and to your horror there is breaking news. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Paul Pierce are missing without a trace.
Everybody is freaking out, but there is no foul play suspected. Hours later, before tip off of the season, another report comes out.
Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Brandon Roy and Joe Johnson have disappeared, with similar circumstances.
All of a sudden your TV goes fuzzy, and then a humanoid type figure appears before you, and says.
"We have taken your world's best basketball players to play in an intergalactic basketball league. So we can see if Earth truly has the most gifted athletes. We shall return them at the end of June, when we are finished studying their skills. They will not be harmed in any way. Thank you."
The world is stunned and terrified, by this this transmission. People cry in the streets, families of the players beg our leaders to do something. But nothing can be done.
After several presidential addresses, it is decided that the only thing we can do is wait until the end of June, the time the alien life form promised the safe return of our beloved superstars.
A press conference is held by the NBA. David Stern nervously walks on stage and makes his announcement.
"It is in the best interest of the league, and the rest of the players to continue the season as planned. This is what our men would have wanted, and we must move forward until their safe return. There will be no comments after this." He then turns and walks off.
Now, this is just a story of course. But, how would the top teams in the NBA stack up without their superstars? This is how I think it could play out.
With Joe Johnson gone, the Atlanta Hawks will have to go to Jamal Crawford as their No. 1 option.
Crawford was the NBA's sixth man award winner, averaging 18 points per game off the bench. The offense would lose a bit with Johnson's 21 points per game missing, but Crawford, Smith, and Hortford would have increased numbers.
They wouldn't be as worse of as some of the other teams on the list, but I think they make the playoffs at a low seed. They probably wouldn't make it out of the first round, though.
Projected Record: 48-34
Losing Johnson could be a blessing in disguise, because he is overpaid and doesn't give them what they need: a true leader on the court.
Maybe in that void, Mike Bibby can step up and be the leader.
Without any other injuries to the rest of this very talented and deep team, Portland doesn't miss Roy that much.
When I say this team is deep, I mean it. Lamarcus Aldridge is a great shooter and put up decent numbers every night at 17.9 ppg on nearly 50% from the field.
Not to mention Andre Miller, who is getting older but seems to defy time it's self with decent numbers himself.
Also with a slew of talented big men, with Oden, Camby, and Aldridge, I don't see how they can't maintain the status quo. Their bench is solid as well.
Tim Duncan's absence would spell the end of the Spurs. Their offense and deffense would suffer a great loss.
With this one you can't just look at the numbers, because Duncan is the heart and soul of this team.
I feel at this point that Parker would demand a trade, and the team would be left with an aging yet lethal Gionobli.
But that won't be enough. They were a low seed last year at almost full strength and didn't get past the second round.
I don't think they even make the playoffs without Duncan.
The Thunder would be missing its centerpiece, their leading scorer, and rebounder.
Making it into the playoffs was such a hard-fought battle with Durant in the mix; imagine them doing it without their young All-Star.
Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook were the next two leading scorers after Durant.
You would have to add both of them together just to match what Durant is bringing to the table.
Plain and simple, without Durant this Thunder team does not make the playoffs.
Dirk leads the Mavs in almost every offensive category, with the exception of assists. There isn't a better shooting 7-footer in the league, and the Mavs know this.
So without Dirk, the Mavs would have a hard time scoring points, and the fact that Dirk plays inside out, which spreads the floor for them, Kidd would struggle to find lanes to drive and kick.
I still think the Mavs make the playoffs though, because Jason Terry can pick up a little slack with more minutes. Shawn Marion would score more, too.
Dwight Howard is defending NBA defensive player of the year, a rebounding machine that few teams have an answer for.
That being said, the Magic are mostly known for three point shooting. So, how would his absence affect how they play?
Marcin Gortat is by no means the same caliber of player that Dwight Howard is. He is a decent post defender, shot blocker, and rebounder, who would be able to fill in to a certain degree.
Also with all of the shooters this team has, they would be able to still maintain some sort of offense.
Coach Van Gundy is a very capable coach who in my mind would be able to come up with a good secondary plan to keep his team on top.
Sorry, Denver fans. We could very well see what would happen this up coming season. The outlook is pretty grim.
With Melo gone, your whole offense is dead. Also, with the prospect of J.R. Smith leaving as well, leaves you with NeNe, Kmart, Ty Lawson and the aging Billups to step up and lead the team.
Mr. Big Shot is capable of puting up some numbers, but nothing like Melo. Denver will fall from contention in the west, not to a lottery team. but they won't make the playoffs.
The Last three of these slides are the teams that are the cream of the crop.
The Boston Celtics, like the other two super teams in the NBA, have a plethora of talent.
The big three in Boston is a mix of players that all compliment each others game and position.
You take one of the three away and the other two are left to pick up the slack.
This is something that doesn't really affect L.A. and Miami as much as it does Boston.
Paul Pierce is the team's leading scorer with 18 ppg, and was the Finals MVP. He has a knack for taking his game to another when it counts the most.
So in his absence the Celtics would have to sacrifice a little of their defensive tenacity to compensate for the loss in offensive production.
Ray Allen is a hit and miss type player, who can set the building on fire from the outside, while at times he can't even throw the ball in the ocean.
K.G. may not be the "Big Ticket" so much anymore, but his intensity and intimidation factor are still top notch.
The silver lining to this dark cloud is Rajon Rando. This guy has increased his game every year since his rookie season, and is now one of the top five point guards in the NBA.
If his development continues, and his jump shot gets better, the Celtics may not even notice a difference in how well they play.
This is the easiest one. The Miami Heat, have potentially the most talented team in the NBA, that has never played.
LeBron James has yet to play a game in South Beach, and it's truly impossible to tell wheather his impact will be as positive as most people think it will be.
So, if he did not play this season the Heat would still be better than it was last year.
D-Wade is hitting his prime, and with Chris Bosh and Mike Miller, this team will be a force to be reckoned with in the east.
As it stands the Miami Heat could be a lock for the Finals if this were reality.
We have had a little taste of life with out the Mamba could look like. The Lakers went 6-3 after Bryant went down with an ankle injury.
Pau Gasol is potentially one of the most talented big men in the league, and would have to assume the position as first option in the triangle. This would not be hard at all for him.
Shanon Brown would have to step in as the starter and after a year of improvement, as he showed he could do a decent job in Bryant's absence last year averaging 15 ppg, and matching his career high in points against the Warriors.
Ron Artest and Lamar Odom would also have to consistently step up their game, for the Lakers to have a shot.
The one thing this Lakers team would not be is a lock for the three-peat. If Bynum stays healthy, he really increases their chances.
Rest assured they would be a playoff team, with a great shot at making the Conference Finals, and mabey the Finals.
But I don't see them winning it all, especially against an improved Miami Heat squad led by Wade.