There’s something short of two
weeks remaining before the June 28 NBA Draft.
The Chicago Pre-Draft Camp got some
solid performances out of the likes of college seniors David
Lee (Florida), Luther
Head (Illinois) and Sharrod
But none of those players got into
the first round although there was considerable fine-tuning involved in the
second version of our mock draft.
Two non-U.S. players (Nemanja Aleksandrov and Marko Tomas), both lottery selections
in Mock I, apparently are withdrawing from the draft pool, opening a couple of
first round slots.
And seniors Rony Turiaf (Gonzaga) and Salim
Stoudamire (Arizona), at
least in this version of our projected first round, slide out after making
appearances in Mock I. Forward Mikeal
Gelabale (France) was cut from the first round.
Newcomers to our first round are
forwards Yaroslav Korolev
(Russia) and Ersan Ilyasova
Hodge (North Carolina
Walsh (Florida) and Francisco
Five high school/prep school
players are still slotted for the first round, including a Connecticut signee
and McDonald’s All-America center, Andrew
Bynum, who worked out for the Lakers – yes, Phil Jackson was watching, less than 24
hours after being introduced as the team’s “new coach” – against Johan Petro of France Wednesday in the
team’s El Segundo practice facility.
(Heights, without shoes, adjusted
after measurements at Pre-Draft Camp in
Frank Says: It just doesn’t seem wise
to pass on a center of his size with his skill, no matter how much all-star
Williams seems to possess.
Marvin Williams (6-7,
Frank Says: Recent speculation has the
Hawks also considering another Williams (Deron) with this choice.
Williams (6-1 ¾ ,
Frank Says: Assuming the Blazers are
picking for themselves (and not for someone else in a trade), this is their guy
– unless Marvin Williams is still on the board.
Paul (5-11 ¾, Wake
Frank Says: Deron Williams was thought
to be the choice but no one on the Bayou would whine if Paul slips
Green (6-6, Houston
Frank Says: It’s more likely he slips
in the lottery (all the way to No. 11 and
Orlando?) than it is he is tabbed as
early as No. 3. Martell
Webster is the much more polished “player” but many are enthralled – as well
they should be – with Green’s speed, leaping ability and deep range on his jump shot.
Fran Vazquez (6-10,
Frank Says: He’s easily the best of the
non-U.S. (other than Andrew Bogut) prospects and it would be tough for Jazz to
pass on him, unless Chris Paul or Deron Williams were available.
Granger (6-7 ½, New
Frank Says: Picking Channing
Frye could be an option but they already have a better version of Frye in Chris
Bosh. Martell Webster is a tantalizing possibility here, too.
Frye (6-9 ½,
Frank Says: Along with Andrew Bogut and
Deron Williams, he seems the most “NBA ready” in this draft pool.
State: Martell Webster (6-6,
Frank Says: Along with Salim Stoudamire, he’s the best jump
Felton (5-11 ½, North
Frank Says: How does the return of Phil
Jackson affect this selection? Will he be tempted by a “bigger” point guard
prospect, say, Jarrett
Jack or Julius Hodge?
Graham (6-5 ¼, Oklahoma
Frank Says: Height might be an issue
but he’s too good a player to fall out of lottery land.
Clippers: Yaroslav Korolev (6-8,
Frank Says: Someone has guaranteed the slender but
skilled 18-year-old a spot in the first round and the consensus seems to be that
it’s the Clippers.
May (6-7, North
Frank Says: If the Bobcats don’t deal
this slot in an attempt to bag Marvin Williams or Chris Paul, they might find it
tough to bypass this Tar Heel.
Warrick (6-7 ¼,
Frank Says: Many who watched his
head-up workout with Danny Granger
in Chicago felt he helped his stock
considerably and that he could be gone before
Diogu (6-6 ½, Arizona
Frank Says: The comparisons to Elton
Brand are a bit of a stretch but he’s won over a lot of converts during
Jarrett Jack (6-2 ½, Georgia
Frank Says: He had a very good workout
vs. Salim Stoudamire with the Lakers looking on Wednesday.
McCants (6-2 ¾, North
Frank Says: He’s the most skilled
“scorer” in the draft. But will the much publicized “attitude” issues at UNC
leave him available to the Pacers – or beyond?
Roko Ukic (6-5,
Frank Says: It’s conceivable
Toronto could snatch him two
Julius Hodge (6-6,
Frank Says: Jerry West supposedly is
very high on him. That’s a pretty good guy to be high on you. Despite reports to
the contrary, his jump shot is still a concern. But he does everything else so
darn well. Andray
Blatche is an option here, too.
Andray Blatche (6-9,
Frank Says: Some NBA decision makers
will not be startled if he’s chosen before the Nuggets have the opportunity to
Ellis (6-2 ¼, Jackson, Miss, Lanier High)
Frank Says: If Jarrett Jack and Roko
Ukic are gone, this is the next best point guard option.
Ersan Ilyasova (6-8,
Frank Says: He’s not the jump shooter
that Martell Webster and Salim Stoudamire are . . . but he isn’t that far
Charlie Villanueva (6-9,
Frank Says: His versatility and the
vitality he displayed for rebounding as a Huskies’ sophomore helped his stock
Simien (6-7 ¼,
Frank Says: Don’t be surprised if he’s
gone before the Rockets are on the clock.
Frank Says: He was never the caliber of
prospect (hyped as a possible Top Five choice or better on some Internet mocks)
as proclaimed by some this season. Hence, his stock really hasn’t “fallen” to
the degree that some are speculating.
Frank Says: Only 19 and a season or two
away from significant on-court time. But the Pistons are one of the franchises
that can afford to wait a bit.
Wright (6-5 ¼, Texas
Frank Says: If he manages to slip this
far (probably not likely but we couldn’t find a comfortable place to slot him
earlier), the Jazz would have a tough time passing, despite choosing a shooting
Snyder) in the first round a year ago.
Bynum (7-0, Metuchen,
Frank Says: Those who’ve watched him
work out recently think he will be tabbed somewhere in the 20 to 30 range –
assuming he stays in the draft, as seems to be the belief now.
Matt Walsh (6-6,
Frank Says: His size and versatility
give him the edge for this slot over other guards, including Salim Stoudamire
and Luther Head.
Garcia (6-5 ¾,
Frank Says: Ditto the Walsh
Gone quickly in Round 2: Daniel
Ewing (6-3, Duke), David Lee
(6-7 ¾, Florida), Jason
Maxiell (6-5, Cincinnati), Sharrod Ford (6-7 ¼, Clemson), Ryan
Gomes (6-7, Providence), Nate
Robinson (5-8, Washington), Salim Stoudamire (6-0, Arizona), Ronny
Turiaf (6-9, Gonzaga), Luther
Head (6-2) and Amir
Johnson (6-9, Los Angeles Westchester High).
An April inductee into the USBWA
Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is
Scout.com’s National Basketball Expert and is also a columnist for the
(Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be
reached at email@example.com. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at