Late Tuesday night in New York
City, all of the weeks of individual workouts and endless speculation about
trade possibilities – real and imagined – will be shoved aside while watching
NBA Commissioner David Stern stride to a podium, note cards in hand, 30
And we can all put away our “mock
draft” thinking caps for another 11 months.
Can I get an “amen”?
The 2005 NBA Draft, all 60
selections worth, is finally on tap Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET).
Here’s the last of our three
first-round projections. Hopefully the last of our mocks will get out of the
evening with its dignity intact.
Trade speculation continued to fly
fast and furious late Monday evening, with a couple of the possible deals –
Portland sending its No. 3 selection (Deron Williams?) to Utah for the Jazz’s
No. 6 (Martell Webster?) as well as Utah’s No. 27 and “other considerations; and
Charlotte picking Rashad McCants at No. 13 in exchange for Denver choices at 20
and 22 – seeming to have an element of logic, and likelihood, to
We’ve been told by NBA insiders
we’ve come to value, for many, many years, since late in December that Andrew Bogut would be the first player chosen in this draft.
And no one has convinced us to
think otherwise yet . . .
1. MILWAUKEE: Andrew Bogut
Frank Says: Larry Harris
& Co. should still be giddy over their good fortune of bagging the No. 1
selection envelope on Lottery Night on May 24.
2. ATLANTA: Marvin Williams
(6-7, North Carolina)
Frank Says: Some are
speculating that the Hawks might draft another (Deron) Williams. But the former
Tar Heel is just too good to pass up, even if it seems as if the team’s roster
is a plethora of gifted players (Al Harrington, Josh Childress and Josh Smith)
in the 6-foot-7 or 6-8 range.
3. PORTLAND: Deron Williams
(6-1 ¾, Illinois)
Frank Says: More likely than
not, his only real brush with the Trail Blazers will be the cap he tugs on his
head after hearing of this pick. His future home could be in Salt Lake
4. NEW ORLEANS: Chris Paul
(5-11 ¾, Wake Forest)
Frank Says: The Hornets land
in a nest of high-quality point guards and bag the one that many feel has the
best future of the bunch.
5. CHARLOTTE: Raymond Felton
(5-11 ½, North Carolina)
Frank Says: The Bobcats have
a multitude of enticing options in this slot. This one seems to make the most
6. UTAH: Martell Webster
(6-6, Seattle, Wash., Prep)
Frank Says: The franchise’s
decision makers and shapers are big fans of the most-ready-to-play prep in the
draft. But they are even bigger fans of the draft’s best point guard prospect,
Deron Williams, who may be headed their way if the Jazz and Portland hit pay
dirt with their trade discussions.
7. TORONTO: Danny Granger
(6-7 ½, New Mexico)
Frank Says: When it comes to
NBA draft decisions, “safe” is a relative term. But not too many NBA GMs and
personnel directors would find fault with going for one of the most versatile scorers
in the draft.
8. NEW YORK: Channing Frye
(6-9 ½, Arizona)
Frank Says: The Knicks might
choose between preps Gerald Green and Andrew Bynum if someone launches the Frye
pick before they’re up. But this is the guy they want.
9. GOLDEN STATE: Hakim Warrick (6-7 ¼, Syracuse)
Frank Says: Sean May is also
being given long and hard consideration by the Warriors
10. L.A. LAKERS: Gerald
Green (6-6, Houston Gulf Shores Academy)
Frank Says: Mitch Kupchak
& Co. inherit what might have been the Knicks’ dilemma – which prep player
with oodles of upside to select? The hunch here says go with high-flying and
deep-shooting, if yet-still-lacking-in-polish, Green.
11. ORLANDO: Joey Graham
(6-5 ¼, Oklahoma State)
Frank Says: The Magic would
have rather selected a better long-range shooter (namely, Martell Webster) but
Graham is anything but a chintzy consolation prize.
12. L.A. CLIPPERS: Yaroslav
Korolev (6-8, Russia)
Frank Says: The Clippers are
another franchise that was enamored with Martell Webster but Korolev is another
18-year-old with the kind of tools that should make him an on-court contributor
sooner than some realize.
13. CHARLOTTE: Rashad
McCants (6-2 ¾, North Carolina)
Frank Says: He could team
with Raymond Felton for a heck of an all-UNC backcourt. But he also may be
headed to Denver for the Nuggets’ selections at No. 20 and
14. MINNESOTA: Charlie Villanueva (6-9, Connecticut)
Frank Says: Francisco Garcia
and Antoine Wright are also very possible options for the Timberwolves.
Villanueva’s size and versatility may give him the nod
15. NEW JERSEY: Sean May
(6-7, North Carolina)
Frank Says: The Nets will be
very pleased, indeed, if the guy who is possibly the best low-post scorer in the
draft pool is available for them.
16. TORONTO: Roko Ukic (6-5,
Frank Says: The Raptors also
like Jarrett Jack among the point guards who figure to be available to them
here. Give the edge to Ukic.
17. INDIANA: Francisco Garcia
(6-5 ¾, Louisville)
Frank Says: Antoine Wright
or Kennedy Winston (Alabama) could be other options in trying to find a wing to
inherit the minutes – and jump shots – available with the retirement of future
Hall of Fame selection Reggie Miller.
18. BOSTON: Monta Ellis (6-2
¼, Jackson, Miss., Lanier)
Frank Says: Some think the
Celtics like Roko Ukic at this spot. They do but he’s not apt to be available. He
didn’t set the all-star games afire like some expected but some scouts still
consider him a near-lottery level talent.
19. MEMPHIS: Julius Hodge
(6-6, North Carolina State)
Frank Says: Well, does Jerry
West “like” Hodge enough to actually make him the Grizzlies’ guy – and perhaps
their point guard of the future? Stay tuned.
20. DENVER: Andray Blatche
(6-10, South Kent, Ct., Prep)
Frank Says: The Nuggets
could be making selections for Charlotte by this point. Whoever he plays for,
Blatche could prove to be (take your choice of terminology) a bargain or steal
at No. 20.
21. PHOENIX: Johan Petro
Frank Says: He is only 19 so
we can almost refer to him as one of the “high school guys” chosen in this first
22. DENVER: Antoine Wright
(6-5 ¼, Texas A&M)
Frank Says: Wright will also
be strongly considered at No.'s 14 and 15 so he may not have to sweat it out this
23. SACRAMENTO: Fran Vazquez
Frank Says: Up until a
couple of (one poor, one better) workouts in New York City Saturday and Sunday,
he was a near-consensus choice to be tabbed in the lottery. The Kings would
consider themselves quite fortunate if he is theirs for the
24. HOUSTON: Wayne Simien
(6-7 ¼, Kansas)
Frank Says: He’s one of
several viable options that also include Ike Diogu and Jarrett
25. SEATTLE: Jarrett Jack
(6-3, Georgia Tech)
Frank Says: The feeling
seems to be that Jack, who is rated higher than Roko Ukic and Monta Ellis on
many draft boards, doesn’t get by the Sonics.
26. DETROIT: Ersan Ilyasova
Frank Says: Jump shooters
are always a valued commodity and he’s among the three or four best in the
27. UTAH: Andrew Bynum (7-0,
Metuchen, N.J., St. Joseph’s)
Frank Says: Will he still be
available this deep into the draft with teams like New York, the Lakers and
Minnesota considering him at No.’s 8, 10 and 14? The Jazz could be picking him
for another team, Portland, enthralled by his potential.
28. SAN ANTONIO: C.J. Miles
(6-5 ½, Dallas Skyline)
Frank Says: There isn’t
really anything the Spurs are lacking for right now. So why not choose a player
they can afford to wait on for a while? He worked out well for a lot of teams
considering him earlier than this, including Denver and
29. MIAMI: Matt Walsh (6-6,
Frank Says: Salim Stoudamire, he of the almost limitless shooting range, is another strong
candidate right here.
30. NEW YORK: Luther Head
Frank Says: If the rest of
the first round goes about as expected, Head would be the best of the
“point-guard types” still undrafted.
On the outside looking at early
second round: Here are some guys who were just edged out in at least a few
spots. Any of them have interest from teams drafting from the late teens on –
Ike Diogu (6-6 ½, Arizona State), Martynas Andriuskevicius (7-1 ¼,
Lithuania), Chris Taft (6-8 ½, Pittsburgh), Amir Johnson (6-9, Los
Angeles Westchester High), Salim Stoudamire (6-0, Arizona), Nate Robinson (5-8, Washington), Ryan Gomes (6-7, Providence), Mickael
Gelabale (6-7, Francis), Kennedy Winston (6-6, Alabama) and
Lawrence Roberts (6-8, Mississippi State).
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 Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be
reached at email@example.com. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at