Toronto Seems Set To Go Big And Italian
Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay
Scout National Basketball Columnist
Posted Jun 28, 2006

The Toronto Raptors took long and hard looks at about a half-dozen players before they reached a conclusion on who they will make the first selection in the NBA Draft Wednesday night. And that choice will be . . .

Barring any change of collective heart, the Toronto Raptors are expected to make Italian seven-footer Andrea Bargnani the first selection in the NBA Draft Wednesday night in New York City.


Bargnani, according to multiple league sources, apparently won out over LaMarcus Aldridge (Texas), Rudy Gay (Connecticut), Tyrus Thomas (LSU), Adam Morrison (Gonzaga) and Brandon Roy (Washington) as the Raptors’ evaluators and decision makers spent the better part of two months trying to determine who they would select.


A little less clear is the likely decision of the Chicago Bulls, who will be on-deck while Toronto makes its choice.


The Bulls were supposedly trying to decide between Aldridge and Thomas as Tuesday night morphed into Wednesday morning in Chicago.


Here are the first-round selections in my final mock draft before NBA Commissioner David Stern kicks everything off by reading the first name and shaking the first hand on stage Wednesday night:


(*Heights and weights as recorded by the NBA during the Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando)


1. Raptors, Andrea Bargnani (7-0, 240) Italy

Frank Says: If I’ve making this pick, I’m going for Rudy Gay or Brandon Roy.


2. Bulls, LaMarcus Aldridge (*6-10, 234) Texas

Frank Says: He could give Chicago a semblance of a low-post offensive attack – finally. But Tyrus Thomas is also still a viable option here. If the Bulls go for the LSU product, Aldridge would likely land with either Portland, Atlanta or Minnesota.


3. Bobcats, Rudy Gay (*6-7, 222) Connecticut

Frank Says: Many NBA insiders think Charlotte could opt for Adam Morrison instead.


4. Trail Blazers, Adam Morrison (*6-6 ½, 198) Gonzaga

Frank Says: The only way this pick gets a bit dicey is if Aldridge is still on the board.


5. Hawks, Brandon Roy (*6-5 ¼, 207) Washington

Frank Says: The speculation of many is that Atlanta picks him for Houston and gets the rights to Shelden Williams and other considerations (Luther Head?) in return.


6. Timberwolves, Tyrus Thomas (*6-7 ¼, 217) LSU

Frank Says: Minnesota would probably pick Randy Foye if Thomas doesn’t slip this far.


7. Celtics, Randy Foye (6-2 ¼, 212) Villanova

Frank Says: It’s hard to take the speculation of Boston trading the No. 7 slot to Portland for Sebastian Telfair seriously with the possibility that the Celtics could have Foye – or maybe even Brandon Roy – with the pick.


8. Rockets, Shelden Williams (*6-7 ½, 258) Duke

Frank Says: Atlanta appears to be his ultimate destination.


9. Warriors, Marcus Williams (*6-2, 215) Connecticut

Frank Says: He could be Baron Davis’ running mate – or insurance policy – if Davis is sidelined a lot again next season.


10. Sonics, Cedric Simmons (*6-8 ½, 223) North Carolina State

Frank Says: Seattle could be tempted by another power forward – Hilton Armstrong – as well.


11. Magic, J.J. Redick (*6-4, 190) Duke

Frank Says: His jump shots should create a little for space for Dwight Howard to operate in the lane.


12. Hornets, Hilton Armstrong (6-9 ½, 240) Connecticut

Frank Says: He’d give New Orleans/Oklahoma a rebounding and shot-blocking force in the mold of a one-time Byron Scott teammate with the Lakers – Elden Campbell.


13. 76ers, Kyle Lowry (5-11 ¾, 175) Villanova

Frank Says: When in doubt and in search of a point guard, go “local” if that’s a viable option.


14. Jazz, Thabo Sefolosha (6-6, 220) Switzerland

Frank Says: The way his stock is sizzling, if there was another week before the draft, he might climb into the Top Five.


15. Hornets, Rodney Carney (*6-4 ½, 204) Memphis

Frank Says: Carney (or, perhaps Quincy Douby) could give the team a dangerous perimeter scorer.


16. Bulls, Ronnie Brewer (*6-5 ¾, 223) Arkansas

Frank Says: After Roy (and, perhaps Sefolosha), he is the most versatile perimeter player in the draft pool.


17. Pacers, Patrick O’Bryant (*6-11, 249) Bradley

Frank Says: He’d probably slip this far if Golden State (at nine) or New Orleans (at 12) doesn’t select him.


18. Wizards, Rajon Rondo (6-1 ½, 175) Kentucky

Frank Says: He could free Gilbert Arenas from a lot of his point-guard responsibilities.


19. Kings, Quincy Douby (6-2, 160) Rutgers

Frank Says: Some NBA insiders believe he is the best “scorer” in this draft.


20. Knicks, Shawne Williams (*6-7 ¼, 227) Memphis

Frank Says: There are some scenarios in which Williams is chosen before his former teammate Rodney Carney.


21. Suns, Mouhamed Saer Sene (*6-11, 237) Senegal

Frank Says: He’s the best shot blocker in the draft but his offensive skills couldn’t be any more unrefined. Some scouts think he is a few years older than his listed 20.


22. Nets, James White (6-7, 205) Cincinnati

Frank Says: Quincy Douby would be tough for New Jersey to pass on if he were still available here.


23. Nets, Josh Boone (6-9, 235) Connecticut

Frank Says: Alexander Johnson is also a “big” option with this selection.


24. Grizzlies, Alexander Johnson (6-8, 235) Florida State

Frank Says: Jordan Farmar could be the choice, if Memphis decides it wants a point guard here.


25. Cavaliers, Shannon Brown (6-2, 190) Michigan State

Frank Says: Brown could be reunited with his former camp and traveling team buddy, LeBron James.


26. Lakers, Jordan Farmar (6-0 ¾, 171) UCLA

Frank Says: Los Angeles had him in for a second workout Tuesday.


27. Suns, Sergio Rodriguez (6-3, 170) Spain

Frank Says: He could spell Steve Nash for 10 minutes or so every game – and maybe be his ultimate replacement.


28. Mavericks, Olexsiy Percherov (6-10, 225) Ukraine

Frank Says: He’d give Dallas another big forward with versatile offensive skills.


29. Knicks, Maurice Ager (*6-3 ¼, 203) Michigan State

Frank Says: Does Isiah Thomas want another perimeter scorer? If so, this could be the direction the franchise goes with this selection.


30. Trail Blazers, Ryan Hollins (7-0, 240) UCLA

Frank Says: He finally blossomed over the final couple of months of his college career and he could be rewarded handsomely for his efforts.


Others who could get into first round: Paul Davis (6-10, 240) Michigan State; Marcus Vinicius (6-9, 230) Brazil; Leon Powe (6-7, 240) Cal; Dee Brown (5-11, 175) Illinois; Daniel Gibson (6-2, 175) Texas; Steve Novak (6-9, 220) Marquette; Guillermo Diaz (6-2, 180) Miami; Joel Freeland (6-10, 220) England; P.J. Tucker (6-5, 225) Texas.


Inducted into the USBWA Hall of Fame in April, 2005, Frank Burlison is’s national basketball expert and is also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at Read more of Burlison’s pieces at

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