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
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
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
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
(*Heights and weights as recorded by the NBA
during the Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando)
1. Raptors, Andrea Bargnani (7-0, 240)
Frank Says: If I’ve making this pick, I’m going for Rudy
Gay or Brandon Roy.
2. Bulls, LaMarcus Aldridge (*6-10, 234)
Frank Says: He could give
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,
3. Bobcats, Rudy Gay (*6-7, 222)
Frank Says: Many NBA insiders think
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)
Frank Says: The speculation of many is that
him for Houston and
gets the rights to Shelden Williams and other considerations (Luther Head?) in
6. Timberwolves, Tyrus Thomas (*6-7
¼, 217) LSU
probably pick Randy Foye if Thomas doesn’t slip this
7. Celtics, Randy Foye (6-2 ¼, 212)
Frank Says: It’s hard to take the speculation of
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
8. Rockets, Shelden Williams (*6-7
½, 258) Duke
appears to be his ultimate destination.
9. Warriors, Marcus Williams (*6-2, 215)
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)
be tempted by another power forward – Hilton Armstrong – as
11. Magic, J.J. Redick (*6-4, 190)
Frank Says: His jump shots should create a little for
space for Dwight Howard to operate in the
12. Hornets, Hilton Armstrong (6-9 ½, 240)
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)
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)
Frank Says: The way his stock is sizzling, if there was
another week before the draft, he might climb into the Top
15. Hornets, Rodney Carney (*6-4 ½, 204)
Frank Says: Carney (or, perhaps Quincy Douby) could give
the team a dangerous perimeter scorer.
16. Bulls, Ronnie Brewer (*6-5 ¾, 223)
Frank Says: After Roy (and, perhaps Sefolosha), he is the
most versatile perimeter player in the draft
17. Pacers, Patrick O’Bryant
(*6-11, 249) Bradley
Frank Says: He’d probably slip this far if
nine) or New
12) doesn’t select him.
18. Wizards, Rajon Rondo (6-1 ½, 175)
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)
Frank Says: There are some scenarios in which Williams is
chosen before his former teammate Rodney
21. Suns, Mouhamed Saer Sene (*6-11, 237)
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)
would be tough for New
pass on if he were still available here.
23. Nets, Josh Boone (6-9, 235)
Frank Says: Alexander Johnson is also a “big” option with
24. Grizzlies, Alexander Johnson (6-8, 235)
Frank Says: Jordan Farmar could be the choice, if
decides it wants a point guard here.
25. Cavaliers, Shannon Brown (6-2, 190)
Frank Says: Brown could be reunited with his former camp
and traveling team buddy, LeBron James.
26. Lakers, Jordan Farmar (6-0 ¾,
him in for a second workout Tuesday.
27. Suns, Sergio Rodriguez (6-3, 170)
Frank Says: He could spell Steve Nash for 10 minutes or
so every game – and maybe be his ultimate
28. Mavericks, Olexsiy Percherov (6-10, 225)
Frank Says: He’d give
another big forward with versatile offensive
29. Knicks, Maurice Ager (*6-3 ¼, 203)
Frank Says: Does Isiah Thomas want another perimeter
scorer? If so, this could be the direction the franchise goes with this
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
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 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