A Couple Of Decisions Change Draft
Roy Hibbert
Roy Hibbert
Scout National Basketball Columnist
Posted May 26, 2007


The University of Kansas and Georgetown basketball teams remained Top 10 contenders, while the NBA Draft's first round got a bit thinner, after the decisions this past week of a couple of prominent players to bypass hefty NBA paychecks for another year.

The NBA Draft Lottery was held Tuesday night and it took only three days for the shape of the first round to be altered.

 

And the look of the college basketball preseason Top 10 teams has changed as well because of two decisions.

 

*On Wednesday, Georgetown center Roy Hibbert announced he was returning to the Hoyas for his senior season.

 

It deprives the June 28 draft of a likely lottery (top 14) choice but keeps Coach John Thompson III’s program as a strong national championship contender for next season – even with the loss of Big East Player of the Year Jeff Green, who is bypassing his senior campaign for the draft.

 

*And on Friday evening 6-foot-6 Brandon Rush of Kansas, who would have been chosen in the No.’s 20 to 25 range of the first round on June 28, said he’ll be back in Lawrence for his junior season.

 

That decision is enough to cement Kansas as the team to beat for the Big 12 title next spring and to keep Bill Self’s program in strong Final Four contenders’ mode.

 

And on June 28 there will be two other very happy people because of the Hibbert and Rush decisions: the two guys who get into the first round because Hibbert and Rush are staying in college.

 

Here’s the first of the frankhoops.com mock first rounds for the 2007 NBA Draft:

 

1. Portland: Greg Oden (7-0, Ohio State)

Frank Says: The last time this franchise had an opportunity to draft a center as talented as this guy was in 1974 and the player’s name was Bill Walton.

 

2. Seattle: Kevin Durant (6-9, Texas)

Frank Says: Suddenly it doesn’t seem quite as imperative that the Sonics resign Rashard Lewis.

 

3. Atlanta: Brandan Wright (6-9, North Carolina)

Frank Says: The player the Hawks need is Mike Conley but Wright has too much value to pass up with this selection.

 

4. Memphis: Joakim Noah (6-11, Florida)

Frank Says: He’s the most versatile post in the draft pool. Now, if he only had a jump shot . . .

 

5. Boston: Jeff Green (6-8, Georgetown)

Frank Says: If Oden isn’t the Rookie of the Year in 2008, it will be this guy – regardless of who selects him.

 

6. Milwaukee: Al Horford (6-8, Florida)

Frank Says: He’ll team with Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva for a nifty frontcourt.

 

7. Minnesota: Yi Jianlian (7-0, China)

Frank Says: He could go as early as fourth or as late as 10th.

 

8. Charlotte: Corey Brewer (6-7, Florida)

Frank Says: The Bucks and Timberwolves will be tempted to take him.

 

9. Chicago: Spencer Hawes (6-11, Washington)

Frank Says: The most offensively skilled post player in this draft pool, he could be nabbed beforehand by Minnesota.

 

10. Sacramento: Mike Conley (6-1, Ohio State)

Frank Says: The most promising of the point guards could be long gone before the Kings are on the board.

 

11. Atlanta: Acie Law (6-3, Texas A&M)

Frank Says: But this pick takes place only if the Hawks don’t end up with Conley

 

12. Philadelphia: Al Thornton (6-8, Florida State)

Frank Says: Even at 12 I might be undervaluing him. But, at 24 on Dec. 7, he’ll be the elder statesman of rookies. Kevin Durant doesn’t turn 19 until Sept. 29.

 

13. New Orleans: Nick Young (6-6, USC)

Frank Says: One of the three or four best “scorers” in the draft pool.

 

14. L.A. Clippers: Julian Wright (6-7, Kansas)

Frank Says: Like Noah, he could have been a character in The Wizard of Oz who bemoaned to Dorothy “If I only had a jump shot!”

 

15. Detroit: Tiago Splitter (6-10, Brazil)

Frank Says: Could spell both Rasheed Wallace and Chris Webber.

 

16. Washington: Jason Smith (7-0, Colorado State)

Frank Says: The Wizards could be tempted to go with McRoberts.

 

17. New Jersey: Josh McRoberts (6-10, Duke)

Frank Says: The Nets will be tickled if McRoberts or Smith is still for the taking when they’re doing the taking.

 

18. Golden State: Thaddeus Young (6-8, Georgia Tech)

Frank Says: Assuming Don Nelson is still coaching, Young would seem to fit the spread the floor and drive it or shoot it-approach well.

 

19. L.A. Lakers: Rodney Stuckey (6-4, Eastern Washington)

Frank Says: Scouts go about 50-50 as to whether he’s a point or scoring guard.

 

20. Miami: Javaris Crittenton (6-5, Georgia Tech)

Frank Says: He’s much more a “scorer” than “true point guard” at the moment.

 

21. Philadelphia: DeVon Hardin (6-10, Cal)

Frank Says: Hampered by injuries the past two seasons, he’s the true sleeper among post prospects in the draft.

 

22. Charlotte: Daequan Cook (6-5, Ohio State)

Frank Says: Athletically, he is as good as it gets in this draft at the two-guard slot.

 

23. New York: Rudy Fernandez (6-6, Spain)

Frank Says: He can shoot it deep and take it to the rim. How physical is he?

 

24. Phoenix: Marco Belinelli (6-5, Italy)

Frank Says: He’ll give Steve Nash another guy to set up in transition.

 

25. Utah: Ante Tomic (7-2, Croatia)

Frank Says: He’s on the thin side (230ish) but has a lot of ways to score.

 

26. Houston: Gabe Pruitt (6-4, USC)

Frank Says: He’s not a “point guard”, per se, quite yet – but he’s a lot closer to fitting into that mold since coming under the tutelage of Tim Floyd.

 

27. Detroit: Wilson Chandler (6-8, DePaul)

Frank Says: A player whose stock will climb before June 28.

 

28. San Antonio: Nick Fazekas (6-11, Nevada)

Frank Says: No, he’s nothing approaching the “next Tim Duncan” but he’s good enough to evolve into a multi-skilled post contributor for the Spurs.

 

29. Phoenix: Marc Gasol (7-0, Spain)

Frank Says: If he’s two-third the prospect his brother was at the same stage, he’ll be in the NBA for a while.

 

30. Philadelphia: Sean Williams (6-9, Boston College)

Frank Says: He’s probably closer to 6-8 than the 6-10 he is listed in other places but there is no exaggerating his rebounding and shot-blocking abilities.



 

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 frank.burlison@presstelegram.com. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at www.frankhoops.com



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