NBA GMs Get Unsolicited Advice
Greg Oden
Greg Oden
Scout National Basketball Columnist
Posted Jun 20, 2007

NBA Draft Night is creeping up on us. Before long, mock first-round projections will be moot. Some would argue that they already are, I realize. But why not take another pop at it as I get to play the role of NBA "decision maker" a week or so before the real deal?

Here’s my next-to-last first-round projection for the June 28 NBA Draft.


This one differs from my first and last (to be posted the day before the draft) in that it is, for the most part, a look at the 1 to 30 selections if I were getting paid to make the respective choices for the franchises.


My last stab at this will be one in which I’m strictly projecting the way I think each of the decision-makers will decide upon each of those selections.


Got it?


OK, here we go . .


If yours truly was picking for each of the teams on June 28:

1. Portland: Greg Oden (*6-11, Ohio State)

Frank Says: If only all of life was so simple and clear-cut as saying “We’ll take Greg Oden with the No. 1 selection, thank you very much!”


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

Frank Says: And, yes, picking the slender scoring sensation (there’s your daily dose of alliteration) in this slot is every bit as self evident as the previous selection.


3. Atlanta: Mike Conley (*5-11 ¾, Ohio State)

Frank Says: This franchise needs an elite playmaker, first and foremost – not a guy who might prove to be a better player than Marvin Williams or Shelden Williams. The Hawks shouldn’t delude themselves into believing Acie Law and Javaris Crittenton would be “good enough” alternatives to Conley at the No. 11 slot.


4. Memphis: Al Horford (*6-8 ¾, Florida)

Frank Says: His ceiling for stardom isn’t as high as Jeff Green’s or Brandan Wright’s but he looks like an immediate 12-to-14 point- and 7-to-9 rebound-per game producer.


5. Boston: Jeff Green (*6-7 ¾, Georgetown)

Frank Says: The Celtics have got Paul Pierce and Gerald Green as wing-types but Jeff Green’s versatility, and star potential, makes him the obvious choice anyway.


6. Milwaukee: Brandan Wright (*6-8 ¾, North Carolina)

Frank Says: Just think – the Bucks are going to have the opportunity to draft Horford, Green or this guy and throw him into a frontline that already includes Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva. They should be feeling pretty good come June 28.


7. Minnesota: Joakim Noah (*6-10 ½, Florida)

Frank Says: He’s not nearly the scorer that Spencer Hawes or (apparently) Yi Jianlian is but Noah should have more impact as a defender, rebounder and “energy guy”. And, who knows? Maybe that ugly jumper will eventually be rescued.


8. Charlotte: Corey Brewer (*6-6 ¾, Florida)

Frank Says: Jeff Green would be the ideal selection in this slot but I’m thinking there is no way he’s around for the Bobcats. Brewer needs to get a stronger and gain a bit of consistency on his jump shot.


9. Chicago: Spencer Hawes (*6-10 ½, Washington)

Frank Says: If you’re of the mind that the Timberwolves have “promised” Hawes at No. 7 (and I’m told that isn’t the case), he could already be gone by the time the Bulls are up. Hawes/Luol Deng (assuming he’s not dealt in a package for Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant)/Tyrus Thomas would have the look of an intriguing frontcourt.


10. Sacramento: Yi Jianlian (7-0, China)

Frank Says: He’s supposedly quite the athlete with quite the jump shot and quite the ball-handling skills. With all the other frontcourt guys probably gone at this point, he seems the best option.


11. Atlanta: Julian Wright (*6-8 ¾, Kansas)

Frank Says: Assuming the Hawks have gone for Conley at No. 3 and still hold this choice, this becomes one of those “best available prospect” kind of selections – even with a roster flooded with wing-types.


12. Philadelphia: Al Thornton (*6-5 ¾, Florida State)

Frank Says: The 76ers would love to see Hawes still on the board here. But it’s not going to happen. Nick Young would be tempting here as well.


13. New Orleans: Nick Young (*6-5, USC)

Frank Says: The guy (Lorenzo Romar) who coached the 2007 Rookie of the Year (Brandon Roy) at the University of Washington thinks Young can have comparable immediate impact next season.


14. L.A. Clippers: Acie Law (*6-2, Texas A&M)

Frank Says: The franchise needs a point with Shaun Livingston’s future effectiveness still in limbo. Get ready for a new edition of L.A. Law.


15. Detroit: Rodney Stuckey (*6-3 ¾, Eastern Washington)

Frank Says: He would give them someone capable of playing 20 or so minutes per game in relief of both Chauncy Billups and Richard Hamilton.


16. Washington: Josh McRoberts (6-8 ¾, Duke)

Frank Says: The Clippers will be tempted to snap him two slots earlier and the Wizards might also go Jason Smith or Kyrlo Fesenko here.


17. New Jersey: Sean Williams (6-8, Boston College)

Frank Says: McRoberts (if available) or Smith would also be in the mix, especially since they are taller and better offensive players than the shot blocking and rebounding specialist toting some off-the-court baggage.


18. Golden State: Jason Smith (*6-10 ¾, Colorado State)

Frank Says: As is the case with Yi Jianlian, NBA decision makers are trying to decide whether he is really a future standout NBA player or just a very tall athlete who looks like he should be a player.


19. L.A. Lakers: Thaddeus Young (*6-5 ¾, Georgia Tech)

Frank Says: Any of the other wings/two guards listed a few slots below this could also come into play, especially if the league’s leading scorer truly is headed elsewhere this summer.


20. Miami: Kyrlo Fesenko (7-0, Ukraine)

Frank Says: One of the hottest names on the workout circuit may be long gone before the Heat is making its decision.


21. Philadelphia: Gabe Pruitt (6-4, USC)

Frank Says: A better prospect than Crittenton as a “point” who could also play on the wing.


22. Charlotte: Javaris Crittenton (6-3, 194, Georgia Tech)

Frank Says: Of course, if there are enough NBA scouting staffs who don’t buy into my opinion that he rates below Law, Stuckey and Pruitt, the chances are that he will have been chosen at least several picks before the Bobcats are making their second choice.


23. New York: Marco Belinelli (6-5, Italy)

Frank Says: Then again, if the Wilson Chandler (DePaul) “promise” speculation has merit, the Knicks will pass on Belinelli (assuming he hasn’t already been selected).


24. Phoenix: Rudy Fernandez (6-6, Spain)

Frank Says: He’d fit right in, filling lanes and taking passes from Steve Nash for dunks or 3’s.


25. Utah: Morris Almond (6-6, Rice)

Frank Says: He’s a “catch-and-shoot-it” guy who would be an inviting target for Deron Williams passes.


26. Houston: Aaron Gray (7-0, Pittsburgh)

Frank Says: Gray and Tiago Splitter could prove to benefit most by DeVon Hardin and Ante Tomic pulling out of the draft pool.


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

Frank Says: Based on the scouting department’s insights into overseas talent, “going foreign” seems likely with one of the Piston’s first round selections.


28. San Antonio: Daequan Cook (*6-3 ¾, Ohio State)

Frank Says: The Spurs will find it difficult to pass on lottery-level talent while picking this close to the bottom of the first round.


29. Phoenix: Petteri Koponen (6-4, Finland)

Frank Says: Or, the Suns might for another potential Steve Nash protégé – Aaron Brooks of Oregon.


30. Philadelphia: Marc Gasol (7-0, Spain)

Frank Says: After picking a wing (Thornton) and combo guard (Pruitt), the 76ers might be inclined to go “big” with their final first-round option.


*Height, without shoes, and weight at Pre-Draft Camp; others are estimated or what was listed on college rosters.


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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