By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
June 27, 2005
Wetzel's position previews: PG | SG | SF | PF | C
More NBA draft: Prospects video | Draft order
NEW YORK – We can all but guarantee our second (to-be) mock(ed) draft effort will fall apart quickly Tuesday night. But that's because what Portland does with the No. 3 pick – namely where it gets traded – will determine everything.
Not that we are looking for a cop-out. Here are our fearless predictions for what should be an eventful evening in Manhattan. (Arrows indicate changes from the first mock draft.)
1. Milwaukee Bucks – Andrew Bogut, 7-0, C, Utah, sophomore.
No change here. The NBA covets big men and the 7-foot Bogut is a good one who's skilled and tough. The Bucks had both Bogut and Marvin Williams in for workouts and appear sold on the big Australian. The University of Utah could have No. 1 overall picks in both the NBA draft and the NFL draft (Alex Smith).
2. Atlanta Hawks – Marvin Williams, 6-9, SF, North Carolina, freshman.
With Bogut gone, the Hawks go with the sixth man on UNC's national championship team. Williams' size and athletic ability are ideal for the NBA. Has a ton of potential. If the Bucks go with Williams, then Bogut heads to Atlanta.
3. Portland Trail Blazers – Chris Paul, 5-11, PG, Wake Forest, sophomore.
It is my opinion that the devastating open-court playmaker is the best player in the draft. Because the Blazers took promising high school point Sebastian Telfair in the first round a year ago, this pick will almost assuredly be dealt and destroy all mock drafts. The Blazers would like to wind up with 7-foot Jersey prep center Andrew Bynum.
4. New Orleans Hornets – Deron Williams, 6-3, PG, Illinois, junior.
The big, physical point with a steady jump shot replaces Baron Davis and teams with J.R. Smith for the future. If Paul falls, he goes here.
5. Charlotte Bobcats – Gerald Green, 6-8, SF, Gulf Shores (Texas) Academy.
The Bobcats have talked to Portland about moving up to secure Paul, the local superstar. But if that can't happen, the lure of Green, who's a tremendous athlete, should be too much.
6. Utah Jazz – Channing Frye, 7-0, C, Arizona, senior.
The Jazz need a big man and Frye is the best available. The long, athletic shot blocker turned the corner in his senior year with the Wildcats. There's a possibility that this pick is for the Knicks, who are in dire need of a center and like Frye.
7. Toronto Raptors – Andrew Bynum, 7-0, C, Metuchen (N.J.) St. Joseph High School.
If he is here, the Raptors grab him, but they need scoring. Texas A&M's Antoine Wright, a strong slasher, can really fill it up. There's a possibility that the Raptors grab Frye and deal him to the Knicks.
8. New York Knicks – Martell Webster, 6-8, SG, Seattle Prep.
With the Kurt Thomas trade all but done, the Knicks are in dire need of size. It is no secret they want Channing Frye, but it may too late for that. Spain's Fran Vazquez appears to be falling like a rock. The Knicks want to trade with Portland, but if no deal happens, then getting Webster, who has wowed in workouts, isn't a bad alternative. Last-minute events will determine this one.
9. Golden State Warriors – Hakim Warrick, 6-8, SF, Syracuse, senior.
Carmelo Anthony's one-time running mate added a perimeter game his senior year. A mature, well-rounded player, Warrick should help a Warriors team that looked promising at season's end.
10. Los Angeles Lakers – Raymond Felton, 6-0, PG, North Carolina, junior.
The Lakers are also talking with Portland to move up to three, but only to take Deron Williams, whose size they favor over Paul. If you see Portland take Williams at No. 3, then they are drafting for the Lakers and a deal is pending. Paul would slip to New Orleans at four. If that doesn't happen, the Lakers will take Felton, even though he too is on the smaller side.
11. Orlando Magic – Antoine Wright, 6-7, SG, Texas A&M, junior.
After the chaos of the top 10, the Magic wind up with this physical, high-scoring small forward who carried the Aggies last season.
12. Los Angeles Clippers – Danny Granger, 6-8, SF, New Mexico, senior.
The Clippers need as many offensive weapons as they can get to surround super young point Shaun Livingston. Granger is a ready-to-play-now kind of player. There's plenty of talk that 6-9 Russian small forward Yaroslav Korolev will go here, but he is said to need seasoning. It might be time for the Clips to think of the now, not the future.
13. Charlotte Bobcats – Charlie Villanueva, 6-11, PF, Connecticut, sophomore.
This pick may get dealt because the Bobcats need a lot of help. If Felton falls, he could go here, too, but taking another UConn Husky, to go along with rookie of the year Emeka Okafor, is a possibility. Villanueva, when he plays hard, is tremendous.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves – Yaroslav Korolev, 6-9, SF, Russia.
If the Clippers take Korolev, then the Timberwolves would look hard at either Granger or Villanueva, depending who fell into their laps. Korolev is only 17, but he is said to be a big-time scoring prospect.
15. New Jersey Nets – Rashad McCants, 6-4, SG, North Carolina, junior.
McCants will not fall past 15, so if he is here, the Nets will grab him. He is physically strong and can get his shot off with ease. However, there are questions about his defensive intensity – Tar Heels coach Roy Williams had to sub him out on that end of the court during crunch time of the national title game.
16. Toronto Raptors – Sean May, 6-8, PF, North Carolina, junior.
The Final Four MVP has an NBA-ready body, nice touch around the rim and a great understanding of the game. There's some talk that Oklahoma State's Joey Graham could wind up here, too.
17. Indiana Pacers – Francisco Garcia, 6-7, SF, Louisville, junior.
The Pacers could begin to fill the Reggie Miller gap with this lean shooter from U of L. If Korolev ever fell this far, the Pacers might jump. Big Lithuanian center Martynas Andriuskevicius could slide to this spot as well.
18. Boston Celtics – Roko Ukic, 6-6, PG, Croatia.
The Celtics' name has been buzzing around this tall point guard, whom scouts claim is a great on-the-ball defender that's willing to play physical. Another possibility here is Joey Graham, but we'll go with Ukic, whose stock is soaring.
19. Memphis Grizzlies – Julius Hodge, 6-7, SG, North Carolina State, senior.
Jerry West is said to love his versatility, height and athletic ability. With uncertainty in the backcourt, Hodge gives the Grizzlies some insurance.
20. Denver Nuggets – Martynas Andriuskevicius, 7-3, C, Lithuania.
The Nuggets may package this pick and the 22nd selection to move up and get more scoring (McCants?). But if that deal doesn't go down, a big man with big potential is always possible.
21. Phoenix Suns – Ike Diogu, 6-8, PF, Arizona State, junior.
A whole bunch of routes to go here, including Joey Graham and 7-footer Johan Petro of France, but in terms of immediate help (defense and toughness), the Suns can stay local and grab the Sun Devils star. Diogu could be the Carlos Boozer of this class.
22. Denver Nuggets – Linas Kleiza, 6-8, PF, Missouri, junior.
Again, this pick may be gone in an effort to move up, but if it doesn't happen, the "Vanilla Gorilla" from Mizzou brings a relentless work ethic to the front court.
23. Sacramento Kings – Joey Graham, 6-7, SF, Oklahoma State, senior.
If he has fallen here, Graham may be the best available player. He certainly is the best available athlete, with a ridiculous blend of size, strength and speed.
24. Houston Rockets – Wayne Simien, 6-9, PF, Kansas, senior.
The Rockets have frontcourt needs, and Simien is a physical rebounder, defender and scorer. He was a double-double machine during his All-American career at KU. He looks ready to contribute right away.
25. Seattle SuperSonics – Jarrett Jack, 6-3, PG, Georgia Tech, junior.
This is the backstop for Jack, who could be gone sooner. If he winds up here, the Sonics get a tough, physical point guard with a lot of potential.
26. Detroit Pistons – Ersan Ilyasova, 6-9, SF, Turkey.
The Pistons need an outside scoring threat that can contribute next season. That probably isn't available at No. 26, so one of the best young players in Europe who likely would stay there is an option. If Larry Brown is gone next year, expect the new coach, likely Flip Saunders, to finally give young players such as Carlos Delfino, Ronald Dupree and Darko Milicic playing time.
27. Utah Jazz – Johan Petro, 7-1, C, France.
The 19-year-old has all the tools you can't coach (namely size), but scouts say Petro is still raw. At this point in the draft, gambling on a promising 7-footer is never a bad idea. He'd probably stay in Europe another season.
28. San Antonio Spurs – Amir Johnson, 6-10, SF, Los Angeles Westchester High School.
The Spurs obviously don't need much, so taking a long, smooth athlete from the prep ranks is a decent bet here. A lot of teams like Johnson, but his lack of strength may prevent them from pulling the trigger sooner.
29. Miami Heat – Monta Ellis, 6-2, PG, Lanier (Miss.) High School.
The Heat are expected to watch guards Keyon Dooling and Damon Jones opt out of their contracts and explore free agency. Grabbing the speedy Ellis offers some level of cover.
30. New York Knicks – Andray Blatche, 6-11, PF, South Kent (Conn.) Prep.
The last pick of the first round is about potential and Blatche, with his size, face-up game and ability to run the open court fits that bill. Intensity is a major concern, but if he didn't have any question marks, he would have been long gone.
Dan Wetzel is Yahoo! Sports' national columnist. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October. Follow him on Twitter. Send Dan a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Monday, Jun 27, 2005 11:06 am, EDT
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