While the NBA draft is just a couple of weeks away, there is plenty that will happen to mock our mock draft. Individual team workouts will determine the final choice. Some college underclassmen and high schoolers still may head back to school. Trades could happen.
But without trepidation, we offer our first mock draft. We'll have another just before the June 28 event in New York.
1. Milwaukee Bucks – Andrew Bogut, 7-0, C, Utah, So.
The NBA covets big men, and Bogut is a good one who's skilled and tough. 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, Fr.
He was the sixth man on UNC's national championship team, but his size and athletic ability are ideal for the NBA. A ton of potential.
3. Portland Trail Blazers – Chris Paul, 5-11, PG, Wake Forest, So.
The devastating open-court playmaker arguably is the best player in the draft. But the Blazers took high school point Sebastian Telfair in the first round a year ago.
4. New Orleans Hornets – Deron Williams, 6-3, PG, Illinois, Jr.
5. Charlotte Bobcats – Gerald Green, 6-8, SF, Gulf Shores (Texas) Academy
Local pressure may be on to grab power forward Sean May of the Tar Heels, but the lure of Green, a tremendous athlete, should be too much.
6. Utah Jazz – Martynas Andriuskevicius, 7-3, C, Lithuania
The giant Lithuanian goes 245 pounds with long, long arms. Scouts claim he has nice touch around the rim. At just 18, his upside is too much to resist.
7. Toronto Raptors – Antoine Wright, 6-7, SG, Texas A&M, Jr.
The Raptors need scoring and Wright can fill it up. A strong slasher to the hole, the California native carried the Aggies the last few seasons.
8. New York Knicks – Martell Webster, 6-7, SG, Seattle Prep
With immediate help being a necessity, expect Isiah Thomas to draft an athletic high school kid who is a few years away. At least Webster is a talent.
9. Golden State Warriors – Channing Frye, 7-0, C, Arizona, Sr.
The Warriors need help in the middle, and Frye, who can block shots and fill lanes on the break, fits the bill. Pittsburgh strongman Chris Taft might work here, too.
10. Los Angeles Lakers – Charlie Villanueva, 6-11, PF, Connecticut, So.
When he plays hard, Villanueva can be a beast. His game isn't dissimilar from fellow Queens native Lamar Odom, but if the Lakers believe they could play together, L.A. could have a heck of a perimeter game.
11. Orlando Magic – Hakim Warrick, 6-8, SF, Syracuse, Sr.
Carmelo Anthony's one-time running mate added a perimeter game his senior year at the 'Cuse. A mature, well-rounded player fits into the Magic mold.
12. Los Angeles Clippers – Danny Granger, 6-8, SF, New Mexico, Sr.
The Clips need as many offensive weapons as they can get to surround super young point guard Shaun Livingston. Granger is a ready-now kind of player.
13. Charlotte Bobcats – Raymond Felton, 6-0, PG, North Carolina, Jr.
The Bobcats wanted to draft third where Paul might have been available, but they'll take another local hero in the swift Felton.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves – Fran Vazquez, 6-10, PF, Spain
In a weak draft, picking on potential comes early. Vazquez is said to have long arms, great defensive timing and a bit of a mean streak.
15. New Jersey Nets – Sean May, 6-8, PF, North Carolina, Jr.
The Final Four MVP has a NBA body and a great understanding of the game. Jersey has been lacking toughness since Kenyon Martin left for Denver.
16. Toronto Raptors – Rashad McCants, 6-3, SG, North Carolina, Jr.
With so many perimeter players in their free-agent season, the Raptors can't get enough scoring. McCants is a question mark defensively and in the locker room, but he can score.
17. Indiana Pacers – Rudy Fernandez, 6-5, SG, Spain
With Reggie Miller retired, the Pacers need a shooter, and with a strong team returning (and Ron Artest coming off suspension) they need one that can contribute now. Some scouts call Fernandez the best pure shooter in the draft.
18. Boston Celtics – Monta Ellis, 6-2, PG, Jackson (Miss.) Lanier
The Glove is nearing retirement, so the Celts need a point for the future, which Ellis could be. Mississippi high schooler Al Jefferson was good to Danny Ainge last year, so a return to the Deep South is possible.
19. Memphis Grizzlies – Jarrett Jack, 6-3, PG, Georgia Tech, Jr.
Jack is a tough, physical guard whose game is fit for the league. He still could return to Tech but says he'll stay in the draft if he is a top-20 pick.
20. Denver Nuggets – Andray Blatche, 7-0, C, South Kent (Conn.) High School
If he still is around this late, the Nuggets might jump on the high-energy big man. He's a bit too perimeter oriented, but Denver still is paying the price for passing on Amare Stoudemire three years back.
21. Phoenix Suns – Joey Graham, 6-7, SF, Oklahoma State, Sr.
Joe Johnson is not a lock to re-sign, so the Suns can protect themselves by grabbing the Cowboys' athletic small forward with lock-down defensive skill. He'd fit in the offense well.
22. Denver Nuggets – Tiago Splitter, 6-10, PF, Brazil
Originally from Spain, the big man might give the Nuggets some front-court help. Scouts claim the 20-year-old has a terrific jump shot and a ton of potential.
23. Sacramento Kings – C.J. Miles, 6-6, SG, Dallas Skyline
Best available player might be this high-scoring high schooler. He probably won't make an impact immediately, but Miles has all the tools to be a NBA player.
24. Houston Rockets – Chris Taft, 6-8, PF, Pittsburgh, So.
Classic college power forward has slipped on some boards due to concern over motivation, making him tough to pick. Know this: When he is on his game, he's terrific.
25. Seattle SuperSonics – Johan Petro, 7-0, C, France
The Sonics will be tempted (and pressured) to take local hero Nate Robinson, but the smart pick is a young big man. The 7-footer could be a good one.
26. Detroit Pistons – Francisco Garcia, 6-7, SF, Louisville, Jr.
The Pistons need another scorer, and the sweet-shooting Garcia delivers that, along with a mature, self-motivated personality. Another long wing can't hurt.
27. Utah Jazz – Kennedy Winston, 6-6, SG, Alabama, Jr.
Winston is a NBA-caliber athlete who may excel at the more open-court pro game. Has the potential to be a big-time slasher and give the Jazz some much-needed speed.
28. San Antonio Spurs – Ike Diogu 6-8, PF, Arizona State, Jr.
29. Miami Heat – Wayne Simien, 6-8, PF, Kansas, Sr.
Simien was a double-double machine at KU, and his class act would play well in Miami, where another rebounder to help Shaq is needed. If New Jersey high schooler Andrew Bynum stays in the draft, he would be perfect here. Gonzaga's Ronny Turiaf is also a possibility.
30. New York Knicks – Salim Stoudamire, 6-3, SG, Arizona, Sr.
College basketball's best shooter is a sleeper prospect who loves taking and making the big shot. He's a strong ball handler to boot. Not sure Isiah Thomas will see this one, but it would be a great pick if he's available.