Now that the draft order has been determined, baring any trades, here is my take on the draft. These picks are based on what I know; I am unfamiliar with several International players, which may reflect their lowered position. This mock draft
is also my assessment, not a prediction. This is what I would do if I was an NBA
General Manager. I did not try and get into the head of any current GM’s.
1. Milwaukee: Marvin Williams, UNC
The most potential in the draft and offers a more appealing incentive to hasten Michael Redd’s return. Milwaukee needs almost everything, but Desmon Mason performed better off the bench, and moving Williams into the starting line-up gives the Bucks another great option, along with the return of TJ Ford at the point.
2. Atlanta: Chris Paul, Wake Forest
They are a team full of wings. However, with the current talent on the roster, a point guard who can score and dish will make more of a difference than a slender center. With Paul, Josh Smith and Josh Childress, backed up by Royal Ivey, Boris Diaw and Donta Smith, the Hawks can fly with a young, talented backcourt. With significant cap room, the Hawks can address their need for a big via free agency, most noticeably Samuel Delambert, Tyson Chandler or Kwame Brown.
3. Portland: Andrew Bogut, University of Utah
Portland needs a shooting guard. Telfair is the PG of the present and future, Miles and Randolph are well-paid forwards and Pryzbilla and Ratliff are nice center options. However, Portland will not pass on Bogut, who many see as a younger Arvydas Sabonis. With Bogut on-board, the Trailblazers may be able to move Ratliff or Pryzbilla to find a shooting guard.
4. New Orleans: Raymond Felton, UNC
New Orleans needs guard help. Byron Scott had Jason Kidd during his most successful seasons; Illinois’ Deron Williams draws the most comparisons to Kidd. However, Felton’s speed in the open floor most closely approximates Kidd’s, and Felton is the choice over Williams.
5. Charlotte: Danny Granger, New Mexico
Charlotte needs everything except a power forward. While Deron Williams seems like a terrific fit, Granger gives the Bobcats a scoring punch on the wing. Bernie Bickerstaff succeeded with a proven college player last year, and will make a similar pick this year, drafting the NBA-ready Granger.
6. Utah: Deron Williams, Illinois
No player more perfectly fits his potential coach than Williams. The Jazz struggled for consistency at the point past season, and Williams will add toughness, shooting and stability.
7. Toronto: Chris Taft, Pittsburgh
The Raptors need a player who can contribute right away and they cannot gamble on a player who may struggle, as did Rafael Araujo. Taft certainly has the talent, and size to be a terrific complement to Chris Bosh in the paint.
8. New York: Gerald Green, HS
Isaiah Thomas likes talent. And, New York actually needs a two-guard, meaning Green is a good fit in the Big Apple.
9. Golden State: Charlie Villanueva, UConn
The Warriors are tough to decipher. They have an all-star caliber backcourt (Baron Davis and Jason Richardson) and expensive centers (Adonal Foyle and Troy Murphy). Last season they drafted a big European (Andris Biedrins) and may well do so again. They also have several small forwards, none of whom really seem like a fit. While Martell Webster makes sense, Villanueva gives the Warriors the athletic four they need to complement their backcourt; with Richardson and Davis, Villanueva can succeed by attacking the offensive glass and using his athleticism.
10. Los Angeles Lakers: Jarrett Jack, Georgia Tech
The Lakers need a pick who can step into the starting line-up, which means they need a center or a point guard. While Fran Vazquez or Tiago Splitter makes sense as a European-ready center, Jack makes more sense as a PG who can shoot and step-in alongside Bryant, Butler and Odom.
11. Orlando: Tiago Splitter, Brazil
Splitter gives the Magic a center to play next to and protect Dwight Howard. He has experience playing in Spain and will give the Magic another post option next season. He fills the Magic’s biggest need, which is toughness, rebounding, and defense, especially in the post.
12. Los Angeles Clippers: Antoine Wright, Texas A&M
Assuming Bobby Simmons is elsewhere next season, Wright is an able replacement on the wing.
13. Charlotte: Roko-Leni Ukic, Croatia
After drafting Granger to play the wing, Ukic gives the Bobcats a young, experienced, athletic point guard to run the show.
14. Minnesota: Fran Vazquez, Spain
The TWolves need another post presence and Vazquez can fill this position alongside KG.
15. New Jersey: Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga University
The Nets need an athletic, strong power forward to replace Kmart. Turiaf may be a reach this early, but he has the size and athleticism to be an effective player for the Nets. A player like Johan Petro might make more “value” sense, but the Nets need a contributor now, as Kidd is getting no younger.
16. Toronto: Joey Graham, Oklahoma State
After drafting Chris Taft to play alongside Bosh up front, Graham adds toughness and athleticism on the wing.
17. Indiana: Channing Frye, Arizona
Frye complements Jermaine O’Neal well, adds shot blocking and a perimeter shooter if O’Neal or Artest is doubled in the post.
18. Boston: Hakim Warrick, Syracuse
Ainge wants athletes and few are more athletic than Warrick.
19. Memphis: Johan Petro, France
A seven-footer, Memphis needs another body in the paint, and Petro can be the guy next to Gasol.
20. Denver: Rudy Fernandez, Spain
Denver needs a shooter at the two and Fernandez is athletic and can step in and fill the biggest need of the Nuggets.
21. Phoenix: Sean May, UNC
Phoenix needs a center, but none are available. May has great hands to catch Nash’s passes and played an up-tempo style in college. He doesn’t add the size they need, but he adds some strength and punch inside.
22. Denver: Randolph Morris, Kentucky
Denver can afford to allow Morris to develop, which gives the Nuggets more flexibility with Camby and Nene.
23. Sacramento: Martell Webster, HS
He’s a shooter and the Kings like shooters. He also is NBA-ready and could fight last year’s pick Kevin Martin for a starting position, if Maurice Evans signs elsewhere. And, he has enough size that he gives Peja his first back-up since Hedo Turkoglu was traded.
24. Houston: Francisco Garcia, Louisville
Garcia and TMac on the wings would give the Rockets tremendous length, quickness, shooting and passing.
25. Seattle: Kennedy Winston, Alabama
So much depends on Ray Allen and his impending departure. Assuming Allen leaves, Seattle needs a shooting guard. Of course, they also need improved post play. Winston gives immediate help at the SG, while the Sonics will need to use free agency to find some help inside.
26. Detroit: Dijon Thompson, UCLA
No team is in better position than the Pistons. They really don’t have any needs. Therefore, drafting and stashing a European or drafting a high school player makes sense as a rookie is going to be hard-pressed to find minutes on the Pistons. However, Thompson is a good mid-range shooter who can play back-up minutes at the 2 and 3 for Hamilton and Prince.
27. Utah: MickaÃ?Â«l Gelabale, International
An athletic small forward who knows how to play the game, he will fit in nicely with the Jazz, pushing AK47 to the power forward to spell Carlos Boozer.
28. San Antonio: Angelo Gigli, International
A power forward with size and experience playing in Europe, Gigli can battle Argentine Luis Scola for the inevitable position of Tim Duncan’s back-up, with the loser to take Sean Marks’ position as nice guy in cool shirts at the end of the bench.
29. Miami: Wayne Simien, Kansas
They need a power forward, as Udonis Haslem is a free agent. Simien is strong inside.
30. New York: Andrew Bynum, HS
New York has a lot of power forwards, but no real center. A true seven-footer might change that, though drafting two high school players may be too big a risk to take. However, with Trevor Ariza, Bynum and Green, the Knicks would have a blossoming u-20 team behind the veterans. The Knicks cannot go into a rebuilding period, and these talented youngsters could assure a nice foundation on which Thomas can build once Hardaway, Houston and Thomas’ contracts come off the books in 2006.