ESPN INSIDER MOCK DRAFT III Just released
First round is crowdedBy Chad Ford
The deadline for withdrawing from the NBA draft passed on Tuesday with way too many underclassmen still making themselves available.
First-round hopefuls Martynas Andriuskevicius, Andrew Bynum, Yaroslav Korolev, Ike Diogu, Jarrett Jack, Randolph Morris, Roko Ukic, Ersan Ilyasova, Johan Petro, Mile Ilic, Linas Kleiza, Matt Walsh, C. J. Miles and Louis Williams all decided to roll the dice on the first round.
The good news is that the second round of this year's draft might be the strongest in the history of the draft. The bad news is that a number of those first-round hopefuls are going to be the players that make the second round so great.
There just isn't enough room in the first round for all of them.
Then factor in a new collective bargaining agreement that creates the NBA's first true minor league. In my breakdown Tuesday night of the new CBA, I wrote that the NBDL and age minimum could seriously alter this year's draft strategy for a number of teams – encouraging teams to draft younger players with big upsides because of the ability to develop players down the road.
Big-upside players such as Martynas Andriuskevicius, Andrew Bynum, Yaroslav Korolev and Ersan Ilyasova suddenly look much more interesting to teams than they did 24 hours ago.
Combine that with lots and lots of trade talk and rumors of promises, and the draft is still virtually impossible to mock just seven days before selection day.
Here's our best shot.
1. MILWAUKEE BUCKS
UTAH | SOPHOMORE | CENTER
HEIGHT: 7-0 | WEIGHT: 250 | AGE: 20
A mock draft is supposed to tell you who the Bucks are going to take … not who they should take. I still believe that Marvin Williams should be the No. 1 pick in the draft, but all the chatter I'm hearing out of Milwaukee is that the Bucks are leaning strongly in Bogut's direction. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad pick. Bogut has the chance to be special and he's a low-risk player. But I'm still not convinced it's the right decision.
Scouting report on Andrew Bogut
2. ATLANTA HAWKS
NORTH CAROLINA | FRESHMAN | SMALL FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-8 | WEIGHT: 230 | AGE: 18
There's talk that the Hawks want Deron Williams and are flirting with him at No. 2. He's a great point guard, but he's the wrong Williams at No. 2. If the Hawks really want Deron, they should swap with the Blazers or Hornets, both of whom would love to get their hands on Marvin. Otherwise you take Marvin and trade the other guys on the team that play the same position.
Scouting report on Marvin Williams
3. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
WAKE FOREST | SOPHOMORE | POINT GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-1 | WEIGHT: 178 | AGE: 20
The Blazers won't take Paul at No. 3. If, for some reason, they own this pick on draft night, Gerald Green would be the guy. So why is Paul the pick here? Because it's now almost a foregone conclusion that the Blazers are going to trade this pick. It could be to the Hawks, Bobcats, Jazz, Raptors or Lakers … but the chances of Portland selecting at No. 3 seem very slim at this point. Anyone else in this position will be deciding between Paul and Deron Williams.
Scouting report on Chris Paul
4. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS
ILLINOIS | JUNIOR | POINT GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-3 | WEIGHT: 210 | AGE: 20
The Hornets have a greater need at small forward. They'd love to move up and get Marvin Williams and they're flirting with swapping with Utah and taking Danny Granger. If they stay here, Williams is the guy. They think he's a big upgrade over Speedy Claxton and Dan Dickau. It's hard to argue with that.
Scouting report on Deron Williams
5. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
NEW MEXICO | SENIOR | SMALL FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-8 | WEIGHT: 225 | AGE: 22
The Bobcats are trying to move up in the draft to get their hands on Marvin Williams or Paul. If Paul, Marvin and Deron Williams are off the board, the team will choose between potential (Green) and immediate impact (Granger). Given Bernie Bickerstaff's track record last year, don't be surprised if it's Granger.
Scouting report on Danny Granger
6. UTAH JAZZ
ARIZONA | SENIOR | CENTER
HEIGHT: 6-11 | WEIGHT: 245 | AGE: 22
Call this a hunch. The Jazz still are trying to move up to get a shot at Paul or Deron Williams. If they're unsuccessful, they'll try to address their other need for a big, athletic shot blocker. For months they were high on Vazquez, but have cooled considerably in the last week. That leaves Frye as the most logical choice. He hasn't worked out for the Jazz, but that doesn't mean they won't take him. He'd be a good fit in Utah.
Scouting report on Channing Frye
7. TORONTO RAPTORS
GULF SHORES ACADEMY (Texas) | H.S. | SHOOTING GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-7 | WEIGHT: 192 | AGE: 19
This is a dream scenario for the Raptors. Green could go as high as No. 3 and he'll get long looks from both the Hornets and Bobcats. If he falls here, the Raptors would get a potential star to pair with Chris Bosh. He reminds many scouts of Tracy McGrady and for good reason. He's a few years away from being that player, but the potential is well worth it. If he's gone, Raymond Felton, Fran Vazquez, Frye and Granger would all get serious consideration.
Scouting report on Gerald Green
8. NEW YORK KNICKS
SPAIN | POWER FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-11 | WEIGHT: 230 | AGE: 22
Sources claim that the Knicks made a promise to Frye and shut down his workouts. It may have been too little, too late. Other teams are on to Frye and the chances he makes it to the Knicks have now diminished. If he's not there, the Knicks will still look to go big. Vazquez is the other big guy who could come in and play right away.
Scouting report on Fran Vazquez
9. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
ARIZONA STATE | JUNIOR | POWER FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-8 | WEIGHT: 255 | AGE: 21
The Warriors want Frye or Granger, but if those two are off the board, they'll look for the next-best power forward. Sean May, Hakim Warrick and Chris Taft will all get looks here as well. Diogu gets the nod because of his length (he has the reach of a 7-footer, a la Elton Brand) and shot-blocking ability.
Scouting report on Ike Diogu
10. LOS ANGELES LAKERS
SEATTLE PREP | H.S. | SHOOTING GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-7 | WEIGHT: 235 | AGE: 18
There is talk, a lot of talk, that the Lakers have promised high school center Andrew Bynum that they'll take him if they keep their pick. Bynum sure looks like Shaq, and he's worked out well, but it's just a little too much to believe right now. It would be years before Phil Jackson would give him a whiff of playing time. Until we get to the bottom of the Bynum stuff, we're moving Felton out and Webster in. With Jackson running the show, the Lakers are going to need a big shooter. Webster is the best on the board. Think of him as a young Glen Rice.
Scouting report on Martell Webster
11. ORLANDO MAGIC
NORTH CAROLINA | JUNIOR | POWER FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-8 | WEIGHT: 260 | AGE: 21
The Magic like Webster as well, but also feel like they need a tough scorer and rebounder in the paint, and May should be a perfect fit. Though he's a little undersized to play his natural position (center) in the pros, he should be fine paired with Dwight Howard.
Scouting report on Sean May
12. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
RUSSIA | SMALL FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-9 | WEIGHT: 215 | AGE: 17
We're torn. We've heard two names associated with the Clippers all month. One is Korolev, who Russian sources claim received a promise from the Clippers. The other is Antoine Wright, whom Dunleavy fell in love with early in the draft process. Whom to choose? Our Clippers source told us in Treviso that there were certain players they'd take in front of Korolev. Is Wright one of them? We're still sorting it out, but until we hear otherwise, we've got to go with Korolev here. Given the latest revelations about the new NBDL minor league, Dunleavy can bring him over and get him some valuable experience in the D league.
Scouting report on Yaroslav Korolev
13. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
NORTH CAROLINA | JUNIOR | POINT GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-0 | WEIGHT: 200 | AGE: 20
This is a real steal for the Bobcats if they can land Felton here. The Bobcats need a point guard badly and he's a local kid to boot. He's the fastest point guard in the draft baseline to baseline, has improved his outside shooting and is an excellent floor leader. A major upgrade over what they have now.
Scouting report on Raymond Felton
14. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
TEXAS A&M | JUNIOR | SHOOTING GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-7 | WEIGHT: 210 | AGE: 21
There are lots of different ways the Timberwolves could go here. Bynum, Joey Graham and Charlie Villanueva could also get looks. It will be tough for them to pass on Wright's versatility and perimeter shooting – especially with Latrell Sprewell heading into free agency.
Scouting report on Antoine Wright
15. NEW JERSEY NETS
SYRACUSE | SENIOR | POWER FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-8 | WEIGHT: 218 | AGE: 22
He's not Kenyon Martin, but he's long, athletic and runs the floor. Plus, he has the experience to contribute immediately. With Jason Kidd running the show, Warrick should get a lot of dunks.
Scouting report on Hakim Warrick
16. TORONTO RAPTORS
ST. JOSEPH (METUCHEN, N.J.) | H.S. | CENTER
HEIGHT: 7-0 | WEIGHT: 300 | AGE: 17
The talk is that he's going to either the Lakers or the Timberwolves. But if he falls this far, Raptors GM Rob Babcork will be tempted. The Raptors desperately need a big man with size and toughness. Bynum has that. He's blown people away in workouts with his skills, soft touch and intelligence. He may be a few years away, but landing two potential stars in Green and Bynum to team with Chris Bosh could completely turn the Raptors around in a couple of years. If Bynum's off the board, Croatian point guard Roko Ukic has turned a lot of heads in Toronto.
Scouting report on Andrew Bynum
17. INDIANA PACERS
LITHUANIA | POWER FORWARD
HEIGHT: 7-3 | WEIGHT: 230 | AGE: 19
The Pacers do need to find a replacement for Reggie Miller's shooting, but will likely try to do that with a veteran in free agency. Guys such as Francisco Garcia and Rashad McCants are possibilities, but neither would likely be able to crack the lineup next year. Andriuskevicius could go much earlier than this, based on potential, but it's been tough to find a place for a guy who physically is still a good two years away from being able to contribute. He needs a team willing to be patient. No one has a better track record of that over the years than the Pacers. Now that teams will be able to send players down to the D League, the risk is minimized. This is a long-term project for a team that doesn't have a lot of holes to fill.
Scouting report on Martynas Andriuskevicius
18. BOSTON CELTICS
OKLAHOMA STATE | SENIOR | SMALL FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-7 | WEIGHT: 216 | AGE: 22
The Celtics were flirting with taking an international player (such as Ersan Ilyasova or Andriuskevicius) and stashing him overseas, but it's tough to see them passing on Graham, a big, physical small forward who tested out as the best athlete in Chicago. He could step in and immediately help the Celtics next season .
Scouting report on Joey Graham
19. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
NORTH CAROLINA STATE | SENIOR | SHOOTING GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-7 | WEIGHT: 205 | AGE: 21
Hodge might not be the greatest shooter in the draft, but he has all the intangibles Jerry West loves in his players. He's tough and versatile, and he seems to want it more than most guys on the floor. The Grizzlies believe he'll be a point guard, at least part-time, in the pros. It looks as though they'll lose Earl Watson to free agency and wouldn't mind losing Jason Williams in a trade, so the position is a need. Hodge has earned good reviews in every workout and seems to have moved himself up with every one. West has a history of ignoring convention, which explains why a player like Hodge would go this high.
Scouting report on Julius Hodge
20. DENVER NUGGETS
TURKEY | SMALL FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-9 | WEIGHT: 220 | AGE: 18
With multiple picks, the Nuggets plan to leave at least one guy in Europe for a few years. Many believe Ilyasova was the best young prospect in Europe before a severe ankle injury kept him out most of the year. His workouts went well enough in Chicago to secure his place in the mid-first round.
Scouting report on Ersan Ilyasova
21. PHOENIX SUNS
FRANCE | CENTER
HEIGHT: 7-1 | WEIGHT: 250 | AGE: 19
Petro has the size and talent of a lottery pick, but he has been very slow to develop it, which has caused some NBA teams to worry. Petro is probably another year or two away from helping a team even if he does develop. However, if he ever gets it, he could be the perfect center in the Suns' system down the road.
Scouting report on Johan Petro
22. DENVER NUGGETS -NUGGS FANS GOTTA LIKE THIS
LOUISVILLE | JUNIOR | SHOOTING GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-7 | WEIGHT: 190 | AGE: 23
The Nuggets opt for upside with their first pick and go with need for their second. The team needs perimeter shooting badly, and Garcia can deliver. He's not the greatest athlete in the world, but he can stroke it and plays with the passion George Karl likes in his players. High school guard Monta Ellis is also a possibility here. The Nuggets love him, but would Karl ever play him?
Scouting report on Francisco Garcia
23. SACRAMENTO KINGS
NORTH CAROLINA | JUNIOR | SHOOTING GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-4 | WEIGHT: 200 | AGE: 20
McCants might be the toughest guy in the draft to project. On talent, he's easily a top-10 pick, maybe top-five. But just about every team in the league has uncovered a number of red flags on the background check. He's going to have to prove to teams that whatever problems he had at North Carolina are behind him. If he does, he'll go higher. If he doesn't, he'll slip down to a team like the Kings, who need that help at the two and are willing to take the risk on such a talent.
Scouting report on Rashad McCants
24. HOUSTON ROCKETS
Wayne Simien-Still Here Adam
KANSAS | SENIOR | POWER FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-9 | WEIGHT: 255 | AGE: 22
The Rockets could use a tough rebounder with experience, and Simien fits the bill. Concerns about injuries and size are the only things keeping him out of the lottery. He's one of the few guys who isn't afraid to go inside and bang, but also has a nice perimeter game. He has worked out really well just about everywhere.
Scouting report on Wayne Simien
25. SEATTLE SUPERSONICS
GEORGIA TECH | JUNIOR | POINT GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-3 | WEIGHT: 200 | AGE: 21
Jack could be off the board in the mid-first round, but it's conceivable he could slip all the way to here. He's a very good point guard prospect who just needs to cut down on his turnovers. With Antonio Daniels set to bolt in free agency, the Sonics will have a strong need for a backup point guard with size and toughness.
Scouting report on Jarrett Jack
26. DETROIT PISTONS
PROVIDENCE | SENIOR | SMALL FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-8 | WEIGHT: 250 | AGE: 22
Gomes is a skilled forward, an inside-outside scoring threat who reminds some scouts of Corliss Williamson. He started his career at the four, but played really well at the three this year. He's a good offensive rebounder, has extended his range to the NBA 3-point line and is a good passer. He also has a 7-foot-2 wingspan.
Scouting report on Ryan Gomes
27. UTAH JAZZ
CROATIA | POINT GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-6 | WEIGHT: 218 | AGE: 21
He has had a great year in Croatia and wowed scouts at the Reebok Eurocamp. Could go as high as No. 16 to the Raptors and will get long looks from the Celtics and Nuggets. A little wild for Jerry Sloan's taste, but he's long, plays defense, and is very tough and experienced. If he could shoot, he'd be a much higher pick. Look for the Jazz to leave him overseas for another season or two.
Scouting report on Roko Ukic
28. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
CONNECTICUT | SOPHOMORE | POWER FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-10 | WEIGHT: 240 | AGE: 20
Villanueva has the skills of a lottery pick but proved to be a bit lazy and unreliable at UConn. He could go as high as the late lottery or he could slip all the way to San Antonio. He has all the offensive skills to be a perfect fit for the Spurs. And head coach Gregg Popovich is the right coach to motivate Villanueva to play some defense.
Scouting report on Charlie Villanueva
29. MIAMI HEAT
SERBIA | CENTER
HEIGHT: 7-1 | WEIGHT: 240 | AGE: 20
Ilic surprised a lot of people by keeping his name in the draft. He's a young, talented, big man who has really come on of late. Recently had an impressive 24-point, 10-rebound, two-block performance in front of a number of NBA scouts during the Serbia playoffs. Apparently that sealed the deal. Ilic doesn't have a buyout this year, so he may not come over right away. The Nuggets and Knicks are other teams who have shown a lot of interest in him.
Scouting report on Mile Ilic
30. NEW YORK KNICKS
SOUTH KENT PREP (Conn.) | H.S. | POWER FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-11 | WEIGHT: 240 | AGE: 18
Blatche has been under the radar all year, in part, because he's insisted on not playing like a 7-footer in order to show NBA scouts that he's versatile. Blatche has been referred to as a poor man's Kevin Garnett and he has enough skills to be an intriguing pick for the Knicks at 30. He runs the floor well, can handle the ball, has 3-point range on his jumper and is an excellent rebounder. He may be a year or two away, but eventually he and Vazquez could give the Knicks a much taller and more talented front line.
Scouting report on Andray Blatche
Other first-round possibilities: Chris Taft, PF, Pittsburgh; Randolph Morris, C, Kentucky; Monta Ellis, G, HS senior; Luther Head, G, Illinois; David Lee, PF, Florida; Kennedy Winston, G/F, Alabama; Nate Robinson, G, Washington; Ronny Turiaf, PF, Gonzaga; Matt Walsh, G/F, Florida; Linas Kleiza, F, Missouri; Mickael Gelabale, F, France; Jason Maxiell, PF, Cincinnati; C. J. Miles, SG, HS Senior; Louis Williams, SG, HS Senior
Chad Ford is a senior writer for ESPN Insider.
Interesting. Not a big fan of our #20 pick, but #22 makes up for it. I'd love to see us grab Ukic with #22 and Garcia at #20. That said, due to the new minor league system, I think we're gonna be severely disappointed on draft night Nugs fans.
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