Thursday, June 24, 2004

NBA mock draft

By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer

Team Projected pick Pos. Age Unless...
1. Orlando Magic Dwight Howard,

6-11, SW Atlanta Christian H.S.

PF 18 ... the Magic decide to go with proven experience in Connecticut junior Emeka Okafor, the projected No. 1 for more than two months since UConn won the NCAA championship. The Magic must determine what they want to do with this pick while Tracy McGrady is on the trading block. Howard is the ideal candidate for a team beginning a rebuilding process, while Okafor presents more opportunity to win now.
2. Charlotte Bobcats Emeka Okafor, 6-10, Connecticut, Jr. PF 21 ... the Magic take Okafor, in which case the Bobcats would select Howard. Charlotte traded up to this position, formerly occupied by the Clippers, for the sole purpose of being able to pick either of those two power forwards.
3. Chicago Bulls Ben Gordon, 6-3, Connecticut, Jr. G 21 ... the Bulls choose one of three forwards: Andre Iguodala, Luol Deng or Josh Childress. Gordon is too talented to pass up, however, even though Chicago already has Kirk Hinrich at point guard.
4. L.A. Clippers Shaun Livingston, 6-7, Peoria (Ill.) H.S. PG 18 ... Gordon is still available at No. 4. In that case, the Clippers will have a choice to make between three point guards: Livingston, Gordon and Devin Harris. Livingston gets the edge because of his size, potential and the amount of attention the Clippers have shown him recently.
5. Washington Wizards Luol Deng, 6-8, Duke, Fr. SF 19 ... Washington goes with Iguodala, Childress or center Andris Biedrins, or trades the pick altogether. The Wizards are stocked full of small forwards, but Deng probably would be the best of the lot immediately.
6. Atlanta Hawks Andre Iguodala, 6-6, Arizona, So. SF/SG 19 ... the Hawks want to go slightly bigger but more inexperienced with high school senior Josh Smith. With Iguodala still on the board, however, it's hard to ignore that type of athleticism in the same city that showcased Dominique Wilkins.
7. Phoenix Suns Devin Harris, 6-3, Wisconsin, Jr. PG 20 ...the Suns trade this pick to acquire a proven center or power forward, which the draft won't be able to provide. Phoenix has spent a lot of time scouting four point guards, and Harris is the best remaining at No. 7.
8. Toronto Raptors Pavel Podkolzine, 7-5, Russia C 19 ... the Raptors, who really need a big man, choose Biedrins instead. At 7 feet 3, Peter John Ramos is also a possibility, but Podkolzine has lottery talent.
9. Philadelphia 76ers Josh Childress, 6-8, Stanford, Jr. SF/SG 20 ... the Sixers go big and go after Biedrins. But that's unlikely, because Philadelphia officials have said they will take the best available player, and that would be Childress.
10. Cleveland Cavaliers Andris Biedrins, 6-11, Latvia F/C 18 ... the Cavs trade this pick to Boston or Golden State; both would like to grab Biedrins. The Cavs would have gone with a swingman like Kirk Snyder but took care of that need by trading for Aleksandar Pavlovic.
11. Golden State Warriors Kirk Snyder, 6-6, Nevada, Jr. SG 21 ... either Podkolzine or Biedrins is still available. If not, Snyder is the best player remaining and would be tradable.
12. Seattle SuperSonics Luke Jackson, 6-7, Oregon, Sr. G 22 ... Snyder is still available, which would provide a more athletic shooting guard who also can handle the ball. Regardless, Jackson should be the first college senior selected.
13. Portland Trail Blazers Josh Smith, 6-9, Oak Hill (Va.) Academy F 18 ... the Blazers opt for another high schooler, Sebastian Telfair, or trade the pick. The latter is much more likely, considering No. 13 is probably way too high for Telfair, a 6-foot point guard. Smith, however, is an incredible athlete and would be able to contribute in his first season.
14. Utah Jazz Sergei Monia, 6-8, Russia G 20 ... the Jazz completely reverse course and go after a post player. Monia has been on the team's radar for a long time, and it's no secret he's not expected to slip past Utah's pick.
15. Boston Celtics Rafael Araujo, 6-11, BYU, Sr. C 23 ... GM Danny Ainge opts to go with one of the other centers available, Ramos or Robert Swift. Araujo has proven more at BYU and comes in ready to contribute, which can't be said for sure of the other two.
16. Utah Jazz Robert Swift, 7-0, Bakersfield (Calif.) H.S. C 18 ... Swift already has been taken by Boston, in which case the Jazz would draft Araujo. If both are gone, Utah may go after the best available player, which seems to be Kris Humphries.
17. Atlanta Hawks Kris Humphries, 6-9, Minnesota, Fr. F 20 ... Humphries is already gone or the Hawks elect to go with Al Jefferson. Humphries has been more impressive in workouts and has a year of college seasoning in him, which Jefferson cannot claim.
18. New Orleans Hornets Al Jefferson, 6-10, Prentiss (Miss.) H.S. F 18 ... the Hornets take Jameer Nelson, who is still out there as the best remaining point guard. If not, Jefferson, while certainly young, is a talented prospect who would be counted on to produce in his rookie season.
19. Miami Heat Jameer Nelson, 6-0, Saint Joseph's, Sr. G 23 ... the Heat want to go big, either with Ramos or Colorado's David Harrison. Nelson is a better fit because he's a college senior who is eager to show he can put up numbers right away.
20. Denver Nuggets Kevin Martin, 6-7, Western Carolina, Jr. G 21 ... a player such as Snyder is still on the board. But Martin is a scoring machine who could mesh well with Carmelo Anthony and bring even more excitement into the Denver offense.
21. Utah Jazz J.R. Smith, 6-6, St. Benedict (N.J.) Prep G 18 ... Smith is already gone or the Jazz go bigger with a power forward. This is also a pick Utah could trade, considering the Jazz have three draft slots from Nos. 14-21.
22. New Jersey Nets David Harrison, 7-0, Colorado, Jr. C 21 ... the Nets trade this pick to Portland or select another center, Ramos. Harrison is a capable player who could produce decent numbers in the right system without a lot of pressure.
23. Portland Trail Blazers Sebastian Telfair, 6-0, Lincoln (N.Y.) H.S. G 18 ... the Blazers already have taken Telfair, in which case Portland might want to go with a swingman. But most indications are that Telfair will be available for Portland at No. 23.
24. Boston Celtics Anderson Varejao, 6-10, Brazil F 22 ... there's a great wing player out there. But drafting Varejao would be a nice complement to the earlier choice, Araujo.
25. Boston Celtics Delonte West, 6-4, Saint Joseph's, Jr. G21 ... Boston trades this pick or goes after someone slightly taller, perhaps Tony Allen. But West has a bigger upside and is a better shooter.
26. Sacramento Kings Peter John Ramos, 7-3, Puerto Rico C 19 ... Sacramento wants to pass on this kind of height and go after a swingman such as Donta Smith or Sasha Vujacic. Ramos is a project for sure but at 7-3 has a lot of potential.
27. L.A. Lakers Viktor Khryapa, 6-9, Russia F 22 ... Khryapa is off the board or the Lakers want to go with someone a little more athletic. Khryapa is a good enough shooter and has range from small to power forward.
28. San Antonio Spurs Jackson Vroman, 6-10, Iowa State, Sr. C 23 ... the Spurs trade up to grab someone such as Harrison or Araujo. Otherwise, Vroman is one of the best big men left.
29. Indiana Pacers Sasha Vujacic, 6-7, Slovenia G 19 ... Indiana likes another guard, such as Tony Allen or Beno Udrih. Vujacic is a solid shooter and impressed most teams at the Chicago predraft camp.

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