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Chicago JK
06-05-2003, 10:19 PM
Mock drafts are pretty much useless right now. Until the camps and workouts they are just guess work. A player could go 12 or 40. similar to the NFL draft this year. Although this one was interesting.


Mock Draft: What happens after LeBron is gone?

June 5, 2003 Print it


The NBA Finals are under way, at long last, but chances are, if you don't live in central Texas or the swamps of Jersey, your attention to this Nets-Spurs series will be limited. For you folks, have no fear -- the NBA draft is almost here. The Chicago pre-draft camp is in full swing, and we're just three weeks from the big day. Here is Educated Guess No. 1 of the pre-draft period, also known as the mock draft.

1. Cleveland
Team need: PG, C, overall talent. The pick: SG LeBron James. All James will have to do is rescue one of the NBA's most moribund franchises. If he's half as good as he has been hyped to be, that should not be a problem. The first order of business will be deciding where to play James -- should he be the point guard, or should Cleveland try to sign someone and let James play on the wing? Other possibilities: Uh, none.

2. Detroit
Team need: Offensive-minded big guy. The pick: PF Darko Milicic. The Pistons charmed on this, getting as close to the top of the draft as possible without losing the pick to Memphis. They will work out Carmelo Anthony, but the best bet is Milicic, because he is 7-0, his offensive repertoire is outstanding, and his potential is high. Other possibilities: Anthony.

3. Denver
Team need: Talent, everywhere. The pick: SF Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets need players, and this pick gives them a 3-4 combo of Anthony and Nene Hilario, a nice foundation. Anthony plays a great inside-out game, as dangerous in the post as he is with his midrange jumper. With their wide-open cap situation, the Nugs could put together a strong, young lineup beginning next year. Other possibilities: Trades have been rumored, but keep in mind, the Nuggets won't work out Anthony for another two weeks. When they do, chances are the trade talk will die down.

4. Toronto
Team need: Big guys, PG, SF. The pick: PF Chris Bosh. Bosh is a versatile lefty who, not to be outdone by the first three players taken, is also a teenager. The Raps really missed Keon Clark last year, and Bosh is a similar player -- thin (6-10, 210), athletic, good shot blocker. Bosh has better offensive upside than Clark, though, with a better shooting range (out to 18-20 feet). Other possibilities: Toronto could package this pick and one of its weighty salaries (Jerome Williams?) in a trade, but most likely, it will stay here. The Raptors could go point guard, with T.J. Ford, and move Alvin Williams to shooting guard. Or they could go for a pure center, Chris Kaman.

5. Miami
Team need: PG, C. The pick: PG T.J. Ford. Ford is ultra-fast, and a smart point man. The Heat have been hurting at the point ever since Tim Hardaway flamed out, and though Pat Riley must be tempted to use this pick for size, Ford is clearly the guy who meets the team's needs and can contribute right away. His outside shot is suspect, but as long as he can penetrate and dish, he'll be just what Miami needs. Other possibilities: PG Leandro Barbosa, Kaman, C Pavel Podkolzine, F Maciej Lampe.

6. L.A. Clippers
Team need: A new owner. The pick: SF Jarvis Hayes. No telling what the Clippers will do here, but the entire starting lineup is up for some level of free agency, so every position is needed. They used their two lottery picks last year on C Melvin Ely and PF Chris Wilcox, so the best bet is that they'll look to fill in on the wings, with Corey Maggette, Eric Piatkowski and Lamar Odom all geared for free agency, and with SG Quentin Richardson coming off a down year. Hayes is a very good option, a 6-7 guy who is quick, can shoot it off screens and can defend the position. Other possibilities: Kaman, Podkolzine, Lampe, SG Mickael Pietrus, SF Boris Diaw, SG Dwyane Wade.

7. Chicago
Team need: Wing player. The pick: SG Dwyane Wade. The Bulls need a guy to line up alongside Jalen Rose, since Eddie Robinson has been a bust and Trenton Hassell is best-suited to coming off the bench. Hayes would be a very good option if the Clippers pass on him, but Wade is not a bad substitute. He is a versatile, all-around player who would fit nicely in the Bulls' triangle offense, though his shooting range is a question mark. He may be a little undersized (6-4) to play some of the better 2-guards in the East, but he is a pretty good defender. Other possibilities: Diaw, Pietrus.

8. Milwaukee
Team need: Size. The pick: C Chris Kaman. If Kaman makes it this far, he probably won't slip much more. The Bucks are desperate for frontcourt help, and Kaman is a big, mobile center who uses both hands well. He has a pretty polished inside game for a player his age (21) -- good footwork, ballhandling, getting high-percentage shots. Playing at Central Michigan, the competition he has faced is a question. Other possibilities: Perhaps coach George Karl, having had an up-close look at international basketball in the World Championship, will push for a foreign big man like Lampe, Podkolzine or PF Sofiklis Schortsianitis.

9. New York
Team need: PG, size. The pick: PF Sofiklis Schortsianitis. His workouts will be crucial, but Schortsianitis is a huge young man (270 pounds, 17 years old) whose height is under some scrutiny -- some say he is 6-8, some say he is 6-10. Either way, he has a big wingspan and a ton of potential. He has a surprising array of offense for a kid his age, and his size makes him reasonably ready for the NBA. Some scouts are doubtful, though, because he is so raw. Other possibilities: PF Mike Sweetney, Lampe, Podkolzine, PF Nick Collison, Barbosa, PG Kirk Hinrich, PG Luke Ridnour.

10. Washington
Team need: PG, SF. The pick: PG Kirk Hinrich. There is no organizational structure here at the moment, so it's tough to say what the Wizards will do. But, clearly, point guard is the No. 1 need, so we'll put Hinrich in this spot. He's a classic ball distributor, capable of running the break and finishing with the right pass. But he needs to prove his shot is NBA-worthy, or he will be very easy to defend. If he shows some variety, he can be a complement to Jerry Stackhouse. Other possibilities: Barbosa, Ridnour, PG Reece Gaines.

11. Golden State
Team need: PG. The pick: PG Leandro Barbosa. Also known simply as, "Leandrinho," he's 6-4 with long arms and a knack for running the point. He is more of a score-first point guard, but as he develops, he will become a better passer. If Gilbert Arenas stays, Lenadrinho will be a solid backup. If Arenas leaves, the young Brasilian will get a crack at the Warriors' starting lineup. Other possibilities: Ridnour, Gaines.

12. Seattle
Team need: PG, size. The pick: PF Maciej Lampe. The jury is way out on Lampe. I've seen mock drafts where he is No. 4 or No. 5, and for him to get up that far, he'll have to really impress the Raptors or Heat. From what I've heard, Lampe is a good young player who is R-A-W. He is a pretty good shooter and is an athlete, not a stiff. But can he play defense? Can he handle the paint in the NBA? He certainly can't at this stage. He's a big risk, and he could drop out of the lottery altogether. But the Sonics could use a home-run pick here, and Lampe is only 17. If he pans out (and stays healthy), he could be outstanding for a team that was forced to start Reggie Evans as the power forward last year. Other possibilities: Sweetney, Podkolzine, PF David West, Collison, Ridnour, Gaines.

13. Memphis
Team need: SG (defense-oriented), C. The pick: SG Mickael Pietrus. Pietrus could go to Chicago at No. 7, but if he's still alive here, he won't slip any lower. Pietrus is a very good athlete, who is not a pure scorer at the 2-spot. But he is 6-6 and can flat-out defend, and perimeter defense is one of the Grizzlies' biggest weaknesses. He can run the break with Jason Williams and is sure to land more than one highlight dunk as a rookie. Other possibilities: Podkolzine is a possibility here, if GM Jerry West wants to take a chance on a big, young center. Also, there's Diaw, SF Zarko Cabarkapa and SF Aleksander Pavlovic.

14. Seattle
Team need: PG, size. The pick: PG Luke Ridnour. The Sonics are in a good position to have a very productive draft with the 12 and 14 picks, because of the surplus of point guards and the knowledge that Memphis is overloaded on point guards. They can take a chance at No. 12, and still land Ridnour to help them out next season. The Sonics used Brent Barry as the point man last year, but in Ridnour, would be getting a guy who can penetrate and dish to the team's perimeter shooters. His defense is a weak point, though. Other possibilities: Gaines, PG Marcus Banks, PG Jameer Nelson, PG Marcus Moore, PG Chris Thomas.

15. Orlando
Team need: PG, C. The pick: C Pavel Podkolzine. Put him in the same category as Lampe -- the jury is way out, still. He could wind up high in the lottery, or he could go somewhere around here. Most scouts who have seen Podkolzine are quick to point out that he should stay in Europe for another year or two, but such is the draft these days -- youth rules. He's 17 and, depending on whom you ask, somewhere ranging from 7-1 to 7-5. My sources say 7-3 and growing, so I choose to believe that. Podkolzine definitely is a project, but he has size and potential. Given the fruitless search for size in central Florida ever since Shaq left, the Magic may not be able to resist. Other possibilities: If Podkolzine is gone, or if the Magic decide to focus on their point guard hole, look for Gaines to go here. Banks and Moore are possible, too.

16. Boston
Team need: PG, size. The pick: PF Mike Sweetney. The Celtics need some beef up front, especially off the bench, where SF Walter McCarty was basically all they had. Sweetney is a perfect fit, an energetic, tough, active big man who has a knack for rebounding -- a Celtics weak point. He is not the post scorer the Celtics would like to have, but he is tenacious and will get some scoring on the offensive glass. Other possibilities: Collison, PF Anderson Varejao, PF Mario Austin, PF David West. Boston is also in the hunt for a versatile point guard, and either Gaines or Moore can fit that bill. Both are big combo guards, capable of playing the point or being a scorer. If the Celtics get cold feet on a big man, expect one of those two guys to go here. But they have the 20th pick, too, and there will be some point guard selection then.

17. Phoenix
Team need: PG, F/C. The pick: PF Anderson Varejao. The Suns need a big guy off the bench, because Scott Williams and Bo Outlaw have already played too long. Varejao is only 20 and is a high-energy, active post man who will go hard after rebounds. Plus, he has Sideshow Bob hair, which is a big plus. He needs a lot of work on his offense, but the Suns really don't need offense from him, so he will have time to develop. Other possibilities: Collison, Austin, West. The Suns could go for a point guard, too, to back up Stephon Marbury, but they'll probably address that in free agency. An international guy (SG Aleksander Pavlovic, F Zarko Cabarkapa, PG Zoran Planinic) is possible, too.

18. New Orleans
Team need: SG, athleticism, possibly PF. The pick: SF Boris Diaw. Diaw's mother is one of the all-time great French hoopsters, and his father was a Senegalese high-jump champion. Their son, not surprisingly, is a terrific athlete, who could be gone at this point if he blows away another team in workouts. He is not much of a shooter and has been up-and-down, but he can run and jump with the best of them, and the Hornets could use his burst of energy off the bench. They're lacking in athletes that can run with Baron Davis. Other possibilities: If the Hornets think they're going to lose free-agent PF P.J. Brown, they could look for a power forward here -- Collison, Austin, West, Cabarkapa.

19. Utah
Team need: C, PF. The pick: PF Zarko Cabarkapa. Cabarkapa has been impressive in his brief stint working out for teams. He can play three positions, which makes him very attractive to the Jazz, who will need a guy who can move around depending on what PF Karl Malone does. He can shoot from the perimeter, a nice skill for a 6-11 guy. The big question is, can he put on weight? He has been working with a trainer for a few months and has put on muscle. He needs a better post game and better defense, and improving his strength is the first step. Other possibilities: Boy, I still have not found a spot for Collison. Hard to believe he'll still be on the board here. He could go to Utah, but the gut feeling is the Jazz likes Cabarkapa.

20. Boston
Team need: PG, size. The pick: PG Marcus Moore. Moore has been steadily rising on a lot of draft boards. He went largely unnoticed at Washington State, especially after he needed ankle surgery during the season, but he is a legit 6-6 point guard who can score and pass. The Celtics need a guy who can handle the ball (Moore can), make the good pass to the open man (Moore can), penetrate the defense (Moore can) and score (you guessed it, Moore can). He's a little helter-skelter, but it's the Celtics -- helter-skelter makes him a perfect fit for their offense. There's a chance he won't be around this late. Other possibilities: Danny Ainge is very high on Gaines, and he's a possibility here. The Celts could leave the point guard chase to free agency, targeting old friend Kenny Anderson. That would mean they'd probably go for a best-player type of pick, along the lines of Collison, West, Austin or Pavlovic.

21. Atlanta
Team need: PG, SG. The pick: PG Reece Gaines. The Hawks can't be sure what will happen with G Jason Terry, a restricted free agent, especially since the team does not have a coach or general manager. Chances are, Atlanta will keep him, but will want to play him at his more natural shooting guard. If they're lucky enough to get Gaines at this point, they could finally have solved their backcourt problem. Gaines is 6-6 and a tough, physical guard who can play the point or play the shooting guard spot. He's good enough to handle point-guard duties and big enough to guard the players Terry can't handle. Other possibilities: Planinic, Pavlovic, Banks, Collison, SF Viktor Khryapa, SG Carlos Delfino, SG Josh Howard.

22. New Jersey
Team need: Depth. The pick: SF/SG Aleksander Pavlovic. The team needs help on the perimeter, especially off the bench. Pavlovic needs to get more consistent with his shot, but he is a very athletic swingman who can create his own shot and, seeing as he is only 19, you have to figure his consistency will come around. Like most players his age, he needs to put on weight and get better defensively. But he has potential, and the Nets can afford to develop him. Other possibilities: Khryapa, Delfino, Collison, Howard, SF Charlie Villanueva, C Kendrick Perkins.

23. Portland
Team need: Size, PG The pick: PF Nick Collison. This may be way too low for Collison, and I'm sure I'll get complaints. But as one scout told me, "Someone's going to get squeezed, and it's usually a high-profile guy from a big program." Much like Carlos Boozer last year, for example. There is a lot to like about Collison: good size (6-9, 250), great shooting touch, solid fundamentals. But the draft is such that teams go for potential and mystery more than known commodities, and that could bump Collison down. Is it fair? Of course not. The Blazers could be looking to get rid of PF Rasheed Wallace this summer and even if they keep Wallace, he will be a free agent next summer. Collison is tough to pass up here. Other possibilities: PF Rick Rickert, PF David West, Khryapa, PG Zoran Planinic, Nelson, Banks, Thomas, PG Mo Williams.

24. L.A. Lakers
Team need: PG, SF, size. The pick: PG Zoran Planinic. He's thin -- 195 pounds -- but Planinic is 6-6 and a very capable 3-point shooter, which makes him a good point man for the Lakers' triangle. All he has to do is bring up the ball, make the first pass, then get open for a perimeter shot. His defense is lacking, but with his size and with the potential for adding weight, that should improve. Other possibilities: Austin, West, Rickert, Thomas, Banks, Williams, PF Jerome Beasley, PF Brian Cook, C Zaur Pachulia, C Slavko Vranes.

25. Detroit
Team need: PF/C. The pick: PF David West. Hard-working big man would be another piece in remaking the Pistons' frontcourt, putting offensive weapons around Ben Wallace. West is a good shooter from 12-15 feet and a hard worker. He's not one to bang around in the paint too much, and he is undersized at 6-8, but West is a smart, competent big man who will be a steal late in the first round. Other possibilities: Khryapa, Delfino, Rickert, Thomas, Williams, Banks.

26. Minnesota
Team need: PG, wing, depth. The pick: PG Marcus Banks. Banks is not the shooter that starting PG Troy Hudson is, but he is lightning-fast, an excellent penetrator and a good passer. Despite his playoff performance, Hudson would be best served to return to a shooting guard's role, as he does not do a very good job of setting up his teammates. Getting Banks, who is polished and experienced enough to play right away, gives Minnesota a much more varied offense, because he can get everyone involved. Other possibilities: Delfino, Khryapa, Thomas, Williams, Rickert.

27. Memphis
Team need: SG, C. The pick: SG Carlos Delfino. Delfino is 6-7, can play small forward and gives the Grizzlies another perimeter defender to shore up one of their big weaknesses. He's often billed as another Manu Ginobilli, but scouts agree, he is not the athlete Ginobilli is. He is a similarly pesky defender, though. Other possibilities: C Malick Badiane, Vranes, Austin, SF Travis Outlaw, Perkins, Villanueva.

28. San Antonio
Team need: C, SF, PG. The pick: PG Chris Thomas. The Spurs have an acre of cap space available this summer, and they're likely to use it to land a big man. PG Tony Parker's job is safe, but the team may not keep Speedy Claxton around, which means they'll need a new backup. Thomas is not the athlete that Parker is, but he has good footwork, makes smart decisions and is a typical coach-on-the-floor point guard -- in other words, a perfect backup for Parker. Other possibilities: PG Alexander Vujajic, Khryapa, Perkins, Villanueva, SG Dahntay Jones.

29. Dallas
Team need: Size, depth. The pick: C Kendrick Perkins. Perkins is not the lottery pick he was projected to be, but he is a solid center prospect, one of the few in the draft. He's 6-10, 290 pounds, and there is no mistaking him for a fancy-pants perimeter big man. He will get down and dirty in the paint, and the Mavs have had an eye on him -- he's a Texan, after all. Other possibilities: Khryapa, Nelson, Williams, Beasley, Rickert, C James Lang.

Chicago JK
06-09-2003, 11:05 PM
update number 2

Mock Draft, Take 2: Projecting picks 1-29

June 9, 2003 Print it


We're still 17 days and counting from the NBA draft, comfortably ahead of the real predraft season, which kicks in next Monday. That's when all the scouting reports will be filed and phone lines start burning up as trade talks take place in earnest. Still, there already are some movers and shakers on the ol' draft board, so we give you version No. 2 of the TSN mock draft:

1. Cleveland
The pick: G LeBron James. Chisel him in stone.

2. Detroit
The pick: PF Darko Milicic. The 7-1 Garnett wannabe still is the pick, but don't rule out Carmelo Anthony.

3. Denver
The pick: SF Carmelo Anthony. Would they really consider passing on a pure small forward like Anthony in favor of Pavel Podkolzine? Just too hard to believe.

4. Toronto
The pick: PF Chris Bosh. Athletic, versatile big man fits well in the Raptors' frontcourt. Will block shots, learn to score.

5. Miami
The pick: PG T.J. Ford. The only man who can slow Ford might be Pat Riley, but the Heat need a point guard.

6. L.A. Clippers
The pick: C Pavel Podkolzine. He's big, he's raw, he ought to be playing in the developmental league. The Clips are close enough.

7. Chicago
The pick: SG Dwyane Wade. Skilled, high-flying wing man would fit well with the Bulls' kids. This is a tradable pick, though.

8. Milwaukee
The pick: C Chris Kaman. They may be leaning toward a point guard, but why? It's a guard-heavy roster already, and there has not been a center in Milwaukee for a decade or so.

9. New York
The pick: PF Sofiklis Schortsianitis. Tough to get a read on Schortsianitis, but he's huge and the Knicks like him. New York may trade this pick.

10. Washington
The pick: PG Kirk Hinrich. The Wiz are in chaos, but picking a point guard is a good way to emerge from that. Hinrich may wind up being a dropper in this draft, though.

11. Golden State
The pick: PG Leandro Barbosa. The Warriors need insurance in case Gilbert Arenas bolts, which he almost surely will do. Barbosa is a big point man who can score.

12. Seattle
The pick: SF Jarvis Hayes. He's simply too big (6-7) and too good to pass up here. The Sonics can package 12 and 14 to move up, don't forget.

13. Memphis
The pick: SG Mickael Pietrus. Very solid perimeter defender, which addresses one of the big needs on the Grizzlies' roster -- they can't stop anyone.

14. Seattle
The pick: PF Mike Sweetney. Big-time interior banger for a team that started Reggie Evans at power forward. The Sonics are not wedded to the idea of picking a point guard, so don't assume they will.

15. Orlando
The pick: PG Reece Gaines. Tall point guard who can put the ball in the basket. This is an easy pick for the Magic, who have not made many easy picks lately.

16. Boston
The pick: G/F Aleksander Pavlovic. The Celtics really like this 6-7 shooter from Yugoslavia, as does Utah at No. 19. Boston needs scoring badly, and Pavlovic can score.

17. Phoenix
The pick: PG Luke Ridnour. With the rise of unknown European players, there will be a surprise to fall into the Suns' lap. Ridnour may go earlier, but the Suns will scoop up the best available here.

18. New Orleans
The pick: PF Nick Collison. Veteran power forward who can shoot and has proven himself on the national stage with Kansas. Still, that does not seem to mean much these days.

19. Utah
The pick: SF Zarko Cabarkapa. The Jazz must completely rebuild, which means every position is a need. Cabarkapa is a long, 6-11 perimeter guy who can shoot.

20. Boston
The pick: PG Marcus Banks. A lightning-quick point guard like Banks would suit the Celtics' style. If he can penetrate and dish to the perimeter, the Celts will be rewarded.

21. Atlanta
The pick: PG Marcus Moore. He measured in at 6-5 in Chicago, which makes him a good option next to undersized guard Jason Terry. He can push it and score.

22. New Jersey
The pick: PF Anderson Varejao. High-energy youngster can develop behind Kenyon Martin. His stock has dropped -- far enough to take him out of the draft again?

23. Portland
The pick: F Maciej Lampe. In the same weekend that Podkolzine pushed himself into the lottery, Lampe pushed himself down. He did not shoot well, was not athletic and did not work particularly hard.

24. L.A. Lakers
The pick: SF Boris Diaw. The Lakers will get -- gasp -- an athletic small forward who can defend and break down defenders. Might need time to develop, though.

25. Detroit
The pick: PF Ndudi Ebi. Straight-from-preps big guy is a project, but size (6-9) and athleticism seem to have won over several teams. This pick may be moved.

26. Minnesota
The pick: PF David West. Talent-thin Wolves get a versatile big man who can hit perimeter shots and provide an offensive outlet.

27. Memphis
The pick: SG Carlos Delfino. Often compared to compatriot Manu Ginobili, but he's not at that level. Still, a good defender and athlete. The Grizz may look for a big-man project here.

28. San Antonio
The pick: SG Travis Hansen. Hansen played like a first-rounder at the Chicago camp, showing a terrific shooting touch. He's 6-6 and good enough to be in a rotation next season.

29. Dallas
The pick: PF Kendrick Perkins. The Mavs probably will go for a young, developable big man, and Perkins fits that bill. He may withdraw, though.

Sean Deveney is a staff writer for