Monday, June 27, 2005
2005 NBA Draft Preview by Gabe Kahn
Welcome to another round of NBA Roulette, more commonly known as the NBA Draft. As always, my crazy friend 'Neal and I get together and see if we can predict where each player will land in the first round using team needs, past tendencies and overall guess work that we like to refer to as "logic." It's a lot like throwing darts while blindfolded without even knowing if you're facing the target. As if it's not challenging enough, general managers everywhere love messing with our guesses by trading their selections even as the draft is going on. Last year, we got five out of 30 picks right, and, here's the kicker, we felt pretty good about ourselves. So take everything we say with a grain of salt, especially because 'Neal is at his caffeinated best during the draft. It's a sight to behold. Trust me.
Like every year, these picks were all made with the assumption that every team will select in this order, and that no trades will be made. Also like every year, I'll slow dance to Lady in Red with the 8-pound piece of machismo that is my dog if that actually happens. Onto the picks:
1. Milwaukee Bucks
Andrew Bogut- How can they pass on a potentially dominant big man when they desperately need a center?
2. Atlanta Hawks
Marvin WIlliams- Yes, they're stacked at the wing, but Williams is the type of player you build around.
3. Portland Trailblazers
Martell Webster- Assuming they keep this pick, and we're assuming they don't, Webster will be their man. Don't expect it to happen, though.
4. New Orleans Hornets
Chris Paul- From day one, Paul's been the best point guard in the draft. After all is said and done, that should still be true.
5. Charlotte Bobcats
Deron Williams- They wanted either Paul or the other Williams, but they'll be content to select the second best PG in the draft and team him up with Emeka Okafor.
6. Utah Jazz
Raymond Felton- Jerry Sloan needs a point guard and will either try to use this pick to trade up and grab Deron Williams/Paul, or he'll be content with the best PG available.
7. Toronto Raptors
Gerald Green- Considered by many to be the best talent in the entire draft, Toronto has needs everywhere except power forward and Green could be in the mold of Vince Carter.
8. New York Knicks
Channing Frye- Assuming Kurt Thomas is traded to Phoenix, Isiah Thomas will need more help than ever at center.
9. Golden State Warriors
Charlie Villanueva- The Warriors are a lousy team with depth at almost every position. Center is the weakest, so they'll take the most versatile big man left on the board.
10. Los Angeles Lakers
Fran Vasquez- Without a good option at the point, Phil Jackson will try to make up for the Lack-o’-Shaq. They’d like to move up and grab Green, though.
11. Orlando Magic
Antoine Wright- Wright is too good to pass up on this late in the draft. Will this move spell the end of the Stevie Franchise era in Orlando already?
12. Los Angeles Clippers
Yaroslav Korolev- Of all the rumors regarding promises, this one seems most likely to be true.
13. Charlotte Bobcats
Danny Granger- With Okafor, Primo Brezec and now Deron Williams, Bernie Bickerstaff now needs to fill up his wing positions. Granger is a ready-made contributor.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves
Sean May- Minny can get away with using an undersized PF because Kevin Garnett can make up for May's lack of length. We like this pick.
15. New Jersey
Hakim Warrick- Jersey hopes that Warrick will remind them of Kenyon Martin.
16. Toronto Raptors
Andrew Bynum- Since the Raptors are going to have to wait for Green to develop, they might as well wait for Bynum, too.
17. Indiana Pacers
Francisco Garcia- Larry Bird would probably like to add to Indiana’s point guard depth, but Roko Ukic has contract issues and Jarrett Jack is too much of a stretch at 17, so he'll try to replace Reggie Miller instead.
18. Boston Celtics
Chris Taft- Danny Ainge has never been concerned with taking the popular player. Ukic is a possibility here, too, and Danny might consider trading down. Say what you want about Taft's attitude, but the kid can play.
19. Memphis Grizzlies
Roko Ukic- The Griz need to replace Earl Watson and drafting Ukic allows them to trade Jason Williams for someone other than a point guard.
20. Denver Nuggets
Joey Graham- Denver needs a shooting guard and they'll be thrilled if a guy as good as Graham is still around this late in the draft.
21. Phoenix Suns
Ike Diogu- Phoenix has a tendency to draft good players, regardless of need. Diogu's ability to play both the 3 and the 4 fits in well with the Suns. Not to mention that it’s rumored Phoenix made a promise to him.
22. Denver Nuggets
Johan Petro- Nene's slow development and undetermined position leaves Denver weak at the 5-spot. The Ghost of Skita will scare Kiki Vandeweghe away from Martynas Andriuskevicius
23. Sacramento Kings
Rashad McCants- Getting McCants should make up for the loss of Cuttino Mobley.
24. Houston Rockets
Wayne Simien- They need a PG, but they need a PF, too. Simien is a bit small, but that's not so bad when you're playing next to Yao.
25. Seattle SuperSonics
Martynas Andriuskevicius – Without any legitimate players left on the board, they'll take a flyer on Andriuskevicius, leave him in Europe for a couple years and see if he develops. Because so many of their players are going into free agency, the Sonics are a real wild card here.
26. Detroit Pistons
Jarrett Jack- The Pistons wouldn't mind having someone to put behind Chauncey Billups besides Lindsey Hunter and Carlos Arroyo. Jack is steady, if unspectacular.
27. Utah Jazz
Julius Hodge- After selecting Felton, the Jazz still have a hole at SG. If they select Hodge, they have an opportunity to go very big with Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko in the front court.
28. San Antonio Spurs
Andray Blatche- The Spurs will eventually need a center. They can afford to wait by selecting Blatche.
29. Miami Heat
Matt Walsh- With Eddie Jones possibly on the outs in Miami, the Heat will need a good role-playing small forward to step up.
30. New York Knicks
Monta Ellis- Troubled that, with Frye and Bruno Sundov, he has too much size, Thomas will take a PG with the final selection in the first round.
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