NBA Mock Draft No. 3 - Futures At Stake
Early entry candidates have until June 19 to decide on returning to school
June 5, 2007
- Mock Drafts: May 4 | May 23 | June 5 | June 19
- Features: Top Ten Seniors | Freshmen Decisions | Should I Stay Or Should I Go? | The Bust Ratio
- Player Profiles: Arron Afflalo | The Florida Four | Glen Davis | Rodney Stuckey
- Position Breakdown: Point Guards | Shooting Guards | Small Fowards | Power Forwards | Centers
- Questions for the Analysts: Week 1 - Oden or Durant | Green and Hibbert | Nick Young
Week 2 - Brady Quinn Scenario | Second Round Stars | Hurt By Staying
Week 3 - Top Sleepers | Most Overrated | Picks Three Through Five
- Look Back: 2006 NBA Draft | 2002 NBA Draft | 1997 NBA Draft | 1992 NBA Draft | 1987 NBA Draft
- Look Ahead: Making a Mockery of the 2008 NBA Draft
- Draft Night: NBA Draft Superlatives
By Steve Aschburner
Special to CSTV.com from The Sports Xchange
Now the fun really begins.
With the pre-draft camps complete, teams underway with individual and group workouts of selected prospects and everyone trying to out-think or at least out-guess the other guys, the next few weeks are the juiciest time of the year for NBA rumors, wild scenarios, leaks and insecurity.
Hardly anyone is sure what his club is going to do or who it really likes. Yet they're all nervous as heck about what the competition -- teams drafting ahead of them, clubs within the same division or conference -- is plotting.
Soon enough, though, certain general managers or owners will fall in love with a particular player, thanks to a strong workout, an assessment of the guy's heart or the right answer to a Rorschach test. Then they'll sweat until draft night, hoping that no one else figures out their plan (fat chance).
For the underclassmen who haven't sullied themselves with an agent yet, there's still one door out: The June 19 date for early entry candidates to withdraw their names. But for the NBA's 30 teams, there is no escape. This is the time of year when franchises are made. Or messed up beyond repair.
It was around this time in 1998 that the Michael Olowokandi groundswell bumped
It was during this period two years ago that
At this point, everybody has a brainstorm but hardly anyone has an answer. Beyond
Here is an update of our first-round scenario, three weeks and dwindling until draft night:
1. Portland Trail Blazers
It's conceivable that the Trail Blazers could dicker with other teams, including
Probable pick: Greg Oden, C, Ohio State.
For all of Kevin Garnett's magnificence as a talent and as a competitor, the 7-footer still has been reliant in his NBA career on someone to deliver him the ball. Durant, at 6-9, has shown the ability to initiate the offense, which theoretically could make KD a more valuable piece, in time, than KG.
Probable pick: Kevin Durant, F,
Despite their glaring need for a point guard, the Hawks might not be comfortable defying the conventional wisdom and grabbing
Possible pick: Brandan Wright, F, North Carolina; Mike Conley Jr., G,
The Grizzlies could have, and frankly have in their checkered past, done worse than to be positioned to grab the Gators' most promising big man at this spot. Al Horford, physically, is a ready-to-go pro with a stronger defensive presence than any of
Possible pick: Al Horford, F,
If the Celtics don't take
Possible picks: Yi Jianlian, F,
Some mock drafts put Conley here, based on the expectation that Mo Williams will be gone via free agency. But this team could use some more size and could fill the point guard spot in other ways.
Possible picks: Conley; Brewer; Wright.
The Bucks could use more size, but the Timberwolves are desperate for it. Kevin Garnett has been doing the heavy lifting (four consecutive rebounding titles) long enough now, and he's getting tired.
Possible picks: B. Wright; Joakim Noah, F,
There is talk that the Bobcats will start the bidding for
The Bulls still might try to scratch their itch for low-post scoring with a veteran such as Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett or Jermaine O'Neal, each of whom would fit nicely up front with blue-collar Ben Wallace. But if the help comes from this spot, then
Possible picks: Spencer Hawes, C, Washington.
The emphasis starts to shift from need to talent here, and
Possible picks: J. Wright; Brewer; Green.
We started out figuring
The 76ers could stand to upgrade at two or three spots in their starting five, and small forward seems to offer the best options at this point in the lottery.
We still like the cornerstones of this team, with Chris Paul running the point and David West and Tyson Chandler providing the size. Some depth at the small forward and shooting guard positions would be most helpful -- and most available.
Possible picks: T. Young; N. Young.
If the Clippers wake up on June 29 and they haven't drafted or traded for a point guard, they will have taken a huge step back for 2007-08 before even hitting the summer leagues.
Possible picks: Law; Javaris Crittenton, G, Georgia Tech.
Funny how, all of a sudden, this team appears more needy and flawed than it did a week or two ago, when the Pistons were on track to reach the NBA Finals again. Chauncey Billups will be a free agent who gets too pricey for president Joe Dumars' tastes, and there's the Rasheed Wallace factor (enough already).
Possible picks: Crittenton; T. Young; Jason Smith, F,
Possible picks: J. Smith; N. Young; Tiago Splitter, F,
If the Nets finally decide to break up their Big Three, they'll need replacements. Compared to some draft predictions, we think their big players are better than they generally get credit for.
Possible picks: N. Young; Brandon Rush, G,
The Warriors could stand to upgrade their outside shooting. And Don Nelson, assuming he's back, always gets fascinated by one big guy or another each year.
Possible picks: Thornton; T. Young; Splitter.
Phil Jackson always has liked big guards, although he prefers veterans over rookies. The Lakers' urgency to appease Kobe Bryant might lead them to package this pick.
Possible picks: Crittenton; N. Young; Rush; Daequan Cook, G,
This is a lot creakier, more fragile roster than people realized, even as
Possible picks: Gabe Pruitt, G, USC; Rodney Stuckey, G,
Don't bet on the 76ers keeping and using all three of their first-round picks. It's not just a matter of playing all those young guys, it's a matter of paying them all via long-term, guaranteed contracts.
Possible picks: Stuckey; Josh McRoberts, F, Duke.
The Bobcats could go big here, especially if it means the chance to land a Duke guy.
Possible picks: McRoberts; Cook; Rudy Fernandez, G,
The Knicks are looking to deal, so this pick could get packaged in a trade. Otherwise, they add another youngster to a pretty jumbled roster.
Possible picks: Fernandez; Marcus Williams, F,
One year after turning Marcus Banks into a lottery winner, the Suns still are looking for backup help for Steve Nash.
Possible picks: Pruitt; M. Williams; Sean Williams, C, Boston College; Marco Belinelli, G,
The Jazz could stand to add a few pure athletes around guys like Mehmet Okur, Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer and Matt Harpring.
Possible picks: M. Williams; McRoberts; Stuckey; Derrick Byars, F, Vanderbilt.
This team needs some players with some range on their jump shots, preferably from 12-20 feet.
Possible picks: Belinelli; Byars; Alando Tucker, F,
Chris Webber might not be back, Antonio McDyess was drafted way back in 1995 and Rasheed Wallace, also from the class of '95, earned a ticket out of town with his antics. So
Possible picks: Stuckey; Tucker; Marc Gasol, C,
Doesn't it seem about time for the Spurs to pull off another crafty, grab-an-international-guy-here to make rival GMs look silly in a couple of years? Unless they want help sooner rather than later for some aging positions.
Possible picks: S. Williams; Tucker; Herbert Hill, F, Providence.
Figure on the Suns to size up the best prospect for the way they play.
Possible picks: Belinelli; Gasol; Morris Almond, G, Rice; Wilson Chandler, F, DePaul; Aaron Gray, C, Pittsburgh.
Going big at some point in the draft is a priority for
Possible picks: Hill; Almond; Gray; Glen Davis, F, LSU.
Steve Aschburner is a senior NBA reporter and columnist, covering the Minnesota Timberwolves for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for 13 seasons and serving as president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association from 2005-07.