Two Cats in mock draft

Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams and Chris Paul are the three best prospects in the 2005 NBA Draft. After that, though, things get a little murky.

We face the better part of four weeks before this and all other mock drafts become moot on the June 28 night of the NBA Draft in New York City.

So expect considerable tweaking and shuffling on our projected first round (30 selections) that you can peruse below. The final one we'll offer you a day or so before David Stern starts reading note cards -- live and via the ESPN feed -- to a viewing audience that includes the nail-biting players,
parents, agents and assorted hangers-on, NBA folks and all the draft-obsessed denizen of Hoopaholic Land.

The NBA's Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago (June 7-10) will dicker with the final three or four choices in the first round and the overall makeup of Round 2. The hefty portion of Round 1, as the draft-sophisticated among you realize, will be sculpted by way of the numerous games watched by NBA scouting personnel over the course of a few seasons, about a zillion hours of video evaluation and the multitude of individual workouts (more often than not, actually conducted in groups of four) conducted by franchises for purposes of up-close evaluation.

It's safe to assume that Milwaukee and Atlanta will not give up their 1-2 slots in the first round, and that Andrew Bogut of Utah and Marvin Williams of North Carolina will be the first players selected – if not necessarily in that order.

Then, with Portland holding the No. 3 selection, the picking gets a whole lot trickier.

The consensus third-best prospect in the draft pool is Wake Forest point guard Chris Paul. But the Trail Blazers spent the No. 13 pick in the 2004 draft on Sebastian Telfair, handed him the keys to the franchise's ignition at about midway last season and seemed set to left him drive the their
on-court operation for the foreseeable future.

But for the time being, we'll keep Paul in the third slot, with a hunch that, barring Portland's decision makers become enamored with another player and deem him worthy of the third pick, Paul will be dealt elsewhere, directly or indirectly, with that selection.

It's still relatively too early to determine the level of impact the foreign pool or prospects will have on the first round.

Right now we're inclined to think that some very promising (at least, long-term) non-U.S. talent could pull out of the draft, the most notable being 6-10 Tiago Splitter (Brazil), 7-2 Martynas Andriuskevicus (Lithuania) and 6-4 Rudy Fernandez (Spain), if their agents don't feel they'll be chosen early enough relative to their perceived talents.

Eight high school or prep school players were selected in the first round a year ago, all of those among the first 19 picks.

Right now we project five high school/prep school graduates to go in the first round with just two of those, Gerald Green and Martell Webster, lottery selections.

We've got Green going fifth and Webster seventh. The consensus about the two is they are both capable of being impact scorers in the NBA, eventually, and that Green is quicker/faster and a superior leaper while Webster is the much more polished player with a superior "feel" for the
game right now.

It wouldn't be startling to some if Webster climbs a notch or two, and/or if Green slides deeper later into the lottery.

McDonald's All-America center Andrew Bynum, a Connecticut signee, is projected at No. 28 (to San Antonio). But he has been quoted as saying he will play for the Huskies in 2005-06 if he isn't "guaranteed" a spot in the lottery.

We're also projecting that Randolph Morris, unless his stock climbs a bit higher than we're hearing is at right now – bottom of first round, at best – will return to the University of Kentucky for his sophomore season.

Andrew Bogut is our projection as overall top selection on June 28. He's too big and too skilled to pass up.



  1. Milwaukee: Andrew Bogut (7-0, Utah)
  2. Atlanta: Marvin Williams (6-8, North Carolina
  3. Portland: Chris Paul (6-0, Wake Forest)
  4. New Orleans: Deron Williams (6-3, Illinois)
  5. Charlotte: Gerald Green (6-7, Houston Gulf Shores Academy)
  6. Utah: Raymond Felton (6-0, North Carolina)
  7. Toronto: Martell Webster (6-6, Seattle Prep)
  8. New York: Channing Frye (6-10, Arizona)
  9. Golden State: Fran Vasquez (6-10, Spain)
  10. L.A. Lakers: Danny Granger (6-8, New Mexico)
  11. Orlando: Nemanja Aleksandrov (6-10, Serbia)
  12. L.A. Clippers: Marko Tomas (6-8, Croatia)
  13. Charlotte: Rashad McCants (6-3, North Carolina)
  14. Minnesota: Joey Graham (6-7, Oklahoma State)
  15. New Jersey: Hakim Warrick (6-8, Syracuse)
  16. Toronto: Sean May (6-7, North Carolina)
  17. Indiana: Ike Diogu (6-7, Arizona State)
  18. Boston: Charlie Villanueva (6-10, Connecticut)
  19. Memphis: Johan Petro (7-0, France)
  20. Denver: Antoine Wright (6-6, Texas A&M)
  21. Phoenix: Jarrett Jack (6-3, Georgia Tech)
  22. Denver: Chris Taft (6-9, Pittsburgh)
  23. Sacramento: Wayne Simien (6-8, Kansas)
  24. Houston: Roko-Leni Ukic (6-5, Croatia)
  25. Seattle: Andray Blatche (6-9, South Kent, Ct., Prep)
  26. Detroit: Mikeal Gelabale (6-7, France)
  27. Utah: Ronny Turiaf (6-9, Gonzaga)
  28. San Antonio: Andrew Bynum (7-0, Metuchen, N.J., St. Joseph's)
  29. Miami: Monta Ellis (6-3, Jackson, Miss., Lanier)
  30. New York: Salim Stoudamire (6-1, Arizona)

Ten who should be gone quickly in the second round: Ryan Gomes (6-7, Providence); Jason Maxiell (6-6, Cincinnati); Francisco Garcia (6-7, Louisville); Julius Hodge (6-6, North Carolina State); Daniel Ewing (6-3 ½, Duke); Alex Acker (6-5 ½, Pepperdine); Kennedy Winston (6-6, Alabama); David Lee (6-8, Florida); Jared Homan (6-10, Iowa State); Nate Robinson (5-8, Washington).


Recently elected to the USBWA Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is's National Basketball Expert and also covers college basketball for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at Read more of Burlison's pieces at

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