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
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
The NBA's Pre-Draft Camp in
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.
The consensus third-best prospect in the draft pool is
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
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
Andrew Bogut is our projection as overall top selection on June 28. He's too big and too skilled to pass up.
: Andrew Bogut (7-0, Milwaukee ) Utah : Marvin Williams (6-8, Atlanta North Carolina : Chris Paul (6-0, Portland ) Wake Forest : Deron Williams (6-3, New Orleans ) Illinois : Gerald Green (6-7, Charlotte ) Houston Gulf Shores Academy : Raymond Felton (6-0, Utah ) North Carolina : Martell Webster (6-6, Toronto Prep) Seattle : Channing Frye (6-10, New York ) Arizona : Fran Vasquez (6-10, Golden State ) Spain Lakers: Danny Granger (6-8, L.A. ) New Mexico : Nemanja Aleksandrov (6-10, Orlando ) Serbia Clippers: Marko Tomas (6-8, L.A. ) Croatia : Rashad McCants (6-3, Charlotte ) North Carolina : Joey Graham (6-7, Minnesota ) Oklahoma State : Hakim Warrick (6-8, New Jersey ) Syracuse : Sean May (6-7, Toronto ) North Carolina : Ike Diogu (6-7, Indiana ) Arizona State : Charlie Villanueva (6-10, Boston ) Connecticut : Johan Petro (7-0, Memphis ) France : Antoine Wright (6-6, Denver A&M) Texas : Jarrett Jack (6-3, Georgia Tech) Phoenix : Chris Taft (6-9, Denver ) Pittsburgh : Wayne Simien (6-8, Sacramento ) Kansas : Roko-Leni Ukic (6-5, Houston ) Croatia : Andray Blatche (6-9, Seattle , Prep) South Kent, Ct. : Mikeal Gelabale (6-7, Detroit ) France : Ronny Turiaf (6-9, Gonzaga) Utah : Andrew Bynum (7-0, San Antonio , Metuchen, N.J. 's) St. Joseph : Monta Ellis (6-3, Miami , Lanier) Jackson, Miss. : Salim Stoudamire (6-1, New York ) 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 Scout.com's National Basketball Expert and
also covers college basketball for the