Late Tuesday night in New York City, all of the weeks of individual workouts and endless speculation about trade possibilities – real and imagined – will be shoved aside while watching NBA Commissioner David Stern stride to a podium, note cards in hand, 30 times.
And we can all put away our "mock draft" thinking caps for another 11 months.
Can I get an "amen"?
The 2005 NBA Draft, all 60 selections worth, is finally on tap Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET).
Here's the last of our three first-round projections. Hopefully the last of our mocks will get out of the evening with its dignity intact.
Trade speculation continued to fly fast and furious late Monday evening, with a couple of the possible deals – Portland sending its No. 3 selection (Deron Williams?) to Utah for the Jazz's No. 6 (Martell Webster?) as well as Utah's No. 27 and "other considerations; and Charlotte picking Rashad McCants at No. 13 in exchange for Denver choices at 20 and 22 – seeming to have an element of logic, and likelihood, to them.
We've been told by NBA insiders we've come to value, for many, many years, since late in December that Andrew Bogut would be the first player chosen in this draft.
And no one has convinced us to think otherwise yet . . .
1. MILWAUKEE: Andrew Bogut (6-11, Utah)
Frank Says: Larry Harris & Co. should still be giddy over their good fortune of bagging the No. 1 selection envelope on Lottery Night on May 24.
2. ATLANTA: Marvin Williams (6-7, North Carolina)
Frank Says: Some are speculating that the Hawks might draft another (Deron) Williams. But the former Tar Heel is just too good to pass up, even if it seems as if the team's roster is a plethora of gifted players (Al Harrington, Josh Childress and Josh Smith) in the 6-foot-7 or 6-8 range.
3. PORTLAND: Deron Williams (6-1 ¾, Illinois)
Frank Says: More likely than not, his only real brush with the Trail Blazers will be the cap he tugs on his head after hearing of this pick. His future home could be in Salt Lake City.
4. NEW ORLEANS: Chris Paul (5-11 ¾, Wake Forest)
Frank Says: The Hornets land in a nest of high-quality point guards and bag the one that many feel has the best future of the bunch.
5. CHARLOTTE: Raymond Felton (5-11 ½, North Carolina)
Frank Says: The Bobcats have a multitude of enticing options in this slot. This one seems to make the most sense.
6. UTAH: Martell Webster (6-6, Seattle, Wash., Prep)
Frank Says: The franchise's decision makers and shapers are big fans of the most-ready-to-play prep in the draft. But they are even bigger fans of the draft's best point guard prospect, Deron Williams, who may be headed their way if the Jazz and Portland hit pay dirt with their trade discussions.
7. TORONTO: Danny Granger (6-7 ½, New Mexico)
Frank Says: When it comes to NBA draft decisions, "safe" is a relative term. But not too many NBA GMs and personnel directors would find fault with going for one of the most versatile scorers in the draft.
8. NEW YORK: Channing Frye (6-9 ½, Arizona)
9. GOLDEN STATE: Hakim Warrick (6-7 ¼, Syracuse)
Frank Says: Sean May is also being given long and hard consideration by the Warriors here.
10. L.A. LAKERS: Gerald Green (6-6, Houston Gulf Shores Academy)
Frank Says: Mitch Kupchak & Co. inherit what might have been the Knicks' dilemma – which prep player with oodles of upside to select? The hunch here says go with high-flying and deep-shooting, if yet-still-lacking-in-polish, Green.
11. ORLANDO: Joey Graham (6-5 ¼, Oklahoma State)
Frank Says: The Magic would have rather selected a better long-range shooter (namely, Martell Webster) but Graham is anything but a chintzy consolation prize.
12. L.A. CLIPPERS: Yaroslav Korolev (6-8, Russia)
Frank Says: The Clippers are another franchise that was enamored with Martell Webster but Korolev is another 18-year-old with the kind of tools that should make him an on-court contributor sooner than some realize.
13. CHARLOTTE: Rashad McCants (6-2 ¾, North Carolina)
Frank Says: He could team with Raymond Felton for a heck of an all-UNC backcourt. But he also may be headed to Denver for the Nuggets' selections at No. 20 and 22.
14. MINNESOTA: Charlie Villanueva (6-9, Connecticut)
15. NEW JERSEY: Sean May (6-7, North Carolina)
Frank Says: The Nets will be very pleased, indeed, if the guy who is possibly the best low-post scorer in the draft pool is available for them.
16. TORONTO: Roko Ukic (6-5, Croatia)
Frank Says: The Raptors also like Jarrett Jack among the point guards who figure to be available to them here. Give the edge to Ukic.
17. INDIANA: Francisco Garcia (6-5 ¾, Louisville)
Frank Says: Antoine Wright or Kennedy Winston (Alabama) could be other options in trying to find a wing to inherit the minutes – and jump shots – available with the retirement of future Hall of Fame selection Reggie Miller.
18. BOSTON: Monta Ellis (6-2 ¼, Jackson, Miss., Lanier)
Frank Says: Some think the
Celtics like Roko Ukic at this spot. They do but he's not apt to be available. He
didn't set the all-star games afire like some expected but some scouts still
consider him a near-lottery level talent.
19. MEMPHIS: Julius Hodge (6-6, North Carolina State)
Frank Says: Well, does Jerry West "like" Hodge enough to actually make him the Grizzlies' guy – and perhaps their point guard of the future? Stay tuned.
20. DENVER: Andray Blatche (6-10, South Kent, Ct., Prep)
Frank Says: The Nuggets could be making selections for Charlotte by this point. Whoever he plays for, Blatche could prove to be (take your choice of terminology) a bargain or steal at No. 20.
21. PHOENIX: Johan Petro (7-0, France)
Frank Says: He is only 19 so we can almost refer to him as one of the "high school guys" chosen in this first round.
22. DENVER: Antoine Wright (6-5 ¼, Texas A&M)
Frank Says: Wright will also be strongly considered at No.'s 14 and 15 so he may not have to sweat it out this long.
23. SACRAMENTO: Fran Vazquez (6-10, Spain)
Frank Says: Up until a couple of (one poor, one better) workouts in New York City Saturday and Sunday, he was a near-consensus choice to be tabbed in the lottery. The Kings would consider themselves quite fortunate if he is theirs for the choosing.
24. HOUSTON: Wayne Simien (6-7 ¼, Kansas)
Frank Says: He's one of several viable options that also include Ike Diogu and Jarrett Jack.
25. SEATTLE: Jarrett Jack (6-3, Georgia Tech)
Frank Says: The feeling seems to be that Jack, who is rated higher than Roko Ukic and Monta Ellis on many draft boards, doesn't get by the Sonics.
26. DETROIT: Ersan Ilyasova (6-8, Turkey)
Frank Says: Jump shooters are always a valued commodity and he's among the three or four best in the draft pool.
27. UTAH: Andrew Bynum (7-0, Metuchen, N.J., St. Joseph's)
Frank Says: Will he still be available this deep into the draft with teams like New York, the Lakers and Minnesota considering him at No.'s 8, 10 and 14? The Jazz could be picking him for another team, Portland, enthralled by his potential.
28. SAN ANTONIO: C.J. Miles (6-5 ½, Dallas Skyline)
Frank Says: There isn't really anything the Spurs are lacking for right now. So why not choose a player they can afford to wait on for a while? He worked out well for a lot of teams considering him earlier than this, including Denver and Sacramento.
29. MIAMI: Matt Walsh (6-6, Florida)
Frank Says: Salim Stoudamire, he of the almost limitless shooting range, is another strong candidate right here.
30. NEW YORK: Luther Head (6-2, Illinois)
Frank Says: If the rest of the first round goes about as expected, Head would be the best of the "point-guard types" still undrafted.
On the outside looking at early second round: Here are some guys who were just edged out in at least a few spots. Any of them have interest from teams drafting from the late teens on – Ike Diogu (6-6 ½, Arizona State), Martynas Andriuskevicius (7-1 ¼, Lithuania), Chris Taft (6-8 ½, Pittsburgh), Amir Johnson (6-9, Los Angeles Westchester High), Salim Stoudamire (6-0, Arizona), Nate Robinson (5-8, Washington), Ryan Gomes (6-7, Providence), Mickael Gelabale (6-7, Francis), Kennedy Winston (6-6, Alabama) and Lawrence Roberts (6-8, Mississippi State).
An April inductee into the USBWA Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's National Basketball Expert and is also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of Burlison's pieces at www.FrankHoops.com