Friday , Jun , 25 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Winners and losers on draft night

By Warren Blatt, Sports Network NBA Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – The 2004 NBA Draft is complete, and as
always selections will be second-guessed and teams will receive either
complements or criticism regarding their picks.

Here is a look at some of the winners and losers of the draft.

WINNERS:
——-

1. CHICAGO BULLS – The Bulls got three players that can help them right away.
Connecticut guard Ben Gordon, who Chicago selected with the third overall
pick, will add instant offense. Duke forward Luol Deng, who was picked by
Phoenix at No. 7 and was traded to the Bulls for Jackson Vroman, a conditional
future first-round pick and an undisclosed sum of cash, is going to keep
improving and will step right in at small forward. In the second round, the
Bulls grabbed point guard Chris Duhon with the 38th overall selection. Duhon
should be a nice backup to Kirk Hinrich.

2. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS – The Bobcats were hoping that Connecticut forward Emeka
Okafor would be there for them at No. 2 when they acquired the second overall
selection from the Los Angeles Clippers. Charlotte’s wish came true. This is a
great first pick for the Charlotte franchise.

3. ORLANDO MAGIC – The Magic took a a big gamble by selecting high school
phenom Dwight Howard with the top pick instead of Okafor. What makes Orlando
a winner is that it was able to acquire Saint Joseph’s point guard Jameer
Nelson, who was selected by Denver at No. 20, from the Nuggets for a future
first-round pick. Nelson is ready to play now and deserved to be selected
higher in the draft. The Magic have a winner in Nelson!

4. BOSTON CELTICS – The Celtics had three selections in the first round and
walked away with high school sensation Al Jefferson at No. 15, Saint Joseph’s
guard Delonte West at No. 24 and Oklahoma State guard Tony Allen with the 25th
overall pick. The 6-9 Jefferson, who is projected as a power forward, will
have a chance to develop into a productive NBA player, while West and Allen
will be given the opportunity to fight for immediate playing time off the
bench.

5. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – The Sixers selected Arizona’s Andre Iguodala with
their only pick at No. 9 in the first round. Iguodala, who was projected to be
picked as high as No. 3, is athletic and can play multiple positions.
He will get playing time immediately at small forward and at shooting
guard. Philadelphia was lucky that Iguodala was there at No. 9.

6. INDIANA PACERS – Indiana picked Colorado center David Harrison with the
last selection of the first round. The 7-0 Harrison has the ability to score
down low and is a strong rebounder. He could see significant minutes in his
rookie season for the Pacers, who are weak in the middle.

LOSERS:
——

1. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS – How can Portland justify selecting high school
point guard Sebastian Telfair over Saint Joseph’s Nelson? What did Telfair do
against his high school opponents that showed that he will be a better pro
then Nelson? Portland picked the wrong point guard at No. 13!

2. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS – The Hornets selected high school guard J.R. Smith
with the 18th pick in the first round. At that point in the draft teams
usually try to grab the best player available. Saint Joseph’s Nelson was there
and would have been a nice backup to Baron Davis. Should Smith really have
been chosen over Nelson?

3. MIAMI HEAT – The Heat selected high school forward Dorell Wright with the
19th pick in the first round. Wright over Nelson? Another team that made a
mistake.

4. TORONTO RAPTORS – BYU center Rafael Araujo was picked with the eighth
overall selection in the first round by Toronto. Araujo could be a solid
player, but the Raptors probably would have been able to get him a few spots
down and may have benefited more by trading down and acquiring either a player
and/or a future pick. Toronto missed out on a chance to make the most of its
first-round pick.

5. SEATTLE SONICS – Does high school center Robert Swift, who was Seattle’s
pick at No. 12 in the first round, look like he can bang with Shaquille O’Neal
or any of the centers in the NBA? Seattle would have been better off trading
their pick if Swift was its man.