Wednesday , Jun , 28 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

NBA Draft – Who Will Go Number One?

*** NBA Draft – Who Will Go Number One? ***

by Jeff Frank, Contributing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – The NBA Draft is scheduled for tonight
and it has become obvious there is no consensus top choice in this years
draft. Any one of three players, Adam Morrison, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andrea
Bargnani could go number one. However, its doubtful any team will improve
dramatically with these players, as all three are nowhere near ready to make
an immediate impact in the NBA.

This draft will certainly not be confused with the 03 edition of LeBron
James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony. Still, there are a few
players that will make early impressions on their new teams, namely Brandon
Roy and Marcus Williams.

The following choices are what I think most General Managers SHOULD DO, rather
than what will eventually happen. With that in mind, here is round one,
including each teams odds to win the 06-07 NBA Championship, courtesy of
www.sportsbook.com:

1) Toronto: (200-1): The Raptors recently hired a new Vice President in
Maurizio Gherardini, who also takes over the role of Assistant General
Manager. Gherardini coached Andrea Bargnani for Benetton Treviso in the
Italian League, so expect Toronto to select the seven-foot forward with the
top pick.

2) Chicago: (40-1): Since the Bulls are already a playoff squad, they should
build on their success and take the player most ready to step in: Washington’s
Brandon Roy. Chicago also has the 16th pick where they can pick up a big man.

3) Charlotte: (200-1): The Hornets select Connecticuts Rudy Gay with the
third pick. The 69″ forward has a habit of disappearing at crunch time in big
games, but has tons of potential with his quickness and defensive skills.

4) Portland: (300-1): Theres only one possible choice and thats Adam
Morrison. The Washington native will be able to score in this league, but 75%
of his all-around game, especially the defensive side, is a question mark.

5) Atlanta: (200-1): With a host of scorers and shooters, the Hawks need
someone to distribute the ball and theres no better point guard in the draft
than the Huskies Marcus Williams.

6) Minnesota: (100-1): The Timberwolves are shocked that LaMarcus Aldridge is
still on the board. There are two reasons for that: lack of strength and
aggressiveness. He was abused by LSU in the regional finals last year when
he shot 2-for-14 from the field.

7) Boston: (100-1): The other player besides Aldridge that has gotten too much
hype is Tyrus Thomas. At 69″, 215 lbs., Thomas will have his work cut out for
him at the next level. He also played only one year of college ball and has
severe offensive deficiencies.

8) Houston: (20-1): The Rockets could use another offensive weapon and the
player closest to being ready is Villanovas Randy Foye. Houston suffered
through two major injuries last season (Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming) and is not
that far away from getting back into the playoffs. Foye can score and rebound
as well as any guard in this draft.

9) Golden State: (100-1): One player whose stock has skyrocketed the last few
days is Rodney Carney. The Memphis small forward could be the most explosive
player coming out this year and can light it up from downtown.

10) Seattle: (100-1): The Sonics need help on the boards and theres a
fantastic rebounder out there in Shelden Williams. The 69″ power forward is
only the third player in ACC history with 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds and 350
blocks (Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan and Virginia’s Ralph Sampson)

11) Orlando: (100-1): This seems the perfect spot for J.J. Redick. The Magic
are probably the best young squad in the league and the 100-1 odds for a team
that finished 10 games under .500 reflect that. Redick will provide a spark
off the bench, but its still a question mark whether he can score as
consistently in the NBA as he did in four years at Duke.

12) New Orleans: (100-1): The Hornets have the 12th and the 15th picks and
definitely need a big man, but cant pass up Ronnie Brewer at number 12. About
the only thing Brewer lacks is a decent shot, which prevents him from being a
top 10 pick.

13) Philadelphia: (100-1): One player that increased his draft status during
the pre-draft camps is Rajon Rondo. The point guard reportedly improved his
outside shot at the camps, which is the only thing lacking in his game.

14) Utah: (100-1): The Jazz are in dire need of a center and the best of the
bunch is Patrick OBryant. The seven-footer is very raw with only two years of
college ball under his belt, so the key word for him is patience.

15) New Orleans: (100-1): With their second pick, the Hornets take a big
man in Hilton Armstrong. It took three years, but Armstrong finally cracked
the starting lineup in his senior season and averaged 10 points and three
blocks a game. His upside is huge, but it will take a few years.

16) Chicago: (40-1): Look for the Bulls to select seven-foot center Saer
Sene from Senegal. A project to say the least, Sene will take even longer to
emerge than OBryant and Armstrong.

17) Indiana: (40-1): Indiana needs some help in the backcourt and a guard from
Michigan State will be waiting for them in Shannon Brown. The Illinois native
has improved each of his three years as a Spartan and, like Danny Granger a
year ago, will be a tremendous addition to the Pacers.

18) Washington: (100-1): The Bullets are licking their chops as Cedric Simmons
is still on the board at 18. His rebounding and shot-blocking abilities are
far more advanced than his offensive game, which will take a couple of years
to develop.

19) Sacramento: (20-1): With Shannon Brown selected two picks prior, look for
Sacramento to grab another Michigan State guard – Maurice Ager. The 65″
Michigan native should improve at the next level, especially in the Western
Conference.

20) New York: (200-1): No team in the league needs improvement more than
New York. It begins with Florida States Alexander Johnson. The Knicks need an
inside presence and the 69, 250 lb. power forward will give it to them. His
best college games came against Duke and North Carolina and his rebounding
skills will be a huge plus.

21) Phoenix: (5-1): The Suns own the 21st and 27th picks, so there is the
possibility of trading up. However, if they remain at this slot, expect Thabo
Sefolosha to be their man. The Swiss shooting guard played in the Italian
League last season.

22) New Jersey: (12-1): With back-to-back selections, the Nets must draft at
least one big man. Josh Boone from Connecticut is the logical choice.

23) New Jersey: (12-1): A back up to Jason Kidd is another pressing need.
Rutgers’ Quincy Douby can play the point, but his specialty is scoring.
The Brooklyn, NY native can pop the “J” from just about anywhere on the court
and with the Nets moving to Brooklyn in a couple of years, this looks to be
the perfect pick.

24) Memphis: (35-1): The Grizzlies are an offensively-challenged ball club.
They finished 27th in the league in scoring last year, so finding a shooter
should be priority number one. There are two 610″ three-point artists still
available, so expect Memphis to grab West Virginia’s Kevin Pittsnogle. His
outside shot will keep him in the NBA for years to come.

25) Cleveland: (20-1): Another team that could use an offensive spark is
Cleveland and the Cavs waste no time in selecting the other 610″
sharpshooter, Steve Novak. A two-year teammate of Dwyane Wade at Marquette,
Novak has the ability to stretch the defense and give Cleveland another
offensive weapon.

26) Lakers: (35-1): Point guard is the position the Lakers should look into
and theres one right in their own backyard in UCLAs Jordan Farmar. The
62″ guard led the Bruins to Final Four before falling to Florida in the
championship game.

27) Phoenix: (5-1): Like Los Angeles, Phoenix also needs some backcourt help,
especially a future replacement for Steve Nash. The Suns get lucky when Kyle
Lowry is there at number 27. The Villanova sophomore still needs a couple of
years to develop his game, but has the luxury of learning from one of the best
in Nash.

28) Dallas: (4-1): The Mavericks will be looking for a swingman who can play
solid defense. Cincinnatis James White is an athletic leaper who can play
defense and will be a perfect role player for the Western Conference champs.

29) New York: (200-1): The Knicks are stunned that Shawne Williams is still
available at pick number 29. Williams left Memphis after only one year, which
is the reason his stock dropped. Regardless, the potential is there, but how
long will the Knicks brass be willing to wait?

30) Portland: (300-1): With the final pick, the Blazers select Paul Davis, the
third Michigan State Spartan picked in the first round.