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NBA DRAFT

Mock Draft

Times NBA Writer Mark Heisler takes a look at what to expect from today's NBA draft.

June 25, 1997|MARK HEISLER

TEAM - NAME, HEIGHT, WEIGHT, YEAR, PREVIOUS, COMMENTS

1. San Antonio -- Tim Duncan, 6-11, 249, senior, Wake Forest. Shaquille O'Neal was more awesome, but Duncan arrives with as much game as anyone could ask for. Scores, blocks shots, passes and rebounds (14 a game, more than 40 percent ahead of second-place Antawn Jamison's 9.9 in the ACC). Alongside Robinson, his transition should last about two exhibition games.

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2. Philadelphia -- Tony Battie, 6-9 1/2, 227, junior, Texas Tech. Not a center. Not even a pro power forward yet, but he's tall and athletic.

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3. Boston -- Chauncey Billups, 6-3, 207, sophomore, Colorado. A big, high-scoring point guard who carried the Buffaloes into the NCAA tournament almost single-handedly.

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4. Vancouver -- Antonio Daniels, 6-2, 197, senior, Bowling Green. Came from nowhere as a senior, averaging 24 points, shooting 54.7% (to Billups' 41.3). More of a playmaker than Billups.

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5. Denver -- Keith Van Horn, 6-10, 234, senior, Utah. Big, athletic sharpshooting small forward, highly rated by some like the Pacers who want to trade up for him. Regarded skeptically by others who are leery of weak Western Athletic Conference competition. Seattle's George Karl calls him "a thin-big, finesse-big player in college and that guy doesn't exist in the NBA."

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6. Boston (from Dallas) - Tracy McGrady, 6-7, 205, prep, Durham, N.C., Mt. Zion Christian Academy. This prep is one of the much-sought Scottie Pippen-type ballhandling wing men. Not supposed to be as good as Kobe Bryant but bigger and just as athletic.

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7. New Jersey -- Tim Thomas, 6-8, 220, freshman, Villanova. Despite fabulous gifts, he has been a coaster. The Nets need a small forward and he's a local, from Paterson. They're telling themselves he's just young.

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8. Golden State -- Adonal Foyle, 6-8 1/2, 263, junior, Colgate. Even if he's unpolished and wasted three years trampling the puny Patriot League, he should help the softest team in the West.

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9. Toronto -- Ron Mercer, 6-7, 209, sophomore, Kentucky. Scouts thought he was a top-five pick, but when Pitino, his college coach, backed off, eyebrows went up.

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10. Milwaukee -- Brevin Knight, 5-9 1/2, 172, senior, Stanford. A surprise this high, but Coach Chris Ford wants a fast-stepping playmaker to boot his moribund squad in the rear.

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11. Sacramento -- Maurice Taylor, 6-9, 260, junior, Michigan. Big and athletic, showed little enough in three years of college but wowed teams in two weeks of workouts.

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12. Indiana -- Austin Croshere, 6-9, 220, senior, Providence. Desperate for a scoring forward, they go for this skilled Santa Monica Crossroads grad.

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13. Cleveland -- Derek Anderson, 6-3 1/2, 188, senior, Kentucky. With the long-rumored struggle between Coach Mike Fratello and General Manager Wayne Embry surfacing, the Cavaliers have frozen out press inquiries about anything. Best guess is they'll take this do-everything guard, who some considered better than Mercer before he hurt his knee.

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14. Clippers -- Danny Fortson, 6-7, 257, junior, Cincinnati. A short power forward but a powerful one. Nice pick for them.

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15. Dallas (from Minnesota) -- Olivier St. Jean, 6-5 1/2, 216, senior, San Jose State. Don Neson-type swing man. Another late comer, a great athlete who shoots well. Big upside.

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16. Cleveland (from Phoenix) -- Kelvin Cato, 6-10 1/2, 241, senior, Iowa State. Supposedly ticketed for Milwaukee, his stock dived. Blocks shots but so far, that's about it.

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17. Orlando -- Johnny Taylor, 6-7, 220, senior, Tennessee Chattanooga. Another Pippen-type who was impressive on the pre-draft circuit.

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18. Portland -- Jacque Vaughn, 5-11, 193, senior, Kansas. They need a backup for Kenny Anderson.

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19. Detroit -- John Thomas, 6-7 1/2, 260, senior, Minnesota. They're getting set to trade Otis Thorpe, who feuded with Doug Collins, and need someone like this barrel-chested late-bloomer.

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20. Minnesota (from Portland through Charlotte) -- Chris Antsey, 7-0, 235, none, Australia. South East Melbourne Magic. A 22-year-old second-year pro who's supposedly coming. NBA backup type but the Timberwolves, who start 220-pound Dean Garrett at center, need size.

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21. New Jersey (from Lakers) -- Marc Jackson, 6-8, 260, senior, Temple. They want a center too. He's slow and can't jump but he's wide and can shoot.

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22. Atlanta -- Ed Gray, 6-3, 227, senior, California. Nice pick here. They need depth and firepower and that looks like him.

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23. Seattle -- Bobby Jackson, 5-11, 184, senior, Minnesota. Gary Payton averaged 39 minutes because backup Eric Snow couldn't cut it. Maybe Jackson can.

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24. Houston -- Jason Lawson, 6-9 1/2, 235, senior, Villanova. He didn't happen in college, but he's athletic and blocks shots.

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25. New York -- God Shammgod, 6-0, 178, sophomore, Providence. Knicks' gift to local tabloids. Thursday's 120-point headline: "OH, GOD!" After first two-game losing streak: "WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?"

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26. Miami -- Serge Zwikker, 7-2, 275, North Carolina. Pat Riley wants size. They may have to tow Serge into position but once he's there, he can shoot.

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27. Utah -- Anthony Parker, 6-5, 202, senior, Bradley. Shandon Anderson-type prospect, nice pick here.

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28. Chicago -- Paul Grant, 6-11, 241, senior, Wisconsin. No one in this draft looks like the next Mike. They're hoping for the next Luc Longley.

Note: Washington was assessed its No. 1 pick for the opportunity to re-sign Juwan Howard so the first round has only 28 picks.

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