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Mock Draft

June 26, 2002|MARK HEISLER | Times Staff Writer

Here's how first round of NBA draft tonight could go, theoretically:

1. HOUSTON Yao Ming, 7-5, 296, Shanghai Sharks

Projects don't often go No. l but that's what he is. Doesn't react quickly to game situations, block shots or play in the post. On the other hand, he's huge, mobile, has a nice touch and may learn.

2. CHICAGO Jay Williams, 6-0 1/4, 193, junior, Duke

After two years as the best player in college, scouts began dwelling on missed free throws and woolly shot selection, even though he'd been moved to shooting guard and had to carry the offense. He remains the best point guard prospect in years.

3. GOLDEN STATE Mike Dunleavy Jr., 6-8, 230, junior, Duke

Once a frail guard, now a full-sized forward with range and playmaking ability. Safe pick, although skeptics think he lacks the upside of some younger prospects.

4. MEMPHIS Drew Gooden, 6-8 3/4, 227, junior, Kansas

Great athlete who must show he's tough enough to play inside in the NBA. Of course, Jerry West doesn't always do what he tells people he will.

5. DENVER Nene Hilario, 6-9 1/4, 250, Vasco da Gama, Brazil

Little known a month ago, his stock zoomed as teams working him out were blown away by his size, strength and athleticism. Says one GM, "What a stud!"

6. CLEVELAND Chris Wilcox, 6-8 1/4, 218, sophomore, Maryland

Explosive young power forward who still needs to grow up and fill out.

7. NEW YORK Jared Jeffries, 6-10, 230, sophomore, Indiana

Big, young and skilled, his stock went up after he bulked up, adding 15 pounds after the season.

8. CLIPPERS DaJuan Wagner, 6-0 3/4, 193, freshman, Memphis

Clippers may not make this pick but the Cavaliers like him too. His stock dropped because he's neither a playmaker nor a dominant scorer but he has a big upside.

9. PHOENIX Nikoloz Tskitishvili, 6-10 1/2, 225, Benetton Treviso

At 19, this Georgian is billed as the next Dirk Nowitzki, although he barely played as a rookie. His Benetton coach, Mike D'Antoni, just joined the Suns' staff and raves about him.

10. MIAMI Caron Butler, 6-5 1/4, 222, sophomore, Connecticut

Often compared to Paul Pierce and, like Pierce, looking at a draft-day plunge. Great pick here: tough guy with skills, Pat Riley's type of player.

11. WASHINGTON Bostjan Nachbar, 6-8, 221, Benetton Treviso

Big, promising Croatian small forward.

12. CLIPPERS Melvin Ely, 6-9, 240, senior, Fresno State

The best bet is that another team will make this pick too. This guy turned out to be someone in his senior year.

13. MILWAUKEE Amare Stoudemire, 6-8 1/2, 233, Cypress Creek (Fla.) H.S.

He comes from a troubled family and bounced through six high schools but comes across OK. Not much in the way of skills, but size, athleticism and ferocity give him a chance to break big.

14. INDIANA Tayshaun Prince, 6-8, 215, senior, Kentucky

Everyone thought they'd take Kareem Rush but they say they have a surprise planned. Let's say, after all their years with Reggie Miller, a lights-out shooter from the West Coast with a frail body and a big heart, they go for the next generation.

15. HOUSTON Qyntel Woods, 6-7, 213, sophomore, NE Mississippi J.C.

Stock dropped like a rock over concerns he's the next DerMarr Johnson rather than the next Tracy McGrady. With his upside, he's worth a shot here.

16. PHILADELPHIA Dan Dickau, 6-0, 180, senior, Gonzaga

A little sharpshooter--he made 15 consecutive three-pointers working out for Orlando--he may be ticketed for Golden State in a deal for Larry Hughes.

17. WASHINGTON Kareem Rush, 6-4 3/4, 199, junior, Missouri

Athletic and can shoot but had a disappointing season. Nice young man whose drive and court sense are in question.

18. ORLANDO Curtis Borchardt, 6-10 3/4, 238, junior, Stanford

Stock tumbled on concerns about the foot injury that cost him his sophomore season. Not physical but he blocks shots and has a nice shooting touch. Good pick here for a team desperate for size.

19. UTAH Casey Jacobsen, 6-4 3/4, 215, junior, Stanford

The Jazz has been hurting for a shooting guard since Jeff Hornacek retired two seasons ago. He's hard-nosed and has game.

20. TORONTO Frank Williams, 6-1 1/2, 214, junior, Illinois

Mysterious point guard who would have gone higher a year ago. Can dominate or disappear. Raptors don't think Alvin Williams is really a point.

21. PORTLAND Dan Gadzuric, 6-11, 240, senior, UCLA

Big, athletic and plays hard, even if you fear he'll hurt himself when he goes into one of his whirling-dervish post moves. On the other hand, his lack of technique prompts optimists to think they can teach him what he hasn't yet learned.

22. PHOENIX John Salmons, 6-5 1/2, 207, senior, Miami

Stock zoomed last week after eye-opening workouts, including one in Indiana where he shut down Jiri Welsch.

23. DETROIT Marcus Haislip, 6-8 1/2, 221, junior, Tennessee

Bottom fell out of his stock late. Bad combination: Not very skilled or very big.

24. NEW JERSEY Mladen Sekularac, 6-6 1/2, 210, FMP Zeleznik

Big, talented, brash, Yugoslav shooting guard.

25. DENVER Jiri Welsch, 6-5 1/2, 208, Olimpia Ljubljana

Highly rated Czech guard.

26. SAN ANTONIO Nenad Krstic, 6-10, 210, Partizan (Yugoslavia)

Vlade Divac's protege who played for the team Divac owns in Belgrade. Krstic is 19 and reedy but talented.

27. LAKERS Juan Dixon, 6-2, 164, senior, Maryland

Too small for a shooting guard, doesn't handle well enough for a point but he's a great shooter and the triangle doesn't have such cut-and-dried roles. Think, Mike Penberthy who can stay in front of people.

28. SACRAMENTO Carlos Boozer, 6-7 3/4, 257, junior, Duke

Not an exciting prospect but he's got a wide body and some skills.

*

On the bubble: David Andersen, 6-10, 240, Kinder Bologna; Roger Mason, 6-3 1/2,199, junior, Virginia; Jason Jennings, 6-11 1/4, 249, senior, Arkansas State; Smush Parker 6-2 1/2, 179, senior, Fordham; D'Angelo Collins, 6-8 1/2, 230, Inglewood HS, Darius Songaila, 6-8, 248, senior, Wake Forest; Ryan Humphrey, 6-6, 223, senior, Notre Dame.

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