There are no slam Duncans in this draft, which has plenty of
forwards but few quality guards or centers. Here is SI's guess
at how things will shake down in Vancouver on June 24, with the
caveat that the Celtics, Hornets, Magic, Pistons, Raptors,
Rockets and Sixers were all working diligently to trade their
picks as we went to press.
1. CLIPPERS Mike Bibby, (below), 6'2", G, Arizona-- The Clippers
fantasize about Mike Olowokandi, but they need a sure thing, and
Bibby is the closest thing to that in this draft.
2. GRIZZLIES Mike Olowokandi, 7'1", C, Pacific--Vancouver will
entertain offers for this pick up to D day, but if the Grizzlies
don't get a deal they like, they'll take Olowokandi and trade
him at their leisure.
3. NUGGETS Paul Pierce, 6'7", F, Kansas--Denver desperately
wants a big man and may package Pierce in a trade for Olowokandi.
June 21, 1998
4. RAPTORS Raef LaFrentz, 6'11", F, Kansas --Toronto needs
someone with size and a solid game they can build around.
5. WARRIORS Antawn Jamison, 6'9", F, North Carolina--Jamison had
been touted as the top pick, but his tweener size (scouts insist
he's closer to 6'7") caused him to slip.
6. MAVERICKS Larry Hughes, 6'5", G, St. Louis--Dallas hopes this
19-year-old scorer will bring life to their comatose franchise.
7. KINGS Vince Carter, 6'7", G-F, North Carolina--Chris Webber's
displeasure about being a King could trigger another trade that
alters the landscape on draft day, but Carter is the best player
8. 76ERS Robert Traylor, 6'8", F, Michigan--This wide body is
easy to fall in love with, though he's a little short for power
9. BUCKS Michael Doleac, 6'11", C, Utah--You can be sure Utah
coach Rick Majerus has given a detailed scouting report to his
good friend, Milwaukee owner Herb Kohl.
10. CELTICS Keon Clark, 6'11", F-C, Nevada Las Vegas--Rick
Pitino, who wants to win now, may have enough guts to pick the
talented but maturity-challenged Clark.
11. PISTONS Pat Garrity, 6'9", F, Notre Dame--Detroit wants a
perimeter shooter who can punish teams doubling Grant Hill.
Shooter Michael Dickerson--quicker but smaller--could go here.
12. MAGIC Nazr Mohammed, 6'10", C, Kentucky--This pick falls
under the best-big-man-available rubric.
13. MAGIC (from Wizards) Michael Dickerson, 6'5", F,
Arizona--This one falls under the best-shooter-available rubric.
14. ROCKETS Bonzi Wells, 6'5", G, Ball State--With the
retirement of Clyde Drexler, Houston requires a scoring guard,
and Wells has the kind of athleticism they like.
15. MAGIC (from Nets) Jason Williams, 6'1", G, Florida--Williams
has lottery-pick talent and CBA-bound baggage, but Orlando's
three picks allow it to gamble here.
16. ROCKETS (from Raptors via Knicks) Rashard Lewis, 6'10", F,
Alief Elsik High in Houston--With three first-round picks,
Houston can afford to take a chance on a hometown schoolboy.
17. TIMBERWOLVES Radoslav Nesterovic, 7'0", C, Kinder Bologna
(Italy)--Minnesota must go big, but Nesterovic's Bologna
contract might keep him in Europe until 2000.
18. ROCKETS (from Raptors via Trailblazers)--Corey Benjamin,
6'6", G, Oregon State--One of the best athletes available (35%
of his college hoops were dunks), but predraft workouts exposed
19. BUCKS (from Cavaliers) Matt Harpring, 6'8", F, Georgia
Tech--Harpring slipped because he passed on workouts. Could be a
20. HAWKS Ruben Patterson, 6'6", F, Cincinnati--They love
Harpring, but Patterson boosted his stock by playing well in
postseason workouts against Magic Johnson.
21. HORNETS Vladimir Stepania, 6'11", C, Olympija Ljubljuna
(Slovenia)--Charlotte needs big men--Vlade Divac and Matt Geiger
are free agents, and Anthony Mason is on the block because of
clashes with Cowens.
22. CLIPPERS (from Heat) J.R. Henderson, 6'9", F, UCLA--Scouts
say any UCLA kid is a gamble (too soft, too lazy), but the Clips
figure a hometown name with genuine talent could help them on
and off the court.
23. NUGGETS (from Suns) Al Harrington, 6'9", F, St. Patrick's
High in Elizabeth, N.J.--Denver likes Bryce Drew, but why not
use this pick on the kid with the greater potential?
24. SPURS Bryce Drew, 6'3", G, Valparaiso--In workouts, Drew
proved he can play the point, but the Spurs don't care where he
plays as long as he knocks down perimeter jumpers.
25. PACERS Felipe Lopez, 6'6", G, St. John's--Can Larry Bird
pull off another Jalen Rose-like resurrection with this
extremely athletic but maddeningly streaky player?
26. LAKERS Tyronn Lue, 6'0", G, Nebraska--With L.A. unsettled at
the point--Nick Van Exile, anyone?--it craves another playmaker.
27. SONICS Brian Skinner, 6'10", C-F, Baylor--Seattle needs to
get creative (i.e., lucky) in its quest for big bodies. UCLA's
Jelani McCoy could sneak in here.
28. BULLS Mirsad Turkcan, 6'9", F, Efes Pilsen
(Turkey)--Turkcan, Turkey's top pro player, will provide the
chance for a few good headlines even if he can't play a lick.
29. JAZZ Ansu Sesay, 6'9", F, Mississippi--Sesay dropped because
of strong workouts by others. Miles Simon is a possibility here.