|ESPN.com: Draft 2003||[Print without images]|
|LeBron James | SF | 6-8, 240 | St. Mary/St. Vincent (Ohio) H.S.
Ford's Take: The party actually started in Cleveland weeks ago. Will he be the Cavs savior? It depends upon who GM Jim Paxson gives him to play with. As good as Lebron is, he can't play one on five. Are Ricky Davis, Darius Miles and Dajuan Wagner the right running mates? Can LeBron handle the pressure of turning around the franchise? The interviews? The hype? The large target placed squarely on his chest? No one in recent history has come into the league with more talent and more expectations. If he actually lives up to it all, then we actually had him underrated as a human being.
|Darko Milicic | PF | 7-0 | Serbia
Ford's Take: Darko is really one of a kind. He runs the floor, handles the ball, shoots the NBA 3 and plays with his back to the basket, so you can slot him in at the 3, 4 or 5 positions. OK, a few other guys can do that too; what sets Darko apart is his toughness in the post. You have to love a guy who has the footwork to spin by an opponent but still prefers to lower a shoulder and bang. Fact is, Milicic plays in attack-mode at both ends of the floor. The more you push, the more he pushes back. While he won't be asked to carry the Pistons, he's capable of doing this earlier than you think.
|Carmelo Anthony | SF | 6-8 | Syracuse
Ford's Take: Of the top three, Carmelo is the most accomplished. He will be a dominant NBA scorer. Every time scouts begin talking about him, the names of Antoine Walker and Glenn Robinson are evoked. That's not bad company. But is he the guy to turn the Nuggets around? Combine him with Nene Hilario and you have a start. But the Nuggets need a lot of help. Carmelo can score 20 points a night, but the team won't win unless guys like Gilbert Arenas and Corey Maggette decide to join the Nuggets in free agency this summer.
|Chris Bosh | PF | 6-11 | Georgia Tech
Ford's Take: The Raptors tried to trade this pick, but couldn't find any takers. Bosh was the next best player on the board. At his size and with his skill set, his upside is similar to a Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett. The Raptors have to be patient, but he'll be worth it. He exceeded expectations during his freshman year and several NBA GMs think he'll do it again. He's already gained 15 pounds of muscle since he left his school. Once he gets stronger physically, I think the Big Three of the draft will be the Big Four.
|Dwyane Wade | SG | 6-5 | Marquette
Ford's Take: The first big shocker of the draft. Pat Riley really wanted a player who could contribute right away. Wade can play in the backcourt with Eddie Jones. He's got a good handle and can play point at times. He's got a great first step and is a solid defender. He's one of the most mature players in the draft. The biggest issue? The Heat desperately need a good shooter in the backcourt. For all of Wade's strengths, he isn't a good long range shooter. Interesting pick. Obviously, by passing on Chris Kaman and Maciej Lampe, Riley doesn't like projects.
|Chris Kaman | C | 7-0 | Central Michigan
Ford's Take: Not a surprise. The Clips know Michael Olowokandi is leaving, no free agents are coming in and Kaman was the only guy who could play center on the board. Great. But what will they do with him? Kaman didn't really want to play there and his style of game doesn't really fit the players they have there. I understand the pick, but I don't agree with it.
|Kirk Hinrich | PG | 6-5 | Kansas
Ford's Take: Interesting. Did the Bulls make this pick because they're convinced Jay Williams is done? Or did they make this pick for someone else? There's no other real explanation. Hinrich has the ability to play alongside Jamal Crawford, but is he better than Mickael Pietrus? Pietrus is a better defender, a better athlete and has more upside. Hinrich could be a great player. But the fit is weird especially if Williams comes back.
|T. J. Ford | PG | 6-0 | Texas
Ford's Take: Ford is the best playmaker in the draft. The big question of the night is does Ernie Grunfeld like him? Or is it Michael Jordan that's in love? Either way this has to signal that at least one of the Bucks guards, either Gary Payton or Sam Cassell is gone. Ford's shooting won't be an issue in Milwaukee since several other players shoot it so well. And his defense? Does anyone in Milwaukee play that?
|Michael Sweetney | PF | 6-8 | Georgetown
Ford's Take: Just what the Knicks need, another undersized center. Sweetney joins Antonio McDyess, Kurt Thomas, Clarence Weatherspoon and Othella Harrington in the crowded Knicks front court. If McDyess's injury is still a problem, this pick makes more sense. If he's healthy, why did they pass on a big kid like Maciej Lampe who could play the three, four or five.
|Jarvis Hayes | SG | 6-7 | Georgia
Ford's Take: We've heard this for the past 24 hours. The Wizards felt they needed a shooter and Hayes is one of the best shooters in the draft. He's got the NBA body and he's a great athlete, but he's a little one dimensional. Obviously this pick signals that the Wizards plan to do something with their backcourt. Jerry Stackhouse, Larry Hughes and Juan Dixon also play the same position. There isn't enough room for all four.
|Mickael Pietrus | SG | 6-6 | France
Ford's Take: Typical Warriors. Every year they draft someone who happens to play the same position of one of their best players. Last year it was Mike Dunleavy who played the same position as Antawn Jamison. Pietrus was one of the best players on the board, but where does he fit in with Jason Richardson, Jiri Welsch and Mike Dunleavy. He is a good defender and is great in the open floor, but without a trade, he's stuck in a pretty long line in Golden State.
|Nick Collison | PF | 6-9 | Kansas
Ford's Take: Ugh. We knew they loved him, but I know more than one Sonics fan hoped he was off the board. They needed a low post banger or someone with great size in the post who could also run the floor. Collison has none of that. He was one of my favorite college players, but I really wonder how he'll translate that into a good pro career. Who does he guard? Can he back down anyone? Will he command double teams in the post? The Sonics love him. I'm not sure I do. I would've preferred Illinois' Brian Cook.
|13. Celtics (via Grizzlies)||SELECTION|
|Marcus Banks | PG | 6-1 | UNLV
Ford's Take: This was the guy the Celtics wanted all along. He's strong, athletic and is a good defender. He lacks the perimeter shot and playmaking skills that you'd like in a point guard here, but in the Celtics offense his goal will be to set a frantic pace.
|Luke Ridnour | PG | 6-1 | Oregon
Ford's Take: They took Ridnour for his offense, but he can't guard anyone. Neither can Collison. His upside is interesting, but his lack of size, strength, and defensive ability makes you really wonder if Ridnour can handle starting duties next year. Remember, Kevin Ollie is the only other real point guard they have on the roster.
|Reece Gaines | PG | 6-6 | Louisville
Ford's Take: This is the guy they wanted all along. Doc Rivers loves big point guards, especially ones that can shoot the rock. This is the first pick that has made sense since the Raptors took Bosh at No. 4. Great pick for Orlando.
|16. Grizzlies (via Celtics)||SELECTION|
|Troy Bell | PG | 6-2 | Boston College
Ford's Take: The Grizz love Banks because of his athleticism and his ability to get to the basket. But does he beat out Jason Williams and Earl Watson (West's favorite last year)? If he doesn't, I'm not sure how you justify this pick. At this time you've got to believe that there are either a lot of trades we don't now about or everyone is playing Noah this year -- stockpiling on two of everything.
|Zarko Cabarkapa | SF | 6-11 | Serbia
Ford's Take: Obviously the Suns did make him a promise. With a better prospect, Maciej Lampe, still on the board the Suns stick with what guy they said they'd take. He's a great shooter for his size, but he doesn't have nearly the shooting touch that Lampe does. The Suns wanted a big guy who could stretch defenses. Cabarkapa can do that, but Lampe can do much, much more.
|David West | PF | 6-9 | Xavier
Ford's Take: Not a bad pick. He's kind of a shorter version of P.J. Brown. But why not take a flier here on Brian Cook? Cook is taller, a more well-rounded player, and could help stretch defenses with his perimeter skills. West will be a solid player. But at No. 18 you could get so much more.
|Alexsandar Pavlovic | SG | 6-8 | Serbia
Ford's Take: This is another one that doesn't come as much of a surpise. The Jazz loved him in workouts. Pavlovic is an athletic two guard with a great shot. Many think he's the best shooter in the draft. He's long, runs the floor and likes to take his guy off the dribble. Great mid-range game. The Jazz really felt like they needed to upgrade at the two. Calbert Cheaney is OK and DeShawn Stevenson wasn't getting it done. Pavlovic has the ability to step right in and help the Jazz.
|20. Grizzlies (via Celtics)||SELECTION|
|Dahntay Jones | SG | 6-6 | Duke
Ford's Take: OK. The word is that Jones and Bell are going to Memphis and Banks and the No. 27 pick will go to Boston. So, to wrap this up . . . did Jerry West just draft two second-round picks by pick No. 20. Jerry? He must love athletes. That's the big thing that Bell and Jones have going for them. Jones is one of the best athletes in the draft and will be able to step in and play great defense. But what about that shaky shot?
|Boris Diaw | SG | 6-9 | France
Ford's Take: This is a nice pick for the Hawks. He's really a point guard in a 6-foot-9 body. If you're going to keep Jason Terry in the backcourt, then Diaw is a great pickup. He's not a scorer, but he does all the little things that make his teammates better.
|Zoran Planinic | PG | 6-8 | Croatia
Ford's Take: Planinic is one of the best European prospects. When you're 6-foot-8 and considered a "pure" point guard, teams are going to notice. His surprising athleticism, lethal outside shot and knack for finding the open man making him one of the most intriguing European prospects in the draft. His ability to play three positions helps. He can back-up Kidd, Kittles and Richard Jefferson.
|23. Trail Blazers||SELECTION|
|Travis Outlaw | PF | 6-9 | Starkville High
Ford's Take: Another promise fulfilled. This is the downside of making promises early. With guys like Lampe and Brian Cook on the board, they have to pass and take Outlaw an ultra raw, super thin athlete who is just years away.
|Brian Cook | PF | 6-11 | Illinois
Ford's Take: Great pick for the Lakers. His ability to play inside and outside reminds me a lot of Robert Horry. He needs to get stronger, but he's got lottery-type talent in his overall game. With Horry likely hitting the free-agent market, Cook really lands in a good situation.
|Carlos Delfino | SG | 6-7 | Argentina
Ford's Take: The Pistons pegged Delfino very early in the draft process. They spent all day trying to trade up to get him, now he falls right into their lap. He could be the steal of the draft. In a recent workout in Detroit, he wowed them with his toughness and shooting ability. He reminds me of Michael Finley. He'll contribute right away if he stays over here. Or, he could play in Italy one more year.
|Ndudi Ebi | PF | 6-9 | Western Christian High
Ford's Take: Ebi is a real project, but his upside is real high. A hard worker, great shot blocker, good rebounder and an above average athlete. He won't help for the next three or four years and I'm not sure how he fits with super skinny Kevin Garnett and Joe Smith.
|27. Celtics (via Grizzlies)||SELECTION|
|Kendrick Perkins | PF | 6-10 | Ozen High
Ford's Take: Not a surprise. The Grizzlies are making this pick for the Celtics. The Celtics promised him that they'd take him and once we figured out that they had moved to No. 27, it was pretty clear that this was his guy. I don't like these picks for the Celtics. I'm not sure how it helps them in the short term or long term.
|28. Suns (via Spurs)||SELECTION|
|Leandrinho Barbosa | PG | 6-5 | Brazil
Ford's Take: This pick will be sent to Phoenix. Bryan Colangelo fell in love with him at a last-minute workout Wednesday. Barbosa's got great size and length which is what the Suns were looking for to complement Stephon Marbury. Barbosa has the potential to be a Gary Payton-like player someday.
|Josh Howard | SG | 6-7 | Wake Forest
Ford's Take: Another surprise. The Mavs needed a tough presence in the paint. Mario Austin, Malick Badiane and Zaur Pachulia were on the board. Instead they go with a guy that will struggle to find minutes behind Michael Finley and Nick Van Exel. Unless, that is, Finley is moving on.
|Maciej Lampe | SF | 7-0 | Poland
Ford's Take: The steal of the draft. The Knicks seriously thought about taking him at No. 9. Contract buyout issues really killed his draft stock at the end. But how big of a deal were they. He had a big buyout, but his agent should be able to challenge it with FIBA. He's a great pick for the Knicks. But when will he be able to play? Now that he's in the second round, the buyout is a big deal. He's going to have to get out of this contract or wait a few years before coming to the NBA.
|Jason Kapono | SF | 6-8 | UCLA
Ford's Take: The Cavs need a power forward and a point guard and they take another forward who needs to shoot to be effective? At least they didn't take him in the lottery, like Trajan Langdon.
|Luke Walton | SF | 6-9 | Arizona
Ford's Take: Phil Jackson likes smart players and there's no one smarter than Walton in this draft.
|Jerome Beasley | PF | 6-10 | North Dakota
Ford's Take: Nice pick here whether it stays in Miami or goes to Chicago. He's a good shooter from the perimeter and has an NBA body. He needs to be a better rebounder, but he's got a lot of talent.
|Sofoklis Schortsanitis | PF | 6-10 | Greece
Ford's Take: Clippers get a great steal here. While I don't think he'll be a star in the league, but at 18 he's got plenty of time to develop. The Clips will probably leave him in Greece for a few years.
|Szymon Szewczyk | PF | 6-10 | Poland
Ford's Take: This was a lock for the Bucks. They don't have the room to bring anyone else on the roster so they go with the a guy they can leave overseas for a year. He's a top notch prospect who is just now coming onto some NBA radar screens. He's an excellent athlete, can play multiple positions on the floor, shoots the ball well, and has a nice array of moves around the basket. To top it off, he was playing with a bright orange mohawk in Germany.
|Mario Austin | PF | 6-9 | Mississippi State
Ford's Take: Austin is a steal here, but where does he fit? The Bulls have Tyson Chandler, Marcus Fizer and Donyell Marshall all here. There's talk that they may send this pick to Miami in return for Beasley.
|Travis Hansen | SG | 6-6 | BYU
Ford's Take: Nice pick for Atlanta. He's mature, can play right now, shoots the ball and is one of the best athletes in the draft. He should be able to earn a roster spot in Atlanta.
|Steve Blake | PG | 6-3 | Maryland
Ford's Take: So lets see Blake, Juan Dixon. How long before Chris Wilcox and Lonny Baxter end up in a Wizards uniform?
|Slavko Vranes | C | 7-6 | Serbia
Ford's Take: The Knicks are going international. First Lampe now Vranes. Vranes is very, very raw, but you can't teach 7-foot-6. Since second-round picks aren't guaranteed, why not take a chance?
|Derrick Zimmerman | PG | 6-3 | Mississippi State
Ford's Take: A good, athletic point guard who reminds some of a Bobby Phills.
|41. 76ers (via Sonics)||SELECTION|
|Willie Green | SG | 6-3 | Detroit
Ford's Take: He's very athletic, quick who puts the ball on the floor. He gets his own shot, can play a little one. If he was 6-6, he would've been in the first round.
|Zaur Pachulia | C | 6-11 | Georgia
Ford's Take: Another steal. Pachulia is a classic low-post European center. He's strong, likes to mix it up down low and is an excellent rebounder. Pachulia is an above average athlete who runs the floor, blocks shots and plays aggressive defense. He's comfortable stepping away from the basket, but still needs work scoring in the paint. He projects into a Brad Miller-type big man. Great pick for the Magic. He should've been a first-rounder.
|43. Magic (via Bucks)||SELECTION|
|Keith Bogans | SG | 6-5 | Kentucky
Ford's Take: A nice pick for the Magic who need some depth in the backcourt. Bogans is a solid player who does everything well, but nothing great.
|Malick Badiane | PF | 6-11 | Senegal
Ford's Take: Nice pick in the second round. He's strong, athletic and runs the floor well. He's an agressive rebounder and shot blocker. He's very raw offensively. He'll spend another year or two overseas.
|45. Raptors (via Bulls)||SELECTION|
|Matt Bonner | PF | 6-10 | Florida
Ford's Take: A good shooter for a big man, but he's awfully slow. Who does he guard?
|Sani Becirovic | SG | 6-4 | Slovenia
Ford's Take: This is a gamble with big upside. Becirovic was a superstar in Europe before two knee injuries sidelined him for the past two years. He was one of the most lethal scorers in Europe. He could be a star if his knees ever heal, but that's a big if.
|Maurice Williams | PG | 6-2 | Alabama
Ford's Take: This is a very nice pick for the Jazz. Williams has first-round talent, he just came out too soon. If the Jazz can't land Andre Miller this summer, Williams may get a huge role with this team. Even with Miller, he could get minutes if Raul Lopez's ankle doesn't heal.
|48. New Orleans||SELECTION|
|James Lang | C | 6-9 | Central Park Christian High
Ford's Take: Has all the talent in the world, but his weight is an issue. Is Robert "Tractor" Traylor the right role model?
|James Jones | SF | 6-8 | Miami
Ford's Take: He's a good shooter for someone that size and he's a pretty good athlete. He was a sleeper in Chicago and Portsmouth. Nice pick though I'm not sure they needed another small forward.
|50. Sonics (via 76ers)||SELECTION|
|Paccelis Morlende | PG | 6-2 | France
Ford's Take: Another French point guard, but he's no Tony Parker. He's more of a combo guard who attacks the basket and plays tough defense.
|51. 76ers (via Nets)||SELECTION|
|Kyle Korver | SF | 6-7 | Creighton
Ford's Take: The Sixers needed a shooter in the worst way and took the best guy left on the board. The only question about Korver is his ability to get his own shot and his defense. He's a nice pick here.
|Remon Van de Hare | C | 7-3 | Netherlands
Ford's Take: He's huge, but he's a big, big project. I saw him play in Barcelona and he bricked a dunk off the bottom of the rim. How many 7-foot-3 guys can say that?
|Tommy Smith | SF | 6-10 | Arizona State
Ford's Take: He's long, lean and very athletic. At times he looks like a lottery pick. Other times he disappears. Still his upside, if he ever puts it all together is huge.
|54. Trail Blazers||SELECTION|
|Nedzad Sinanovic | C | 7-1 | Bosnia
Ford's Take: He's a project. Too thin, needs to get bigger but he's skilled around the basket.
|Rick Rickert | PF | 6-11 | Minnesota
Ford's Take: Made a stupid mistake dropping out of school. He'll be lucky to make this team. He's a good shooter, but what else? Will the Wolves have the patience for the hometown kid?
|Brandon Hunter | PF | 6-8 | Ohio
Ford's Take: He's got a big, Shaq type body. If he was a few inches taller, he would've been a lottery pick. This is good pick for Boston. They need some muscle in the paint and Hunter delivers.
|57. Nuggets (via Mavericks)||SELECTION|
|Xue Yuyang | SF | 7-0 | China
Ford's Take: A good shooter who plays on the perimeter. He has a bad body. Plays a bit like Wang Zhizhi.
|Andreas Gliniadakis | C | 7-0 | Greece
Ford's Take: The sneak pick of the draft. Plays on the Greek national team. He plays with his back to the basket, runs the floor, has good hands and can shoot the ball. The Pistons will leave him in Greece, but he's an intriguing prospect down the road.