Round 1 analysis

Updated: June 25, 2004, 3:10 AM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider

1. ORLANDO MAGIC
Dwight Howard
SW ATLANTA CHRISTIAN H.S. | FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-10¼ | WEIGHT: 240 | AGE: 18
Insider scouting report

Not a big surprise. This is what we've been hearing for the past 48 hours. Why Howard over Okafor? Two things stand out. One, now that the Magic are pretty certain that they are trading T-Mac, they want to start rebuilding. Many teams think that Howard has the most upside in the draft and can become a franchise player down the road. Fewer people believe that about Okafor. Two, the back issue, however minor it was, spooked the Magic. After going through the Grant Hill fiasco, they couldn't afford to have their building block come up lame. Still, I believe the Magic should've taken Okafor. I think Howard has all the skills to be a great player, but does he have the heart?

2. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS

Emeka Okafor
CONNECTICUT | JUNIOR | FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-10 | WEIGHT: 257 | AGE: 21
Insider scouting report

Dropping to No. 2 isn't the worst thing in the world for Okafor. I actually believe he'll be a better fit in Charlotte. Bernie Bickerstaff loves old-school players like Okafor. He'll appreciate all the ways that Okafor comes out and contributes to the game. While being the No. 1 pick is prestigious, being the first player of an expansion team is also important. The bottom line is that Bickerstaff wanted Okafor more than any player in the draft. He's going to build a team around him that complements his style of play. I think that Okafor will blossom here. The Bobcats did the right thing by moving up in the draft to get him.

3. CHICAGO BULLS
Ben Gordon
CONNECTICUT | JUNIOR | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-2¼ | WEIGHT: 192 | AGE: 21
Insider scouting report

Gordon is an interesting choice. He's the most ready of any of the players left on the board. That means a lot for GM John Paxson. He's sick of potential and rebuilding. He has enough of that in Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler. I'm not sure if Kirk Hinrich and Gordon are a good fit in the backcourt however. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bulls end up moving the pick.

4. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Shaun Livingston
PEORIA H.S. (ILL.) | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-7½ | WEIGHT: 186 | AGE: 18
Insider scouting report

The Clippers had to take Livingston. He was the best player on the board. I know Mike Dunleavy would've preferred to have taken a more experienced point guard like Devin Harris. But in five years, Livingston could be the best player in this draft. The Clippers always seem like they're waiting on something. However, Livingston is worth waiting on.

5. DALLAS MAVERICKS
Devin Harris
WISCONSIN | JUNIOR | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-3 | WEIGHT: 170 | AGE: 20
Insider scouting report

That's a very interesting decision. I'm not sure exactly what it means. David Aldridge is reporting that Harris will stay in Dallas. The Mavs are talking to almost every team in the league and the guy they appeared to want was Pavel Podkolzine. Does this mean that Steve Nash's isn't coming back to Big D?

6. ATLANTA HAWKS
Josh Childress
STANFORD | JUNIOR | FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-7¼ | WEIGHT: 196 | AGE: 20
Insider scouting report

We began hearing that Childress was the Hawks' guy late last night. They had him ranked on the board ahead of Andre Iguodala and Luol Deng. The Hawks love his versatility, his length and his experience. Like the Bobcats, the Hawks don't want to start rebuilding with high school guys.

7. CHICAGO BULLS
Luol Deng
DUKE | FRESHMAN | FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-8 | WEIGHT: 220 | AGE: 19
Insider scouting report

A week ago, the fact that the Bulls were selecting Luol Deng would've surprised no one. However, over the past week we thought they preferred Andre Iguodala and Luke Jackson. Unless the Bulls are moving this pick, that's obviously not true. Deng got a bad rep in workouts for being unathletic. I don't think that's fair. He's not a super athlete, but he's not a bad one either. If the Bulls keep the two picks, they did pretty well for themselves.

8. TORONTO RAPTORS
Rafael Araujo
BYU | SENIOR | CENTER
HEIGHT: 6-11 | WEIGHT: 280 | AGE: 23
Insider scouting report

This is the first real surprise of the draft, though, if you look at it, it makes sense for the Raptors. The need a center in the worst, worst way. Chris Bosh is much more comfortable playing the four. Araujo is the only other big guy in the draft, other than Okafor, who is ready to play right now. He's strong, aggressive and isn't afraid to beat up people. He'll be a nice addition in Toronto, though he doesn't have the upside many of the other people on the board did.

9. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Andre Iguodala
ARIZONA | SOPHOMORE | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-6¾ | WEIGHT: 217 | AGE: 19
Insider scouting report

The Sixers are very happy to end up with Iguodala. After Luol Deng, Iguodala was the second-highest swingman on their board. The great thing about Iguodala is that he doesn't need to shoot 20 times a night to be effective. That's important to any team that has Allen Iverson on it. I think Iguodala is a steal here. We had him ranked No. 4 on our big board.

10. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Luke Jackson
OREGON | SENIOR | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-7 | WEIGHT: 212 | AGE: 22
Insider scouting report

We've heard for weeks that the Cavs love Jackson. When they traded for Sasha Pavlovic on Tuesday, however, we thought that they may go in a different direction. Jackson is athletic, he can shoot it and will be a good fit with LeBron. However, it's possible that the Cavs could move this pick to the Pacers. They loved Jackson and had been talking about a deal with the Cavs for the past 72 hours.

11. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Andris Biedrins
LATVIA | FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-10 | WEIGHT: 235 | AGE: 18
Insider scouting report

The Warriors gave Biedrins a promise during the Chicago pre-draft camp. That's why he was hard to find the past few days. Philly tried hard to bring him in, but Biedrins wouldn't budge. He hasn't worked out for anyone in three weeks. His agent Bill Duffy was the guy who took Chris Mullin to Latvia to see the kid. I think it's a good pick for Golden State, especially because they'll likely lose Erick Dampier. Intrestingly, this is the first time since 2000 that an international player wasn't taken in the top 10.

12. SEATTLE SUPERSONICS
Robert Swift
BAKERSFIELD H.S. (CALIF.) | CENTER
HEIGHT: 7-1 | WEIGHT: 260 | AGE: 18
Insider scouting report

Swift? They need a big guy and many people believe he has as much potential as anyone in the draft. Danny Ainge is crying his eyes out. At least we think so. The Celtics and Jazz were both trying to move up to get Swift so it's possible that this is a trade. However, it sounds like the Sonics are determined to keep him.

13. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Sebastian Telfair
LINCOLN H.S. (BROOKLYN, N.Y.) | GUARD
HEIGHT: 5-11 | WEIGHT: 170 | AGE: 18
Insider scouting report

Ugh! Mo Cheeks loves Telfair. That was clear. But did the Blazers really need to take him here? They were afraid he wasn't going to be there at No. 22, obviously. I can't see who would've picked him before. I can't believe that they'd pass on Kirk Snyder here. Even Jameer Nelson makes more sense than Telfair.

14. UTAH JAZZ
Kris Humphries
MINNESOTA | FRESHMAN | FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-9½ | WEIGHT: 238 | AGE: 20
Insider scouting report

We had obviously heard that Sergei Monya would be here for weeks. But the Jazz were blown away by a Humphries workout a few weeks ago. They loved his athleticism and his ability to fill a need at the four. His college coach compared him to Karl Malone. That couldn't have hurt his stock with Utah. He's got a rep as a selfish player. That won't fly under Jerry Sloan. Being drafted by Utah could be the best thing that ever happened to him.

15. BOSTON CELTICS
Al Jefferson
PRENTISS H.S. (MISS.) | FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-9¾ | WEIGHT: 263 | AGE: 18
Insider scouting report

This is a big surprise on one level. The folks in Boston had been saying for weeks that they'd take Sergey Monya if Swift isn't on the board. They also had Jefferson rated high, and may have felt that they needed size considering that Mark Blount was likely gone, and they didn't have anyone else to play in the paint. However, I wouldn't be shocked if this was a trade with Seattle as well. The Sonics really like Jefferson. The Celtics obviously wanted Swift. Will they swap Swift for Jefferson?

16. UTAH JAZZ
Kirk Snyder
NEVADA | JUNIOR | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-6¾ | WEIGHT: 228 | AGE: 21
Insider scouting report

For weeks we believed that Snyder was a lottery pick, and we believed that Monya would end up in Utah at either No. 14 or No. 16. So obviously things have changed. Snyder ranked as the top athlete in the draft at the Chicago pre-draft camp. He's a jack-of-all-trades and should be able to step right in and contribute to the Jazz next season. He didn't, however, look thrilled when Utah called his name. He should be a starter in Utah next season.

17. ATLANTA HAWKS
Josh Smith
OAK HILL ACADEMY | FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-8¼ | WEIGHT: 221 | AGE: 18
Insider scouting report

He's the best athlete in the draft. But obviously, many NBA teams felt he didn't know how to play. He's a local guy, so he's a much better pick here than he would be in the lottery. Smith is a long ways away. Great potential. Also great "bust" potential.

18. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS
J.R. Smith
ST. BENEDICT PREP (N.J.) | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-6¾ | WEIGHT: 227 | AGE: 18
Insider scouting report

This pick makes a lot of sense for the Hornets. David Wesley is too small to be the starting shooting guard. J.R., at 6-foot-7, has great size, strength and he'll be the best shooter on the team. Smith may be the most NBA-ready of any of the high school players in the draft.

19. MIAMI HEAT
Dorell Wright
SOUTH KENT PREP (CT) | FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-8 | WEIGHT: 215 | AGE: 18
Insider scouting report

With the guy they really wanted, Robert Swift, off the board, they go with the guy with the most upside. I thought the Nuggets would grab Wright at No. 20, but this is a good pick for the Heat. He's a couple of years away, but he reminds me of a young Tracy McGrady type. The Heat will put him on the developmental program. But, as much as I like Wright, I'm stunned that they passed on Jameer Nelson here. They needed a point guard who could play right away. Nelson seemed like a fit.

20. DENVER NUGGETS
Jameer Nelson
SAINT JOSEPH'S | SENIOR | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-0½ | WEIGHT: 199 | AGE: 23
Insider scouting report

Just a few minutes after being selected, the Nuggets sent Nelson to the Magic for a future No. 1 pick. This is a much better fit for Nelson. The Magic don't have a point guard. Nelson can step right in for the Magic. The Magic had a great experience with a small point guard, Darrell Armstrong. Nelson has more potential than Armstrong. Nice "pick" for the Magic.

21. UTAH JAZZ
Pavel Podkolzine
RUSSIA | CENTER
HEIGHT: 7-5 | WEIGHT: 300 | AGE: 19
Insider scouting report

The Jazz sent Pavel to the Mavericks for a future first-round pick. As we reported this morning, the Mavericks are in love with Podkolzine and have been working for weeks to find a way to get him. Donnie Nelson was in Italy at the Reebok Eurocamp and worked out Podkolzine. He told me then that he thought Podkolzine was the third best player in the draft. The fact that the Mavs get to keep Devin Harris and still get Podkolzine is a home run for Dallas. I think this is the perfect place for Pavel to play. Dallas will hire the best big man coach available. If they don't get Shaq, they can at least groom Pavel to be a physical dominating center down the road. It will take a minimum of two years, but this is a great situation for Pavel.

22. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Viktor Khryapa
RUSSIA | FORWARD
HEIGHT: 6-9 | WEIGHT: 235 | AGE: 22
Insider scouting report

This is interesting. Almost every international scout in the league believes that Khryapa's teammate, Sergei Monya, is a much better prospect. My guess is that concerns about Monya's contract situation with CSKA Moscow has caused a Majiec Lampe like cooling effect on his stock. Khrypapa is a nice player, but I'm not sold he'll be a good NBA player however. Khryapa might stay in Russia for another year or two.

23. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Sergey Monya
RUSSIA | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-8 | WEIGHT: 220 | AGE: 20
Insider scouting report

This is Monya's worst nightmare. Khryapa and Monya platooned on CSKA Moscow. I think they were ready to be seperated. Still this is the steal of the draft. We thought Monya would be anywhere from 13 to 16. Getting him at No. 23 is a great pick-up for the Blazers. I'd be surprised if the Blazers kept both of them. At the very least one of them will likely be left in Russia for a year or two.

24. BOSTON CELTICS
Delonte West
SAINT JOSEPH'S | JUNIOR | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-2¾ | WEIGHT: 183 | AGE: 21
Insider scouting report

The Celtics just missed out on the two guys they really wanted down here -- Sergey Monya and Dorrell Wright. West is a pretty good pick here. If he turns into a point guard, I think he could be a real steal down here.

25. BOSTON CELTICS
Tony Allen
OKLAHOMA STATE | SENIOR | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-4¼ | WEIGHT: 214 | AGE: 22
Insider scouting report

He was one of the best defenders in college basketball. He's got a great body and he's a very good athlete. However, I'm not sure how two undersized guards are going to help a Celtics' backcourt that already is size challenged. The stuff about having Allen and West ranked as the second best two guard and point guard in the draft is either some serious after the fact spin or everyone in their scouting department needs to be fired. That's ridiculous.

26. SACRAMENTO KINGS
Kevin Martin
WESTERN CAROLINA | JUNIOR | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-7 | WEIGHT: 185 | AGE: 21
Insider scouting report

Martin ranked second in the nation in scoring last season. With Gerald Wallace being drafted by the Bobcats, the Kings really needed a player who could step in and give them some minutes at shooting guard. Martin needs to gain strength and weight, but he's a great athlete who knows how to score.

27. LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Sasha Vujacic
SLOVENIA | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-7 | WEIGHT: 210 | AGE: 19
Insider scouting report

We've known about this pick for about a year. The Lakers were very close to promising him a first-round spot last year. This year it was a no-brainer. He was very good in the Italian league this year. He's an excellent shooter (especially in the mid-range game) and can play both the point and the two. He's a very good fit in L.A., especially if Shaq is still around.

28. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Beno Udrih
SLOVENIA | GUARD
HEIGHT: 6-4 | WEIGHT: 185 | AGE: 22
Insider scouting report

Udrih was the star of the Chicago pre-draft camp. This isn't a surprise. We thought it would be either Anderson Varejao or Beno Udrih, if he was on the board. The Spurs really needed help backing up Tony Parker. Udrih, at 22, is actually older that Parker and appears to be very steady. This is a solid pick at No. 28.

29. INDIANA PACERS
David Harrison
COLORADO | CENTER
HEIGHT: 7-0 | WEIGHT: 260 | AGE: 21
Insider scouting report

This is a very good pick-up for the Pacers. They felt the loss of Brad Miller this year. Harrison could fill that void. He's a good player. It's really just about his head. If he focuses, he should've went in the lottery. You normally don't find this type of size at this point in the draft. Nice pick.

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider. Send him an e-mail here.

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider

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