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Monday, June 10
Updated: Tuesday, June 11, 11:30 AM ET
 
Dunleavy still key to unlocking lottery
By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

The Chicago pre-draft camp helped crystallize the draft process -- but not with the players on the court. The action was in the stands at the Moody Bible Institute where scouts, general managers and player personnel directors were speculating on who is going where, what trades could occur and who was rising and falling.

The players on the court were predominantly second-round or NBDL level talent. There were a handful of players who could jump up and get into the first round, but the consensus was that this could be the first year where no one from the camp is selected during the first round. The main concerns among teams were:

  • What's going to happen with Yao Ming?
  • Will Mike Dunleavy and Curtis Borchardt stay in the draft?
  • How high will Qyntel Woods, Amare Stoudemire and Maybyner Hilario go in the draft?

    The draft is still 16 days away, but hopefully after discussions with a number of teams, who talk to a number of teams, we can provide a educated glance into what could occur on June 26. Remember, this mock draft doesn't take into account possible trades, because they haven't happened yet, but recognizes that they could occur. And, players like Dunleavy and Borchardt are in the mock draft because they're still in the draft -- at least until the June 19 deadline for underclassmen to withdraw.

    1. Houston: Yao Ming, 7-5, C, Shanghai Sharks (China)
    The Rockets are in China trying to seal a deal with Yao. They need assurances that he won't get pulled away during the season for lesser-known global events. The plan is to get this done within the next two weeks. The Rockets have said they won't wait until the last minute to get a deal done. If they can't work it out then the Rockets will look at Duke's Mike Dunleavy with the top pick or trade the Yao sweepstakes to someone else.

    2. Chicago: Jay Williams, 6-2, Jr., PG, Duke
    The best-case scenario for the Bulls is for the Rockets to keep the top pick and take either Yao or Dunleavy. A trade could mean someone might want to get in front of the Bulls for Jay Williams. He's the perfect fit for them and he wants to be in Chicago, something that wasn't the case when the Bulls were trying to get free agents two years ago. Chicago could look at Dunleavy if Williams weren't available. But Jay Williams says he might check out the local real estate while he's in Chicago this week. And, by the way, he says he's not going to Chicago to lose. They will win with him.

    3. Golden State: Mike Dunleavy, 6-9, Jr., SF, Duke
    Forget about the talk that Dunleavy doesn't want to play for the Clippers or the Warriors. His father and he both said that's absolutely not true. But he does want to see what happens with Yao Ming before deciding to stay in the draft. If a deal with Houston breaks down, Dunleavy could be the top pick and that's enough of an enticement to hold off his decision until closer to the underclassman's deadline to withdraw from the draft on June 19. The Warriors could trade this pick, but regardless who is selecting third, Dunleavy won't slip.

    4. Memphis: Drew Gooden, 6-10, Jr., PF, Kansas
    The Grizzlies would like to get their hands on Dunleavy -- but they'll certainly take Gooden, who could give them another versatile forward. There could be some movement with Stromile Swift and the team isn't opposed to some position shuffling. Caron Butler is a strong possibility here as well. The Grizzlies have plenty of options at this pick and Jerry West will likely be in position to make the right move as he has done in Los Angeles. Don't be surprised to see a trade, either.

    5. Denver: Caron Butler, 6-7, So., SF, Connecticut
    Butler could go anywhere from No. 3 to 6, depending on what happens with Dunleavy. He's one of the most ready-made players for the 2002-03 season and the Nuggets need immediate help. They can't wait on a player and Butler would give them instant offense and would help on the boards, too. The Nuggets could think about Dajuan Wagner and Nikoloz Tskitishvilli with this pick, too. The Nuggets have a pick later in this draft and a package deal could be in the works with one of them.

    6. Cleveland: Chris Wilcox, 6-10, So., PF, Maryland
    The Cavs could go in a few different directions. They could look at Wagner if they can't get the Andre Miller situation settled, or if it's still left in a tenuous state on draft day. The Cavs will go with the best available player and that could also mean trying to snatch Qyntel Woods instead of letting him slip down a few pegs. If Gooden or Butler were available then they won't get past the Cavs.

    7. New York: Curtis Borchardt, 7-0, Jr., C, Stanford
    The Knicks desperately want to move up higher in this draft, but if they can't, they still have some intriguing decisions. Borchardt answers the big man question and would be hard to pass up. He'll work out for the Knicks in the next week after completing his studies at Stanford this quarter. Borchardt still hasn't technically announced he'll stay in the draft. If he does, he won't drop too low if the Knicks pass up on this shooting big man. The Knicks are also intrigued by Wilcox and could go with him instead of he were to fall. Dajuan Wagner is an option, but the Knicks are guard heavy. The two possible sleeper picks for the Knicks are Qyntel Woods and Nene Hilario. Both would answer some scoring issues on the wing and a power player inside.

    8. L.A. Clippers (from Atlanta): Nikoloz Tskitishvilli, 6-11, SF, Benetton Treviso (Italy)
    The most likely pick here would be Woods, especially with some trade rumors with the Lakers. But, until that is known, it's hard to put Woods here. The Clippers could mess things up for the Suns, who covet Tskitishvilli. The word is that they wouldn't be opposed to drafting him and having him play overseas for another year or two like they have done with Marko Jaric, who is coming back this season. Tskitishvilli could use more seasoning before he arrives. Taking Wagner is also a possibility if the Clips want a clear-cut roster spot for this season.

    9. Phoenix: Jared Jeffries, 6-10, So., SF, Indiana
    Jeffries bulked up 20 pounds (which seems implausible) since the Final Four and looks thicker. He has been a hit on the workout scene and the buzz in Chicago was that he would move up in the draft. If Tskitishvilli isn't available and the Suns bypass Woods then Jeffries because the next target. He fits their need for another scoring forward and if he has proven that he can take the physical pounding then he makes more sense in the top 10.

    10. Miami: Dajuan Wagner, 6-2, Fr., PG, Memphis
    The Heat say they're not looking to deal, but if they do then taking Wagner at No. 10 for themselves or someone else makes sense. The Heat needs a scoring guard, preferably a point. They could end up with one through a trade but taking Wagner still makes sense if he drops to No. 10. Wagner would be a scorer who needs the ball in his hands to make something happen. Putting him with a lesser-known point like Allen Iverson's running mate in Eric Snow could ultimately work in Miami.

    11. Washington: Qyntel Woods, 6-8, PF, Northeast Mississippi CC
    The Wizards would love to get Woods if he's available this low. He gives them a legit scoring wing, who could replace Michael Jordan if he doesn't play or is only on the roster for one more season. Woods might be long gone by No. 11, and if he is, then the Wizards might try to get Jeffries or Wagner, who could both slip to this spot. The Wizards might get scared away by Amare Stoudemire, only because they already have one high school project in Kwame Brown.

    12. L.A. Clippers: Amare Stoudemire, 6-10, PF, Cypress Creek (Fla.) H.S.
    The Clippers can't let Stoudemire drop below here if he's still on the board. They have had success with high school players. Keeping this team younger wouldn't be a reach. Stoudemire is also coveted by Portland and he could become trade bait if the Clippers want to make a deal. They do have cap space and are a willing participant in trades and love to accrue draft picks. Obviously, what happens at No. 8 affects what they do at No. 12. But the word in Chicago is that Stoudemire could end up being one of the best players in this draft, although he won't go as high as his potential talent would normally dictate.

    13. Milwaukee: Maybyner "Nene" Hilario, 6-9, PF, Vasco de Garna, Brazil
    The Bucks are interested in Hilario and are hoping he'll be available this late. Hilario's stock is soaring because of his workouts in which he is taking over the backboard. He's a presence in person and could be the enforcer on the boards that the Bucks covet. Hilario has moved ahead of Marcus Haislip on the depth charts of teams and could go as high as No. 6 to the Cavs. The Bucks would look at Haislip if Hilario is gone and Stoudemire is a possibility if both of them are off the board, too. A point guard like Dan Dickau or Frank Williams is also being discussed.

    14. Indiana: Marcus Haislip, 6-10, PF, Jr., Tennessee
    The Pacers are loaded and don't necessarily need a player to come in right away. But they're going to take the best player left and that could be Haislip. They don't have to get a forward, but they can't shy away from one who is a shot-blocker and a board man who hasn't reached his potential yet. There could be some interest in Melvin Ely, Kareem Rush, Jiri Welsch, Bostjan Nachbar or either one of the two top point guards left in Dickau or Frank Williams.

    15. Houston: Bostjan Nachbar, SF, 6-8, Benetton Treviso (Italy)
    What the Rockets do at No. 1 will obviously dictate what occurs at No. 15. Houston wants a big man (Yao) and a three-man, and the best one on the board would be Nachbar. If they were to take Dunleavy at the top of the draft then they could be interested in a big man that would drop. If for some odd reason a player like Borchardt plummeted, or Hilario, then the Rockets would be all over one of the two. This is too high for Jason Jennings of Arkansas State. Melvin Ely wouldn't be a reach but he's much more of a power forward than a center.

    16. Philadelphia: Kareem Rush, 6-6, SG, Jr., Missouri
    The Sixers deny they're moving this pick for No. 3 with the Warriors. If they were then this pick would probably be a point. If not, and especially if the Sixers keep the pick, then the early word is that it could be Rush. He's a scoring wing who could play the two, but definitely is a three. His ballhandling has to improve to be a solid two-guard, but he could give the Sixers a bit more offensive pop off the bench.

    17. New Orleans: Jiri Welsch, 6-6, SG, BC Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia)
    The Hornets are interested in a few players and one of them is Welsch. He gives them a combo guard whose stock is soaring. Nachbar is also on their radar screen as is Chris Jefferies. Looking at a backup point isn't a reach, but Welsch is the perfect fit and if he's available he probably won't last past this spot.

    18. Orlando: Frank Williams, 6-3, PG, Jr., Illinois
    The Magic is in position for a point guard and is in the perfect spot for one in this draft. Getting Frank Williams or Dan Dickau at No. 18 is a distinct possibility. The Magic liked both of them and it would almost be a coin flip for which one to choose. The early odds go with Williams, who could turn out to be this draft's Jamaal Tinsley, a player who is given up on higher in the draft, but ends up being one of the better players in the draft.

    19. Utah: Dan Dickau, 6-0, PG, Sr., Gonzaga
    The Jazz's list includes Frank Williams, Dickau, Juan Dixon, Freddie Jones, Ryan Humphrey, Nachbar and Welsch. Based on this mock draft, Dickau is next up on the list of available players. Going back to a Gonzaga player would be celebrated in the Salt Lake City area. Comparisons to John Stockton aren't fair to either player. But they do know each other and have worked out together. Having Dickau work with Stockton for a season would be the perfect apprenticeship.

    20. Toronto: Chris Jefferies, 6-7, SF, Jr., Fresno State
    The Raptors could take a serious look at either Williams or Dickau if they were available, but under this scenario they'll be gone. Jefferies is a possibility, even though he hasn't worked out for anyone yet. He gives them a versatile small forward who could rebound and pass very well. The Raptors have scouted him on the West Coast on numerous occasions, so they won't be as miffed by his late-season knee injury or his lack of exposure during the draft process. Giving Melvin Ely, Freddie Jones, Rod Grizzard, Juan Dixon or Carlos Boozer a look at this spot isn't out of the question, either.

    21. Portland: Melvin Ely, PF, 6-10, Sr., Fresno State
    Ely is one of the hardest players to figure in this draft. He could go as high as 14 or slide down to 21. He's one of the more polished big men in the draft after spending five years in college. Ely would be hard to get past the Blazers. The Blazers have connections to Jerry Tarkanian and have scouted Fresno State many times. This could also be part of a trade, and if the Blazers work any deal with the Heat, then Ely really fits their plans and needs for another power player inside.

    22. Phoenix: Fred Jones, 6-4, SG, Oregon
    This pick depends on what happens with the Suns' pick at No. 9. If the Suns go with Tsktishvilli, Jeffries or Woods then look for a guard at the back end of the draft. Trading this pick is also a possibility. Taking a foreign player who might not come over next season is also in the discussion. Jones didn't help himself in Chicago, but he's still one of the best athletes in the draft and the Suns are very familiar with his work during the season in the Pac-10.

    23. Detroit: Rod Grizzard, 6-8, SF, Jr., Alabama
    The Pistons need perimeter help, preferably shooters. But they'll take a scorer in Grizzard and they won't pass on him if he's on the board. They're trying to get him in for a discussion, considering he can't work out with teams after cracking his tibia last month. Grizzard wouldn't have stayed in the draft if there weren't an indication that he would go in the first round. This is the way things work in this biz -- don't expect him to fall out of the first round.

    24. New Jersey: Juan Dixon, 6-3, PG, Sr., Maryland
    The Nets could go in a number of different directions, but the buzz in Chicago was that the Nets are interested in Dixon. Neither Dixon nor prominent members of the Nets were at the pre-draft camp. Dixon is a winner and would fit in well with Byron Scott. He's a scoring, defending guard who can play the point, even though he didn't at Maryland. Dixon will win the organization over when he meets with them.

    25. Denver: Carlos Boozer, 6-9, PF, Jr., Duke
    The Nuggets could go with Boris Diaw-Riffiod of France if they want the pick to stay overseas for a few seasons. But if Boozer is on the board, and especially if the Nuggets don't go for a power forward at No. 5, then the Duke forward becomes a viable option. Boozer could go higher on this list, but it will get tougher to find a spot. This pick could also be trade bait if the Nuggets get a decent offer.

    26. San Antonio: Dan Gadzuric, 6-11, C, Sr., UCLA
    The Spurs will have plenty of options at this end of the draft. They could go with a foreign center like Zaur Pachulia or Nenad Krstic and wait to get him in a few seasons. They could take a look at Boozer if he's still available or Tayshaun Prince. USC's Sam Clancy could also become a factor. But Gadzuric is getting some good buzz over the last few weeks and his upside makes him an intriguing first-round pick for a team that will need frontcourt help in the coming seasons.

    27. L.A. Lakers: Tayshaun Prince, 6-9, SF, Sr., Kentucky
    The Lakers could be shopping this pick, especially in light of trying to work out Qyntel Woods. But, regardless, they'll look at the best player at this spot in the draft. If Boozer or Gadzuric are still around then they become viable players. Don't be surprised to see Dixon's name, too. But getting another shooter, especially a proven scorer like Prince, makes sense for them. The Lakers have a long scouting record on the L.A. product and he is considered a lock to stay in the first round.

    28. Sacramento: Nenad Krstic, 7-0, C, Yugoslavia
    The Kings don't need much of anything out of this draft. There is a connection between Krstic and Vlade Divac that is very strong and could lead to him landing at No. 28. The Kings could go with best player available if they want to take on a salary for next season and that could mean players like Clancy, Boozer, Gadzuric, Dixon or Prince if they're still on the board. But taking a player for the future is the consensus on the Kings.

    Just missing the first-round cut: USC's Sam Clancy, Hawaii's Predrag Savovic, Boris Diaw-Riffiod (France), Mladen Sekularac (Yugoslavia), Zaur Pachulia (Georgian), Fordham's Smush Parker, Miami's John Salmons, Stanford's Casey Jacobsen, Luis Scola (Spain), Notre Dame's Ryan Humprey, David Andersen (Australia), Fresno State's Tito Maddox, Virginia's Roger Mason Jr., and Cincinnati's Steve Logan.

    Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com. He covers the NBA draft for ESPN.com and ESPN.




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    Are the Lakers after Qyntel?

    Dunleavy's decision may hinge on Yao talks

    East meets West: Rockets to negotiate in China

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