- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
- 0 Shares
This much is certain just over 24 hours from the draft: Trades will be made, shaking up the first round, possibly turning ESPN.com's final mock draft upside down.
That's not an excuse, but reality and the tough part of projecting the 2002 NBA draft.
(Just 90 minutes after posting this mock draft, the Wizards and Hornets pulled off the day's first trade, as Washington sent Courtney Alexander to New Orleans for the Hornets first round pick, No. 17 overall. The Wizards now have the 11th and 17th picks in Wednesday night's draft.)
Sure, there are a few certainties, which we have projected over the past few weeks. Yao Ming, Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Drew Gooden are going to be selected with the first four picks. But, as for the rest of the first round, order could be maintained quickly without trades -- or be tossed into chaos with a number of potential movements of picks and players leading up to the Rockets taking Yao with the overall No. 1 pick.
The key to Wednesday night's draft is Memphis. If Jerry West sits tight, then the first round could fall rather nicely. If West makes a move, and he's expected to, then there could be players changing hats throughout the night in New York.
The Clippers can also control who goes where and when during the first dozen picks. But, the Grizzlies need the Clippers to make the trades happen. Picks No. 8 and No. 12 -- both held by the Clippers -- are two of the most coveted selections because there is a feeling that those picks could produce players who could play next season rather than two or three seasons ahead. If the Clippers decide to keep both picks, then look for players going to L.A. with long-term plans. But, if the Clippers decide to move the picks, then assume the players selected at 8 and 12 will be players who will play and contribute next season.
With all this in mind, here is ESPN.com's final mock draft as of Tuesday, 1 p.m. ET:
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com. He covers the NBA draft for ESPN.com and ESPN.