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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

CBS Spotline's Tony Mejia's Mock NBA Draft

Mock Draft: Tony Mejia

CBS Staff Writer

Tony Mejia covers the NBA Draft for Look for more reports, blogs and columns from Tony leading up to the draft, which takes place on June 28 in New York City.

May 24, 2006

1. Toronto Raptors LaMarcus Aldridge, F/Texas: He's the most complete big man in the draft, and certainly the most polished offensively. A Chris Bosh type, he and his former Dallas prep rival could, along with Charlie Villanueva, one day form one of the more exciting, versatile frontcourts in the league.

2. Chicago Bulls Tyrus Thomas, F, LSU: The concern is that he's not too far along with his offensive game, getting most of his baskets on dunks, putbacks and via his remarkable athleticism, but he'll be the Bulls' selection if Aldridge is gone, and they will just have to hope he develops better than Tyson Chandler has.

3. Charlotte Bobcats Adam Morrison, F, Gonzaga: This is where the draft could have its first interesting twist; the Bobcats have their choice of Morrison, Roy or Bargnani, all of whom would help provide much-needed wing help.

4. Portland Trail Blazers Brandon Roy, G/F Washington: Given how raw a lot of his players are, Nate McMillan will jump at the chance to add a ready-made starter from the Northwest. From a publicity standpoint, the Blazers would love it if Morrison were available; he'd be a great draw and a strong fit as well.

5. Atlanta Hawks Marcus Williams, G, Connecticut: The Hawks passed on Chris Paul last year and badly need a floor general to help complement Joe Johnson. Williams is rising quickly and has the type of skills to be a strong asset for quite some time. He'll get the nod over Big East rival Foye.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves Rudy Gay, F/G, Connecticut: If the 'Wolves will entertain thoughts of parting ways with Kevin Garnett, it might make more sense for them to take Bargnani, which would be interesting. If they plan on keeping the Big Ticket, Gay is the way to go. He'd help upgrade the 'Wolves' wing attack, which has long been a problem. Going PG is also an option. Minnesota will help itself one way or another.

7. Boston Celtics Andrea Bargnani, F, Benetton Treviso (Italy): He's the draft's big mystery, and there are some who believe he's a legit future star like Pau Gasol. Thriving in the Euroleague at 20 is a strong accomplishment. He won't fall past this spot and might be taken much earlier if a team believes enough in his abilities to trade up for him.

8. Houston Rockets Cedric Simmons, F, N.C. State: The Rockets need big bodies, and Simmons has such a huge upside that you figure he's the logical choice. Still raw offensively, but he's a tenacious rebounder and shot blocker who would fit right into Jeff Van Gundy's system.

9. Golden State Patrick O'Bryant, C, Bradley: An agile 7-footer with great potential? Sounds ideal for the center-starved Warriors, who have done a nice job stockpiing young big men with the picks of Andris Biedrins and Ike Diogu in recent drafts.

10. Seattle SuperSonics Randy Foye, G, Villanova: The Sonics badly needed guard help last year and would love someone to come on board and push Luke Ridnour. Foye seems perfectly suited for the task and, with his scoring ability, would have the flexibility to even play alongside Ridnour and Ray Allen in small lineups.

11. Orlando Magic J.J. Redick, G, Duke: The Magic are likely to lose DeShawn Stevenson to free-agency and know the future of Grant Hill is up in the air. That makes adding a wing their most likely option, and they have plenty to choose from, with the following four selections in this mock as potential choices.

12. New Orleans Hornets Rodney Carney, F/G, Memphis: One of the draft's top athletes, he'd be an ideal fit with the Hornets, who need wings who can defend and give Chris Paul options. Carney has expanded his offensive game with the Tigers and is probably more ready to contribute immediately than Memphis teammate Williams is.

13. Philadelphia 76ers Shawne Williams, F/G, Memphis: At 6-feet-9 with guard-like skills, Williams projects to be one of the more versatile players available, and given the lack of contributions Philly got from its bench last year, would be a strong addition. If he reaches his potential, he's a steal at this spot.

14. Utah Jazz Ronnie Brewer, G, Arkansas: What the Jazz wanted when drafting Kirk Snyder first a few years back, they'll get in the Razorbacks wing. He's a potential stopper, has an improving offensive game and would make for a killer backcourt mate for young point guard Deron Williams.

15. New Orleans Hornets Shelden Williams, F, Duke: The Hornets' lack of depth was part of the reason they faded down the stretch last season, so adding a sure thing like Williams makes sense. Everyone knows he'll defend and rebound, and he'd have a great tutor in P.J. Brown if he does end up here.

16. Chicago Bulls Tiago Splitter, F/C Tau Ceramica (Spain): Size, size, size. The Bulls have shooters, but were victimized all year by their deficiencies in the post. Splitter, a Brazilian, has been a top-tier European-based prospect for years now but might not be able to come over next year due to a buyout clause, but he's by far the safest pick, even if Chicago has to wait some time for his services.

17. Indiana Pacers Mardy Collins, G, Temple: A combo guard with great size and a good skill set, he'd be a strong fit for a team looking to reload on the perimeter.

18. Washington Wizards Hilton Armstrong, C/F, Connecticut: Armstrong doesn't need the basketball, which is good, considering he's not likely to get it given the presence of the Wizards' "Big Three." What he can offer is defense, particularly by altering shots, as well as rebounding. He needs to become a better finisher.

19. Sacramento Kings Mouhamed Saer Sene, C/F, Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium): Don't you love this guy's name? He came out of nowhere in this Spring's Nike Hoop Summit, playing fly swatter against the Americans with nine blocks. The 20-year-old Senegalese center projects to be a defensive specialist with room to grow.

20. New York Knicks Marcus Vinicius, F, Sao Paolo (Brazil): "Marquinhos" is the perfect pick for a Knicks squad that needs to take a gamble and hope it uncovers a gem. He's versatile in that he has the size to play both forward spots. Sadly for New York, he might shoot up draft boards given his potential.

21. Phoenix Suns Oleksiy Pecherov, F, Paris Basket Racing (France): A steadily improving Ukrainian who at last found consistency during this past season, he'd be a nice piece for the Suns to add given that he can shoot it a little, moves fluidly and offers excellent size.

22. New Jersey Nets Aaron Gray, C, Pittsburgh: A bruising 7-footer who brings his lunch pail and hard hat everyday, Gray is a Pennsylvania product who would fill the Nets' need of acquiring hard-working big men to help make life easier for their wings.

23. New Jersey Nets Sergio Rodriguez, G, Estudiantes (Spain): The Jason Kidd of Spain. Kidding. Kind of. He's been touted as one of the more fabulous passers in Europe, called a "magician" by Spanish scouts and fans, and may find himself going much higher than this if there is substance to the hype. I've heard he's legit.

24. Memphis Grizzlies Rajon Rondo, G, Kentucky: His size, speed and wing span make him an ideal potential stopper. Physically, he projects out like Devin Harris, and if he shares the same learning curve, he'd be a perfect fit as the Grizzlies' future point guard. There's lots of work to be done, as his shooting and ball-handling leave something to be desired.

25. Cleveland Cavaliers Leon Powe, F, California: The Cavs clearly could use a low-post threat, and Powe, despite claims he's undersized, would provide one. Knee concerns might keep him from being a lottery pick, but this guy is simply a player, and Cleveland would be lucky to have him. He simply knows how to use his body to be effective, and his will to succeed is unmatched.

26. L.A. Lakers P.J. Tucker, F/G, Texas: Now that Ron Artest is in the same division, L.A. needs a bull of its own, someone who will get his hands dirty and get physical. Tucker, although he's undersized, is an intense performer who gets things done, and could fit right in behind Luke Walton if Devean George isn't re-signed.

27. Phoenix Suns Nick Fazekas, F/C, Nevada: There's no question he can shoot the ball, and if he embraces the contact he'll face at the pro level, he should be a serviceable big man who will carve out a nice niche for himself. He should be a borderline first-rounder if he decides he's going to stay in the draft.

28. Dallas Mavericks Guillermo Diaz, G, Miami (Fla.): Top-tier athlete who would go a lot higher if his point guard skills were more polished. He can jump out of the gym though and would be a great addition to a championship-caliber squad in that he'll push people. The Mavs will likely be in need of another guard, and will have plenty to choose from here depending on who remains in the draft.

29. New York Knicks Richard Roby, G/F, Colorado: A scorer with a nice shooting touch and good size for a wing, Roby is also the half-brother of Kenyon Martin, who might ultimately end up in New York as another of the Knicks' trademark gambles.

30. Portland Trail Blazers Alexander Johnson, F, Florida State: Another solid athlete with good size, which, as we said earlier, is what the Blazers need most. He has made nice strides, improving each year with the Seminoles, and there's still room for him to grow. You could do a lot worse with the last pick of the first round.

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