Speaking of trades as a Bobcat's fan I'm really hoping the 3rd pick for 12th and 15th and JR Smith goes down. That gives us our SG we need and at 20, if he were in this draft he would be the best player. Those 2 picks allow us to add a shooter and home favorite (Redick) plus a big man like Simmons or Armstrong for depth.
We're two days away from the NBA draft, and GMs are calling it the most unpredictable draft in the last five years.
The last time we had this much uncertainty at the top was in 2001, when Michael Jordan was presiding over his first draft for the Washington Wizards.
Kwame Brown and Tyson Chandler worked out against each other the day before the draft in a competition to become the No. 1 pick. Brown bested Chandler and walked over to Michael and said, "If you draft me, you'll never regret it."
We all know how that worked out. Brown was a bust. Jordan lost his job.
This year, things are even more unstable. Adding to the chaos is the fact that multiple teams are talking about multiple trades -- some that move them up in the draft, others that move them down.
The uncertainty creates confusion and paralysis. "It's like traffic gridlock," one NBA executive told Insider. "There are too many cars on the road. Even when you get the green light, you're still stuck in traffic. Too many trades, too many contingencies. It's never been this bad."
Here's where we stand at the top:
We believe the Toronto Raptors have narrowed their No. 1 list to three players.
The Chicago Bulls, who have the No. 2 pick, appear to have their list down to three, as well.
The Charlotte Bobcats are in a quandary at No. 3. Jordan, now making the basketball decisions for the Cats, has yet to see in person some of the players under consideration.
And the Blazers at No. 4? If they find a way to get Adam Morrison, fans in Portland will rejoice. If they fail in their quest, the villagers may storm the castle.
Mock drafts are an inexact science, this year more than usual. Why? Because we're two days away and few teams, if any, know for sure what they're doing. We're trying to tell you before even they know.
Here's our latest take, after talking to numerous NBA team sources, on how Wednesday night's draft will play out.
On Wednesday, we'll unveil our final mock draft.
CHAD FORD'S MOCK DRAFT
PICK TEAM PLAYER VITALS
Andrea Bargnani Position: PF
The skinny: Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo continues to assert that the Raptors haven't decided whom they'll draft if they keep the No. 1 pick.
Meanwhile, talk continues to circulate that the Raptors are going to trade down or out of the draft.
If they do keep the pick, all signs point to three players -- Bargnani, LaMarcus Aldridge and Adam Morrison, probably in that order.
None is a perfect fit in Toronto. Bargnani plays the same position as Charlie Villanueva. Aldridge is a Chris Bosh clone. Morrison has star power, but will he be a star?
Until we hear differently, we're expecting the pick to be Bargnani. But that might change in our last mock draft on Wednesday. We're starting to hear Aldridge's name more and more the last 48 hours.
(via New York)
Tyrus Thomas Position: PF
The skinny: A few days ago, this one seemed like a lock. Thomas had started pulling out of workouts, and rumors were flying that the Bulls told Thomas' agents he was coming to Chicago.
But since then, things have been pretty fuzzy. The Bulls and Thomas' agents denied that a deal was in place. Thomas started visiting places like Minnesota (No. 6) and Houston (No. 8). Meanwhile, LaMarcus Aldridge refused to work out for Charlotte, with his agent claiming that Aldridge had been locked up. And then there's the ongoing talk that Brandon Roy is the Bulls' choice.
At the end of the day, I think Thomas is the pick. The Bulls have been high on him all year, and none of the strange happenings the past few weeks (including Thomas' cutting short two Bulls workouts because of stomach problems and a pulled groin) should change that.
Adam Morrison Position: SF
The skinny: On lottery night, in our first full mock draft, we put Morrison here. The thinking was that he made the most sense for Charlotte. The franchise is struggling with fans, Morrison is the most popular player in the draft and he would give the Bobcats the scoring punch they desperately need.
We changed our projection to Rudy Gay in the second mock draft after getting some feedback that GM Bernie Bickerstaff thought Gay had more upside than Morrison.
We went with Brandon Roy in Mock Draft 3.0 after getting word that new co-owner Michael Jordan preferred Roy to either Morrison or Gay.
So why are we back to Morrison? Gay worked out for Jordan and, from what we hear, didn't really impress. Jordan has not seen Roy work out, because Roy skipped out on the Bobcats for the second time last week -- he seems to have his heart set on joining the Rockets. That might dissuade Jordan from taking Roy.
All of which brings us back to Morrison, a guy Bickerstaff and company have warmed up to the last few weeks. Morrison has the killer competitive instinct that Jordan loves. But more importantly, Jordan's a businessman, and Morrison's arrival in Charlotte could mean big business.
I think the Bobcats should take Roy, but for now, we're putting Morrison here.
The skinny: With the top three unsettled above Portland, this could play out in several ways.
The Blazers (and their fans) want Morrison, and they'll grab him if he's there. The team's performance and reputation have suffered so much under team president Steve Patterson that some fans are yearning for the good old Bob Whitsitt "JailBlazer" days. Morrison's the kind of player who could heal some of that.
If Morrison is not there, the Blazers should get a good player, though the fans might not be happy.
Head coach Nate McMillan is a big Brandon Roy fan. Much of the Blazers' staff is high on Bargnani, who could slide if Toronto passes on him.
But the Blazers' most acute need is in the middle. LaMarcus Aldridge might be able to play center next to Zach Randolph, who is big and physical. And Aldridge has none of the off-court issues that have plagued the Blazers.
Brandon Roy Position: SG
The skinny: Here's where things get really interesting.
From all the evidence we can gather, Hawks GM Billy Knight has committed to Duke's Shelden Williams. If Roy slips to No. 5, as he does in this scenario, I think the Hawks will select him for the Rockets and then trade him to Houston in return for the No. 8 pick and either Luther Head or a future No. 1 pick. That would give the Hawks a great chance of landing Williams at No. 8 and picking up an asset in the process.
If Roy ends goes before the Hawks pick, expect Williams to be the pick.
The skinny: The Wolves are hoping that LaMarcus Aldridge or Tyrus Thomas slips to them here.
If he doesn't, look for them to take a player who can help them in the backcourt -- either Randy Foye or Marcus Williams. Rashad McCants is coming off of microsurgery and the Wolves need someone who can step in immediately and help.
Williams is more of a pure point guard, but Foye's versatility, toughness and athleticism give him the nod.
Cedric Simmons Position: PF
School: NC State
The skinny: I wish I could tell you what the Celtics are going to do, but the truth is they're the hardest team to figure out. They've worked out just about everyone and could go in just about any direction.
For the longest time we thought this looked like a two-man race between point guards Marcus Williams and Rajon Rondo. But in the past week, we've heard that Randy Foye, Ronnie Brewer and Cedric Simmons are in the mix.
Simmons appears to be the front-runner. The Celtics have some young talent on the front line, but none with Simmons' athletic or defensive abilities. He'd be a nice fit or great trade bait for teams looking for a big.
Shelden Williams Position: PF
The skinny: The Rockets are trying to move up and get their hands on Roy. Under this scenario, the Rockets would trade Luther Head and Williams to the Hawks for Roy.
If that doesn't work, they're hoping one of the top players in the draft falls to them. The two most likely to slide this far are Tyrus Thomas and Rudy Gay.
J.J. Redick is still a real possibility here, too. But ongoing questions about his back, combined with his recent DUI arrest, have hurt his stock.
That's why the Rockets have been ramping up their efforts to land Roy. If Gay, Thomas and Roy are off the board, Redick could still be the guy, however.
9. Golden State
Rudy Gay Position: SF
The skinny: This is a major score for the Warriors if Gay slips this low. He could easily go as high as No. 3 in the draft and fits a need for the Warriors. With Mike Dunleavy out of favor, the team is looking for a small forward.
Gay's a super athlete, a good defender and an emerging shooter. The big question mark: Does he have the heart to be a star? Dunleavy's lack of improvement the past few years might scare the Warriors a bit.
If so, two options are Rodney Carney and Shawne Williams, both from Memphis.
While Patrick O'Bryant has held this slot for a month, we learned on Sunday night that O'Bryant never worked out for Golden State. That's going to hurt his chances of going to the Warriors.
The skinny: The Sonics really would like to get their hands on Shelden Williams or Cedric Simmons. So, with both players looking like they'll be off the board when the Sonics pick, don't be surprised if they move into trade mode.
A number of teams, including the Knicks, the Suns and the Nets, are trying to move up in the draft, and the Sonics should be willing to sell.
If they keep the pick, the Sonics may grab the best big man still on the board. Armstrong is raw, but not as raw as Johan Petro and Robert Swift. Armstrong has the tools to be a big presence at either the four or the five.
The skinny: The Magic have been trying to move up in the draft for the past several weeks to get Brandon Roy or Shelden Williams. Redick was also in their sights, but his off-court problems and health issues may have hurt the Magic's view of him a bit.
That's probably a good thing for the Magic, because what the team really needs is a big guard to pair in the backcourt with point guard Jameer Nelson. Brewer would be a great fit. He can swing to the point, plays aggressive defense and knows how to get to the basket.
12. New Orleans/
Patrick O'Bryant Position: C
The skinny: After giving up Jamaal Magloire and losing Chris Andersen to a drug suspension, the Hornets need an athletic defender who can rebound and block shots. They're hoping O'Bryant, the best center in the draft, is still on the board.
O'Bryant is still very raw, but he has the size and athleticism to be a significant presence in the paint down the road.
Cedric Simmons and Hilton Armstrong, if available, would be options here as well.
Shawne Williams Position: SF
The skinny: The Sixers have a lot of needs right now, but the talk is that they've fallen for Williams.
He's not a perfect fit, but he has a rare combination of size, athleticism and shooting ability.
The Sixers also have the option of moving down in the draft a few spots and probably still being able to get him.
If they're thinking point guard, the Sixers could also take Marcus Williams here, if available. He fits the Eric Snow model that once got them to the Finals.
Mouhamed Saer Sene Position: C
The skinny: The Jazz's first priority is finding a scoring two guard. Roy, Foye and Redick are at the top of the list, and under this scenario Redick is available.
The problem is that concerns about the long-term health of his back combined with his DUI arrest are scaring teams such as the Jazz and Magic, who tend to be more conservative. I'm not saying that they won't take him, but it's not a slam dunk the way it was two weeks ago.
So the Jazz might look at their other need, the center position. The team could use an athletic shot-blocker to help out Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer in the paint.
That means Mouhamed Saer Sene could be Utah's man. He's a project, but he is huge and physical, with great upside. And Karl Malone loved him when he came in for a workout.
The skinny: The Hornets will be psyched if Carney is still on the board here. The team could use an athletic, sweet-shooting swingman and Carney has the experience to step right in and compete right away. Questions about Carney's toughness and desire are the only reasons he might slip this far.
If Carney is off the board, Thabo Sefolosha and Marcus Vinicius Vieira de Souza are possibilities.
Thabo Sefolosha Position: SF
The skinny: If the Bulls address their frontcourt with pick No. 2, look for them to try to add a big two guard to fill their need in the backcourt. Ronnie Brewer and Rodney Carney would be likely targets if still on the board.
If they're not, the Bulls could turn to Sefolosha. He's long, athletic and experienced, with a balanced all-around game. Temple's Mardy Collins would be another option.
If the Bulls decide to go for Brandon Roy with the No. 2 pick, an athletic forward such as Alexander Johnson or a center like Mouhamed Saer Sene could be the guy, depending on who's available.
Marcus Williams Position: PG
The skinny: According to this scenario, the Pacers, once again at No. 17, would find themselves in a situation similar to last year's, with two potential lottery picks to choose from.
In this case, Marcus Williams and J.J. Redick are the guys. Both players could go as high as the mid-lottery but could also slip to here.
The Pacers need the shooting more than they need another point guard, but Rick Carlisle's frustration with Jamaal Tinsley may have reached the point that the Pacers decide to go that direction.
If neither Williams nor Redick is on the board, the team has a number of other options. Shannon Brown has the potential to be a better version of Fred Jones. The Pacers also like Florida State's Alexander Johnson, a superathletic power forward who can play a little like Kenyon Martin. With Jermaine O'Neal constantly nursing injuries, and potentially on the trading block, finding someone to support or replace O'Neal is important. Olexsiy Pecherov and Quincy Douby also makes some sense here.
The skinny: This would be a steal for the Wizards. A handful of GMs have Rondo ranked as the top point guard in the draft. He could go as high as Boston at No. 7 or Philly at No. 13.
Gilbert Arenas has been great at the point, but he's not a true point guard. Neither is Antonio Daniels. Adding Rondo would allow Arenas to swing to the two at times.
Mouhamed Saer Sene and Olexsiy Pecherov are also options here, if available.
Alexander Johnson Position: PF
The skinny: We've had Sergio Rodriguez here for several weeks, but now we hear that the Kings are worried about his defense and lack of athletic ability. Besides, we're hearing that the Kings want to go big.
Johnson's athleticism, toughness and game-readiness would be a great fit for the Kings.
Rajon Rondo and Olexsiy Pecherov could also be a fit here, if available
20. New York
Olexsiy Pecherov Position: PF
The skinny: Now that Isiah Thomas has to coach the team, he's going to have to figure out how to win -- now.
No one available at No. 20 is likely to help, meaning the Knicks could go for the best big man on the board and leave him overseas for a few years while they clear out some of the roster clutter.
Pecherov is a big shooter who can rebound and run the floor.
P.J. Tucker, Josh Boone and Marcus Vinicius Vieira de Souza are also options here.
The skinny: The Suns have been trying to move up in the draft to get either Hilton Armstrong or Mouhamed Saer Sene. They also are fond of Rajon Rondo.
If all are off the board, they may choose to go with Rodriguez. After Marcus Williams and Rondo, he's the best pure point guard in the draft and he has some big-time experience in Spain. At some point the team is going to need to rest Steve Nash, and Rodriguez is an intelligent point guard who can play the way Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni wants to play.
Shannon Brown is another strong option here.
22. New Jersey
(via L.A. Clippers)
J.J. Redick Position: SG
The skinny: It's hard to believe Redick could slip this far.
But it's quite possible that if he gets past Houston at No. 8, the Magic at No. 11 and the Jazz at No. 14, he could be in for a slide, for several reasons. Most of the teams selecting below the Jazz haven't worked him out, he doesn't fit a need for most teams and concerns about his back injury will scare teams away from being adventurous.
At No. 22, though, he's a no-brainer for a Nets team that's in constant need of a big-time shooter.
If Redick is gone, P. J. Tucker is a real possibility.
23. New Jersey
Kyle Lowry Position: PG
The skinny: The Nets have been trying to package the No. 22 and No. 23 picks to move up and draft an athletic big man. But if they can't, they'll probably try to address their need at backup point guard here.
Lowry is an athletic, scrappy point guard who could help Nets move at the frantic pace they like to play. He's not the best shooter in the world, but he does just about everything else well. If he had stayed another year in college, he'd have had a shot at the lottery. That would make grabbing him here a steal.
Rajon Rondo (if he were to slip this far) or UCLA's Jordan Farmar would also be possibilities at this spot.
The skinny: The Grizzlies have been searching for a center ever since Bryant Reeves retired. With Lorenzen Wright hitting free agency this summer, the need has never been greater. However, with Patrick O'Bryant, Hilton Armstrong, Mouhamed Saer Sene and Alexander Johnson likely to be off the board, there won't be many options left.
If they can't find anyone for the frontcourt, they'd be smart to grab Farmar. They have a pretty big question mark at the point. No one is sure whether Damon Stoudamire will return at 100 percent this season, and Chucky Atkins is a free agent.
Shannon Brown Position: SG
School: Mich State
The skinny: Danny Ferry is praying that one of the top point guards -- Rajon Rondo, Kyle Lowry, Sergio Rodriguez or Jordan Farmar -- falls to him here. Eric Snow peaked years ago and it looks like Damon Jones is on the downslope of his career, too.
If they're all gone, the Cavs might try to go for a combo guard like Brown or Daniel Gibson. Brown in particular seems as though he has the toughness to be a factor off the bench for Cleveland from either guard position.
The skinny: The Lakers don't need pure point guards in the triangle and Douby should be a good fit. Next to J.J. Redick, he may be the best shooter in the draft. Douby would give Phil Jackson another backcourt scoring option besides Kobe Bryant.
However, the Lakers' ideal plan is to move up in the draft and upgrade this position to someone like Brandon Roy.
An athletic swingman like James White of Cincinnati would also make some sense here. His agent says he wowed the Lakers in a workout.
Joel Freeland Position: PF
The skinny: The Suns have been trying to either package this pick with the No. 21 pick to get higher in the draft or move it to a team in the second round for cash and a future pick. As trade partners, the Heat, Blazers and Spurs are all possibilities.
If the Suns keep the pick, they'll likely go international. Freeland has been playing basketball for only three years, but he showed well enough in the Reebok Eurocamp for a team to take a chance on him at the end of the first round. They could leave him in Spain for a couple of years and end up with a very good, energetic big man who's ready to step in and play in 2008.
Croatia's Damir Markota and Brazil's Marcus Vinicius Viera de Souza are also possibilities here.
Maurice Ager Position: SG
School: Mich State
The skinny: The Mavs can always use a player who can stroke the ball, and Ager was that guy for the Spartans all year. His combination of athleticism, defense and shooting ability should make him a nice replacement for Jerry Stackhouse when Stack's contract expires in the summer of 2007.
29. New York
(via San Antonio)
Guillermo Diaz Position: SG
The skinny: We've had UConn's Josh Boone in this spot for a month, but it's looking more and more like the Knicks didn't give him a promise.
Diaz isn't a fit, but don't worry, Knicks fans. Most likely, the Knicks will use the pick as bait for the Heat, who have been trying to move up to get Diaz.
The skinny: The Blazers don't need more rookies, so don't be shocked if they take a flier on an international kid with some upside. Halperin can play both the point and the two, and he thrived in the Euroleague this year. He could either stay in Europe for another year or come over now.
Other potential first-rounders: Mardy Collins, James White, Marcus Vinicius Vieira de Souza, Leon Powe, Daniel Gibson, P.J. Tucker, Josh Boone, James Augustine, Paul Davis, Darius Washington, Damir Markota, Mike Gansey, Will Blalock, Taj Gray, Dee Brown, Paul Millsap.
chad ford is a **********. Armstrong is less raw than robert swift and Johan Petro? What because Hilton Armstrong is a senior at UCONN? Swift was amazing for a kid his age, dunking anything and trying to block anything that came his way. Petro played for a pro team in division 1 or 2 france before STARTING at center for the sonics. Armstrong barely even played until his senior season. Chad Ford's mock isn't based off of his own beliefs or instinct for the game, he doesn't have any. This mock draft is nothing but a conglomeration of halfway *********ed rumors and workout a whispers. Chad ford can talk his mormon ass back to BYU and work on his journalism degree a little more.