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Updated Mock Draft

1.Houston – Yao Ming, China – The big fella’s just too big to pass up for the Rockets, Chinese government baggage included. Yes, he’s obviously a project, but even if he just stands there with his arms up, Ming’s an instant presence in the paint. The international attention and money-making possibilities of adding a true international superstar are probably worth the political headaches.

2.Chicago – Jay Williams, Duke – Trade rumors, whispers that Krumbs may be souring on J-Dub, the Bulls might be moving down - the misdirection’s all expected. Not gonna happen. Typical Krause smokescreens so as not to tip his hand too early. The Bulls take Jay. They want him and he wants them back.

3.Golden State – Caron Butler, Uconn – Most are picking Mike Dunleavy, Jr. to go to Golden State, but we think it will be Butler. Mike’s made no bones about his distaste for the Warriors and has threatened to pull out if he thinks they’re going to pick him. The last thing Golden State - already an NBA mockery – wants or needs is to be shown up by a draft pick (a la Stevie Francis and Vancouver a few years back). Butler is gonna be the truth.

4.Memphis – Mike Dunleavy, Jr., Duke – The Grizz will be gearing up to take pseudo-hometown hero Dajuan Wagner with this pick but could get a surprise when Dunleavy falls in their lap. As nice as Juanny is, no way Jerry West lets a 6’9” multi-tooled Duke player who is boys with Shane Battier slip past the Grizzlies.

5.Denver – Dajuan Wagner, Memphis – The Nuggets need help pretty much everywhere, and a guard who’s built to put up buckets en masse is just what the Kiki ordered.

6.Cleveland – Drew Gooden, Kansas - Gooden slipping this far might come as a surprise to most, including Cleveland, but the Cavs will be waiting to snatch him up. Not even John Lucas can screw his up. We don’t think.

7.New York – Chris Wilcox, Maryland – Suddenly the Knicks front line is all growns up and not to be pushed around so easily. Wilcox is a beast who brings much needed athleticism and toughness to one of the softest squads in the L. They’d honestly like to take Stanford’s Curtis Borchardt with this pick to plug him in at the center spot, but there would be riots in the streets if the Knicks took anything remotely resembling Frederich Weiss … and the Knicks brass knows it.

8.Clippers – Curtis Borchardt, Stanford – There doesn’t really seem to be a way for the Clip Joint to give Olowakandi what he wants, so there’s a decent chance he’s going to bounce via free agency. The Clips need size and Curtis is a 7-footer.

9.Phoenix – Nikoloz Tskitishvilli, Benetton Trevesio (Italy) – Skeeta is a youngster (18), but his upside is off the charts. The Suns are salivating over his size, skills and potential. He may be drafted and stay in Europe for another season.

10.Miami – Jared Jeffries, Indiana – Pat Riley likes JJ more than a brand new jar of hair gel. ’Riles is enamored with the thought of having a tall player who can shoot as well as bring the ball up the court.

11.Washington – Qyntel Woods, Northeast Mississippi – Woods’ stock seems to be slipping a bit over questions about Qyn’s D(or lack thereof) and his past drug use. Nevertheless, MJ would be more than happy to snatch up Woods this far down. Qyntel told us at the Chicago pre-draft camp that he’d love to play for Washington (and he was sporting a Wizards t-shirt at the time).

12.Clippers – Jiri Welsch, BC Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia) – Moving up the charts with a bullet, Jiri’s on the move. A scorer who can play both guard spots, the NBA’s infatuation with foreign players can jet him into the lottery.

13.Mikwaukee – Maybyner “Nene” Hilario, Vasco de Garna, Brazil – As always, the Bucks need size and muscle, and Nene can deliver just that. He’s monstrous and has been killing in his workouts. He might not even still be available at this pick because of the buzz he’s been generating.

14.Indiana – Frank Williams, Illinois – The buzz on Frank’s been relatively quiet, but he’ll most likely still end up in the upper echelons of this draft. The love affair in Indy with Jamaal Tinsley might be over (Kevin Ollie got the lion’s share of the important minutes in the playoffs), so this would be a nice pick for the Pacers.

15. Houston – Bostjan Nochbar, Slovenia – With Glen Rice’s future in question, the Rockets turn to Boki to be their deadeye marksman. Nochbar has a few years of international experience on the highest level, making this an all-foreign draft for Clutch City.

16. Philly – Kareem Rush, Missouri – The Sixers are desperately in need of another shooter, and with Boki off the board the fluid Rush is the next best sniper. Rush’s stroke is pure honey and his range goes beyond the arc, something the Sixers have sorely lacked the past few years.

17. N’Awlins – Melvin Ely, Fresno St. – The Hornets feel they are a team on the cusp and snag the older, more experienced Ely rather than gamble on an unproven youngster. Ely has the athletic ability that bigs Brown and Campbell lack.

18. Orlando – Amare Stoudemire, Cypress Creek HS (Orl, Fla.) – With the steal of the draft, the Magic select a hometown hero and potential future star. Stoudemire will have the benefit of McGrady’s tutelage as a former high schooler that made the big jump. At the same time, Stoudemire will have to step in sooner rather than later to fill O-town’s void in the paint.

19. Utah – Marcus Haislip, Tennessee – The selection of Haislip continues Utah’s trend of becoming more athletic. Dinosaurs Malone and Stockton are on the way out, but before they go, they’ll have the benefit of Haislip’s athleticism for a couple of years.

20. Toronto – Dan Dickau, Gonzaga – Alvin Williams isn’t a true point and Childs isn’t the answer, hence the selection of Dickau. Dickau’s job will be easy, though - feed the post or get the ball to Vince and get out of the way.

21. Portland – Boris Diaw-Riffiod, France – Tony Parker’s boy fits the bill in Portland. With Bonzi Wells not likely to return, Diaw can help fill his role and won’t piss off the whole town at the same time.

22. Phoenix – Juan Dixon, Maryland – After dealing away Kidd and getting stuck with crybaby Penny, the Suns desperately need a winner. Enter Dixon, who has made a career of defying the odds. Add one more task to his list now.

23. Detroit – Tito Maddux , Fresno St. – The Pistons are hunting for help at the one spot but need someone with some Bad Boy ’tude. Tito can be that player for Motown and he certainly fits in with the underdog label that follows this team.

24. New Jersey – Dan Gadzuric, UCLA – After all three of their centers got manhandled by Shaq, the Nets take a flyer on Gadzuric and instantly gain six more fouls to work with. Dan can run the floor well, a prerequisite for any baller who’s trying to make J-Kidd’s squad.

25. Denver – Jason Jennings or Chris Jeffries, Arkansas St., Fresno St. – Being the Nuggets, this franchise will probably make the mistake of the draft by taking Jennings and his height. What they should do is take Jeffries and his versatility at the forward position for when McDyess bolts after next year.

26. San Antonio – Nenad Krstic, Yugoslavia – He might stay put in Europe, but if Krstic comes over he can learn from the Admiral and Duncan before both jump ship following the season. Heaven knows the Spurs are going to need some height, and Krstic brings seven feet to the table.

27. L. A. Lakers – Tayshaun Prince, Kentucky – If the rumors are true about the Lakers moving up to get Woods, they will likely lose a shooting forward and need a viable replacement. Prince has the most talent on the board and has range to half court as he proved this year. The Lakers draft Price with the intention of making him a king.

28. Sac-Town – Carlos Boozer, Duke – Call it the Shaq factor. The Kings supersize their pick and take the best bulk available to throw at the Diesel. He might still hurt them on D but he’ll at least be able to help on offense

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i dont think the pacers pick F Williams. He is a talent but the pacers are set pretty good at the pg position. Rush would be more like it. Or maybe welsch. I dont look for the clippers to pick a guard at #12. They have that other guy coming over this year. He is a guard. Clippers have enough of them
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