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1. Houston Rockets
Insider's Pick: Yao Ming, C, China
No. 2: Mike Dunleavy, F, Duke
Sleeper Pick: Caron Butler, F, UConn
The Skinny: We all got a little scare Friday when rumors began flying that Yao had hit a snag. It looks like the Rockets should be all set with Yao. They seem to have the blessing of both the Shanghai Sharks and the Chinese Basketball Association. Yao has worked out a buyout with the Sharks. All the Rockets are waiting on is FIBA approval. All signs still point to China.

2. Chicago Bulls
Insider's Pick: Jay Williams, G, Duke
No. 2: Yao Ming, C, China
Sleeper Pick: Mike Dunleavy, F, Duke
The Skinny: He may have changed his name, but he hasn't changed his game. Williams has already moved in, draped himself in Bulls gear and learned to lie about Jerry Krause. If the team can keep Jamal Crawford from pulling a Tonya Harding and whacking Williams in the knee, the Bulls may have hit the jackpot. Williams probably adds 10 wins to the Bulls.

3. Golden State Warriors
Insider's Pick: Mike Dunleavy, F, Duke
No. 2: Drew Gooden, F, Kansas
Sleeper Pick: Nikoloz Tskitishvili, F, UConn
The Skinny: Dunleavy's still the consensus No. 3 pick whether he fits on the Warriors or not. If nothing else, he'll be fabulous trade bait for Memphis, Miami and the slew of other teams that are hungry for him. Gooden had a stellar workout in Golden State and could be the versatile combo forward Antawn Jamison thinks he is. . . But don't count out Tskitishvili. GM Garry St. Jean was impressed when he traveled to Italy. They may actually have Skita rated a bit higher than Dunleavy, but he'd be a very hard sell to a dwindling fan base.

4. Memphis Grizzlies
Insider's Pick: Drew Gooden, F, Kansas
No. 2: Jared Jeffries, F, Indiana
Sleeper Pick: Nikoloz Tskitishvili, F, Georgia
The Skinny: The evidence pointing to Gooden is pretty strong. Not only has Gooden refused to work out for Denver or any other team drafting past West, but KU coach Roy Williams (who is good friends with West) and sources within the Grizzlies themselves continue to insist that Gooden won't slip past No. 4. But don't say he's a lock just yet. Two players really complicate that picture. The team had Jeffries in for another workout late last week and he was even better than the first workout. There's no doubt West likes him, and no real reason why he couldn't go this high. Tskitishvili is the popular choice of most of the Grizzlies' staff. West will meet Skita Monday in D.C. His agent, Marc Fleisher, told Insider this weekend that he won't let him work out, but how can you turn down the logo?

5. Denver Nuggets
Insider's Pick: Nikoloz Tskitishvili, F, Georgia
No. 2: Dajuan Wagner, G, Memphis
Sleeper Pick: Maybyner "Nene" Hilario, F/C, Brazil
The Skinny: The Nuggets have kept their courtship of Tskitishvili quiet, but if he falls to them at No. 5, they'll probably jump. The key word here is probably. The Nuggets have so many needs and are still trying to figure out a way to keep Antonio McDyess interested. Tskitishvili, who's still a few years away, is a long-term answer, not a short term one. Wagner isn't a true point guard, but the Nuggets need help at both backcourt positions. Nene may be the real sleeper here. This is higher than anyone has projected him, but the team desperately needs a big man and Nene's shot blocking and ability to crash the boards intrigue Denver. He's a project, but may be worth the risk.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers
Insider's Pick: Chris Wilcox, F, Maryland
No. 2: Caron Butler, F, UConn
Sleeper Pick: Dajuan Wagner, G, Memphis
The Skinny: The team covets Butler, but with Wilcox on the rise and the Cavs looking to move down, don't expect the Maryland power forward to slip past No. 6. He's better than any big man the Cavs already have and his trade value will be high. Both the Suns and the Magic are offering sweet deals at the moment. The team could move all the way to No. 9 and still have a real good shot at landing Butler. Wagner is a bit of a reach, but on talent alone, he has to get a look. If the Cavs call his name Wednesday, Andre Miller better start packing.

7. New York Knicks
Insider's Pick: Jared Jeffries, F, Indiana
No. 2: Maybyner "Nene" Hilario, F/C, Brazil
Sleeper Pick: Dajuan Wagner, G, Memphis
The Skinny: Knicks president Scott Layden is in love with Wilcox. He would give the Knicks a young, strong and explosive power forward they've been looking for. But it looks like Wilcox won't be on the board when the Knicks pick. That's why the team has turned its attention the last few days to Jeffries. No one has helped his stock more in workouts than Jeffries and he would give the team the versatility that it covets. Lots of folks have Curtis Borchardt projected here just because he's a big man, but Nene has more upside and has that inside toughness the Knicks covet. He's raw, but he'll be able to play as a rookie based on his rebouding and shot-blocking skills alone. There are a lot of rumors about Wagner and the Knicks floating around New York. Unless Layden can find a way to move Charlie Ward or Mark Jackson, he just can't afford to put another guard on the roster.

8. Los Angeles Clippers (from Atlanta)
Insider's Pick: Maybyner "Nene" Hilario, F/C, Brazil
No. 2: Curtis Borchardt, C, Stanford
Sleeper Pick: Amare Stoudemire, F, HS Senior
The Skinny: The Clippers are trying to move this pick, and there's been a lot of interest. The Magic, Blazers and Knicks are all offering combinations of picks and cash. If they keep the pick, the plan is to shore up the middle and draft either Borchardt or Hilario as insurance in case Michael Olowokandi decides to bolt. Hilario has the upside and defensive tenacity to warrant a look here. Stoudemire's stock is still red hot, and if a team absolutely wants him, it may have to go this high to get him. The Clippers will also be hard pressed to pass on Wagner if he slips this far. They've been trying to get their hands on Baron Davis, but Wagner is great insurance if Keyon Dooling or Marko Jaric doesn't work out. He's got the requisite swagger and chip on his shoulder to play with the Clippers.

9. Phoenix Suns
Insider's Pick: Amare Stoudemire, F, HS Senior
No. 2: Curtis Borchardt, C, Stanford
Sleeper Pick: Caron Butler, F, UConn
The Skinny: The Suns love Tskitishvili, Wilcox and Hilario and are doing everything in their power to move up to No. 4 or No. 6 so that they can get their hands on one of them. However, at this point there's a good chance that neither Nene nor Jeffries will still be on the board. No one is sure exactly what you'll get with Stoudemire. He too has an NBA body and plays with a lot of determination. But he is very raw on both ends of the court -- no one is sure exactly what he can do besides dunk. Still, several teams told Insider that with the proper coaching (Stoudemire bounced around a lot in high school) he could be the best power forward in the draft. Borchardt would give the team some depth at center.

10. Miami Heat
Insider's Pick: Caron Butler, F, UConn
No. 2: Qyntel Woods, F, Northeast Mississippi CC
Sleeper Pick: Curtis Borchardt, C, Stanford
The Skinny: Pat Riley hits the jackpot. With all of the bigs rising to the top, there's a possibility that Butler falls right into his lap, a la Paul Pierce's drop in 1998. He has the toughness and killer instinct to put Miami immediately back on the playoff map. If Butler isn't here, there's a good chance Jeffries will be. The Heat love his size, versatility and maturity. Woods is the athlete Riley has searched for at small forward. The team has scouted him as extensively as anyone, but the word inside the Heat is that Riley prefers Jeffries. If both players are gone, they could take a chance on Borchardt. With Zo's health constantly in question, it's good to have a backup plan.

11. Washington Wizards
Insider's Pick: Dajuan Wagner, G, Clippers
No. 2: Bostjan Nachbar, F, Slovenia
Sleeper Pick: Qyntel Woods, F, Northeast Mississippi CC
The Skinny: If Wagner falls this far, the Wizards will snatch him up and take their chances. He can be erratic, and may not be a true point guard, but the Wizards need backcourt help in the worst way. The team has been enamored for some time with Nachbar and will get one last look at him today. The team also likes Woods, but has some concerns about him. If Wagner's off the board, Welsch and Dan Dickau are real sleepers here. This may seem high for both players, but Michael Jordan would really like to upgrade the point guard position. Dickau's already been in for workouts twice, and the team will bring in Welsch Tuesday to gauge his ability to run a team. If the Wizards are sold, he may get the nod.

12. Los Angeles Clippers
Insider's Pick: Curtis Borchardt, C, Stanford
No. 2: Bostjan Nachbar, G, Slovenia
Sleeper Pick: Kareem Rush, G, Missouri
The Skinny: The Blazers and Clippers' deal looks dead now that Stoudemire's stock is on the rise. Even though the Clippers will grab Nene at No. 8, Borchardt is more prepared to play center right now and would be some nice insurance if the Clippers can't afford to re-sign Michael Olowokandi. They could alway use Rush's shooting.

13. Milwaukee Bucks
Insider's Pick: Melvin Ely, F/C Fresno State
No. 2: Curtis Borchardt, C, Stanford
Sleeper Pick: Jiri Welsch, G, Czech Republic
The Skinny: The Bucks have been sending signals for the past week that Ely is their guy at No. 13. It all sounds a little fishy, but it does make some sense. Ely has the size and experience to help the Bucks right away. Borchardt, if the falls, will also be intriguing. Even though the team has Joel Przybilla and Ervin Johnson, it can always use another shot blocker, especially a kid who can step away from the basket and sink jumpers. Because of luxury-tax issues, the Bucks could also decide to go with Welsch or even Bostjan Nachbar and keep them overseas for a year or too. Marcus Haislip is a bit of a sleeper here. He's a tough athlete who can block shots and rebound. But he's very raw and won't be able to help Milwaukee for another year or two.

14. Indiana Pacers
Insider's Pick: Qyntel Woods, F, Northeast Mississippi CC
No. 2: Jiri Welsch, G, Czech Republic
Sleeper Pick: Kareem Rush, G, Missouri
The Skinny: The Pacers don't have any glaring holes. They've been doing serious background checks on Woods the past few days on the off-chance that he slips to them at No. 14. The fact that Woods hasn't worked out for them is a problem, but it's tough to pass on that kind of talent at No. 14. If Woods slips to No. 14, don't be surprised to see them package Austin Croshere and Woods to the Lakers for Robert Horry. The deal would get Croshere's bad contract off the books and bring in another veteran to help the young players through a title run. If Woods is gone, the Pacers face a tough choice among Welsch, Rush and Borchardt. But ultimately, cap considerations will probably push them to Welsch. Both players can shoot the ball and have handles, but Welsch's ability and willingness to play overseas next season combined with his point guard skills kill three birds with one stone.

15. Houston Rockets (from Toronto)
Insider's Pick: Bostjan Nachbar, F, Croatia
No. 2: Jiri Welsch, G, Czech Republic
Sleeper Pick: Tayshaun Prince, F, Kentucky
The Skinny: If the Rockets get Yao, and if Stoudemire (who they love) is off the board, expect them to address their need at small forward with this pick. The best small forward left on the board is Nachbar, a sharp-shooting 6-foot-8 forward who also has the athleticism to take it the basket. Earlier this year, Nachbar was virtually unstoppable for his team, Benetton Treviso. He leveled off toward the end of the year and his stock slipped just a bit. Teams compare him to the Sonics' Vladimir Radmanovic. At 22, he will be able to contribute right away. The same goes for Sekularac and Welsch. Both players have the maturity and the skill set to come in and contribute immediately. The team was also impressed with Prince, though this may be a little high for him.

16. Philadelphia 76ers
Insider's Pick: Dan Dickau, G, Gonzaga
No. 2: Jiri Welsch, G, Czech Republic
Sleeper Pick: Frank Williams, G, Illinois
The Skinny: Multiple league sources continue to insist that the Warriors have acquired a mid first-round pick and all signs point toward it being the 76ers'. The Sixers still owe a first-rounder to Golden State from the trade that sent Derrick Coleman to Philly. The Sixers continue to deny that they've struck any deal with the Warriors. We won't know until draft night, (league rules prohibit the Sixers from dealing this pick to the Warriors before the draft because they already owe a pick to Boston), but if Golden State does get hold of this, it'll grab a point guard. Dickau and Illinois' Frank Williams are in the running. Williams has already worked out for the team alongside Jay Williams. Dickau worked out in Golden State Tuesday. If the Sixers do keep the pick, expect them to add more size.

17. Charlotte Hornets
Insider's Pick: Kareem Rush, G, Missouri
No. 2: Curtis Borchardt, C, Stanford
Sleeper Pick: Marcus Haislip, F, Tennessee
The Skinny: If Rush falls this low, the Hornets will have the steal of the draft. He's one of the more polished players in the draft. He can shoot the NBA three, is silky smooth taking the ball to the hole and has nice size at shooting guard. The team struggled when Baron Davis was out. The Hornets would also love to get their hands on Welsch, but if he and Rush are gone, Borchardt's shot blocking could allow them to move Elden Campbell. The team could also use more frontcourt help. Haislip is the best big man still left on the board.

18. Orlando Magic
Insider's Pick: Jiri Welsch, G, Czech Republic
No. 2: Marcus Haislip, F, Tennessee
Sleeper Pick: Frank Williams, G, Illinois
The Skinny: Welsch may not slip this far but if he does, he'd be a steal for the Magic. His ability to play three positions, including the point, makes Mike Miller expendable. Haislip is a tough, athletic, four who can block shots and run the floor. Williams would give them a bigger, defensive-minded point guard to help out Darrell Armstrong. Of course, the Magic thought they drafted that guard last season when they grabbed Jeryl Sasser.

19. Utah Jazz
Insider's Pick: Carlos Boozer, F, Duke
No. 2: Marcus Haislip, F, Tennessee
Sleeper Pick: Jason Jennings, C, Arkansas State
The Skinny: Since Insider first put Jennings here, several Jazz sources have called to say we're crazy. The team decided, ultimately, not even to bring Jennings in for workouts. It could be a smokescreen, but it's hard to argue with the fact that the Jazz decided ultimately not to work him out. The Jazz also were unable to convince Haislip and Casey Jacobsen to work out, also hindering their chances. The one guy they continue to look at is Boozer. With Karl Malone on the road to retirement, the Jazz have to begin to address their low-post woes. Apparently, Boozer has caught their eye. Mladen Sekularac is a longshot here, but he's one of the best shooters in the draft and the Jazz still miss Jeff Hornacek. Ditto for Jacobsen.

20. Toronto Raptors (from Seattle)
Insider's Pick: Frank Williams, G, Illinois
No. 2: Mladen Sekularac, G, Yugoslavia
Sleeper Pick: Casey Jacobsen, G, Stanford
The Skinny: Toronto is looking to trade this pick. With the two players it covets, Dickau and Welsch off they board, it may be better off trading the pick. The Raptors signed Alvin Williams to a long-term deal last summer, but clearly he isn't the answer at point guard. The team may decide to address that need via free agency and go big. Williams already plays NBA defense when he wants to and has shown flashes of offense at Illinois. He has nice size at the position, has NBA strength and has shown good leadership skills. However, he can be woefully inconsistent and struggles with his outside jumper. The Raptors also need to fill the void left by Chris Childs and Dell Curry. Sekularac is a scorer who could give Vince Carter a blow or two during the season.

21. Portland Trailblazers
Insider's Pick: Dan Gadzuric, C, UCLA
No. 2: Jason Jennings, C, Arkansas State
Sleeper Pick: Nenad Kristic, C, Yugoslavia
The Skinny: This is a very difficult pick to call. The Blazers may be using this pick to move up in the draft. The team is looking for help down low and there isn't much left this far down in the draft. Gadzuric has the most upside. His workouts for teams have been phenomenal, but with Gadzuric you never know. Was it bad coaching at UCLA or is Gadzuric a talented athlete who just doesn't understand the game? Teams are struggling to figure that out, but it might be worth the gamble for the Blazers. If the Blazers want to go foreign, Kristic is a project that could pay huge dividends in a few years.

22. Phoenix Suns (from Boston)
Insider's Pick: Marcus Haislip, F, Tennessee
No. 2: Casey Jacobsen, G, Stanford
Sleeper Pick: John Salmons, G, Miami
The Skinny: Call it the best of both worlds. If Haislip really falls this far, he'd be a steal. His athleticism is off the charts, but teams say he's very raw. Questions about what position he plays also may cause him to slip a bit. Jacobsen worked out well for the Suns and would give them the long-distance shooting they're losing with the retirement of Dan Majerle. Salmons has had several impressive workouts in Phoenix and would give them a player who can play three positions.

23. Detroit Pistons
Insider's Pick: John Salmons, G, Miami
No. 2: Mladin Sekularac, G, Yugoslavia
Sleeper Pick: Roger Mason, G, Virginia
The Skinny: Williams may not be around when the Pistons pick, but if he is, he'll be a steal here. The team needs an upgrade at the point. Salmons' stock continues to shoot through the roof. If Frank Williams and Dickau are both off the board, he's shown the versatility to play point guard and small forward.The only knock on Salmons is his outside shooting. If he's gone, either Mason or Sekularac might not be a bad consolation prize. If Mason can show teams that he can run the point, he'd be very hard to pass up here.

24. New Jersey Nets
Insider's Pick: Mladen Sekularac, G, Yugoslavia
No. 2: Casey Jacobsen, G, Stanford
Sleeper Pick: Steve Logan, G, Cincinnati
The Skinny: The team is pretty set at every position, but luxury-tax issues and roster problems will probably force them to either trade the pick or draft an international player. Sekularac gives them the size, athleticism and shooting touch at two guard that they desperately lack. He's a bit of a lazy defender, but would be instant offense off the bench. They thought Brandon Armstrong was the answer to their shooting woes last year, now they're not so sure. Jacobsen is probably the best shooter in the draft and may get a look here. The team could use help at the point and a more consistent long-range gunner for Jason Kidd to drive and dish to. There's talk that the Nets are talking with the Bucks about this pick. If something goes down, don't be shocked to see Logan drafted to replace the outgoing Rafer Alston.

25. Denver Nuggets (from Dallas)
Insider's Pick: Roger Mason Jr., G, Virginia
No. 2: Rod Grizzard, G, Alabama
Sleeper Pick: Ronald Murray, G, Shaw
The Skinny: The Nuggets will either address their backcourt needs with Dajuan Wagner or their forward needs with Tskitishvili, Gooden or Wilcox at No. 5. With their second pick, don't be surprised to see them take a chance on a someone like Mason here. He has the ability to play both the point and the two guard and knows how to score. Grizzard is another possiblity here to take over the two spot and Murray may be the ultimate sleeper in the draft. The Division II scoring champ has impressed more than a few teams.

26. San Antonio Spurs
Insider's Pick: Nenad Kristic, C, Yugoslavia
No. 2: David Andersen, F, Australia
Sleeper Pick: Lazarous Papadoupolos, C, Greece
The Skinny: The Spurs are another team that would be willing to take a chance on Gadzuric, but with the way things are falling in the draft, he may not be around. If he isn't there, the Spurs will continue to mine Europe, this time for a big man. The Spurs are pretty aggressively pursuing Kristic. While few people know him in the U.S., he plays for a team that Vlade Divac owns in Yugoslavia. One scout described him as the best young true center in Europe. The question is whether the Spurs can get him at No. 26. Several team are trying to work out a deal with the Nets at No. 24 for him. The team willl also take a long look at Andersen here. He's more polished than the other big man, Papadopolous, and could play in the NBA right away. To make things sweeter, Andersen is a teammate of Emmanuel Ginobili, the Argentinean shooting guard the team wants to bring over to the NBA next season.

27. Los Angeles Lakers
Insider's Pick: Tayshaun Prince, F, Kentucky
No. 2: Chris Jefferies, F, Fresno State
Sleeper Pick: Casey Jacobsen, G, Stanford
The Skinny: Free agency could hit the Lakers hard this summer. The team is especially anxious about the possibility of losing small forward Devean George. If it can't get its hooks in Woods, Prince may be a nice consolation prize. He shoots and handles the ball well and should be a great fit in the triangle offense. Jefferies is the type of athletic scorer who would go higher had he played for a different program. The Lakers love to capitalize on those type of guys. The Lakers love Jacobsen's shooting range and could use someone to stretch defenses. Still, there may be enough questions about his athleticism and defense to keep him out of the first round.

28. Sacramento Kings
Insider's Pick: David Andersen, F, Australia
No. 2: Jamal Sampson, C, Cal
Sleeper Pick: DeAngelo Collins, F, HS Senior
The Skinny: The Kings can go any direction here. They have plenty of cap problems and may try to get out of this pick or draft another international player. They'd love to get their hands on Kristic, but it looks like he won't be around. Andersen has the type of polished low-post game the Kings would be hard pressed to pass on. Sampson and Collins are much rawer prospects, but given the depth of the Kings' bench, they can probably afford to wait on them. If they had stayed in school a few more years, both guys have the potential to be lottery picks.
 

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