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1. Jason Kidd
2. Gary Payton
3. Baron Davis
4. Steve Francis
5. Andre Miller
6. Mike Bibby
7. Stephon Marbury
8.Steve Nash
9.Terrell Brandon
10.Nick Van Exel
11.Sam Cassell
12.John Stockton
13.Tony Parker
14.Jamal Tinsley
15.Darrell Armstrong

That's my 15... Where do you see J.Will fitting in?

I'd say the top 7-9 this coming year...but check this out, I've always had a feelin that JWill would not be a Bull, which would hurt like hell...


June 17, 2002

The Rockets continue to say they want to spend the first pick of the June 26 draft on Yao Ming, but they have yet to say they will. They are said to be concerned that the Chinese government is worried Yao will defect and therefore won't let him leave the country. That would mean Duke's Jay Williams might not be available for the Bulls with the No. 2 pick.

So what would Plan B be?

Although Cavs general manager Jim Paxson has been saying Andre Miller isn't available, hardly anyone believes that. Would the cash-strapped Cavs, reluctant to pay Miller as he approaches free agency, take point guard Jamal Crawford and the No. 2 pick for Miller if the Bulls decide they're going to lose Williams? Not likely.

But there is a deal that does make sense for the Cavaliers. The Cavs have told Miller to wait for his extension so they can sign Ricky Davis, but that could send Miller to free agency. Miller, who led the league in assists this season, is from Los Angeles, and the Clippers badly need a point guard. With a top one like Miller, they could be serious competitors with Elton Brand, Michael Olowokandi and Lamar Odom.

Would the Cavaliers take point guard Keyon Dooling, Quentin Richardson, Darius Miles or Corey Maggette, draft picks Nos. 8 and 12 for Miller, Lamond Murray and No. 4? The Cavs then could turn around and trade one of the players and picks to Minnesota for Wally Szczerbiak, a Miami of Ohio product whom they covet as a local favorite.

The Timberwolves remain concerned about chemistry problems between Szczerbiak and Kevin Garnett. Another complication is Steve Francis, known in Houston as "the Franchise," reportedly is urging the Rockets to package the No. 1 pick to the Clippers for Odom and the Clippers' two No. 1 picks.

Noise from Jazz: Anyone want a $19.2 million future Hall of Famer? That's the question in Salt Lake City as Karl Malone lashed out at owner Larry Miller, who suggested Malone might have to take a pay cut if he wants to remain with the team and that Malone slowed in the second half last season.

"He can call me bad names," Miller said. "I might just call him a few too. I've always said I want Karl to retire in a Jazz uniform. Maybe I was naive. Karl always seems to feel the need to start a controversy to talk about every summer. He puts stress on relationships, for whatever reason. His teammates feel the tension, the fans do, and I do. I guess I would tell him, 'I'm not the one stirring things up.'"

It would be hard to get enough players in a deal to equal Malone's salary for trade purposes, but would the Mavericks be interested for toughness? The Nets? The Trail Blazers? Malone wants a chance to get back to the Finals again, and it won't happen in Utah.

Trade rumors: Talk has been going around of a Suns deal to send Penny Hardaway to Portland. The Suns would get Brian Grant, the Trail Blazers would get Miami's No. 10 draft pick and the Heat would get Damon Stoudamire. Don't count on it, though.

Miami is said to want to move up in the draft and has talked with Memphis. Grizzlies GM Jerry West reportedly likes Indiana's Jared Jeffries and believes he can get him at No. 10 and would deal No. 4 and Stromile Swift in a package of other players to get Eddie Jones.

Draft talk: Will Mike Dunleavy pull out of the draft if he thinks he's going to the Warriors? Two Stanford players—center Curtis Borchardt and guard Casey Jacobsen—also are considering a return to school. The deadline is Wednesday. Dunleavy reportedly had been hoping the Rockets would get cold feet on Yao Ming and he could move up to No. 1 or No. 2. He also wouldn't mind going to Memphis with West, but the Warriors are reluctant to pass Dunleavy the way they passed Vince Carter for Antawn Jamison. Meanwhile, top Warriors officials left last week to watch Benetton's Nickoloz Tskitishvili, 19, a 7-footer from the republic of Georgia, whom they could take at No. 3 if Dunleavy returns to college. The Warriors also would like to deal Jamison and there has been some talk they'll hire Dunleavy's father, the former Lakers, Bucks and Trail Blazers coach, to replace Brian Winters if they get Dunleavy Jr.

Remember him: Ex-Bull Khalid El-Amin is in the Raptors' mini-camp and coach Lenny Wilkens said he was impressed, but asked: "What was the problem in Chicago, because they obviously needed a point guard? But I liked him as a player in college and I haven't changed on that. There are just some questions." … With the Suns hiring Marc Iavaroni and Mike D'Antoni as assistants, the belief is they'll try to move up in the draft to get Tskitishvili, who played for D'Antoni in Italy this season.

Awards: It was a day for good-guy awards last Wednesday when then Lakers clinched their third straight title. The Clippers' Brand won the Magic Johnson Award for excellence on the court and with the media and public from the Professional Basketball Writers Association. San Antonio's Steve Smith was named winner of the NBA's Sportsmanship Award, which honors the player who best represents sportsmanship on the court. Brand also was named to USA Basketball's World Championships team along with Detroit's Ben Wallace. The tournament will be in Indianapolis starting Aug. 29.

What if? Lakers coach Phil Jackson on what he would have done if he hadn't been hired by the Bulls as an assistant: "The NBA has an aptitude test they give to post-career players that I took in '80, '81. I qualified for outdoor adventure guide, minister, lawyer and cook. I think any of those professions all appeal to me, although I'm not as good a cook as potentially I might have been back then."

First-round report: One of the surprises is Fordham 6-foot-4-inch point guard William "Smush" Parker, who could be among as many as 10 point guards taken in the first round, including Duke's Williams, Memphis' Dajuan Wagner, Illinois' Frank Williams, Gonzaga's Dan Dickau, Michigan State's Marcus Taylor, Cincinnati's Steve Logan, Ronald Murray of Shaw University and Maryland's Juan Dixon.

"It'll probably rank as one of the deeper positions in the draft," Magic GM John Gabriel said. " There's a good group coming up next year too. There is a lot of experience there, and there are maybe more pure point guards than in the past. And, still, there's more scoring from the guards than we've been accustomed to."

One of the more interesting players is Dickau, who draws comparisons to fellow Gonzaga product John Stockton, who was the 16th pick in 1984 because of questions about his size and defense. Dickau, by the way, hit 15 straight three-pointers in 60 seconds in a workout in Orlando. "I know for me, a lot of the [questions] are about my defense," Dickau said. "That's one of the things I'm trying to show, that I'm physical enough, quick enough and competitive enough to get it done."
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