Sunday, June 26, 2005

Knicks, Nets Look to Hit It Big At NBA Draft

Tonight from The Theatre in Madison Square Garden, both the Knicks and Nets along with 28 other NBA teams will try to find a gem in this year's 2005 NBA Draft. For all participants, the draft is a way to improve your team's future. But GM's and scouts must guess right or face the gloomy prospect of being ripped apart down the road if their picks fail.

Barring a trade, the Knicks are slated to have two first round selections with their eighth overall and final pick of the round acquired from Phoenix via San Antonio. With a potential trade of power forward Kurt Thomas to the Suns in exchange for 25-year-old small forward Quentin Richardson and a conditional first round pick, the Knicks need a frontline player who can help fill the void inside. All indications are that if Arizona product Channing Frye is available at eight, the Knicks are expected to select the 7-0 center. He can play with his back to the basket and step out occasionally. But the athletic Frye can also bring a defensive presence and block shots, which is something the Knicks have lacked since trading away Marcus Camby to Denver in an '03 draft day package for Antonio McDyess. Even if they land Frye, it's expected that team President and GM Isiah Thomas will go big again at 30. Who they select depends on what's available.

Meanwhile, across the river, the Nets are fresh off a first round sweep defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat. If Jason Kidd is happy, then they'll have one less problem to worry about meaning that they could have an imposing starting trio of Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter. With center Nenad Krstic having a decent rookie year, the Nets appear to be formidable heading into next season. They could use an upgrade at power forward with the serviceable Jason Collins there. He's a diligent worker on the offensive glass but isn't much of a threat. The Nets are expected to select 15th in the first round. They could use an athletic forward who can run the floor. Former Syracuse product Hakim Warrick and ex-Uconn star Charles Villanueva both could be possibilities here. Warrick can fly up and down the court and plays above the rim on both ends. He needs work on his outside shot in the halfcourt set. Villanueva is a terror on the offensive glass who plays bigger than his size. He needs to become more consistent however.

Hopefully for both the Knicks and Nets, they will choose wisely.

Here's a look at how the first round could play out:


1.Milwaukee Bucks- Andrew Bogut, C, Utah
The athletic team oriented Bogut would fill a void at center. But the potential of swingman Marvin Williams could be too much to pass up.

2.Atlanta Hawks- Marvin Williams, F, North Carolina
Just what they need. A potential superstar who will draw fans. Still need help at the point.

3.Portland Trail Blazers- Gerald Green, SG, Gulf Shores Academy H.S. (Tex.)
Someone to play with Sebastian Telfair if they don't trade down. Also a possibility they could shock everyone and take Martell Webster.

4.New Orleans Hornets- Chris Paul, PG, Wake Forest
If they don't select him, look for it to be Deron Williams.

5.Charlotte Bobcats- Deron Williams, PG, Illinois
Would they swap picks with the Hornets to get Paul?

6.Utah Jazz- Danny Granger, SF, New Mexico
Athletic forward can run floor and rebound.

7.Toronto Raptors- Raymond Felton, PG, North Carolina
Could replace Rafer Alston. If they opt to go elsewhere, it might be Channing Frye.

8.New York Knicks- Channing Frye, C, Arizona
If he's gone, don't be shocked if the Knicks take a chance on St. Joseph's Jersey prospect Andrew Bynum.

9.Golden State Warriors- Fran Vazquez, PF, Spain
Should be ready to make impact.

10.Los Angeles Lakers- Joey Graham, SF, Oklahoma
If they don't trade up for Portland's number three to select D. Williams, someone who can play right away will be the pick.

11.Orlando Magic- Antoine Wright, SG, Texas A&M
Stock is soaring for athletic scorer.

12.Los Angeles Clippers- Johan Petro, C, France
Chris Kaman hasn't panned out.

13.Charlotte Bobcats- Rashad McCants, SG, North Carolina
Has plenty of talent but could fall due to questionable attitude.

14.Minnesota Timberwolves- Charlie Villanueva, PF, Connecticut
Adds some size and athleticism to frontcourt.

15.New Jersey Nets- Hakim Warrick, PF, Syracuse
Can run floor and has enormous wingspan.

16.Toronto Raptors- Francisco Garcia, SG, Louisville
Athletic guard can fill it up from outside.

17.Indiana Pacers- Yaroslav Korolev, SF, Russia
Supposed to be very talented and isn't expected to fall out of top 20.

18.Boston Celtics- Julius Hodge, PG, N.C. State
Versatile guard could create matchup problems with size.

19.Memphis Grizzlies- Jarrett Jack, PG, Georgia Tech
With Jason Williams probably traded and Earl Watson a free agent, underrated guard could be choice.

20.Denver Nuggets- Ryan Gomes, SF, Providence
If they don't package this pick along with the 22nd to move up, skilled small forward can keep defenses honest.

21.Phoenix Suns- Martynas Andriuskevicius, C, Lithuania
With desire to move Amare Stoudemire back to power forward, Suns could take gamble on this 7-3 pivot.

22.Denver Nuggets- Ike Diogu, PF, Arizona State
Some more length added to frontline.

23.Sacramento Kings- Wayne Simien, PF, Kansas
Well schooled in post and can clean up glass.

24.Houston Rockets- Sean May, PF, North Carolina
If still around, is kind of energy player Jeff Van Gundy prefers to bring off bench.

25.Seattle Supersonics- Chris Taft, PF, Pittsburgh
With both Reggie Evans and Jerome James on the market, Sonics could take gamble on inconsistent four.

26.Detroit Pistons- Ersan Ilyasova, SF, Turkey
Desperately need a perimeter scorer but that probably won't be available.

27.Utah Jazz- Monta Ellis, PG, Lanier (Miss.) H.S.
Raul Lopez doesn't exactly remind anyone of John Stockton.

28.San Antonio Spurs- Roko Ukic, PG, Croatia
Just the kind of player they usually select.

29.Miami Heat- Nate Robinson, PG, Washington
Despite lack of size, we're betting on this Road Runner to make it.

30.New York Knicks- Ronnie Turiaf, C, Gonzaga
Big man had great workouts which could land him in first round.

Keep an eye on: Seattle Prep SG Martell Webster- 6-7 guard has been impressive in workouts and might spoil draft lists.


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