Raptors likely to look overseas with No. 1 pick in draft
Posted: Wednesday May 24, 2006 12:03PM; Updated: Wednesday May 24, 2006 4:53PM
Any mock draft is nothing more than an educated guess. Now that the draft lottery has revealed who will be picking where, we have a bit more information to make our guesses a bit more educated. Of course, the NBA predraft camp in Orlando from June 6-9 and ongoing individual workouts with teams will ensure a constant state of flux in evaluations over the next five weeks as we head toward June 28 in New York City.
And don't forget that early-entry candidates have until June 18 to withdraw their names from the draft. Determining who will withdraw is an educated guess as well. For now we expect the majority of international early-entry candidates to withdraw, as well as prospects like Aaron Gray, Arron Afflalo, Nick Fazekas, Daniel Gibson and Richard Roby. Culling information from NBA insiders, this mock draft reflects those assumptions.
SI.com's Mock NBA Draft -- Round 1
Benetton Treviso (Italy)
GM Bryan Colangelo has always had an eye for offensive talent, and Bargnani has more scoring potential than almost anyone else in this draft. Colangelo also has demonstrated a deft touch in incorporating international players into his teams. Adding Bargnani with Chris Bosh and Charlie Villanueva would give Toronto an enviable stable of talented young forwards.
The Bulls badly need an offensive post presence. While Aldridge needs to gain weight and strength to maximize his fundamentally sound post game, he would immediately become Chicago's best low-post scoring option.
Don't tell Bernie Bickerstaff that he already has Emeka Okafor and Sean May at power forward. This past season, when those two bigs were only part of an epidemic of injuries, proved you can never have enough talented big people. Thomas is the type of player who can run the lanes for Raymond Felton & Co.
The Blazers team that takes the floor in November will likely bear little resemblance to the one that finished this season. With that in mind, it's hard to say what Portland's biggest need is. Roy is a solid all-around talent who can play right away, adding stability to a franchise that sorely needs it.
Billy Knight may trade down to get a point guard, but if he picks the most talented player regardless of position, as he is wont to do, the gifted Gay may be the choice. Blessed with an explosive first step and quick jumping ability, Gay will fit right in with Knight's burgeoning collection of multifaceted swingmen.
An electrifying athlete who thrives in the open-court game, Carney would help the 'Wolves take another step in their efforts to fashion a more athletic running team. He'll need some time to figure out how his individualistic game works within a team framework, but Kevin McHale drafts on talent and lets the chips fall where they may.
The college game's most gifted playmaker, Williams has that innate feel for the game, knowing how to distribute the ball to teammates through heavy congestion in the lane. His presence would allow Delonte West to back up both guard spots, which West is well suited to do.
Too often last season Houston struggled to score, allowing defenses to tighten their surveillance of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. Morrison is a throwback player in that he can score from anywhere on the floor. He moves without the ball, uses screens as well as fakes to get open, and has a lightning-quick release.
When O'Bryant went for 28 points against Aaron Gray and Pittsburgh in the NCAA tournament, you knew he would be staying in the draft. He's got some athleticism and has the makings of a solid postup game. The Warriors need some low-post offense to complement their superior perimeter game.
Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis are outside-in players who don't want someone clogging the lane, so why not get another three-point threat and force defenses to spread out even further? Redick's unerring shooting touch, terrific work ethic and intelligence in setting up defenders would fit right in on this team.
Mental toughness is a quality that is highly coveted by NBA teams, and Foye has plenty, to go along with a lot of shooting-guards skills. Foye is an excellent one-on-one player and a better perimeter player than incumbent DeShawn Stevenson.
With P.J. Brown contemplating retirement or a trade to a contender, the Hornets need a dirty-work defender and rebounder to take his place. Over his final two college seasons, Williams averaged 11 boards a game. He also provides a dependable shot-blocking presence.
A combo guard with good size, Collins has the makings of a defensive stopper, and the 76ers have all but given up on John Salmons. Collins knows his limitations on the offensive end and works to get within his range (about 18 feet) to maximize his results. The Sixers would love to find the reincarnation of Aaron McKie.
He didn't get a lot of exposure playing for a middling Big East Conference team, but Douby is one of the best perimeter shooters you have never heard of. He has "in the gym" range and is starting to put together an off-the-dribble game as well. The Jazz could certainly use a three-point threat to complement the front line of Kirilenko, Boozer and Okur.
The quintessential late bloomer, Armstrong earned some attention this season on one of the nation's most talented teams. His shot-blocking and his defensive prowess are his NBA-level skills, while rounding out his offensive game is on his to-do list. The Hornets, who lost Chris Andersen to drugs, desperately need to fortify a thin frontcourt.