SI.com 2003 NBA Draft 2003 NBA Draft


Who's No. 2?

Top pick is obvious, but things could change after that

Posted: Friday May 23, 2003 1:00 AM
Updated: Friday May 23, 2003 7:00 PM

By John Hollinger, SI.com

So, we have the first pick out of the way. Or rather, we have the team making the pick out of the way; the player was settled 18 months ago.

But who's coming after that? The Detroit Pistons are on the clock, for all intents and purposes, as they have a month to decide between Darko Milicic and Carmelo Anthony, and after that Denver, Toronto, Miami and everyone else will sift through the leftovers.

So now that we know who's picking where, it's time for the first mock draft of the season. Things can and do change, so in a month this draft will probably look ridiculous, but based on the info that's out there today, the scenarios below are more likely than any others -- however improbable that still may be.

Before we get into it, however, let's get a few assumptions out of the way:

  • This assumes nobody will trade their pick, with the exception of the Knicks at No. 9, for reasons I detail below.

  • More important, this assumes that everyone who has put their name in for the draft will stay in the draft. Several collegians could potentially yank their names from consideration.

    But enough blabbing. Onto the fun part:

    (All ages are as of draft night)
    SI.com's 2003 Mock Draft
    Pick Team Pos. Player From Ht. Wt. Age
    1 SG LeBron James Akron, Ohio 6'8" 240 18
    I guess this means Milt Palacio won't be starting next year. Methinks Jeff Van Gundy has suddenly become much more amenable to coaching the Cavs as well. Of course, given Cleveland's history, James will blow out his knee in August.
    2 PF Darko Milicic Serbia 7'0" 24518
    Detroit doesn't necessarily need additional frontcourt help, but Clifford Robinson is no spring chicken, and the Pistons are reportedly in love with Milicic. It could also set them up to trade Zeljko Rebraca or Corliss Williamson for a more traditional small forward.
    3 SF Carmelo Anthony Syracuse 6'8" 22019
    This is exactly what Denver needs: a scorer whom they can run the offense through. Denver may have been the worst offensive team in history last season, and their top scorer (Juwan Howard) is a free agent.
    4 PF Chris Bosh Ga. Tech 6'11" 22019
    The Raptors are so thin at so many spots that they're basically looking at the best player available, and Bosh certainly fits the bill. Speaking of thin, Bosh is built along the lines of Joe Smith, but will have to play right away because the Raptors' bench is nonexistent.
    5 C Chris Kaman C. Michigan 7'0" 25521
    The Heat will be more than happy to finally get a real center, which they haven't had since Alonzo Mourning had his kidney problems. T.J. Ford is another possible pick here, but it's a lot easier to find a cheap point guard in free agency than it is to find a center.
    6 PG T.J. Ford Texas 5'11" 16520
    Andre Miller had his bags packed several months ago, and Keyon Dooling is a woefully inadequate replacement. If the Clippers keep the pick (they might not given the general roster-nuking that's likely this summer), Ford is easily the best point man available, and he could make the Clips a terror in transition.
    7 SG Mickaël Pietrus France 6'6" 20021
    It goes without saying that the Bulls will take a shooting guard here after a year of watching Trenton Hassell misplay the position. Pietrus, originally from the French island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, is an athletic slasher who should handle the guys whom Jalen Rose can't (or won't) cover.
    8 PF Maciej Lampe Poland 7'0" 24018
    Lampe is a seven-footer with perimeter skills who scouts insist on comparing to Dirk Nowitzki, which makes me wonder why guys like this are always compared to Nowitzki instead of, oh, say, Brad Lohaus. At any rate, he looks to be this year's Nikoloz Tskitishvili and won't pay immediate dividends.
    9 SG Dwyane Wade Marquette 6'4" 20021
    Consider this one a placeholder. If Kaman and Lampe are both gone by the time the Knicks pick, one has to think they'll try to deal this pick to a team that fancies Wade in return for some frontcourt help. They're too scarred from the Frederic Weis disaster to take a chance on Russian giant Pavel Podkolzin.
    10 PG Leandrinho Barbosa Brazil 6'4" 19021
    Barbosa is a combo guard much like Wade, and the Brazilian has slowly been climbing the draft charts over the past month. With Tyronn Lue a free agent and Juan Dixon coming off an unimpressive rookie year, he'll have a chance to start right away for the post-Jordan Wizards.
    11 C Pavel Podkolzin Russia 7'4" 30018
    The biggest draft risk in several years, Podkolzin is enormous, and unlike most people his size he isn't a spaz, but he's been injured with alarming frequency at an age when most people are virtually indestructible. Golden State could use some more size and at this point in the draft it's probably worth the the risk.
    12 PF Mike Sweetney Georgetown 6'8" 26020
    The Sonics need a point guard in a bad way and are certain to take either Luke Ridnour, Barbosa or Kirk Hinrich. But if two of them are available, they may as well wait until their pick at No. 14, since one is certain to still be on the board, and instead grab some power forward help here. Sweetney is the post-up threat they have lacked since Vin Baker turned into a 300-pound money sink.
    13 PF Sofoklis Schortsianitis Greece 6'9" 27518
    The Grizzlies have been in need of frontcourt help for a long time, especially at power forward, where they need some bulk to prevent Pau Gasol from getting killed. Originally from Cameroon, Schortsianitis has his detractors -- there's some debate over his real height -- but an 18-year old kid who is this huge has to have some appeal to Jerry West.
    14 PG Luke Ridnour Oregon 6'2" 17522
    The Sonics will take either Ridnour or Hinrich with this pick to solve their gaping void at point guard. My money is on Ridnour, a local kid (from Blaine, Washington, just south of the Canadian border) whose deep shooting fits in perfect with Seattle's system.
    15 PG Kirk Hinrich Kansas 6'3" 19022
    The Magic would like to go big here, but with Sweetney and Schortianitis off the board they'll turn to their point guard problems instead. Jacque Vaughn wasn't a solution and Darrell Armstrong will be 35, and Hinrich is easily the best player available at this point, which makes it an easy call.
    16 SF Jarvis Hayes Univ. of Georgia 6'7" 22021
    The Celtics badly need some athleticism on the wings -- and preferably a little scoring help for Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker too. That's not always available this late in the draft, but Hayes has some skills and is probably the best athlete left on the board.
    17 SF Viktor Khryapa Russia 6'9" 21020
    The Suns have had good success gambling on young guys with NBA bodies (see Stoudemire, Amare). Khryapa doesn't necessarily fill a need, but the Suns have an outstanding young nucleus with Marbury, Marion and Stoudemire and can afford to wait a couple of years if it means getting a star performer.
    18 SG Reece Gaines Louisville 6'6" 18522
    Now that the Courtney Alexander experiment is a confirmed failure, the Hornets are in the market for someone who can help out David Wesley with bigger guards but also step in for Baron Davis and run the point. Gaines fits the bill perfectly, and while he isn't as athletic as some of the other guards in this draft, he'll make up for it with his size. Carlos Delfino could also go here.
    19 PF Anderson Varejão Brazil 6'10" 23020
    If you haven't seen this guy, you're in for a shock: picture Carrot Top playing hoops. Varejão was once considered a top-five pick but his stock has dropped faster than Bill Clinton's trousers since an unspired performance at the Euroleague Final Four. Utah needs to replace Karl Malone sooner or later -- perhaps as early as this summer -- and Varejão looks like a better alternative than Scott Padgett.
    20 SG Carlos Delfino Argentina 6'7" 19120
    Boston's second first-round pick should be a best-player-available type of choice, and Danny Ainge could pull the trigger on a second import here. Delfino is part of the new wave of South American players along with Barbosa, Varejão and last year's imports Emanuel Ginobili and Nene Hilario. He'll provide depth for a backcourt that desperately needs it.
    21 SF Travis Outlaw Starkville, Miss. 6'9" 19018
    Atlanta's bench last year was a joke and they're badly in need of a talent upgrade across the board. With that in mind, they'll take the chance on Outlaw and let him develop. Part of me wants to see him in Phoenix, however, where he could join Bo Outlaw as the league's first all-scofflaw frontcourt.
    22 SG Aleksandar Pavlovic Serbia 6'7' 20719
    The Nets' draft plans partly depend on Jason Kidd. If he's staying, then they're in a salary cap pickle and will likely draft a player who will stay in Europe -- much as they did with vowel-deprived Nenad Krstic last year. Pavlovic is still young and could still benefit from another year overseas, so he'll be the pick here.
    23 PF Nick Collison Kansas 6'9" 25022
    Portland is turning over a new leaf with the departure of Bob Whitsitt, so whoever the Blazers draft this year is going to have a record that's cleaner than an Olsen twins movie. The Blazers could use Collison since their offseason plans are likely to involve trading Rasheed Wallace, Ruben Patterson or both.
    24 C Zaur Pachulia Rep. of Georgia 6'11" 26019
    The Lakers are the biggest example of teams using a new drafting trend: the "stay in Europe and off our salary cap" pick that teams on the luxury tax line will be making at the end of the first round. When he does arrive, look for Hollywood hippies to market his sweat as "Pachulia oil."
    25 PF Zarko Caparkaba Serbia 6'11" 23022
    The Kings are already paying luxury tax, and I'm sure they're not excited about throwing out millions more so David West or Mario Austin can wave a towel on the bench. Thus, they'll continue their Serbian import program by taking Cabarkapa, and let him develop another year or two overseas until their cap situation clears up enough to bring him in.
    26 PF Mario Austin Mississippi St. 6'8' 26521
    Minnesota needs frontcourt help in a big way, and while there aren't any centers available here (unfortunate, since Rasho Nesterovic may bolt), it's a deep draft in power forwards. Austin is similar in build to Gary Trent, but is probably even stronger and doesn't pull his hamstring every five games.
    27 SG Boris Diaw France 6'8" 20121
    With their second first-round pick, the Grizzlies will take the best player available and go for the athletic but erratic Diaw. Incidentally, am I the only one who wonders how there's one French guy named "Mickaël" and another named "Boris" in this draft? Can a French guy named "Bjorn" be far behind?
    28 PF David West Xavier 6'8" 23222
    San Antonio doesn't need much, especially with a treasure trove of cap space coming this summer. However, the front line still looks a little thin with the retirement of David Robinson. West is undersized, but with the success the Spurs had with Malik Rose, they should be willing to gamble this late in the draft.
    29 SF Ndudi Ebi Houston, Tex. 6'9' 20619
    The Mavs would like to go big here, but you have a better chance of finding Atlantis than you do of finding quality size this late in the draft. That's why they'll gamble on Ebi, who has height and could put on the requisite muscle while the Mavs let him develop. I can't wait to see David Stern pronounce this guy's name, so I hope he goes in the first round (the NBA brings Russ Granik out of the bullpen for Round 2).

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