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Our Best Shot
Jackie MacMullan
June 23, 1997
Here's an early line on how next Wednesday's NBA draft could play out, provided trades—some possibilities are noted—don't alter the selection order. (Washington forfeited its first-round pick.)
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June 23, 1997

Our Best Shot

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20 Trail Blazers
Paul Grant
7 feet, Center
Like most other teams, Portland covets size, and since Chris Dudley opted out of his contract last week and will be asking $5 million to $6 million per year, the selection of Grant to learn behind pass-master Arvydas Sabonis isn't a bad idea. The Blazers will also consider Serge Zwikker and Marc Jackson.

21 Nets
Scot Pollard
6'11", Forward-Center
After trading 7'6" Shawn Bradley to the Mavericks and realizing the limitations of center Eric Montross, New Jersey brought in all big people to audition for this draft slot. Pollard, a college pivotman who's an NBA power forward, could provide insurance if the Nets deal Jayson Williams, who has made it clear he wants out of New Jersey.

22 Hawks
Bobby Jackson
6'1", Guard
Atlanta needs a guard and a small forward, and it also hopes to get Mullin in a trade. Anthony Parker or 6'9" forward Jerald Honeycutt from Tulane are also possibilities, but Jackson (left) tested out as a hard worker who wants to play defense.

23 SuperSonics
Johnny Taylor
6'9", Forward
Seattle wants a player who will run and press and agitate opponents, which Taylor (below), a small forward, is happy to do. Depending on how Shawn Kemp's demand for a trade pans out, the Sonics could soon be shopping for a power forward, but one with impact can't be found in this draft.

24 Rockets
Anthony Parker
6'6", Guard
Houston, average age 31.0, needs to get younger. The Rockets think a healthy Brent Price plus Matt Maloney and Emanual Davis can handle the point. The fact that Parker does a lot of things well but none exceptionally has scared off some teams, but not the Rockets

25 Knicks
Marc Jackson
6'10", Center-Forward
What New York really wants to do is trade this pick. The Knicks are carrying three forwards—John Wallace, Walter McCarty and Dontae' Jones—from the 1996 draft, so the last thing they need is to take another young player who needs time and work.

26 Heat
Serge Zwikker
7'3", Center
Coach Pat Riley says he'd like to find a slashing player like guard Dan Majerle, an adequate point guard to back up Tim Hardaway and a monster body to sub for Alonzo Mourning. Pretty ambitious wish list for the 26th pick. Riley goes for the big body (above).

27 Jazz
Gordon Malone
6'11", Forward
Most of all, Utah needs someone to stop Michael Jordan. Oh, too late for that? So it's time to find youngsters to play behind veteran forwards Karl Malone and Antoine Carr. A new Malone (right) is what's left on the board.

28 Bulls
Chris Anstey
7 feet, Center
Until owner Jerry Reinsdorf decides whether to dismantle the champions or keep them together for one more season, Chicago's future is in flux. Regardless, the Bulls are notorious for going big when they pick this late, and in Anstey they have a project who won't object to a year or two of seasoning overseas.

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