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The NBA
Ian Thomsen
June 26, 2000
Quantum LeaperFast-blooming sophomore Stromile Swift of LSU is sure to rise high in the lottery
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June 26, 2000

The Nba

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Swap Meat?
Will the ever-troubled Nets trade the No. 1 pick? How high will high school phenom Darius Miles (above) go? Pending changes in the order, here is how the June 28 draft is shaping up.—I.T.

1

Nets

Kenyon Martin

PF, 6'10", 234

Cincinnati/Sr.

Surest thing in the draft. Will help replace Jayson Williams, who may never play because of broken right leg.

2

Grizzlies

Stromile Swift

PF, 6'10", 220

LSU/Soph.

With Swift and Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Vancouver could have the makings of a tremendous frontcourt.

3

Clippers

Marcus fizer

PF, 6'9", 262

Iowa Stale/Jr.

Dependable low-post scorer with superior shooting range, he hit 58.2% of his shots last season.

4

Bulls

Darius Miles

SF, 6'9", 202

East St. Louis (Ill.) High

G.M. Jerry Krause has secretly lusted after Miles, perhaps the most exciting player in the draft.

5

Magic

Chris Mihm

C, 7'0", 265

Texas/Jr.

Some doubt his toughness; will have something to prove after slipping to No. 5.

6

Hawks

Courtney Alexander

SG, 6'6", 205

Fresno State/Sr.

Atlanta needs an athletic scorer after experiment with Isaiah Rider blew up last year.

7

Bulls

Joel Przyhilla

C,7'1", 243

Minnesota/Soph.

With this shot blocker in the fold, all Chicago needs is Tracy McGrady to be back in business.

8

Cavaliers

lakovos Tsakalidis

C, 7'3", 283

AEK ( Greece)

Cleveland will jump at Big Jake, 21, if it's clear by draft day that he's not contractually bound to AEK.

9

Rockets

Olumide Oyedeji

PF, 6'10", 240

DJK Wiirzburg ( Germany)

A 20-year-old rebounding whiz gets a chance to play alongside fellow Nigerian Hakeem Olajuwon.

10

Magic

DerMarr Johnson

SG, 6'9", 200

Cincinnati/Fr.

If it fails to land McGrady, Orlando will need an athletic guard, and Johnson's size is a plus.

11

Celtics

Etan Thomas

PF, 6'10", 260

Syracuse/Sr.

Rick Pitino hopes he has finally landed a big-time interior defender and shot blocker.

12

Mavericks

Jerome Moiso

PF, 7'0", 232

UCLA/Soph.

Don Nelson must light a fire under this occasionally passive Parisian; will give Dallas four foreign players.

13

Magic

Mike Miller

SF, 6'9", 211

Florida/Soph.

With flashy Miller still available, Orlando chooses not to go for a backup point guard.

14

Pistons

Jamal Crawford

PG, 6'5", 175

Michigan/Fr.

Team president Joe Dumars takes a raw Wolverine over Michigan State's Mateen Cleaves.

15

Bucks

Morris Peterson

SF, 6'7", 218

Michigan State/Sr.

Bucks go for a "veteran" collegian with three-point range from reigning NCAA champs.

16

Kings

Quentin Richardson

SG, 6'6", 223

DePaul/Soph.

Another strong offensive option (17.9 ppg in two college seasons) for fast-breaking team.

17

Sonics

Mamadou N'Diaye

C, 7'0", 246

Auburn/Sr.

Durable and explosive, this Senegalese is Auburn's alltime top shot blocker (241).

18

Clippers

Erick Barkley

PG, 6T, 177

St. John's/Soph.

Barkley isreunited with former high school teammate Lamar Odom.

19

Hornets

Chris Carrawell

SG, 6'6",221

Duke/Sr.

Solid team player (16.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.2 apg as senior) helps replace the late Bobby Phills.

20

76ers

Marko Jaric

SG,6'7", 198

Fortitude Bologna

Not a huge surprise: Skilled, smart, 21-year-old Serb played well in Chicago predraft camp.

21

Raptors

Keyon Dooling

PG, 6'3", 184

Missouri/Soph.

Fills a need at point guard while providing decent scoring ability (15.3 ppg in 1999-2000).

22

Knicks

Donnell Harvey

PF, 6'8", 220

Florida/Fr.

Should have stayed in school, but New York bets he will eventually become an inside force.

23

Jazz

Mateen Cleaves

PG, 6'3", 210

Michigan State/Sr.

Too good to be true? Utah lands heady successor to John Stockton, who will retire after this season.

24

Bulls

Speedy Claxton

PG, 5'11", 166

Hofstra/Sr.

His nickname is no joke: If his jumper improves, Chicago will have found its playmaker.

25

Suns

Jason Collier

C, 7'0", 260

Georgia Tech/Sr.

Averaged 14.6 points and 7.2 rebounds after escaping from Bob Knight in 1998.

26

Jazz

HidayetTurkogtu

SF, 6'8", 202

Efes Pilsen ( Turkey)

Fantastic Turkish shooter could be a steal if he decides not to withdraw from the draft.

27

Pacers

Soumaila Samake

C, 7'1", 224

Cincinnati Stuff/IBL

Native of Mali, played in Slovenia for three seasons; led IBL in blocks last year (2.7 per game).

28

Blazers

Brad Millard

C, 7'3", 360

St. Mary's/Sr.

Portland gambles that bad feet will heal enough to fill Arvydas Sabonis's shoes in two years.

29

Lakers

DeShawn Stevenson

SG, 6'5", 210

Washington Union High

Senior from Fresno almost attended Kansas; L.A. happy to school him for next three or four years.

Quantum Leaper
Fast-blooming sophomore Stromile Swift of LSU is sure to rise high in the lottery

Stromile swift had passed all the jumping tests with the greatest of ease. Having exhausted their scientific measures, the Grizzlies, who hold the No. 2 pick in the June 28 draft, asked Swift simply to leap as high as he could. "He touched a good foot above the [backboard] square," a team official says with a chuckle. "He looks like he may be an All-Star."

Swift is regarded by scouts as the best athlete coming out: a 6'10", 220-pound sophomore power forward from LSU who led the SEC in blocks (2.79 per game), was third in the conference in scoring (16.2 points) and ranked fourth nationally in field goal shooting (60.8%). Still, he has yet to hire an agent, retaining the option of coming back to Baton Rouge if he isn't sure to be a top five pick. (Underclassmen who haven't signed with an agent may withdraw from the draft by June 21 without sacrificing their eligibility.) On June 3, a few hours before Swift and his cousin Joe Jones were to fly to a workout for the Nets, LSU assistant Butch Pierre visited Swift's 8 a.m. extra-credit speech class and found him there, taking notes. "He postponed most of his NBA workouts until after that class was done," LSU coach John Brady says. "He went three hours a day, every morning, and missed just one class." That absence occurred on the second day of his workout in New Jersey.

Swift didn't start playing organized basketball in his hometown of Shreveport, La., until the eighth grade, when he was 6'3". "He was shy and really self-conscious about his height," says Fair Park High assistant Ken Prude. "Nobody thought he could play. He heard people say, 'You're too tall to be so sorry' " Prude worked to make him feel less nervous in front of big crowds. "If he did something funny at practice I would laugh," Prude says. "I wanted him to know it's not a problem to be laughing at yourself."

"The character trait in Stromile that is going to make him a very good player is his sense of humility" Brady says. Tattooed on Swift's left shoulder is an image of Jesus holding a basketball, framed by the words A GIFT FROM GOD. "That's what my mom has always told me about my talent," he says.

Swift was so coveted coming out of high school that Brady offered to play one of LSU's home games 200 miles up the road in Shreveport if Swift would sign with the school. Even then, Brady worried that Swift's initial failure to meet the NCAA academic standards would drive him to the NBA. "He must have taken that ACT test a half-dozen times at least," Prude says. But Swift knew that he needed to attend college. "I really wanted to go to Michigan," he says, settling instead on LSU because he could live in Baton Rouge with Jones, an electrician, until he qualified midway through his freshman year.

At LSU, Swift was assigned to guard the lowest-scoring front-court player, which allowed him to roam the paint like a free safety for many of his 130 blocks in just 50 games, a total second only to Shaquille O'Neal's in school history. In the low post Swift will probably need help guarding the burlier NBA power forwards, and Brady doubts that Swift is ready to guard the quicker small forwards on the perimeter. His graceful, explosive athleticism will have to carry him until he gains muscle and experience.

Swift came away from his June 5 workout with Vancouver convinced that it was seriously considering him as its selection. It makes sense: The Grizzlies want to replace power forward Othella Harrington, who's unhappy in Vancouver, and new team president Dick Versace has a four-year rebuilding plan, which means he can afford to be patient "I looked at all the magazines and Stromile wasn't mentioned on any of the all-SEC lists or All-America teams before last season," Brady says. "Then you look at where he ended up—co-MVP of the SEC, second team All-America. As fast as he developed here, he can develop in the NBA. With the right team he can become one of the top 15 to 25 players in two years."

The Draft's Big Sleeper
Return of the Lost Continent

Searching for an anti- Shaq weapon? Scouts, coaches and general managers from at least 20 NBA teams at the predraft camp in Chicago this month hoped they had found one as they looked up (and up) at Brad Millard, a 7'3", 360-pound behemoth from tiny St. Mary's in Moraga, Calif. Millard was nicknamed Big Continent by big-man coach Pete Newell—but that was before Millard suffered a series of foot injuries that limited him to 16 games over the past three seasons. "So then I started calling him Atlantis," says St. Mary's coach Dave Bollwinkel, "because for the last three years he's been the lost continent"

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