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The RealGM Mock Draft Version 4.0
Authored by J.T. Magee - 16th June, 2005 - 1:38 pm

Deron Williams, one of the top point guards in this year’s draft, has “received” a promise that he will get taken by the New Orleans Hornets with the 4th pick. While this is a big possibility, the promise might not be true for many reasons. First off, if Portland were to trade down with another team, therefore picking for them, then Gerald Green may be available. If so, the Hornets may just stand pat with Speedy Claxton and a (probably) re-signed Dan Dickau. Green would end up playing small forward alongside J.R. Smith. Second off, if Portland does take Green, then New Orleans could have any choice of the crop of point guards. Chris Paul is rated the #1 point guard by quite a few web sites.
Raymond Felton could be had, as well. On June 3rd, WIlliams, along with Felton, Jon Gilchrist of Maryland, Antonio Hudson of LSU and Toney Douglas of Auburn, all point guards, worked out in front of the Hornets’ brass. Head Coach Byron Scott said that Felton was the most impressive. He “understands how to play, he’s very quick..... Out of the four, I think he was the most impressive," said Scott following the workout. That quote could be a smokescreen, like almost everything that comes out, but I just don’t believe that after saying that, Williams would be given a “promise.” Stranger things have happened, though.

Along the lines of a “promise,” it has been reported that high school prospect Martell Webster has skipped out on workout, or workouts, and not given the team, or teams, a reason. It was mentioned in the same paragraph that Webster is showing irresponsibility by doing this. Since a colleague of mine actually met Webster in person and said, in printing, that Webster was mature beyond his years, I am going with him.
After compiling all this information in my own little head, this is my own belief and this is coming from no “source” inside the NBA, that Webster, too, has a promise. Who does he has a “promise” with? None other than... well, you can conspire amongst yourselves on this one.

Speaking of high school shooting guards, Portland GM John Nash has become a bit peeved that Gerald Green has requested a private-workout only. Apparently, Nash wants to see Green go toe-to-toe with his fellow draftees and see where he holds up, whether he’s worth taking with the number 3 pick. Said Nash, in an interview with Jason Quick of the The Oregonian, “I'm frustrated today because it seems like a number of players at the top are unwilling to showcase themselves, saying they don't want to work out one-on-one or two-on-two," Nash said. "But that makes it hard for me, because if they don't want to compete for the third pick in the draft, then it's hard for me to envision them competing 82 times a season." All I can say is this: good for you, Nash. If Green wants to be the #3 pick to the Blazers, he should earn it by playing against others rather than just showing all of his positive traits. If the Blazers really did want Green, what they could do is grant him the “private” workout, then bring some of their players, like Ruben Patterson and Travis Outlaw, to the workout and see if he balks out of the workout of steps up and tries to compete against them. It would be a very shrewd maneuver, but it would give them the complete knowledge as far as whether Green is worth it.

For the other three promises, all reported by DraftExpress.com, each are as follows: Ersan Illyasova, considered one of the best Turkish prospects, to the Denver Nuggets at #20. Yaroslav Korolev, the highly touted Russian teen, at #12 to the L.A. Clippers. And the last one, which very, very surprising, is Hakim Warrick to the... #9 spot, Golden State. While I do not know the validity of these “promises,” I can only say that the Nuggets is the most possible. GM Kiki Vanderweighe has stated before that they’d like to keep a player from overseas overseas to let him develop while the Nuggets stay in the playoff hunt. It would benefit both parties.

Denver would not be using a roster spot for a player still in the developmental stage. Illyasova would get plenty of playing time in Europe while he develops into a player that can contribute alongside Carmelo Anthony. The last time they kept a Euro that needed development (playing time) was for another highly touted Georgian, power forward Nikiloz Tskitishvilli.

I really don’t believe the Warriors’ promise because a player that can play and is more well-rounded can be had, depending on how the draft goes. I’m talking about Joey Graham. In this mock, he doesn’t fall to the Warriors because of the Knicks wanting a player that can play with Trevor Ariza, Jamal Crawford and Stephon Marbury. He could be drafted in the real draft. Warrick can play either forward position, like Graham and is just as athletic as him. He could fit into their fast-break mode at anytime, but I’m not sure if his shot is good enough to get those open midrange kick outs from Baron Davis. It’s a possibility, though, but it’s unlikely. The main thing I think of when I heard this rumor was one word that is associated with drafts: smokescreen. I really can’t see Warrick getting drafted by Golden State, even if there is reasoning for the pick.

Korolev’s is unbelievable because he may have all the tools to play small forward like the other Americans in the draft, but almost everyone, including myself, have not seen him play against strong competition. He has played against high school-aged kids, but most of those kids aren’t as good as some of the high school players that are seen in America. Another reason it’s fairly unbelievable is because of the team he’s rumored to go to: the Clippers. They are known to penny pinch, and since there isn’t a buy-out clause in Korolev’s contract, it would make things a lot worse if CSKA Moscow asks for a lot of money for Korolev.

Also, the Clippers are very high on soon-to-be free agent Bobby Simmons. Simmons was the Most Improved Player last season. While some may argue that it was his contract year, I only say this: he was due, no matter when his contract expired. He never got enough playing time in Washington under Doug Collins and Michael Jordan, so he never got a chance to prove himself. In L.A., he was playing behind Corey Maggette and Kerry Kittles. When Kittles went down an injured back, Simmons got a starting spot and never lost it, becoming a valuable asset to the Clippers and to many fantasy basketball owners. Drafting Korolev while the Clippers are getting closer to contending in the West would only become a regression, something I’m sure that Elton Brand would rather not deal with.

The two pullouts are Tiago Splitter and Rudy Fernandez. I am very surprised by the pullouts because I felt that both were surefire first round draft picks. Unfortunately, both of their buyout’s exceed a livable amount. Fernandez’s is rumored to be around 1.5 to 1.7 million. Teams are only able to give the club that owns the team $350,000, with the player paying the difference. If Fernandez were to get drafted by the Suns, like he was in Version 3.0, he would be only be making -$265,000 to -$285,000, and that’s if he were to give every single dollar to DKV Joventut. Even after all of the payments in the first year, he’d still owe them over $1 million. If the buyout is that bad, then he’s better off pulling out, getting stronger and getting a portion of that buyout cut down by playing in Spain for one more year.

I can’t really comment on Splitter’s situation because I don’t know his buyout. He would be a lottery pick, but either the buyout is as bad as Fernandez’s or he isn’t satisfied with not being a Top 5 pick. If he were to pull out, he would immediately become one of the top players for the 2006 NBA Draft, if not the #1 player. If he were to go back overseas, expect him to come back with an even better offensive game to go along with his low-post lock down D.

As far as the rumors go, the biggest one so far but has been fairly quiet is between Utah and Phoenix. The Suns would send Shawn Marion, Quentin Richardson and the #21 pick to Utah for Andrei Kirilenko, Matt Harpring, Jarron Collins and the #6 pick. There are some very good things about this trade and some very bad ones. As far as a good thing goes, for Phoenix, they would get a player that can step in and make up for the lost rebounds and points Marion gave them:
AK-47. He can score without getting a play ran for him, he can run and he hustles on defense as well as on the offensive glass. He was one of two players two seasons ago, including Denver Nuggets center Marcus Camby, that put up at least five in the five major statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Kirilenko did it twice in a span of
5 games. Also, Collins would give Stoudemire time at his natural position, power forward, and Harpring would add depth to the swingman positions. Phoenix would also get a little more room under the cap to re-sign Joe Johnson. Utah would get a desperately needed shooting guard that was underutilized last season in Richardson. Phoenix would then add depth to their lineup with whoever falls to them. Utah, already missing out on the point guards, draft best available bigman and best available player. In this case, though, there are more negatives than positives.

For one, this draft is too deep in point guards for Utah to trade down and not acquire future picks. As much as they need a shooting guard, they need a point guard more. Plus Jazz owner Larry Miller has said that Kirilenko is untouchable. What’s the point of saying that if you trade him moments later. Utah is better served building around Kirilenko and drafting a point guard. As far as the Suns are concerned, why try and fix a toy if it ain’t broken? They shouldn’t have a much worse season then they did last year. All they need to do is add a serviceable center, like Dan Gadzuric, and re-sign Joe Johnson. They add depth to their bench and everyone stays happy while they continue their winning ways next season.

Unfortunately, I was not able to make it to the Pre-Draft Camp, so I can’t say who impressed and who didn't. Judging from different scouting reports and stats, the two players that stand out the most are power forward David Lee of Florida and shooting guard Luther Head of Illinois. As I said before, I was glad that Lee, who I considered a first round pick before the camp, proved to everyone in attendance that he was indeed worth a first round pick. He showed that he is aggressive and tenacious on both offense and defense. He ran the floor, handled the ball better than expected (he is ambidextrous) and was able to rebound will the big guys at the camp.

Head showed the camp that he’s worth being drafted because he’s more versatile than the player that wore his jersey at Illinois. He played great defense against both the point guards and the shooting guards.
He also showed off why he was so good at Illinois: his shot. Although he didn’t shoot as much as he did as an Illini, he made his shots and used a good shot selection. He may be drafted in the first round, but he showed that he is worth a high 2nd round pick.
Depending on the team’s needs, he may be able to slip into the bottom of the first round to a team like San Antonio or Miami.