Remaining First Round Predictions (#14–29)
14. Houston Rockets
Rashard Lewis, F, 6'10 (Elsik H.S.)
Just like Doleac was, Lewis is a lock at this position. Most teams wouldn't gamble this early on him, but he is a hometown boy with a bright future. This is the first of three draft picks for Houston who must face the task of rebuilding. Now that Willis, Clyde Drexler and possibly Charles Barkley are gone, the Rockets need size, talent and youth. Lewis is the answer.
15. Orlando Magic
Jason Williams, G, 6'1 (Florida)
With a position change for Penny to shooting guard and the aging Derek Harper running the point, the Magic won't have to even look outside of their state to find the next Magic floor leader. Williams, despite his suspension at Florida, will be a solid addition.
16. Houston Rockets
Michael Dickerson, G, 6'5 (Arizona)
The quiet talent on a super-powered Arizona team, Dickerson averaged 18 points a game in his final two seasons. He will be a suitable replacement for Drexler and will add the athleticism that the Rockets are searching for. It is also pretty difficult to find a player with as much poise and "big-game" experience that Dickerson has.
17. Minnesota T'wolves
Radisav Nesterovic, C, 7'1 (Slovenia)
The Timberwolves need to draft a big man – Nesterovic and Vladimir Stepania have been mentioned as possible foreigners – the only problem is that they are both question marks and long term projects. Minnesota needs someone who can step into the game and make a physical impact. Shooting guard is another possibility for the Wolves to look into although getting a center is a primary need. Because of this, they will bite the bullet and take Nesterovic and hope that he learns quickly.
18. Houston Rockets
Tyronn Lue, G, 6'0 (Nebraska)
With three picks they can take a risk on a possible point guard who has quickness. Lue was not a primetime player at Nebraska, but like Terrell Brandon, he gets the job done. Current point guard Matt Maloney was a sleeper pick a few years ago, but he might test the free agent waters during the off season. Worse comes to worse, Lue would be a solid bench player and the Rockets can use that.
19. Milwaukee Bucks
Al Harrington, F, 6'8 (St. Patrick's H.S.)
Chosen as the high school player of the year, Harrington will bring a very versatile game to the Bucks. Currently their line-up will consist of Brandon, Allen, Glenn Robinson and Johnson (with Doleac off the bench) and the only hole is at small forward. Harrington could be a solid addition and it is about time that they take a risk with a high school project because they missed out with Stephon Marbury.
20. Atlanta Hawks
Matt Harpring, F, 6'7 (Georgia Tech)
The Hawks don't have many holes in their starting line-up so they can look towards improving their bench. Harpring is one of the smartest players to ever come out of the ACC. His desire and three-point shooting are a present for any NBA team, but his hometown Hawks will grab him as soon as they are given the chance.
21. Charlotte Hornets
Pat Garrity, F, 6'9 (Notre Dame)
Garrity slips a little because scouts are unsure of his ability to play down low in an NBA game, but he will give the Hornets some offense (sixth in the nation in scoring) and much needed leadership. He has always been a solid student of the game, but is not quick enough to guard small forwards and not strong enough to play at the power position. This leaves a lot of holes to where he might end up, but Charlotte recognizes his talent and at #21 that is enough.
22. L.A. Clippers
Jelani McCoy, F, 6'10 (UCLA)
McCoy is a hometown boy with a lot of talent. Hopefully Bibby will keep him from being just another disappearing Clipper draft pick, but that is most likely what will happen. Bibby was a great pick, but maybe this is where the Clippers will mess up.
23. Denver Nuggets
Corey Benjamin, G, 6'5 (Oregon State)
Someway, somehow, the Nuggets are hoping that they have Michael Olowokandi by this point. Regardless, Benjamin is explosive enough to make a mark on any NBA roster. Denver got their center and now they need points and who better to turn to? Benjamin was a top high school prospect two years ago and vowed that the NBA would be in his near future. If he stayed one more year, he might be in the lottery, but that is just another bonus for the Nuggets.
24. San Antonio Spurs
Bryce Drew, G, 6'3 (Valparaiso)
Larry Bird would have loved to get this Hoosier sharp shooter, but the Spurs have started to retool their backcourt for the Tim Duncan era. Avery Johnson is not as quick as he used to be and Vinny Del Negro is on his way out of town. Although Drew might not be the answer, he will find himself coming off the bench, a la Steve Nash of the Suns, and firing some long-range bombs.
25. Indiana Pacers
Ruben Patterson, F, 6'6 (Cincinnati)
The Pacers have solid starters at every position and respectable subs backing them up. Patterson will change the tempo of a game and also force his defender to stay close to him. He is a slasher who will close the lane and dish for Miller's three-pointers. He also has the ability to finish. With Travis Best, Antonio Davis, Jalen Rose and Patterson on the floor at any given time, the Pacers will have squad that Pitino would be very proud of.
26. Los Angeles Lakers
Roshown McLeod, F, 6'8 (Duke)
Lakers GM Jerry West has a gift for finding talent when the odds are against him and McLeod is as good as it gets at the end of the first round. There aren't too many holes in the Laker's roster, but they can always use a blossoming forward with a three-point shot. Word around L.A. is that Nick Van Exel is all but gone and the Lakers might go for a point guard to challenge Derek Fisher. At this point, none worth mentioning are available, but West found Van Exel in the second round, so who knows?
27. Seattle Supersonics
Casey Shaw, C, 6'11 (Toledo)
No team will win a NBA championship with Jim McIlvaine as its starting center. Shaw won't make a difference either, but at least they can split the fouls on Karl Malone when the Sonics make the conference finals next spring. Payton, Baker, Schrempf and company could use another veteran to win the title, but drafting Shaw will at least ensure size against the dominant Western Conference centers.
28. Chicago Bulls
Brian Skinner, F, 6'10 (Baylor)
They got rid of Jason Caffey and now they are regretting it. The only problem with drafting so low is that Jordan, Pippen and Rodman might not return and the Bulls won't get anything in return. In other words, they need players. Skinner might not be the player for them if all goes downhill with the re-signings. They won't find anyone to build a team around with this pick so they might as well get a role player.
29. Utah Jazz
Sam Jacobson, G, 6'6 (Minnesota)
What if Jordan does come back? The Jazz are simply drafting someone who can match-up with his athleticism because Jordan seems to be the reason why Utah can't win a championship. Also, Jeff Hornacek was hurting in the NBA Finals and Jacobson is the type of role player that would fit neatly into the shooting guard role. He and John Stockton would look like they had been playing together for years.
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