updated: June 27, 2005
There are so many talented players available in the NBA draft, which is slated for June 28
one week away, baby! When I rate the prospects, this isn't an indication of where I feel they will be picked, but my assessment of their ability based on conversations with people I respect. I also factor in my observation of many of these players.
With the No. 1 pick, will the Bucks go for 7-footer Andrew Bogut or Mr. Potential, Marvin Williams? The Bucks should want Bogut because he can contribute right away. He'll provide solid play in the post and he passes the rock, too. Williams has explosiveness, that great first step, but he's a kid who is still learning. In three or four years, though, he could be something special.
Everyone is optimistic on draft day. I remember when I was coaching the Pistons in the late 1970s, and we drafted Greg Kelser, Roy Hamilton and Phil Hubbard. We drafted for experience, and I ended up on the sidelines in television, baby!
Here is a look at my Dazzling Dozen players for the 2005 draft:
NBA DRAFT DAZZLING DOZEN
1. Andrew Bogut
2. Marvin Williams
3. Chris Paul
4. Raymond Felton
5. Deron Williams
6. Gerald Green
7. Channing Frye
8. Fran Vazquez
9. Antoine Wright
10. Ike Diogu
11. Joey Graham
12. Sean May
One guy who won't go as high as I have him is Felton. What a mistake that will be, as he will be a deluxe point guard in the NBA. Felton's improvement in shooting the rock, and his baseline-to-baseline explosiveness with the ball in his hand, is perfect for the NBA transition game.
His confidence as a winner is way up since he led the Tar Heels to the national championship. I guarantee some people will make a mistake letting him slide down.
I get a kick out of all of these ratings and evaluations. Private workouts are held, but some players simply have skills that are different than in a game situation when it's five-on-five. I'd want guys who have proven it on the court in college at a high level.
Antoine Wright will be like Dwyane Wade, a multidimensional performer. Wright will be magical; he has confidence, explosiveness, range and versatility. Wright will be an instant help wherever he lands. He will be a very special player.
Some people will be smiling, others will be surprised. The big question is what happens a year from now. The top three picks from last year's draft lived up to their billing. I remember last year when some people questioned Ben Gordon at No. 3, saying he couldn't handle the rock. You can look it up and see what I said, that Gordon would be successful at the pro level. He can make big shots, and he had quite a rookie year in Chicago, winning the NBA's Sixth Man Award.
Draft day is always special. It will be interesting to see some of the decisions that are made, baby!
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.