Draft follows script, then rewrites itself

Bogut, M. Williams taken 1-2

Villanueva goes 7th

Lakers grab Bynum 10th

Pro Basketball

June 29, 2005|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

There were few surprises among the first six picks in the 2005 NBA draft.

There were few sure things after that.

After Utah center Andrew Bogut was chosen by the Milwaukee Bucks to become the first Australian player ever taken No. 1 overall and North Carolina forward Marvin Williams was the first of four Tar Heels chosen in the first round, after three point guards were among the first five selections, the draft began to look like a blind draw.

How else do you explain Charlie Villanueva, an inconsistent player during his two seasons at Connecticut and one who seemed destined to the middle to bottom of the first round - at best - in many mock drafts, being taken by the Toronto Raptors with the No. 7 pick?

How else do you explain the Los Angeles Lakers, one week after rehiring former coach Phil Jackson in hopes of returning to the playoffs next season, picking 7-foot, 285-pound high school star Andrew Bynum, at No. 10? What are they going to call Bynum, The Big Baby?

How else do you explain unproven Europeans Fran Vazquez of Spain and Yaroslav Korolev of Russia going 11th and 12th , respectively, to the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers, while solid college players such as Oklahoma State's Joey Graham fell to the Raptors at 16th and Syracuse's Hakim Warrick to the Memphis Grizzlies at No. 19 .

"It's the story of my life - being overlooked." said Warrick, the last player to be chosen among those invited to Madison Square Garden for the national telecast.

One pick later, former North Carolina State star Julius Hodge came out of the bleacher seats, where he was sitting with his friends and family from New York, to be welcomed onto the stage by NBA commissioner David Stern as the No. 1 choice of the Denver Nuggets, who also took former Georgia Tech guard Jarrett Jack with the No. 22 selection.

It was a big night for point guards, for North Carolina and for the ACC.

Former Illinois star Deron Williams went to the Utah Jazz with the No. 3 overall pick after the Jazz traded up by giving its sixth and 27th picks to the Portland Trail Blazers. In quick succession, Wake Forest's Chris Paul went fourth to New Orleans and North Carolina's Raymond Felton fifth to Charlotte.

Felton was later joined by former Tar Heels teammate Sean May, who went to the Bobcats at No. 13 . Rashad McCants became the fourth North Carolina player taken in the first round - the most ever drafted in the first round off the same team in the same year - at No. 14 to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

May talked about how Felton predicted that the Bobcats might them both.

"Ray told me yesterday that there was a chance that might happen. Me being the person I am, never thought that my luck would be that good. Given the opportunity to play with Ray again, it's going to make my life a lot easier." said May. In all, seven ACC players were taken in the opening round.

In the last year that players right out of high school can be eligible for the draft, three were taken in the first round. Aside from Bynum, Martell Webster was picked sixth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers and Gerald Green was taken 18th by the Boston Celtics.

"We think we took an outstanding young man." Portland general manager John Nash said of Webster, a 6-7 guard from Seattle. "He's of terrific character, someone we think the community of Portland will be very proud of, in addition to him being a wonderful player."

Green, a 6-6 guard from Houston, figured to go in the top 10 but fell to the Celtics.

"We were shocked to be honest that he was at 18." said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "It was a no- brainer when we saw him there."

The same could be said for the Lakers' pick of Bynum. Despite Jackson's impatience with young players, and his insistence that the Lakers can be a playoff team next season, this pick was certainly done with the future in mind. The distant future, at that.

"It's very unusual that you can get a center in the draft, there aren't that many." Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said of Bynum, who becomes the youngest player ever drafted, 12 days younger than Jermaine O'Neal was when he was picked by Portland. "With his skill level, his athleticism, we thought at the 10th pick, it was our best chance to get a center for the future."

"Wow, man, I get to play with Kobe Bryant and get coached by Phil Jackson!" said Bynum. "I'm looking forward to palm trees and Jack Nicholson."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

NBA draft

First round

1. Milwaukee, Andrew Bogut, C, Utah. 2. Atlanta, Marvin Williams, F, North Carolina. 3. Utah (from Portland), Deron Williams, G, Illinois. 4. New Orleans, Chris Paul, G, Wake Forest. 5. Charlotte, Raymond Felton, G, North Carolina.

6. Portland (from Utah), Martell Webster, G, Seattle Prep. 7. Toronto, Charlie Villanueva, C, Connecticut. 8. New York, Channing Frye, F, Arizona. 9. Golden State, Ike Diogu, F, Arizona State. 10. L.A. Lakers, Andrew Bynum, C/F, St. Joseph's HS, Metuchen, N.J.

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