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BURLISON: Top power forwards in NBA Draft

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Frank Burlison

 
   
 
What is the deepest position in the 2003 NBA Draft? Well, it doesn't take long to figure that out once you peruse the list of names down below. There should be five — and possibly six, if keeps wowing folks in workouts — power forwards chosen among the first 13 selections Thursday night in New York City. As many as five others (counting Cook) are probably feeling pretty comfortable about likely first-round destinations, too. In some mock scenarios, power forwards occupy the Nos. 2 (Darko Milicic to ), 4 (Chris Bosh to Toronto) and 5 (Maciej Lampe) slots in the lottery. Here's a look at the best at the position. Heights and weights, without shoes, were taken in Chicago during the Pre-Draft Camp. If a player's figures are marked with an asterisk, the height and weight are what were listed in the NBA's 2003 Draft Guide: 1. Darko Milicic (Hemofarm Vrasac/Serbia & Montenegro), 6-11 1/2, 255
Comment: The near unanimous consensus of the NBA personnel evaluators who've take long and focused looks at him in game action is that it's a case of "not if, but when" it comes to his landing on an NBA All-Star team. If LeBron James were still a high school junior, there wouldn't be much debate over this guy going No. 1 (sorry, Carmelo fans). CAVEAT: We haven't had the great fortune of watching him play in person. 2. (Georgia Tech), 6-10 ¼, 225
Comment: He's possessing of the most intriguing upside of all the Americans in the draft pool (OK; we'll concede LeBron still has a little of the "U" word in his tank). Once he puts on another 25 or so pounds of muscle, he should eventually evolve into a 20/10 guy who blocks a shot or two in the process. 3. (Kansas), 6-8 ¾, 255
Comment: The soundest and most polished of all of the front-court players in the draft. And No. 2 (Brian Cook) trails considerably. He'll end his 12-year NBA career with averages of at least 15 points and nine rebounds per game. 4. Michael Sweetney (Georgetown), 6-7 1/4, 262
Comment: He's definitely a load down low (sorry; couldn't resist!) offensively and has an underrated shooting touch to 15-17 feet. He'll need to take advantage of it more for his next team than he did in the Big East. 5. Maciej Lampe (Universidad Complutense/Spain), *6-11, 240
Comment: He's supposed to be a tremendous jump shooter that is definitely much more at ease on the perimeter than he is with his backside down in the low post. CAVEAT: I've not been able to marvel at his jump shot in person. 6. (Illinois) *6-9 1/2, 234
Comment: His stock is purring along quite nicely. If the draft were another couple of weeks away, he might climb all the way into the top 10. So much for all of the "too soft" naysayers. 7. (Xavier) 6-8 ¼, 226
Comment: If he somehow ends up in the second round, could there be any greater example of how little college accomplishments mean to the NBA crowd? But he's too good not to go in the first round, right? C'mon, he can't slip into the second round, can he? Huh? 8. (Mississippi State) *6-9, 260
Comment: There hasn't been much of a buzz about him lately until his name started cropping up as a possible ' pick at No. 24. That could be his best shot at a first-round slot. 9. Sofoklis Schortsianitis (Iraklis/Greece), *6-9, 255
Comment: Some who have seen him work out (and worked out with him), say the weight is probably much closer to 300 than 250. He's probably set for a first-round pick or else his agent would have pulled the 18-year-old (as of June 22) out of the draft pool. CAVEAT: Still waiting to see him play. 10. Travis Outlaw (Starkville, Miss., HS), *6-8, 200
Comment: Speculation is that he's got a first-round "guarantee" from (at No. 27). Other speculation that he's been guaranteed by Portland at 23 is unfounded but that doesn't mean the Trail Blazers won't give him strong consideration, either. There might not be three better runner/jumpers in this draft than this guy. 11. Jerome Beasley (North Dakota) 6-9, 237
Comment: May have parlayed strong performances in Portsmouth and Chicago into a very early second-round spot. Had he not moved from Compton to Moreno Valley (Southern ) when he was 14, he would have been a teammate of and at Dominguez High. 12. (Minnesota) *6-11, 215
Comment: Oh, my goodness. Why did this guy skip his final two seasons with the Golden Gophers? Unless someone knows something that I haven't heard, he could have a long night in front of his television Thursday. He could be this season's Marcus Taylor. NEXT BEST SHOTS AT BEING DRAFTED: (Florida) 6-8 ½, 242; (Kentucky) 6-9 ¾, 211; (Butler) 6-8 ¼, 239; (Kentucky) 6-8 ½, 257; (Florida State) 6-9 ½, 246; (Ohio) 6-6 ½, 266; (Marquette) 6-7 ¾, 254; (Memphis) 6-6 ½, 258; Jeffrey Newton (Indiana) 6-8, 199; (Wyoming) 6-7 ¾, 246; (Penn) 6-7 ¼, 228; Wayne Wallace (Virginia Union) 6-7 ¼, 187. THE POSITION'S:
  • LOTTERY PICKS: Milicic, Bosh, Collison, Sweetney and Lampe.
  • BEST REBOUNDER: Collison.
  • BEST PASSER: Cook.
  • BEST LOW-POST FOOTWORK: Collison.
  • BEST DEFENDER: Collison.
  • BEST SHOOTER: Lampe.
  • BEST ATHLETE: Outlaw.
  • BIGGEST SLEEPER: Beasley.
  • BEST BETS TO START ALMOST IMMEDIATELY: Bosh and Collison. Senior writer is covering the NBA Draft for FOXSports.com and can be reached at his e-mail address: fburlison@foxsports.com.
  • Tagged: Bulls, Pistons, Tyson Chandler, Marquette, Memphis, Southern California, Indiana, Illinois, Florida State, Kentucky, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Butler, Portland, Wyoming, Tayshaun Prince

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