With so many questions still waiting for answers and two teams — Utah and Boston — trying desperately not to keep their three first-round picks, we offer a mock draft fully aware that events in the next day or so could make a mockery of this forecast.
Dwight Howard, 6-10, F, SW Atlanta Christian Academy
Emeka Okafor is a safer pick, but Howard has loads of potential and figures to develop a better-rounded game. He likes to pattern himself after MVP Kevin Garnett.
Emeka Okafor, 6-10, C, UConn
GM and head coach Bernie Bickerstaff is hoping the Magic pass on Okafor, allowing him to make this shot-blocking machine the centerpiece of the expansion Bobcats.
Ben Gordon, 6-2, G, UConn
Bold move picking a point guard for the third year in a row, but Gordon wowed the Bulls at workouts, plus they always can pair him in the backcourt with Kirk Hinrich.
4. L.A. CLIPPERS
Devin Harris, 6-3, G, Wisconsin
Many still expect the Clippers to take Shaun Livingston, who has more potential, but Harris is ready to help them now.
Luol Deng, 6-8, F, Duke
Powerful body and the ability to play inside and out override any concerns about his underwhelming athleticism.
Shaun Livingston, 6-7, G, Peoria Central High
True point guards are hard to find, and those who see the whole floor from atop a 6-7 frame are almost nonexistent.
Andre Iguodala, 6-7, G-F, Arizona
His breathtaking athleticism and overall game remind some of Scottie Pippen.
Pavel Podkolzine, 7-5, C, Varese (Italy)
Huge Russian with nimble feet could give Chris Bosh a hand up front. The problem is Podkolzine looks great in workouts but not so much in games.
Josh Childress, 6-7, F, Stanford
His versatility and ability to create appeal to the offense-deprived 76ers, who can't believe he fell in their laps.
Luke Jackson, 6-7, F, Oregon
Cavs seeking a shooter who can make defenses pay for sagging off LeBron James, and fast-rising Jackson fits the bill.
11. GOLDEN STATE
Andris Biedrins, 6-11, F, BK Skonto Riga (Latvia)
A big man with a knack for playing defense is a perfect fit for Golden State.
Kirk Snyder, 6-6, G, Nevada
His shot is inconsistent, but the WAC Player of the Year is bursting with talent.
Josh Smith, 6-8, F, Oak Hill Academy
Questionable attitude drops his stock, but some swear he's the best athlete in the draft. Blazers are willing to find out.
Sergei Monya, 6-7, G-F, CSKA Moscow (Russia)
Strong and experienced, Monya is a solid defender ready to contribute right away. Former teammate of the Jazz's Andrei Kirilenko.
Rafael Araujo, 6-11, C, BYU
With Mark Blount on his way out, the Celtics need a big body. At 280 pounds, Araujo is that, and more ready to play than a high school kid.
Robert Swift, 7-1, C, Bakersfield High
Jerry Sloan has lived for years with Greg Ostertag at center, so breaking in another big lug with raw skills won't be anything new.
Al Jefferson, 6-10, F, Prentiss High (Miss.)
After filling a need earlier in the draft, Hawks go for sheer potential in a high schooler with a man's body.
18. NEW ORLEANS
Peter John Ramos, 7-3, C, Caguas (Puerto Rico)
The Hornets are set at center with Jamaal Magloire, so they can be patient while this 19-year-old project develops.
Jameer Nelson, 6-0, G, St. Joseph's
Heat desperate for help at point guard, and Nelson can find shots for his mates and himself. It doesn't hurt that he's built like former Miami PG Tim Hardaway.
Anderson Varejao, 6-10, F, F.C. Barcelona (Spain)
High- energy Brazilian creates havoc on the court despite limited offensive skills. Nuggets wouldn't mind pairing him with their other Brazilian frontcourt player, Nene.
Kris Humphries, 6-10, F, Minnesota
Big numbers in his one college season and impressive workouts might land him closer to the lottery. If not, the Jazz happily will snatch him.
22. NEW JERSEY
J.R. Smith, 6-6, G, St. Benedict's Prep (Newark)
Nets mine for a smooth-shooting gem right in their backyard.
Sebastian Telfair, 5-11, G, Lincoln High (Brooklyn)
Damon Stoudamire will be a free agent after next season, and coach Maurice Cheeks likes Telfair as his eventual successor.
Viktor Khryapa, 6-9, F, CSKA Moscow (Russia)
Fine shooter who might stay back home for extra seasoning, keeping the Celtics from saddling new coach Doc Rivers with three rookies.
David Harrison, 7-0, C, Colorado
Celtics would rather package their extra picks in a trade. If they can't, adding a big man makes sense.
Kevin Martin, 6-7, G, Western Carolina
Averaged better than 22 points a game each of his three seasons with the Catamounts.
27. L.A. LAKERS
Dorell Wright, 6-7, F, South Kent Prep (Conn.)
L.A. native has showed in workouts he can shoot and handle the ball.
28. SAN ANTONIO
Beno Udrih, 6-4, G, Breil Milano (Italy)
Nomadic Slovenian is a combo guard who opened some eyes at Chicago camp.
Sasha Vujacic, 6-7, G, Snaidero Udine (Italy)
A terrific shooter and ballhandler, can play point and has improved his strength.
Note: Minnesota forfeited its 2004 first-round pick, No. 29, as part of the Joe Smith penalty.