Experts rank draft-eligible prospects

Updated: June 4, 2004, 6:05 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
  • Chad Ford's mock draft: Standard version | Slideshow version

    TREVISO, Italy -- At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, a slow trickle of bleary-eyed NBA executives, coaches and scouts began crowding into a conference room at the Hotel Maggior Consiglio.

    The Reebok Big Man camp was over, and another 60 or so international prospects would be arriving Thursday for the second part of Reebok's Eurocamp.

    With the stellar play of Pavel Podkolzine and Martynas Andriuskevicius at the Big Man Camp, many of the previously held assumptions about this year's draft were turned on their head. At dinner Tuesday night, a sizable group of NBA personnel was locked into deep discussions about the lottery that stretched until 3 a.m.

    Hours later, a number of them gathered to rank the top 59 prospects, a number chosen because that's how many players will be drafted later this month. Though the 16 NBA front office personnel and international scouts asked not to be identified, Insider was granted access. Team officials didn't want to tip their employers' hands by being identified, but suffice it to say many of the names would be recognizable to NBA fans.

    In some respects the exercise could be considered a mock draft, as the best players were "selected" first. But the choices were made without concern for specifics such as position or team need.

    Everyone was given a list of the top available players, broken down by position, and was required to vote on each "pick." The player with the most votes was "drafted" and taken off the board. In the event of a tie, there was a re-vote. For the purpose of this exercise, the group assumed everyone on the list would remain draft-eligible.

    The mood in the room was jovial, but there was little commentary. Instead of a debate, it was more like a high-stakes poker game. Here's what they came up with:

    Chad Ford

    Senior Writer, NBA Insider
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