In his 2004 NBA Draft preamble, Marty Blake, the NBA’s Director of Scouting, called this draft one of the most difficult to decipher in years. When it was all said and done, here’s what Blake had to say about the first round and beyond.

1. Orlando – Dwight Howard (SW Atlanta Christian Acad.)
It wasn’t a big surprise. They took Dwight Howard, a young man who will be the cornerstone of their rebuilding. It was a good pick. They also made a trade for Jameer Nelson, who can certainly help them. He slipped a little, but Nelson's a great basketball player. Then, with the first pick in the second round, they grab Anderson Varaejo of F.C Barcelona, one of the top teams in Europe. He’s a mature player who can fill the power forward position. In the end, Orlando got three players who will help. They did well.
2. Charlotte – Emeka Okafor (Connecticut)
I think the Bobcats did well. They got the player they wanted in Okafor. They added some talent through the expansion draft. They’ll sign some veteran players with their cap room. In the second round, they took Bernard Robinson, a small forward from Michigan who can play two positions. Very athletic.
3. Chicago – Ben Gordon (Connecticut)
There was some indication that Chicago was going to go for Shaun Livingston or Luol Deng. They took Gordon, who’s an explosive scorer, then, in turn, they get Luol Deng in a trade with Phoenix, so now they have Deng, who they were considering at three. They wound up with two very good players, and they also took Deng’s teammate Chris Duhon, who could probably be a backup guard.
4. L.A. Clippers – Shaun Livingston (Peoria H.S.)
The Clippers moved down two spots and were confident that Livingston would be there. He has a chance to play right away. He’s a kid with enormous potential. They also picked up another guard, Lionel Chalmers of Xavier, who had a great last month of his seasons.
5. Washington – Devin Harris (Wisconsin)
The Wizards took Devin Harris and traded him to Dallas, and Washington got Antawn Jamison, who’s going to fill a need, and they also got rid of two big contracts with Jerry Stackhouse and Christian Laettner. Later on, Dallas made another deal with Utah to pick up Pavel Podkolzine. Washington grabbed Peter John Ramos in the second round. We felt like he could possibly go in the first round. I guess he has a contract issue in Puerto Rico. He’s played very well over the last month. If they can get him in, he’s a guy that could possibly be a good backup.
6. Atlanta – Josh Childress (Stanford)
A very active player. I always felt he was more of a small forward. He claims he’s a two. They wanted to go young and athletic. I think he has the chance to be a star.
7. Phoenix – Luol Deng (Duke)
This pick went to Chicago. Phoenix apparently wasn’t in love with the players available at this spot and chose to retain flexibility with their salary cap.
8. Toronto – Rafael Araujo (Brigham Young)
He was our number one rated center and we felt that if somebody needed a center that could play right away, they’d take him pretty early.
9. Philadelphia – Andre Iguodala (Arizona)
Philly wound up with a very good, athletic player. It was somewhat of a surprise when he declared, but here is a guy that had three triple-doubles this year. He can play multiple positions and brings a ton of athleticism.
10. Cleveland – Luke Jackson (Oregon)
Cleveland took Luke Jackson, who we had highly rated. I would have been very happy to get Luke Jackson. Paul Silas will like this kid a lot.
11. Golden State – Andris Biedrins (Latvia)
The team felt it might have trouble re-signing Erick Dampier, so they take Biedrins, who everybody feels can play inside. He’s one of the few Europeans who really wants to play the post.
12. Seattle – Robert Swift (Bakersfield H.S.)
Somewhat of a surprise because Swift didn’t want to work out for anybody. He was the guy a lot of teams had interest in. Seattle pulled the trigger.
13. Portland – Sebastian Telfair (Lincoln H.S.)
Portland surprised people with this pick. There were indications that he would get picked in the 20s. I always felt that if you like a player, it doesn’t matter so much where you take him. Obviously, John Nash liked him.
14. Utah – Kris Humphries (Minnesota)
Utah has had some injuries at the four spot. Humphries is the kind of guy who can rebound and score. He led the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding as a freshman. He needs to get more in touch with the team concept. But he’s big, strong and mean.
15. Boston – Al Jefferson (Prentiss H.S.)
Somewhat of a surprise. When Swift was off the board, they went with a banger, a guy who can play inside.
16. Utah – Kirk Snyder (Nevada)
This is a player that everybody liked. The reason he lasted this long is because he didn’t fit in with some teams drafting in the lottery. He’s slasher who can play a few positions.
17. Atlanta – Josh Smith (Oak Hill Academy)
Atlanta took a local kid who’s considered to be one of the most athletic players in the draft. With some polish, Smith could develop into an impact player on both ends the floor. In the second round, they grabbed (junior college) star Donta Smith, who many teams liked, as well as a possible sleeper in Royal Ivey.
18. New Orleans – J.R. Smith (St. Benedict’s Academy)
Another high school kid who’s a real good shooter. With questions about Jamal Mashburn, this guy could provide some insurance.
19. Miami – Dorell Wright (South Kent Prep)
Miami wanted to go with youth. This guy could be a player down the road. They took a chance.
20. Denver – Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph’s)
This pick was traded to Orlando. We’ve always liked Nelson.
21. Utah – Pavel Podkolzine (Russia)
They traded this pick to Dallas for a future first-rounder. Dallas will work with him. They could have something special down the road.
22. New Jersey - Viktor Khryapa (CSKA Moscow)
The Nets were picking for Portland. He’s an athlete who can help at a few spots. Don’t know if he’ll come over right away, though.
23. Portland – Sergei Monia (CSKA Moscow)
He and Khryapa were teammates. Many felt he’d go higher. There could be a problem with his buyout, but he’s a talent.
24. Boston – Delonte West (St. Joseph’s)
Some were surprised when he stayed in the draft. It worked out. He should be able to play some point for the Celtics. Can shoot the deep ball.
25. Boston – Tony Allen (Oklahoma State)
He’s an athlete and a defender.
26. Sacramento – Kevin Martin (Western Carolina)
We knew he had an agreement. Sacramento is the type of team that can bring a guy along slowly. He was one of the top scorers in the country. They also grabbed Ricky Minard in the second round, a guy who many teams liked who's a very capable player. They get two young backcourt players in case anybody leaves.
27. L.A. Lakers – Sasha Vujacic (Slovenia)
He was in Chicago in 2003. Can play a few spots. Mitch Kupchak liked him a lot.
28. San Antonio – Beno Udrih (Slovenia)
He was one of the stars of the Chicago Camp. I think he’ll surprise people in the NBA. He’s a good, solid player. This is a guy who makes people better.
29. Indiana – David Harrison (Colorado)
He’s the prototype as far as size. There are some questions about his work ethic. He’s another big body to help out the Pacers.