Bogut or Williams? Who'll be No. 1?
With the First Pick in the 2005 NBA Draft ...
NEW YORK, June 27 – We've watched and read countless interviews, received the various scouting reports, perused all the experts' mock drafts, and watched the players on television against collegiate competition, but Monday NBA.com finally got live sights and sounds from the projected top two picks in this year’s NBA Draft: Utah's Andrew Bogut and North Carolina's Marvin Williams.
“I want to be No. 1,” Bogut said Monday, leaving no room for interpretation. “I want to win. I want to be the No. 1 pick. I’m a competitor in that sense and if I do something I want to be No. 1 or I want to win. So, that’s basically the bottom line.”
Williams, too, would like to be the top pick, although he will settle for a lower draft position if the situation suits him better.
“Well it’s nice to be No. 1, definitely,” Williams said when asked about possibly being selected first overall. “But I’m more concerned about what team I’m going to go to and how I will fit in with that team. I think that’s the most important thing. That’s my main concern.”
Williams best “fit” may be Atlanta – barring any draft night swaps – if the Bucks take Bogut, as many believe they will.
Williams, like Howard last year, has "upside," the all-important potential which often means more than current ability. The Hawks are a very young team with plenty of potential in the likes of Josh Smith, Josh Childress, Donta Smith and Royal Ivey – all rookies last season.
“They’re really young so I’ll definitely fit in there,” Williams said of the Hawks. “They’re still trying to learn the NBA game of basketball. So, I would fit in.”
Williams also alluded to another good fit: Bogut in a Milwaukee Bucks uniform.
“It does seem like Milwaukee is heading toward Bogut a little bit,” he said Monday, “but I don’t blame them. Andrew’s a great player. He’ll be good for Milwaukee.”
Bogut, like Okafor, the 2005 got milk? Rookie of the Year, brings a little more experience into the Draft, having given decision makers more opportunity to see him head-to-head against stiff competition.
The seven-footer from Australia spent two years at Utah – winning every imaginable college player of the year award, including the Wooden, Naismith and Associated Press honors – and has earned valuable international experience. At only 19 years old, he was a starter for the Australian Olympic team at the 2004 Athens summer games. Starting opposite three-time NBA Finals MVP Tim Duncan in an August 19 loss to the U.S., Bogut demonstrated his NBA-readiness by registering 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting – including two of three from behind the arc – to go with eight rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot.
Williams, meanwhile, was making the transition from high school in Washington state to college in North Carolina, where he claimed ACC Rookie of the Year honors and was a key reserve helping the Tar Heels win the 2005 NCAA title.
Williams potential indicates he has the talent to possibly be an NBA All-Star in years to come. That may not happen next year, or the year after, but could somewhere down the road. For a team in the rebuilding process, such as the Hawks, Williams may be worth the wait.
For a team like Milwaukee, looking to get back to the playoffs, Bogut believes he can step in immediately and help make that goal reality.
“On paper, I think they’re the best team that was in the lottery,” Bogut assessed. “I think they’re the best team – that can make the playoffs – this year in the lottery.”
Personal goals and playoffs aside, Bogut is looking to make his new teammates better, too.
“Playing with Michael Redd would be awesome,” the Aussie said in his fast-paced manner. “He’s an All-Star and my goal would be to make him an All-Star again in ’06.”
So, while the two hope for the best over the next 24 hours, the only thing left to do is wait and expect the unexpected when NBA Commissioner David Stern approaches the microphone to announce the first selection.
“I think [the uncertainty is] the scary part, to be honest with you,” Williams remarked. “You have no input on where you’re going to go. It could be the fun part too, but it does make you a little bit nervous. I’m sure everybody is a little bit nervous now, but we’ll know where we are going after tomorrow.”
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