StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-115152191611075.jpg’, ”, ”);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-115152199112745.jpg’, ”, ‘The Toronto Raptors are expected to take either University of Texas Center LaMarcus Aldridge (top) or Italian League star Andrea Bargnani as the No. 1 pick in the June 28 NBA Draft.’);
The National Basketball Association will hold its annual draft tonight (Wednesday, June 28). The Chicago Bulls have the second overall pick, while the Toronto Raptors will draft first.
Depending on which mock draft board you believe, Toronto will either take University of Texas Center LaMarcus Aldridge or Italian League star Andrea Bargnani.
Aldridge is a 6-foot-10-inch power forward who can also play the center position. Bargnani is 6-foot-11 and possesses the rare combination of size and ability to shoot from the perimeter. He also has four years of professional experience in Italy. The Raptors are hoping either player will be able to help them solve their rebounding woes.
Chicago is expected to take 6-foot-6 shooting guard Brandon Roy from the University of Washington. Many experts regard him as the best all-around player in this years draft. He is coming off his best season as a college player in which he averaged 20.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game during his senior year. Illinois fans may remember Roys performance against the Illini in the NCAA tournament. He scored 21 points, gathered seven rebounds and added three steals in that game.
The Bulls have also been looking at LSU forward Tyrus Thomas. He is a 6-foot-9 forward. Several pundits suggest he may be the most athletic player in the draft. He shot more than 60 percent from the field last season, and combined his average of 12.5 points with nine rebounds and three blocked shots per game.
Chicago may pass on Roy and Thomas if the Raptors take Bargnani. Dont be surprised if Chicago goes with Aldridge instead.
The only local player expected to go during the first round is 7-foot center Patrick OBryant from Bradley University in Peoria. A few of the mock draft boards have him going as high as ninth to Golden State, while others have him slipping anywhere from 12th to 15th.
The Bulls will get another player during the first round. In addition to their second overall pick, they will draft again in the 16th position.
Doug Halberstadt is a local resident and is track announcer at Rockford Speedway. He can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the June 28-July 4, 2006, issue