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Heat 'steal' Butler; Wiz score with Jeffries, Dixon


June 26
Now that the draft day is complete, and several players were fortunate enough to shake NBA commissioner David Stern's hand, it's time for a few thoughts on the action from New York City ...

Jared Jeffries
As the 11th overall pick, Jared Jeffries will now team up with Michael Jordan in Washington.
The fans have to be dancing with joy in Miami. Get ready down at South Beach for the arrival of Caron Butler. He was flat out the big-time steal of the draft. There was no way he should have fallen all the way to No. 10. Could this be another Paul Pierce situation? Think back to 1998, when Pierce fell down to the Celtics at No. 10, and Boston was happy to land the Jayhawk star.

Miami Heat coach Pat Riley will greet Butler in an Armani special. Riley will love Butler's athletic prowess and desire. I loved watching Butler during the NCAA Tournament, and he can be something special at the next level.

How about a salute to the Washington Wizards! Michael Jordan, Wes Unseld and company did themselves proud by taking Jared Jeffries and Juan Dixon. Both have talent, a winner's mentality and superb character. They should be a great asset as Washington drives for a playoff berth next season.

The Denver Nuggets quickly solidified their frontcourt with an All-U.N. duo of Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Nene Hilario. They bring great size; plus, the addition of Marcus Camby in the Antonio McDyess trade with the New York Knicks helps up front.

I was shocked to see Dajuan Wagner go ahead of Butler, Chris Wilcox and Jeffries to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wagner has game, and with playing time he will score. He's capable of putting points on the board in the NBA because the 24-second shot clock is made for his style. Could this pick mean the Cavs will deal Andre Miller? It could be tough to play Miller and Wagner together in the backcourt.

I give the Houston Rockets an incomplete because I don't think we have heard the last of the soap opera that is Yao Ming.

Another interesting team was the Los Angeles Clippers. They already have Elton Brand, so it was surprising to see them select Wilcox and Melvin Ely, unless a trade is coming. The Clippers have a slew of talented players, and a deal would make sense. Maybe one for Miller?

Two of the bigger surprises in the first round were Freddy Jones at No. 14 to the Indiana Pacers and Ryan Humphrey at No. 19 to the Utah Jazz (Humphrey was later traded to the Orlando Magic). Jones is very athletic, and it will be interesting to see him progress with the help of Reggie Miller. Humphrey is a superb choice because of his toughness, shot-blocking ability and desire to attack the glass. Many thought Jones and Humphrey would go early in the second round.

I was a little surprised that the Milwaukee Bucks chose Marcus Haislip at No. 13. He is excellent in transition, but I thought the Bucks would go big inside and pick Stanford's Curtis Borchardt, who slid down to No. 18 (Orlando).

The Chicago Bulls made a super pick in Jay Williams. I give the Houston Rockets an incomplete because I don't think we have heard the last of the soap opera that is Yao Ming.

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