June 28, 2005 | ESPN.com's NBA draft coverage
Wow, the NBA draft was absolutely wild! There were surprises, disappointments, players going higher than expected and many getting bad advice by slipping out of the first round.
Here is a recap of an intriguing evening that will affect many players for years to come.
Charlotte Bobcats — Bernie Bickerstaff and company picked two winners in Raymond Felton and Sean May. The two Tar Heels were national champions and they join another player who cut down the net in college in Emeka Okafor. Felton and May will help put people in the seats, too. I give them an A+.
New Orleans Hornets — Chris Paul will help Byron Scott's team for years to come, running the offense. I thought Atlanta would have been smart to take Paul instead of Marvin Williams because the Wake Forest guard would have fit in well with Josh Childress, Josh Smith and Al Harrington. The Hornets also got a steal in LSU's Brandon Bass early in the second round.
Utah Jazz — I felt Utah made the right move to trade up to get Deron Williams at No. 3. This team badly needed a point guard and Williams will fit into Jerry Sloan's system with players like Andrei Kirilenko and Carlos Boozer up front.
Minnesota Timberwolves — Rashad McCants was the best shooting guard in this draft, and those who were critical of his attitude, look at his interview on ESPNEWS the day before the draft. I was truly impressed with him, and putting McCants in with Kevin Garnett should be exciting. Add Bracey Wright in round two, and Minnesota fared well.
Boston Celtics — Gerald Green was a steal at 18 in round one. Many had him projected in the top 10. Danny Ainge had to be thrilled to see Ryan Gomes available at No. 50. I felt Gomes should have gone late in the first round.
New York Knicks — Channing Frye and Nate Robinson in a deal with Phoenix both coming from the Pac-10, plus David Lee means Isiah Thomas gets a good grade.
Los Angeles Lakers — Andrew Bynum is a 7-footer with potential and there weren't many on the board at that point. I like Ronny Turiaf coming in the second round, while Von Wafer could help long term.
Toronto Raptors — Charlie Villanueva may eventually work out, but that was the shock of the draft at No. 7. Joey Graham should work out at No. 16, but Toronto has had a questionable history (just look at Rafael Araujo).
Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks — No picks in this draft, so what were you doing on draft night?
SEC — None of these players were drafted after leaving school early: Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Roberson, Matt Walsh, Kennedy Winston, Randolph Morris, Olu Famutimi. What were these guys thinking going into the draft and giving up on another year of college basketball, gaining valuable experience in a positive environment. Brandon Bass didn't go in the first round, either.
Andrew Bogut — He is a perfect fit for the Bucks. The big man in the NBA is a dying breed and the former Utah Ute uses both hands and shows great passing ability.
International flavor — When Fran Vazquez went 11th and Yaroslav Korolev went 12th, players like May, McCants, Green, Antoine Wright and Danny Granger were still on the board. Some teams get enamored with the foreign players and the Americans have all of their faults examined. Over the prior three drafts, 20 international players were taken in the first round and only one has really had a major impact Yao Ming. Yes, Nene Hilario and Jiri Welsch have contributed, but the impact hasn't been the same as players like Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker.
Point guards — Seeing three go in the top five (D. Williams, Paul, Felton) did not surprise me since I had them going in that order in my mock draft. This is the best trio of point guards to go in the top 10 since 1999 (Steve Francis, Baron Davis, Andre Miller, Jason Terry). I believe this year's trio will be better when all is said and done.
Marvin Williams — As I said, I felt the Hawks would have been better off with Chris Paul, but the selection of Salim Stoudamire with the 31st pick (top choice in round two) gave them a point guard who is an excellent shooter and the biggest steal in the draft.
FIVE PLAYERS WHO WENT HIGHER THAN EXPECTED IN FIRST ROUND
Charlie Villanueva, Andrew Bynum, Jason Maxiell, Nate Robinson, Ian Mahinmi
FIVE PLAYERS WHO WENT LOWER THAN EXPECTED IN FIRST ROUND
Danny Granger, Gerald Green, Antoine Wright, Hakim Warrick, Wayne Simien
FIVE PLAYERS WHO COULD HAVE GONE IN FIRST ROUND BUT DIDN'T
Ryan Gomes,Roko Ukic, Chris Taft, Ersan Ilyasova, Andray Blatche
TEN WHO SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN SCHOOL
Now they will be basketball vagabonds after going undrafted: Anthony Roberson, Matt Walsh, Kennedy Winston, Randolph Morris, Kelenna Azubuike, Olu Famutimi, John Gilchrist, Shavlik Randolph, Sean Banks and Dwayne Jones
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.