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InsideHoops [NBA Draft]

NBA Draft Lottery Interviews




| May 24, 2006

The NBA Draft Lottery, which establishes the order of the first 14 picks of the NBA Draft, was yesterday. While many teams send their general managers to represent them at the event, some send a player, beloved scout or someone else. Below are NBA draft lottery interviews of team representatives after the results were revealed:

OFFICIAL 2006 NBA DRAFT LOTTERY RESULTS: 14) Utah, 13) Philadelphia, 12) New Orleans, 11) Orlando, 10) Seattle, 9) Golden State, 8) Houston, 7) Boston, 6) Minnesota, 5) Atlanta, 4) Portland, 3) Charlotte, 2) Chicago (from NY), 1) Toronto

Bryan Colangelo, Toronto Raptors President and General Manager
First Overall Selection

Q: What are your thoughts on Andrea Bargnani from Benetton Treviso?

COLANGELO: Andrea Bargnani is one of several players we’ll have to consider with the top pick. There are five or six names that you can probably throw into that mix right now. Some years, some people on stage have a jersey with a name on it. In this case, I think there’s still a lot of work to do to determine who the right pick is. There’s the potential for some jockeying. Maybe we trade down and get two players. We’ve got a lot of options out there and a lot of things to talk about. I’ve got my staff in place and we’re ready to go. I think this a great day and an exciting day for the organization.

Q: What type of flexibility does this give the Raptors heading into this draft?

COLANGELO: It gives us that much more flexibility. We’ve got an opportunity to pick the number one player in the draft, and if someone really wants that player, maybe there’s a deal to be made. Maybe we can facilitate that deal and end up netting more assets. We also have cap space and cap flexibility. So, we go into this draft not only holding the number one pick, but also the flexibility to take on a pretty large contract. That’s a pretty powerful combination, and hopefully we can manipulate it the right way, and make some good decisions. I think we’re in a no-lose, because we’re going to get a very good player if we just decide to use the pick.

Q: What are your thoughts on the top of the draft?

COLANGELO: There are a lot of players in this draft that can be considered a possibility at number one. We have a lot of work to do to figure out who that player is. We have a great young core. We’ve got Chris Bosh and Charlie Villanueva, both very versatile players, and young, budding player in Joey Graham. We’ve got the young core, and now, whether or not we want to add another player to that? We’ve got a lot of areas in which we need to improve, and I don’t think you can draft around any of the players we have. You just have to take the best available player that addresses your overall needs. We have a depth issue, and we’ve got some very specific weaknesses. Whether or not the number one pick addresses those weaknesses or areas, is yet to be determined.

Q: How open do you think you’ll be to the calls looking to trade up?

COLANGELO: I’ve been pretty consistent with the message that you never marry yourself to a concept. Until you have to make a decision, I would never make a decision before that point. We’ve got a month to go. Let’s see what comes our way. Let’s see what we can dig up. Let’s continue to evaluate players. I’m all about consensus. Consensus of the basketball staff. We’re also an organization with a history of drafting very well. We’ve got the pieces in place to make the right decision. Are we absolutely married to using the pick? No, but that’s just an indication of the kind of flexibility we have.

John Paxson, Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations
Second Overall Selection

Q: What are your feelings about the second pick … With no consensus top player, does it really matter?

PAXSON: It makes a difference in terms of if you have the first pick, you control everything. But no, I’m thrilled to be the second pick. It gives us a chance to … get a really good player or explore the possibility of moving it. I feel very fortunate to be picking this high in this draft.

Q. When you made the Eddy Curry trade, you didn’t think the pick would be this high?

PAXSON: You never know what’s going to happen. It was a deal that was done from our end for the right reasons. I didn’t know what to anticipate. It was a very emotional decision based on what had become a lengthy summer in regards to a player that we were very concerned about. So I didn’t know what it would be and I didn’t have any inkling.

Q. The Knicks’ excuse for trading the pick was that it would have been a deal breaker [in the Curry trade]. Was it a deal breaker?

PAXSON: It would have been a deal breaker. We just simply stated this is how the deal could be done. You have to understand that we were all very fond of Eddy Curry in our organization. And we had gone the route of trying to do everything we possibly could. And it’s not worth rehashing, but we were concerned. And it came down to [that] I got a little bit frustrated with the whole process and there was only one way that we felt the deal would be done. And it was done. Look, every team does what they feel is in their best interest to improve their team, and Eddy’s a very good basketball player – a very good center in this league. I’m sure that over time the Knicks will be very happy.

Q. Isiah Thomas said he wanted lottery-protection. Did he ever say he wanted lottery-protection one and two?

PAXSON: Isiah and I had those conversations and it’s not worth it for me to divulge how it went down. They got an excellent player in that trade and we got a chance to be in the lottery and get the second pick in the draft.

Q. Does getting the number two pick validate the whole Curry-DNA testing fight?

PAXSON: No, it was never about that. I never once had thought about validating that trade. We did it at the time for the right reasons in our mind. I’ve said we were fond of Eddy and we were trying to get something done that was helpful to both of us, but it didn’t work. And so, with Jerry Reinsdorf’s say-so, we did this deal. And it’s not anything about vindication. Eddy Curry’s a very good basketball player. We made the deal, we’re lucky we got in the lottery, and we’re lucky we got the second pick in the draft.

Gerald Wallace, Charlotte Bobcats Player
Third Overall Selection

Q: Did you bring any lucky charms with you today?

WALLACE: Yeah, I got a couple of things I’m going to keep to myself. I’m not going to use them anymore because it didn’t work. It was a great lottery. Congratulations to the Toronto Raptors. We got the third pick and we are just going to have to make the best of it.

Q: Would you consider this a deep draft?

WALLACE: I think this is a deep draft with a lot of potential. A lot of these guys have the potential to have a long career in the NBA. There are no franchise changing players, but I think there is a great core group of guys that can help a lot of teams out.

Steve Patterson, Portland Trail Blazers President
Fourth Overall Selection

Q: Do you think, at four, this is a deep enough draft at the top where you can still fill the needs that you have?

PATTERSON: Well, I think there is no clear number one pick this year that is a franchise-type player.

Q: Will you guys look to move up?

PATTERSON: I think there are a lot of very good players that are going to come in and make an impact and I think we may very well end up with as good a player at number four as we would have ended up with at number one.

Q: With the players in the draft is there a specific position that you guys are looking to address and does that change at all picking at four instead of at one?

PATTERSON: You don’t know where the picks are going to fall. Anytime you win 21 games, you need help at a lot of positions, so we’ll take the best player that’s out there.

JoJo White, Boston Celtics Director of Special Projects
Seventh Overall Selection

Q. Do you think the good luck charms worked out for you?

WHITE: Well, they didn’t hurt us. There is a lot of talent in the draft this year. And for what we might need, there is going to be some availability out there. It would have been great to have moved up to one, two or three – but I don’t think we get hurt at all with picking seventh.

Q. Are there any specific needs you guys are going to focus on?

WHITE: We’ve been working out players for the past week. We need a backcourt player, a point guard. We’ve looked at a number of guys. If we can find another go-to guy at the power forward spot, there are some opportunities there as well. So we’re going to try and get the best athlete at those one or two positions that can bolster the young club that we already have.

Carroll Dawson, Houston Rockets General Manager
Eighth Overall Selection

Q. With this being your last lottery, talk about the experience and the future of the franchise?

DAWSON: I hope this is not only my last lottery, but the last the franchise has. Over the years, we’ve been pretty luck up here. From getting Ralph Sampson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Yao Ming, it’s been good to us. I was hoping that mainly with a two percent chance of moving up that we just wouldn’t slide backward because truthfully, after the year we had, I didn’t feel very lucky. We’ve had more injuries than I’ve ever seen in my 28 years here. So the fact that we stayed where we were, I’m pretty happy with it. We’ll get a good player that can help our franchise, so that’s the most you can ask.

Q. What are the needs you need to fill around McGrady and Yao?

DAWSON: More athletic, more shooting, more rebounding – you can take any one of those things. So, whoever comes up we can draft a need pretty much because we need some different things. That’ll work out pretty good. If not, usually 8-9-10-11 … if you’re in that position, you’ve just got to take the best player because it’s not always the guy you need is there. That may happen to us, too, but there’s a good chance that they’ll be somebody there that we need.

Q. Any particular college players catch your eye throughout the college season?

DAWSON: I’ve looked at more film this year because we also have the 32nd pick. I think [this] is a deep enough draft that we might get somebody to be a roster player at 32. We’ve brought in already about 18 guys for the second round. We haven’t brought in any first-rounders except maybe one or two, because most of them wait until after the lottery. But I think there’s a chance that we can get two players out of the draft that can make our team.

Q. With Houston gaining a lot of visibility with this past year’s All-Star game and the superstar duo of Yao and Tracy McGrady, do you feel this is a make-or-break year?

DAWSON: I think our base is there and a lot of good things can happen if we can just keep them healthy and add the complementary players that we want to. But even our complementary players got hurt last year, so it was just one of those years. If you talk to everybody in this league, we’ve got two very very good players in this league, and I think that’s a good place to start. We’ve got some other players under contract that we’re very happy with. I think if we’re very frugal in our efforts this year and get the right players or the right number of players, then we can be a factor next year. And I think that’s our goal – that was our goal last year. I thought if we could have stayed injury-free we were going to be a factor last year, but that’s always the thing.

Pat Williams, Orlando Magic Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations
Eleventh Overall Selection

Q. Would you consider this a deep draft?

WILLIAMS: Yes. I don’t think this is a superstar-oriented draft. I don’t think there are franchise turners in the draft. I don’t think anybody is going to come out of this and say ‘we are the man, we have really done it’, but all the way down deep into the first round you are going to get a player that can play NBA basketball.

Q. What do you feel is the strongest position in this draft?

WILLIAMS: I think that it is a draft without great big men. I think there are some power forwards. I don’t think there are a huge abundance of point guards. So, I think power forwards and small forwards and if you need a center in this draft you are probably not going to get it.

Chris Paul, New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets Player
Twelfth Overall Selection

Q. What was the feeling like for you, being drafted?

PAUL: It was one of the best feelings of my life. It was great, you know, being in New York City, with my family in such a major setting.

Q. What did you take away from that day in terms of talking to the other guys, that day, being there, knowing you were going to be a lottery pick?

PAUL: We talked about the expectations. And, we talked about how you get to play basketball every day for the rest of your life, for as long as you can. We get to play basketball and take care of our families.

Q. What advice would you have for any potential lottery picks this year?

PAUL: Just coming in, play as hard as you can. Don’t listen to all the supposed experts. I was at home watching this lottery last year, and you hear different people say different things about you and what you can’t do, but you know what you have to get better at so you just have to go out there and play as hard as you can.

Q. And the suit? Anything in particular on what to wear?

PAUL: Nothing too loud. (Laughs). Don’t draw too much attention to yourself. If you don’t draw too much attention, a lot more people will notice you.

Billy King, Philadelphia 76ers President & General Manager
Thirteenth Overall Selection

Q. Would there be any chance of you moving up?

KING: I would love to move up. There are some guys we’d be interested in moving up to get. We’re not moving down.

Q. Where do you go from here?

KING: The best thing about this is now you know where everybody is picking, and there isn’t the discussion of will this guy be there or won’t this guy be there. Now you can get to work.

2005 NBA Draft Lottery Interviews

The NBA Draft lottery determines the team order for the first 14 picks of the draft. By way of ping-pong balls, teams with the worst record have the best chance of winning the higher picks. Learn more about the NBA Draft lottery odds and process. Anyway, the 2005 NBA Draft lottery was determined on May 24, 2005. The Milwaukee Bucks beat the odds to win the #1 pick. The Atlanta Hawks got #2. The Portland Trail Blazers also got lucky and moved up a few spots higher than their odds predicted they would. These are NBA draft lottery interviews after the process was over:

LARRY HARRIS, Milwaukee Bucks General Manager
First Overall Selection

Q: Talk about your feelings.

Harris: My kids being born is the most important thing ever, but professionally this is probably the best day for me, the organization and certainly for our fans. I don’t know if I will sleep tonight, but with a 6.3% chance to win, being a math major, I didn’t think we had much of a shot at, but it is a heck of day for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Q. What are your feelings on where this pick will head?

Harris: There are two things. First off, it certainly opens up a lot of opportunities with other teams that would like to get the first pick. And I do not want to come out and say the first thing is the Milwaukee Bucks are trading the pick, but it certainly creates a lot of buzz for the Milwaukee Bucks and taking a look at our roster and other teams to see what they can do to get the number one pick. I mean, that’s what everyone in the lottery wants – the number one pick. For us and my staff, what we’ve done for the last year in preparing for this, we are certainly in a position to control the draft and we’re going to end up taking the best player. The good thing is, the way the draft is set up now, and the way our team is, the depth of our team is young, we’re good at the one spot, T.J. Ford is progressing, Michael Redd, being a free agent, I am 100% convinced he will be back with us, we’ve got Desmond Mason at the three, Joe Smith at the four, then we have free agents Dan Gadzuric, ZaZa Pachulia and Calvin Booth under contract. The fabric of our team is coming back, it’s continuity and consistency that are important, so we can really go across the board, whether it be a center, power forward or point guard. Even a two or three to add to the depth of our roster.

Q: Would you go with a project like Martynas Andriuskevicius?

Harris: I don’t know if today, after 20 minutes after getting the number one pick, I am ready to say who that will be, but certainly if you look at all the internet sites he is certainly a guy being mentioned in the lottery. We have seen him as a staff, certainly someone we will look at. If you look at the online poll there seems be a consensus who the top three or four guys are. Certainly those are the guys will be looking at, in addition to others.

Q: So are you looking to get someone right away, rather than a project?

Harris: For us, I think its going to be the best player. That best player may be the best player in two years, may be the best player in three years. But we are certainly going to get a player that’s going to play us for next year and be a contributor right away.

Q: Will it come down to the size and polish of Andrew Bogut or the athleticism of Marvin Williams?

Harris: Certainly those are two guys we will focus in on heavily, and I don’t want to take away from the point guards that are out there as well. I said when we were at six, I felt the depth of draft was at the four spot and the one spot. I still believe that. Now having the number one pick, I never felt like a person like Bogut would be available at six, so now he comes into play. So, to me you’ve got an outstanding center in him, the depth of the draft is still at the four and one, and those are all three spots we need help at.


BILLY KNIGHT, Atlanta Hawks General Manager
Second Overall Selection

Q: Where do you think the team’s needs are this offseason?

Knight: We have a lot of needs, add some more good players to our team, some more talented young guys that we think will be able to help us in the future. We have a lot of needs, we won 13 games. We’ll be able to find a good player who can help us.

Q. Looking at Marvin Williams, Andrew Bogut and Chris Paul – are they on the top of your list?

Knight: We are looking at a lot of players. I don’t get into commenting on individual players right now, but all of them are good young players, and all of them will be able to help a team, and we think they have talent, and we think they will be in the league for a long time.

Q. Is the team looking to do much in the free agent market?

Knight: We will be a player in the free agent market. We have money available. So we will do a lot of talking, we’ll see what happens with it.


STEVE PATTERSON, Portland Trail Blazers President
Third Overall Selection

Q: Is this a major surprise?

Patterson: Yeah, it’s a little unexpected, but the basketball gods were shining on us tonight. So, it’s great, and we’re going to get a good player. It gives us a lot of flexibility.

Q: Did you have any good luck charms?

Patterson: I found a penny the other day and I brought it with me.

Q: Have you guys talked about possible team needs prior to today, and how does getting the number three pick affect that?

Patterson: There’s certainly going to be a good player there. So, this gives us a lot of flexibility. We can look to take the pick. We can look to move down. Look to move up. Certainly, we need to shoot the ball better than we did last year. We need to play better defense. But this gives us a chance to find another piece or two to the puzzle.

Q: Number three is a spot where a lot of people have Chris Paul projected. What are your thoughts about Paul, considering you drafted Sebastian Telfair in 2004?

Patterson: He’s a good player. We drafted a point guard last year in Telfair. So, we’ll just have to go through the evaluation process and see where we come out at the end of June. Could be big guys available. Could be guards there. We could be talking to another team about doing something different.


BERNIE BICKERSTAFF, Charlotte Bobcats General Manager & Head Coach
Fifth and Thirteenth Overall Selection

Q: You talked about being prepared for everything. Obviously, now you’ll have to be thinking a little deeper. Can you talk about that?

Bickerstaff: That’s exactly the situation. But the one thing is that a lot of guys don’t want to come in because of where you are. But our history says we have the ability to move up as it happed last year with the two picks. So that gives us some leverage from that standpoint.

Q: What about the local guys such as Raymond Felton or Marvin Williams, who will likely be gone by then. What is your take on the local guys?

Bickerstaff: Those guys are very good basketball players and they are in the mix. We want to bring them in, we want to work them out. Our goal is to add two basketball players that we choose, that will have a history, that will be in the league for 10 or 12 years.

Q: You’ve done a good job with that in the past. Your picks have generally stuck in the league for several years. Do you feel some sort of gratitude to the Cavaliers for helping you get two this year?

Bickerstaff: Well, definitely and after we fell back, I’d rather have two. It makes it a little better in terms of having two picks in the lottery. And there are good basketball players out there. We’ll get a good basketball player. We’ll get two good basketball players if we choose.


JOHN STARKS, New York Knicks Former Player, Community Relations Staff
Eighth Overall Selection

Q: Did you visualize getting the first pick?

Starks: I visualized it, but it didn’t work that way.

Q: What did it mean to represent the team here?

Starks: It meant a lot. I’ve been with the organization for many years, and to represent the organization, I’ve definitely come a long way.

Q: Now that we know the Knicks are number eight, who do think they should pick?

Starks: We’re just going to try to get the best player available at that slot. Obviously, our needs are at the center spot. I’m pretty sure we’re going to try to get the best available big man possible.


JEANNIE BUSS, L.A. Lakers Executive Vice President, Business Operations
Tenth Overall Selection

Q. How hard is to be involved in Phil’s potential decision to return to coaching the Lakers?

BUSS: I am right in the middle. It’s a position I don’t really like to be in, but when I started dating Phil 6 years ago I knew this would be one of the issues we would have. I am just happy that is even an opportunity, because 8 months ago if you would have told me that we were talking about Phil going back to the Lakers, I never would have believed it. Here we are, and I am optimistic, I have never made any secret that selfishly that is what I’d really like, and it’s all about me and what I want (laughter).

Q. Talk about the chances of Phil going to New York.

BUSS:I always felt that New York was a place that was a strong consideration. During the Fall of last year there were a lot of MSG officials that came to Staples Center and I made sure that I said hello to all of them because I didn’t know if I would be seeing them again. They are going to be doing a lot of remodeling to The Garden I guess and they were checking out the Staples Center. I was keeping my options open and my bridges connected.

Q. So New York is still on the radar screen?

BUSS: I would say yes, but I do not make his decisions and certainly do not speak for that organization.


MIKE DUNLEAVY, Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach
Twelfth Overall Selection

Q: With your team winning more games this season than the season before, do you see your team progressing into a playoff contender next season?

Dunleavy: We had a really good team last year. We moved up. We have a really nice group of young players and if we can stay healthy, we have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs for the first time in a long time.

Q: With the addition of this draft pick, what other changes does your team plan on making in the offseason?

Dunleavy: It depends. We have a lot of cap space. We’ll go into the free agent market as we see needed. As we see how the draft unfolds and what we get in the draft. And once we get to July we’ll start looking into free agency.


FRED HOIBERG, Minnesota Timberwolves Player
Fourteenth Overall Selection

Q: No surprise staying put at 14. What do you take out of the experience overall?

Hoiberg: No, no surprise. It was just fun to come out here. I came out here with my wife yesterday and we found a penny in the street. I picked that up and thought it would be my lucky charm. But it wasn’t meant to be.

Q: Any thoughts on what needs your team may have?

Hoiberg: Well, you know, our first need is to get a head coach in place, and they’re exhausting their efforts right now trying to find the right guy that could lead this team back in the playoffs and hopefully compete for a championship. And after that I’m sure they’ll start worrying about personnel moves.



The NBA Draft Lottery determines the team order of the first 14 picks of the NBA Draft. They are the non-playoff teams. Here are interviews with most of the NBA team reps at the 2004 NBA lottery, after they found out which pick their team lucked into.

MIKE DUNLEAVY, Los Angeles Clippers - Head Coach - Second Overall Selection

Q: Now, does it seem like a blessing that you lost some games down the stretch and wound up in this position?

Dunleavy: You know, you’re always looking for the silver lining. We went through a tough time at the end of the year. We felt like we played well and it was disappointed to lose those games, but the silver lining was we moved up in the draft. For it to culminate with the No. 2 pick in the draft is a positive event for us. We already expected this to be a meaningful offseason for us, with the cap space we have available, now we’re put in an even better position.

Q: Does this add options?

Dunleavy: Absolutely, and we’ll explore them all. We’ll work out every player. At five, there probably were some players who probably didn’t want to work out for us. Now, we’ll see everybody and get our hands on everybody. It will be a good opportunity.

Q: Is there a particular need you’ll look to address?

Dunleavy: When you pick this high in the draft, you just need to pick a very good player, an asset, a guy who’s going to be around for a long time, a guy that’s going to have a chance to make an impact over the next few years.

Q: Do you feel there’s a consensus No. 1 pick in the draft?

Dunleavy: I don’t think there is. I think it’s dependent on who has it. Now we know who has it. It can go on needs. There may be some guys back further in the draft that really fill a need, or some teams looking to trade up. At this point, I couldn’t tell you if we’d be willing to trade. All I can say is, with the No. 2 pick, we should come away with a good player.


B.J. ARMSTRONG, Chicago Bulls - Special Assistant - Third Overall Selections

Q: Do you think that developing a minor league system is an eventual solution to problems facing the draft and the NBA?

Armstrong: The reality is, these kids have the option to enter the draft. That’s what this country was founded on, the opportunity to make a living. So, how do you clear that issue? You’re talking about a question where I don’t know if there’s a right answer to solve the problem. Right now, I think it’s important to assess the situation and continue to share ideas with the people that need to hear the ideas and go from there. I don’t know the answer.

Q: Are you disappointed, or does dropping to three take some of the pressure off?

Armstrong: I’m not disappointed. We’ll have a wonderful opportunity to get a good player with the third pick in the draft. It’s going to be an exciting time for us. There’s certain to be a good player there. Now it’s up to us, our staff, our coaches, everyone involved to assess the situation and put ourselves in the situation to draft the best player available. We’re sure there’s a player there that’s really going to help our club.

Q: How confident are you that you’ve done a lot of the homework already on this draft?

Armstrong: We’re confident. We’ve been plugging all year long, myself, John Paxson, Gar Foreman. We’ve done our work, seeing who we’ve needed to see. Now it’s time for us to come together and properly break down the talent and make a good selection.

Q: Have you already started playing the game in your mind, as far as who will be there?

Armstrong: Time will tell. As we go along in this process, a lot of questions will be answered. We’re sure there’s going to be a guy at three who can really help our team.


BERNIE BICKERSTAFF, Charlotte Bobcats - General Manager & Head Coach - Fourth Overall Selection

Q: Do you approach the draft differently as an expansion team?

Bickerstaff: Not at all. We are looking at the best player, and I think there are some things, the way it went today, that offer some pretty intriguing scenarios. So, we are going to explore all our options.

Q: You basically need all kinds of help.

Bickerstaff: We need it across the spectrum -- on our roster, on the board, we have office personnel. June 11 we get a list and in 10 days we select our first player, so we are looking forward to that. But, across the spectrum, we need players.

Q: The Bobcats have been linked to Shaun Livingston. Does that have any credence?

Bickerstaff: Well, we haven’t really committed to any players. We are bringing players in and we will evaluate them as we go along. We really haven’t fallen in love with anyone.


ERNIE GRUNFELD, Washington Wizards - President of Basketball Operations - Fifth Overall Selection

Q: Were you disappointed when you heard the announcement of the fifth pick, dropping from third?

Grunfeld: Everybody wants the No. 1 pick. Traditionally, one team has always moved up and we only fell one spot really because Charlotte automatically has the fourth spot. We’ll get a good player at five. There’s a bunch of very talented players in this year’s draft, even though they are young, but I think we’ll get a talented player. Like Tom Tolbert said, “You can get the same player from one to 10.”

Q: How does having the fifth pick this year compare to past years?

Grunfeld: It doesn’t matter about what happened in past years because this is the year we’re drafting fifth. You can only draft the players that are available to you. This is a young draft, very talented players, but it’s young and you might have to wait on some of these players. But there are a lot of NBA players in this draft.

Q: With it being a young draft, and considering the criticism surrounding the Kwame Brown pick from – first overall pick in 2001 – do you tend to stay away from picking a high school player this year?

Grunfeld: I’m going to draft the best available player. If it’s a high school kid who’s there for us, then we’ll take a high school kid. We’ll just draft the best available player. Traditionally, you have to wait on young players. You had to wait on Tracy McGrady. You had to wait on Jermaine O’Neal and some draft picks you have to wait on a few years. But if you draft the right one, it could be a big bonus for you.

Q: Is there a window to wait on a guy?

Grunfeld: We’ll get the best available player. No. 5 pick for us is an asset that we’ll use in a trade or take a player. I think, as I’ve said many times, we’re building and we have a solid foundation and that No. 5 pick will be another very good piece to that foundation.


BILLY KNIGHT, Atlanta Hawks - General Manager - Sixth Overall Selection

Q: You came in with the sixth best probability and ended up with the sixth pick. What are your thoughts on this year’s draft class and the pick that you hold?

Knight: We’ve got the sixth pick and that’s where we were when we came here. So, we’re still in the same spot. It would’ve been nice to move up. We didn’t move up. We’ll just go forward from this position on. There’s nothing else you can do.

Q: Any insight into who you’re thinking might be available at the sixth pick?

Knight: We’re still evaluating what we’re going to do. We obviously don’t know. We didn’t know which spot we were going to be in yet, so it’s a different group of guys at six than it would be at No. 1. We’re going to evaluate it.

Q: Do you consider a younger player at that spot with the understanding that he may need a few years to develop?

Knight: That’s the question, whether you want to take a player that you think can potentially become a good player or a player that can help you right away. We’ll evaluate it. We’ll take it through our process, and hopefully we’re going to come up with a good pick.


BRYAN COLANGELO, Phoenix Suns - President and General Manager - Seventh Overall Selection

Q: Is this about what you expected?

Colangelo: Well, the odds tell you you’re not going to move up. You always have the hope that it only takes one number combination. But things held true to form. But, to be sitting here at seven, it’s not an absolute failure. We’ve had some success in the past not moving up. By actually moving down one spot, we wound up with Shawn Marion in 1999. And in 2002, we ended up with Amare Stoudemire after staying put. Overall, in this draft, it’s not a bad position to be sitting in.

Q: Is the major need in the backcourt for your team?

Colangelo: I think that’s a fair assessment, but we have a young, emerging player in Leandro Barbosa, who we feel very strongly about. We’ve got a young player in Europe who we own the draft rights to in Milos Vujanic. We’re still in the process of evaluating if it would be a good thing for him to come over this season. He’s got some buyout issues that we’re working through and that he needs to resolve with his agent. But when you look at our team, we have options. We have the draft pick. We have free agency flexibility, we also have the opportunity, possibly with a trade, to improve our team, and I would tell you that regardless of position, one thing we need is experience, leadership, grittiness, and that’s how we’ll approach things.

Q: Does that eliminate a younger player from consideration?

Colangelo: Not necessarily, because in my opinion, you shouldn’t look for immediate help. You should look at the draft as taking a piece that ultimately will help build your franchise. I think with free agency and trades, it’s a surer bet to improve your team. But at the same time, if there’s a player in the draft that fits all of our criteria and can make an impact, like Amare Stoudemire, we’re going to look for that player.


CHRIS BOSH, Toronto Raptors - Player -Eighth Overall Selection

Q: What would tell Toronto’s selection about his rookie experience?

Bosh: It’s going to be hard, but at the same time you are going to learn every day and learn the way around the league. But the first couple of games, the first couple of months are going to be harsh.

Q: What needs do you think the team has?

Bosh: I’m not the GM of the team. I just say, draft whoever fits the team best.


BILLY KING, Philadelphia 76ers - President and General Manager - Ninth Overall Selection

Q: Are you happy with where you are at in the draft?

King: I’m happy at No. 9. Not knowing the draft order has been frustrating. Now we can get to work.

Q: Are you locked in at picking No. 9 or would you look to trade the pick?

King: Trading the pick is definitely an option, like Ernie Grunfeld said, “You guys always trade your picks.”


PAUL SILAS, Cleveland Cavaliers - Head Coach - Tenth Overall Selection

Q: With LeBron James coming in last year and making such an immediate impact, what kind of impact do you expect this year’s No. 10 pick to have?

Silas: The 10th pick in the draft might not even play very much. These kids come in having played all their lives and been successful and now they are sitting at the end of the bench not getting time. How are they going to take it? You have to communicate with them and soothe their egos.

Q: Since the core of your team is very young, would you shy away from picking a high school player at 10?

Silas: I don’t know what we’re going to do yet. We haven’t formulated our strategy yet. We might trade the pick. Whatever we do is going to be good for our club. The future is now for us.


CHRIS MULLIN, Golden State Warriors - Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations - Eleventh Overall Selection

Q: Since you brought in Mike Montgomery, who coached last season in the college ranks and saw many of the college players first hand, how much input will he have in this pick?

Mullin: Quite a bit, he has a great knowledge of the college guys and probably some in the high school ranks as well. We are looking forward to getting back and doing our research. We still feel that there will be a good player at 11.

Q: Being a four-year college guy yourself, do you have any preference toward a guy with more experience playing basketball at a higher level than high school?

Mullin: That was so long ago, you just have to accept the fact that times have changed.

Q: With a plethora of young wing men (Richardson, Dunleavy Jr. and Pietrus) do you see yourself going for a post or a lead guard?

Mullin: There are a lot of different scenarios we have to look at. Some concern our existing players and their contracts. We have this month to figure that out.


KEVIN O'CONNOR, Utah Jazz - Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations - Fourteenth Overall Selection

Q: Looking at your needs, what do you hope to get out of this pick?

O'Connor: Again, I think we are a work in progress, so I think we’ll look at best player available. The way the draft shakes out, we’ll probably look at big. But we also have the 16th and 21st picks, so I think we’d look at multiple positions.

Q: Would you consider a trade?

O'Connor: We’ll look at everything. Everything that we have an option to do, we’ll look at.

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