Gothamistmockdraftlogo.jpgWith the Pistons Championship firmly in the books, the offseason is now underway. The other 28 teams that stopped playing a long time ago have been feverishly preparing for next week’s draft for some time now.

This draft figures to be one of the most unpredictable in recent memory due to the flood of teenagers (a record 10 could potentially be drafted in the first round) and European big men that aren’t much older. This will be the first time more McDonald’s All Americans get drafted than actual All Americans. More than ever before, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Gothamist absolutely loves the pre draft posturing where every team talks up the player they think the team behind them wants. The wackiest trade scenario we have heard is the LA Clippers offering Chris Wilcox and the #2 pick to Orlando just so they can move into the #1 spot and then trade that pick and Melvin Ely to the Atlanta Hawks for their picks (#6 and #17) and Jason Terry. Got that? The juiciest deal we’ve heard about is that the Celtics will select NYC prep superstar Sebastian Telfair at 15 and then ship him to the Memphis Grizzlies along with Yogi Stewart for Stromile Swift. The C’s and Grizz traded picks last year so don’t be surprised if history repeats itself.

So without further ado, here is the Gothamist 2004 NBA Mock Draft, Version 1. We are assuming that the Magic decide to keep the #1 overall pick which, pending who they select, would leave the Clips and Hawks free and clear to make the deal mentioned above. It makes sense for both teams, but we are talking about the Clippers here…We'll have to wait and see if the Telfair deal discussed above actually goes down.

Emeka Okafor: Photo-Getty Images1. Orlando Magic - Emeka Okafor F/C
This is such a no brainer. It says a lot about that state of the draft today when the best college shot blocker since Alonzo Mourning doesn’t get the respect he deserves. Proved all the doubters wrong during his national championship run. The Magic need help right away and Okafor should provide it.
2. Atlanta Hawks - Dwight Howard F
Hometown prep phenom may or may not be as good as advertised but all the Hawks need him to do is put butts in seats. The Hawks only have five players under contract for next season so he’ll play right away.
3. Chicago Bulls - Andre Iguodala G/F
Talk of them trading the pick is fading. Iggy will provide them with a versatile wingman that can do it all. The phrase “triple double machine” keeps popping up in all his scouting reports. The second coming of Scottie Pippen?
4. Charlotte Bobcats - Josh Childress F
Coach and GM Bernie Bickerstaff has had him in twice for workouts and he’s amazed both times. His long arms will bother people on the defensive end, a la Tayshaun Prince. Should be able to do a little of everything for new expansion team.
5. Washington Wizards - Luol Deng F
The team has already gone on record saying they will take Deng if he is available. Goodbye Jared Jeffries. The Wizards are loaded at the wings but Deng is too good to pass up and will let them package some players for help down low.

6. LA Clippers – Shaun Livingston PG
Clips trade down because they are loaded at PF. What they need is a PG and Livingston might just be the best player in this draft, not just the best PG. With the addition of Terry in this deal, he’ll have plenty of time to learn and develop.
Devin Harris: Photo-Getty Images7. Phoenix Suns - Devin Harris PG
Suns had lousy record last year after blowing up the team but have tons of young talent. In Harris they hope to have someone that can run the show. Lightning quick first step should lead to plenty of dishes to Amare down low.
8. Toronto Raptors - Andris Beidrens PF
Chris Bosh had a great rookie year but needs help down low. Raps would love to take Ben Gordon here but thin frontcourt outweighs their need for help in the backcourt. Beidrens is still two years away from being a force on offense but he can bang right now and will give the Raps some much needed toughness.
9. Philadelphia 76ers – Josh Smith SF
Sixers really wanted Iggy or Childress here but go for the “upside” pick with both of them gone. Smith (an AAU teammate of Howard) can jump out of the gym and should give AI a running partner on the break. Also, he’ll have time to develop behind Aaron McKie.
10. Cleveland Cavaliers – Ben Gordon PG/SG
Much like Okafor, Gordon gets no respect. He’s a lights out shooter from anywhere on the court as he proved in the NCAA’s. LeBron has the ability to play point and move the ball around, all Gordon will have to do is hit the open jumpers he’ll get. That shouldn’t be a problem.
11. Golden State Warriors - Pavel Podkolzine C
Eric Dampier and Adonal Foyle are free agents so the Warriors will need some help down low. Podkolzine is the biggest player in the draft (7’5”) and also the biggest project. Is he the next Yao Ming or the next Georghe Muresan?
12. Seattle Supersonics - Rafael Araujo C
Add Seattle to the list of teams that need help down low. Aruajo is 24, and although he is still improving, should be able to play some minutes next year.
13. Portland Trailblazers - Luke Jackson SG/SF
Rumored to be in love with Kirk Snyder but opt for the local Oregon product. What does averaging 21, 7 and 4 as a senior get you? The last lottery salary. Blazers are set on the frontline but need help at SG to pair with always injured Derek Anderson.
14. Utah Jazz - Sergei Monya SG/SF
Another no brainer. Monya played for the same Russian team and shares the same agent as current Jazz superstar Andrei Kirilenko. Monya is built like Ivan Drago, he will break you.
Kris Humphries: Photo - AP15. Boston Celtics - Kris Humphries PF/SF
The first of three Celtics first rounders. The C’s started Walter McCarty at PF for much of the year last season. Humphries is a beast in the paint and averaged 22 and 11 last year as a freshman in the Big Ten. Should be able to play some minutes and contribute next year. Still a young pup with loads of room to improve.
16. Utah Jazz - Al Jefferson PF/SF
The Jazz also have three picks in the first round so they can afford to snatch up Jefferson here and wait for him to develop. Prep superstar has an inside and outside game, but his athleticism has been questioned. Does everything well, but nothing great.
17. LA Clippers - Peja Samardziski PF/C
Clips take another pick with an eye towards the future. Peja is a sharp shooting Euro big man that needs time to develop but could pay huge dividends down the road.
18. New Orleans Hornets - Kirk Snyder SG
The Hornets need a big shooting guard in the worst way. Current SG David Wesley is too small to be in the same backcourt with Baron Davis. Snyder has a complete game and should earn more minutes as the year wears on. Had impressive run in the NCAA tourney.
19. Miami Heat – Robert Swift C
Riley wants Jameer Nelson but his staff talks him into Swift, a seven footer from Southern Cali that has solid fiundamentals. Once he bulks up and is able to get position down low, he should develop into a nice post player, something the Heat need desperately.
20. Denver Nuggets – JR Smith SG
The Nugs need help at SG and high schooler Smith has used an impressive All Star circuit to vault himself into the first round. Already has NBA three point range, all he needs is some time to put it all together.
21. Utah Jazz – Peter John Ramos C
The Jazz go big once again in the Puerto Rican Ramos, someone that has improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years. Decent footwork in the post and a natural passing ability will serve him well in Salt Lake.
Jameer Nelson: Photo:AP22. New Jersey Nets - Jameer Nelson PG
The NCAA Player of the Year is the last of a record low four seniors selected in the first round. Nelson will be disappointed to fall this far but lands in the perfect situation backing up Jason Kidd. Kidd is having knee surgery this summer so Nelson should get plenty of PT next year. Expect him to play with a chip on his shoulder and rightfully so.
23. Portland Trailblazers - Sebastian Telfair PG
As previously discussed on Gothamist.
24. Boston Celtics - Victor Khryapa SF
Celtic GM Danny Ainge wanted Oregon star Jackson in the worst way but settles for the Russian version instead. Khryapa almost entered the draft last year so the C’s have been scouting him for quite some time. Only 20 years old, he can shoot the jumper or take it to the hole and is already a pro at moving without the ball.
25. Boston Celtics - Dorell Wright SG/SF
Connecticut prep star has been compared to Tracy McGrady because of his off the charts athleticism. Boston is deep on the wings so he will have plenty of chances to learn in practice going against Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis everyday.
26. Sacramento Kings - Donta Smith SG
Kings need some athleticism as Bobby Jackson is always injured and Doug Christie is no spring chicken. Smith can play the 2 or the 3 and is explosive from either position.
27. LA Lakers – Sasha Vujacic PG
Gary Payton looks OLD and Derek Fisher is a free agent this summer so the Lake Show needs help at PG. Sasha flirted with entering the draft last year and the Lakers liked him then, so this makes sense.
28. San Antonio Spurs - Anderson Varejao PF
The Spurs have been big fans of Varejao for a while now. He is a high energy big man that should take what’s left of Malik Rose’s minutes.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves - no pick due to league sanctions
29. Indiana Pacers - David Harrison C
The Pacers need help down low to hang with the Pistons and Lakers so they go for some girth in Harrison. Motivation has been a problem for him, but he’s very competent when he wants to play.

The NBA Draft will be broadcast on ESPN live from the Theatre at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, June 24th at 7 PM. Stay tuned to Gothamist Sports for further coverage.