The top two college basketball players of last season - Larry Bird of Indiana State and Earvin (Magic) Johnson of Michigan State - have been spoken for.
So the scramble in Monday's National Basketball Association draft will be for the likes of Bill Cartwright of San Francsico, Sidney Moncrief of Arkansas, David Greenwood of UCLA and Gregory Kelser of Michigan State.
The college crop is considered to be a bit above average this year, but there is no great depth of talent.
"It's the same way every year," Washington Bullet General Manager Bob Ferry said. "You have about nine real good people."
The Los Angeles Lakers have the first pick, from Utah (New Orleans) as compensation for the Jazz signing of Gail Goodrich as a free agent two seasons ago. So Magic is their man.
The Lakers already have agreed to terms with Johnson, and the Celtics, who drafted Bird a year ago, have signed him, too.
Both will earn around $600,000 a year, making them the highest-paid rookies ever in the NBA.
The Chicago Bulls have the second pick Monday and General Manager Rod Thorn says he still wants to trade it.
"We don't feel there's anyone out there in the draft who will help us that much," he said. "We're going to try and trade the pick right up to draft time if we have to."
Thorn added that he wanted two players for the pcik and said he is mulling over two offers.
What Chicago does with the pick will determine a number of things.
To begin with, the Bulls have been trying to trade center Artis Gilmore. The best offer is reported to be by Portland, which is putting up Maurice Lucas and Lionel Hollins. If Gilmore is traded, the Bulls will keep the draft pick and take the 7-foot Cartwright.
If they trade the pick, they almost will have to keep Gilmore and then probably would draft the 6-9 Greenwood.
The New York Knicks, with three picks in the first round acquired for trading Bob McAdoo to Boston, have the third pick overall. New York wants Greenwood. If the Bulls take him the Knicks would settle for the 6-4 Moncrief or the 6-7 Kelser - probably Kelser.
Milwaukee, with the fourth pick, probably will take Cartwright if he is still available, Moncrief or kelser if he is not.
Detroit, selecting fifth and 10th in the first round, also wants either Moncrief or Kelser. One of them most likely still will be available.
"Kelser and Moncrief are the two best athletes coming out of the draft," said Detroit Coach Dick Vitale. "They've got it in every skill area. They are both super kids, too, and you can't go wrong with either one of them."
The world champion Seattle SuperSonics have the sixth and seventh picks in the first round and probably will draft 6-5 small forward Calvin tnatt Natt Northeast Louisiana with one of them. They may trade the other.
If they keep both picks, they are leaning toward drafting a guard, either Dayton's Jim Paxson or Baylor's Dennie Johnson.
Compounding the Sonics' dilemma are five free agents on the roster - starting small forward John Johnson, seventh man Paul Silas and reserves Joey Hassett, Dick Snyder and Dennis Awtrey.
New Jersey picks next and should take 6-9 center-forward James Bailey of Rutgers.
The Knicks say they are looking at Paxson or 6-9 Cliff Robinson of Southern California with their next pick. Robinson is an "undergraduate eligible," formerly known as the hardship category.
Vitale said the Pistons then would take a guard with the 10th pick.
"I'll look for guard help, to either Paxson, (Roy) Hamilton (of UCLA) or (Jim) Spanarkel (of Duke)," Vitale said. "I love Roy Ahmilton. He's a pure point guard and we might need point guard help, especially if we lose Kevin Porter."
Porter, who set an NBA assist record last season, is a free agent.
New Jersey has the 11th pick and wants Spanarkel.
The Bullets, for the first time in eight years, do not have a first-round draft pick, having traded it to Phoenix Friday for the draft rights to 6-10 Steve Malovic of San Diego State.
The Bullets have had two picks in the first round each of the last three seasons.
They were to have picked 22nd, or last, in the first round Monday because they had the best regular-season record in the league. Their first pick now will be the last pick of the second round-the 44th player selected overall.
Other teams without first-round picks as of yesterday are Boston, Cleveland, Golden State, San Diego, Atlanta and Denver.
The draft will be conducted via telephone hookup to all 22 NBA cities beginning at noon, Eastern Daylight time.