The Washington Bullets, having already traded away their No. 1 draft choice to the Phoenix Suns for Steve Malovic, used their two highest remaining picks to select guards in yesterday's National Basketball Association draft.
With the 44th and 46th picks, the Bullets took Joe DeSantis, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Fairfield (Conn.), and Andrew Parker, a 6-4 shooting guard from Iowa State.
There was only one major surprise in the first round. The Houston Rockets, picking 17th, took unheralded 6-11 Lee Johnson of East Texas State. Even Rocket Coach Del Harris admitted, "I know I'm taking a chance."
Earvin (Magic) Johnson of national champion Michigan State was the first player picked, as expected, going to the Los Angeles Lakers. He immediately signed a multi-year contract.
The Chicago Bulls, picking second, decided at the last minute to take 6-9 UCLA forward David Greenwood instead of 7-foot San Francisco center Bill Cartwright.
That left Cartwright for the New York Knicks, who picked third.
In a deal involving cash, Milwaukee and Detroit switched picks.The Pistons then took forward Gregory Kelser, Johnson's Michigan State teammate, and Milwaukee followed by choosing Arkansas guard Sidney Moncrief.
Defending NBA champion Seattle had the sixth and seventh picks and used them to take 6-9 James Bailey of Rutgers and 6-3 playmaking guard Vinnie Johnson of Baylor.
Two other former UCLA players, in addition to Greenwood, were picked in the first round. Roy Hamilton went to Detroit as the 10th player picked and the long-shooting Brad Holland went to Los Angeles as the 14th player selected.
Five players with college eligibility remaining were picked in the first round - Magic Johnson of Los Angeles, Cliff Robinson of Southern California by New Jersey, Phil Hubbard of Michigan by Detroit, Sly Williams of Rhode Island by New York, and Kyle Macy of Kentucky by Phoenix.
Macy and Hubbart, whose original classes have graduated, were picked as "futures," so they can return to school. The others had entered their names into the draft and must turn pro.
Maryland center Larry Gibson went to Milwaukee in the third round as the 52nd player selected.
The first Atlantic Coast Conference player picked was Dudley Bradley of North Carolina, who went to the Indiana Pacers as the 13th player tabbed. Duke's Jim Spanarakel went to the Philadelphia 76ers three picks later.
After taking DeSantis and Parker, the Bullets selected 6-7 forward Charles Floyd of High Point.
The Bullets had three local players among their 10 choices - Lamont Reid of Fairmont Heights High and Oral Roberts on the fourth round, Garcia Hopkins of DuVal High and Morgan State on the sixth and Steve Martin, Georgetown's captain, on the 10th, the last man taken in the draft.
"I think we helped our ball club with the picks we made," Bullet General Manager Bob Ferry said. "I don't think we went into this thing expecting to get any stars, but the guys we got are good basketball players."
DeSantis, who Ferry said "can handle running the ball club," averaged 18.5 points and shot 50.9 percent from the field last season. He is also an 85 percent career free-throw shooter.
"He has limited quickness, but he excels in every other area." Ferry said. "He's a heady player. One of the smarter players in the draft. He reminds me a lot of a player we used to have named Bobby Weiss."
"I'm really pleased about being picked by the Bullets," DeSantis said. "They have a real winning tradition and some great players."
Ferry said he wanted a ball-handling guard, a player to run a team.
"I pride myself on running a team," he said. "It's something that comes naturally to me."
DeSantis added that his outside shot is accurate from 22-25 feet and in high school he was a big scorer - 29 points a game.
"A player of my size, if he's going to play in college and the pros, has to do a lot more than just shoot," he said. "I'm confident I can make the team, but I don't take anything for granted."
Parker is a big shooting guard "with some ball-handling ability," according to Ferry. "He's strong, a good shooter and a good scorer."
Parker averaged 20.3 points a game last season and shot 57.9 percent from the field. Although he is effective from 15-20 feet, Parker said he did much of his scoring from "in closer.
"My role was to score, but I am second in career assists at Iowa State," Parker said.
"I saw the Bullets a lot on television and I heard they needed guards. I could see they were having some trouble back there against Seattle. They are still a great team, though, and I'm glad they drafted me."
By taking guards with his first two picks, and eight of the 10 choices overall, Ferry was expressing some concern over his present guards. Last season's starters, Tom Henderson and Kevin Grevey are free agents and the Bullets may lose them.
The other guards on the roster are Phil Chenier, Charles Johnson, Larry Wright and Roger Phegley.
The draft was conducted by telephone to the 22 NBA cities. Bullet scout Bill Gardiner was in New York relaying Ferry's instructions.
Bernie Bickerstaff, the assistant coach, and Malovic were present at Capital Centre with Ferry. Coach Dick Motta was at his basketball camp in Montana.
Other Bullet choices included 6-1 guard Marshall Ashford of Virginia Tech; Jeoffre Conrad Whisenton, a 6-5 guard from Fisk; Jo Jo Walters, a 6-6 guard from Manhattan, and Gary Hooker, a 6-5 guard from Murray State.
Former Eastern High and Maryland Player James (Turk) Tillman, who transferred to Eastern Kentucky, was drafted by Milwaukee in the fifth round as a "future".
Other local players drafted were Matt White, of Bethesda and Penn, who went to Portland in the fifth round; Steve Castellan of St. Anselm's and Virginia, to Boston in the eighth round; Brian Magid of George Washington, to Indiana in the eighth round as a junior elibible, and Kevin Sinnett of St. John's and Navy, to Boston in the ninth round. CAPTION: Picture 1, Among top choices in NBA draft, Michigan State's Gregory Kelser; Picture 2, San Francisco's Bill Cartwight; Picture 3, Michigan State's Earvin Johnson (with ball), the first player chosen. by APand UPI; Picture 4, Joe DeSantis