Three undergraduate eligibles -- James Worthy of North Carolina, Terry Cummings of De Paul and Dominique Wilkins of Georgia -- are expected to be the first players picked in Tuesday's National Basketball Association draft.
Most scouts say this draft is thin at center, fair at guard and strong at forward, but there is definitely something there for everyone.
The world champion Los Angeles Lakers, by virtue of their 1980 trade of Don Ford to Cleveland for Butch Lee and the winning of a coin flip with San Diego last month, will have the first pick for the second time in four years.
The last time they were in this position, in 1979, they took Earvin (Magic) Johnson, who had just finished his sophomore season at Michigan State. This time they are leaning toward Worthy, a multitalented 6-foot-9 forward, or Wilkins, a 6-7 leaper from Georgia who many scouts feel is the most exciting player in the draft.
The Lakers like Worthy because he can play either forward position. Kurt Rambis, their starting power forward, is not a scorer. His backup, Bob McAdoo, will be 31 in September, and Mitch Kupchak is expected to miss all of next season recovering from a leg injury. Small forward Jamaal Wilkes is an all-star, but he is 30.
San Diego, the worst team in the Western Conference this past season, is expected to make Cummings the second pick. The 6-10 Cummings can play both center and forward. He was 12th in the nation in scoring (22.3) and ninth in rebounding (11.9) this season.
Utah, with the third pick overall, will then probably be left with either Worthy or Wilkins.
The Jazz has turned down a number of tempting offers for that pick, reportedly including a Dennis Johnson-Rich Kelley deal from Phoenix.
The Suns since have traded Kelley to Denver for a first-round pick.
The Bullets don't have a first-round pick, having traded it to Detroit for Kevin Porter in 1979. But they do have three second-round picks: the 25th, 41st and 44th picks overall, all coming in trades. They dealt their own second-round pick, the 35th pick overall, to Golden State last year for John Lucas.
They got the 25th pick from San Diego for Steve Malovic; the 41st pick from San Antonio for Dave Corzine, and the 44th pick from Los Angeles for Kupchak.
"There are going to be some good players still there when we pick," Bullet General Manager Bob Ferry said. "I'm just hoping we can get the right one."
Ferry was straightforward about what the Bullets want: shooters. "We're looking for scoring," he said. "That's what we need and if we can't draft it, then we'll go for anyone who we think will improve us in any area."
Two players with scoring potential who the Bullets might have a shot at with the 25th pick are Ricky Pierce of Rice, a 6-5 forward who averaged 26.8 points last season, and Terry Teagle, a 6-5 guard/forward from Baylor who averaged 22.2 points.
The Bullets are in much better shape for the 1983 draft. They have two first-round picks (their own and Los Angeles' in the Kupchak deal) and three second-round picks.
Ferry said he would trade some of those future picks "if it would improve us. We're talking to a lot of teams now about a lot of things," he added, "but right now I wouldn't anticipate anything big happening."
Three teams have two first-round picks in Tuesday's draft -- Kansas City, New Jersey and Detroit. Seattle and San Antonio also do not have first-round picks.
Even with centers Ralph Sampson, Sam Bowie and Patrick Ewing deciding to remain in college, undergraduate eligibles should dominate the draft. In addition to Worthy, Cummings and Wilkins, San Francisco guard Quintin Dailey, Ohio State forward Clark Kellogg, Texas center LaSalle Thompson and Wichita State forward Cliff Levingston are considered high first-round picks.
If a team is looking for scorers, Boston College guard John Bagley, Minnesota guard Trent Tucker and California-Irvine forward Kevin Magee could fill the bill.
Magee 6-7 1/2, has a career average of 26.3 points and 12.3 rebounds and is a a 66 percent career shooter. Last season he became the first player in NCAA Division I history to finish in the top 10 twice in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.
The defensive specialists available are 6-4 Lester (the Molester) Conner from Oregon State and 6-5 Paul Pressey of Tulsa.
Among the local players in the draft, guard Eric (Sleepy) Floyd of Georgetown is expected to go in the first round and forward Dale Solomon of Virginia Tech also could go early. Eric Smith of Georgetown could go anywhere from late first round to third round.
Without a first-round pick, the Bullets' best chance at improvement could be through a trade or the free agent market.
Moses Malone, the top free agent, is priced out of the Bullets' market, but they might have a chance to get Detroit's John Long, who would be the type of big shooting guard they have been seeking.
Long averaged 21.9 points a game last season.
"The free agent market is a possibility," Ferry said, "but unless we could work out some type of trade-type deal for the free agent I don't think that's the way we would go."