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Magic makes it Vaughn

A couple of years ago, thousands milled around the Orlando Arena, eagerly awaiting the broadcast of the NBA draft and the announcement of the Magic's newest player.

Owning the No. 1 pick generates that kind of excitement.

On Wednesday night, Magic fans were no where to be found. Instead, a sparse crowd came to watch the local professional roller hockey team, the Rollergators.

Owning the No. 25 pick generates that kind of excitement.

But despite the absence of festivities, the Magic was absolutely giddy about landing Memphis power forward David Vaughn in the first round of the draft, held at Toronto's SkyDome.

Maryland power forward Joe Smith, the consensus player of the year last season, was the first pick overall by Golden State, which needed someone to replace former No. 1 and 1994 rookie of the year, Chris Webber.

"It's a dream come true," Smith told TNT after his selection was announced by NBA commissioner David Stern. "I worked very hard for it. It's a great accomplishment for myself."

Magic vice president John Gabriel said Vaughn will help Orlando meet its goal of adding "some shot blocking, rebounding, some size.

"We could do that at a variety of positions, backup 5 or backup 4 or even at small forward," Gabriel said. "But the ultimate was to fill it with someone who could play power forward and some backup 5. We feel with our selection of David Vaughn we really filled both of those."

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Vaughn, a former teammate of Magic point guard Anfernee Hardaway, should be able to back up Horace Grant as well as help spell All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal.

The Magic was vulnerable at both spots, with veteran Jeff Turner _ a solid perimeter shooter but not a rebounder or shot blocker _ the best reserve power forward and assistant coach Tree Rollins, who just turned 40, the sole backup center on the active roster much of the season.

"Orlando was a great situation for me," Vaughn said. "I didn't want to play anywhere else in the league."

As the Magic did with Hardaway, it asked Vaughn to come back to Orlando on Wednesday afternoon for another workout.

"That helped us quite a bit," Gabriel said.

"The first workout I had I didn't show what I really could do," Vaughn said. "I just tired to do what I could do, block shots play defense, work hard around the basket an take the ball to the basket."

"It's a dream come true," Smith told TNT after his selection was announced by NBA commissioner David Stern. "I worked very hard for it. It's a great accomplishment for myself."

The Clippers, perennial lottery losers with a string of busts, surprised many by taking Alabama power forward Antonio McDyess with the No. 2 pick and bypassing North Carolina guard/forward Jerry Stackhouse. They later dealt McDyess and seldom-used guard Randy Woods to Denver for forward Rodney Rogers and the rights to No. 15 pick Brent Barry.

Stackhouse was ecstatic to be the third pick, going to Philadelphia to play for coach John Lucas. His Tarheel teammate, power forward/center Rasheed Wallace, went next, to Washington. For the first time in NBA history, four underclassmen went in the top four. All were also sophomores, another first.

High school phenom Kevin Garnett, trying to join an elite group of players _ Moses Malone, Darryl Dawkins and Bill Willoughby _ to go straight from their prom to the pros, was the fifth pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"One reason I think I'm ready is because I work so hard," said Garnett, a 6-10, 220 pound forward.

Expansion Vancouver Grizzlies then chose Oklahoma State center Bryant Reeves, while the Toronto Raptors followed with Arizona's Damon Stoudamire.

That pick all but assures the Raptors will trade former Chicago All-Star B.J. Armstrong, their first pick in Saturday's expansion draft, who has reportedly been coveted by Charlotte and Washington.

Portland, which dealt three picks, including No. 18 and 19, to Detroit, grabbed undersized, but sharpshooting Michigan State guard Shawn Respert. The Trail Blazers later sent the rights to Respert to Milwaukee for the rights to its first pick, No. 11, Ohio power forward Gary Trent, and one of its two first-round picks next season.

UCLA's Ed O'Bannon, the Final Four MVP whose reconstructed left knee raised a red flag for some clubs, then went ninth to New Jersey.

The Miami Heat picked TCU power forward Kurt Thomas, who was just the third player to lead NCAA Division I colleges in scoring and rebounding in the same season.

Milwaukee added to its frontcourt with Trent, and Dallas did likewise with Duke power forward/center Cherokee Parks. The Sacramento Kings, the last of the lottery teams, took Arkansas power forward Corliss Williamson.

Although he didn't visit Cleveland, Florida State guard Bob Sura was surprised but happy to be picked by the Cavs with the 17th pick. The Pistons took Wyoming shot-blocking forward Theo Ratliff then Wake Forest point guard Randolph Childress with back-to-back choices. Childress is already rumored to be sent to Portland for veteran power forward Otis Thorpe as part of a pre-arranged deal.

Up next:Round 1