By Ryan Feldman
Monday, June 8, 2009
1. LA CLIPPERS: Blake Griffin 6-10 248 PF So. Oklahoma
This pick doesn't need much explanation. The Clippers have already stated that they will select Griffin with the first pick. Griffin is the only player in this draft that nobody really has doubts about.
2. MEMPHIS: Hasheem Thabeet 7-2 267 C Jr. UConn
Ricky Rubio has said that he doesn't want to play in Memphis. Because of his financial situation with his Spanish team, he really holds the power. If Rubio doesn't want to play in Memphis, what's the point in drafting him? Plus, O.J. Mayo wants to play point guard, so drafting Rubio would only complicate things. Instead, the Grizzlies can select a 7-foot-2 center with great defensive ability. Thabeet may be limited offensively, but he will immediately be able to change games defensively.
3. OKLAHOMA CITY: James Harden 6-5 222 SG So. Arizona State
This pick will come down to Ricky Rubio and Harden. The Thunder drafted their point guard last year with Russell Westbrook, so drafting Rubio doesn't really make sense. If they were to play both of them together, neither of the two can shoot from outside, so it wouldn't be an effective backcourt. With Harden, Kevin Durant gets a scoring partner with tons of potential. Westbrook, Harden and Durant would form a sensational, young trio.
4. SACRAMENTO: Ricky Rubio 6-3 180 PG DKV Joventut, Spain
If Rubio is indeed on the board here, there won't be any deliberating by the Kings. They need a point guard and Rubio said he wouldn't mind playing in Sacramento. The Kings get their point guard of the future and it's a great value pick.
5. WASHINGTON: Stephen Curry 6-3 181 PG/SG Jr. Davidson
This is where the Draft really starts. The Wizards will have to choose here between Curry, Tyreke Evans and Jordan Hill. The Wizards are ready to win right now, so they need a player who can step in right away and contribute. Of those three players, Curry is the most NBA-ready. He can team with Gilbert Arenas in the backcourt, where either of the two can run the point or play off the ball. Between Curry, Arenas and Antawn Jamison, the Wizards will be able to drain jumpers all day.
6. MINNESOTA: Tyreke Evans 6-5 221 PG/SG Fr. Memphis
If James Harden were to slip to this spot, the T-Wolves would definitely take him. But with Harden off the board, Minnesota would choose between Evans and DeMar DeRozan. Evans provides Minnesota with lots of versatility. He can play the point with Randy Foye playing off the ball, or vice versa. Evans has great size for a point guard, and good enough size to match up with most shooting guards. The T-Wolves have a young, rebuilding team and Evans would fit in well there, but is good enough to contribute as a rookie.
7. GOLDEN STATE: Terrence Williams 6-6 213 SG/SF Sr. Louisville
The Warriors love versatility and guys who can run. This pick would come down to Williams, Jordan Hill, Brandon Jennings and Jonny Flynn. But of those players, Williams provides the Warriors with the most versatility. He can play either wing position and he can even handle the ball. As a senior at Louisville, Williams was the team's best passer. He is very strong and athletic, and is a terrific defender, making him a good fit for Golden State.
8. NEW YORK: Jordan Hill 6-10 232 PF Jr. Arizona
If Stephen Curry is off the board, this pick by the Knicks should be interesting. However, there are some good choices available at this spot. The choice would come down to Hill, DeMar DeRozan and Jonny Flynn. The return of David Lee is uncertain, so the opportunity to draft a quality big man who can play either power forward or center is tough to pass up. It's tough to find big men who can run up and down the court in Mike D'Antoni's fast-paced offense, and Hill is a big man who can do that.
9. TORONTO: DeMar DeRozan 6-6 211 SG/SF Fr. USC
The Raptors need a wing player who can penetrate and get to the rim. With DeRozan still on the board, he would be a wise choice. The pick would come down to DeRozan and Gerald Henderson. Either one could be a reincarnation of Vince Carter, something Toronto fans would like to see.
10. MILWAUKEE: Jrue Holiday 6-4 199 PG/SG Fr.
The Bucks will draft a point guard, and this pick will come down to Holiday and Jonny Flynn. The Bucks like to draft big, long players, so Holiday fits that mold. He needs time to develop, but so do the Bucks.
11. NEW JERSEY: Earl Clark 6-10 226 SF/PF Jr. Louisville
The Nets will have a lot of choices here, but the pick would likely come down to Clark, DeJuan Blair, James Johnson, Jonny Flynn and Ty Lawson. Devin Harris said he wants the Nets to draft a point guard to back him up or enable him to play off the ball, but the Nets could always do that by making a trade later in the first round. Instead, they can draft Clark, a long, versatile New Jersey native who can play either forward spot.
12. CHARLOTTE: Gerald Henderson 6-5 215 SG Jr. Duke
The Bobcats' needs are in their backcourt, and they love to draft players from big colleges that they can market to the college basketball fans in North Carolina. They drafted a point guard last year (D.J. Augustin), so it's unlikely they would take another point guard. This pick would likely come down to former high school teammates Henderson and Wayne Ellington, but it will be tough for the Bobcats to pass up on Henderson if he is available.
13. INDIANA: Jonny Flynn 6-0 196 PG So. Syracuse
The Pacers have multiple needs, but they would like to find their future point guard in this draft. The choice would come down to Flynn, Jeff Teague and Eric Maynor, but Flynn is the consensus better prospect of the three. His athleticism, quickness, court vision and leadership makes him an intriguing prospect. This would also be a great value pick, as many people see Flynn as a top-10 pick.
14. PHOENIX: DeJuan Blair 6-6 277 PF So. Pittsburgh
Over the last few years, with Steve Kerr at the helm, the Suns have been drafting tough, strong, defensive-minded players. Blair would fit in well with that trend. This pick would come down to Blair, James Johnson and Chase Budinger, but Blair would be the strong favorite if he's still on the board. With Blair, Robin Lopez, Shaquille O'neal and Amare Stoudemire, the Suns would have an imposing frontcourt.
15. DETROIT: James Johnson 6-8 257 SF/PF So. Wake Forest
The Pistons are in complete rebuilding mode. Their needs are in the frontcourt, but since they have multiple needs, a versatile frontcourt player would be ideal, so this pick will be between Johnson, Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers and B.J. Mullens. Either of these players could easily be selected here, but Johnson and Summers are the most-NBA ready of the four, and Johnson is a slightly better prospect.
16. CHICAGO: Wayne Ellington 6-5 202 SG Jr. North Carolina
The Bulls need a shooting guard to replace Ben Gordon, who is unlikely to be in Chicago next season. They could also use a center, so B.J. Mullens is a possibility. The Bulls like to draft college winners, such as Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich. Given this trend, Ellington and UNC teammate Tyler Hansbrough would be the likely choices, but Ellington fits the Bulls' needs.