The NBA Draft takes place Thursday, beginning at 7:00 p.m. eastern time.
By Ryan Feldman
Thursday, June 25, 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: Ricky Rubio 6-5 180 PG DKV Joventut, Spain
The Thunder are also considering James Harden and Stephen Curry here, but Rubio is too valuable to pass on. They can team him up with Russell Westbrook or try to trade him. If they aren't able to trade him, it won't be such a bad thing, as they will then have two quality point guards with Rubio and Russell Westbrook and they could try to play them together. But chances are that the Thunder will be able to trade Rubio and get extra draft picks or a quality veteran player or a combination of the two in return.
4. SACRAMENTO: Jonny Flynn 6-0 196 PG So. Syracuse
The Kings need a point guard, and with Rubio off the board they will be choosing between Flynn and Tyreke Evans. They need a point guard who can help them out immediately, and Flynn is more NBA-ready at point guard than Evans is.
5. MINNESOTA: James Harden 6-5 222 SG So. Arizona State
After Minnesota's trade with the Wizards, they now have consecutive picks at No. 5 and No. 6. With Randy Foye gone, they need a point guard and a shooting guard. Harden is the best player available, so it's unlikely that the Wolves would pass on him with both picks.
6. MINNESOTA: Stephen Curry 6-3 181 PG/SG Davidson
The Wolves are very high on Curry and he would pair nicely with James Harden in a young backcourt where both players could contribute immediately. They may be higher on Tyreke Evans, but if they draft Harden they would be better off with Curry over Evans.
7. GOLDEN STATE: Jordan Hill 6-10 232 PF Jr. Arizona
With Stephen Curry off the board, it will make the Warriors' decision much easier. Hill can come in and play center in Golden State. Not many big men can fit the Warriors' style, but Hill can because he can run and he's quite athletic for his size.
8. NEW YORK: Tyreke Evans 6-5 221 PG/SG Fr. Memphis
Stephen Curry is who the Knicks want, but if he is gone Tyreke Evans won't be too bad of a pick. Evans can play either guard spot offensively and defensively. He has terrific size for a point guard and he knows how to get to the rim.
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. UCLA
The Bucks will draft a point guard, and this pick would come down to Holiday and Jonny Flynn, but with Flynn off the board it's an easy choice. 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: Ty Lawson 6-0 199 PG Jr. North Carolina
The Nets are perhaps the toughest team to predict. They have a long list of players they are considering and they haven't given much indication of who it might be. Devin Harris endorsed the idea of the Nets drafting another point guard, and with so many to choose from there's a good chance that's what the Nets do. Lawson has been rising on teams' draft boards lately and would be a very likely choice at No. 11.
12. CHARLOTTE: Terrence Williams 6-6 213 SG/SF Sr. Louisville
The Bobcats were down to Williams and Gerald Henderson, and the two worked out against each other this week. Considering the fact that Williams cancelled his workout with the Bulls the next day and has said publicly that he thinks he'll be going to either New Jersey or Charlotte, it's very probable that he gets picked here.
13. INDIANA: DeJuan Blair 6-6 277 PF So. Pittsburgh
After the Nets, the Pacers are probably the toughest team to predict in the top 20. It seems that the Pacers need a point guard, but they may be content with T.J. Ford and Travis Diener, along with Jarrett Jack, who is a free agent. If this is the case, they will look to improve their frontcourt, leaving the decision between Blair, Tyler Hansbrough and James Johnson.
14. PHOENIX: Earl Clark 6-10 226 SF/PF Jr. Louisville
The Suns are looking for a long, versatile small forward and appear to be choosing between Clark and Austin Daye. Clark is incredibly stronger and more NBA-ready than Daye. He can play inside, rebound well, and shoot from 18-20 feet.
15. DETROIT: BJ Mullens 7-1 258 C Fr. Ohio State
Did the Pistons really give Mullens a promise? We'll find out on Thursday, but my instincts and sources tell me that they did. They could use a true center, as they haven't really had one in a long time. The Pistons are rebuilding, so Mullens would have ample time to develop.
16. CHICAGO: Gerald Henderson 6-5 215 SG Jr. Duke
The Bulls have been looking at big men because it seemed that Henderson would go to the Bobcats, but if he is available the Bulls can't pass on him. Henderson can replace Ben Gordon as the future shooting guard in Chicago. He is a superior athlete with an improving jumpshot and terrific genes.
17. PHILADELPHIA: Brandon Jennings 6-2 170 PG Lottomatica Roma, Italy
Jennings may not even be on the Sixers' draft board, but if he slips this far, which seems very likely at this point, how could Philly pass on him? The Sixers need a point guard but don't seem overly impressed with Jeff Teague, Eric Maynor and Ty Lawson, who would already be off the board. Jennings has incredible potential and would be a great value pick and a great fit for the Sixers.
18. MINNESOTA: Austin Daye 6-10 192 SF So. Gonzaga
Daye confirmed that he has received a top 20 guarantee, but downplayed the significance of it. At a later workout, he said that he believes his range is late lottery to 17 or 18. The Sixers aren't going to take him at 17, but the Timberwolves certainly like big-name players with big-time potential, and that's what Daye is. He would fit in well on a young team like Minnesota, where he will have plenty of time to develop but will also get some playing time as a rookie.
19. ATLANTA: Tyler Hansbrough 6-9 234 PF Sr. North Carolina
The Hawks could use a new point guard, but they appear to be leaning towards a tough big man like Hansbrough. The fact that Atlanta likes to draft winners makes it more likely that they would take Hansbrough. He could step in at power forward and allow Josh Smith to play small forward and Al Horford to play center.
20. UTAH: James Johnson 6-8 257 SF/PF So. Wake Forest
Like they have done many times in the past, the Jazz will look to draft a physical low post player. Johnson is the best of that type available. As a bonus, Johnson can play small forward as well.
21. NEW ORLEANS: Eric Maynor 6-3 164 PG Sr. VCU
The Hornets are pretty set at point guard with Chris Paul, but they have no backup. They will look for a good value pick at point guard, and Maynor is terrific value at No. 21. Because of his height, he could also play alongside Paul.