This is a rather long mock draft, so let's just jump right in.
1. Sacramento Kings - Oklahoma F Blake Griffin
He’ll be treated and paid like a "king" in Sacramento, but unfortunately, he’ll have to play as one, too.
2. Los Angeles Clippers - Connecticut C Hasheem Thabeet
The Clippers suck at interior defense and rebounding. Thabeet doesn’t.
3. Washington Wizards - Arizona F Jordan Hill
I’m sure President Barack Obama will have some SportsCenter mock draft himself, but he probably won’t select a player for Washington from a red state, especially John McCain’s.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder - Arizona State G James Harden
Harden kept his beard growing as his Sun Devils won games this season. Guess if he’s drafted by Oklahoma City, he’ll be clean-shaven for a long, long while (though the Thunder will be a solid team in the coming years).
5. Minnesota Timberwolves - North Carolina G Ty Lawson
If Minnesota is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," then the Wolves appear to have built their foundation in the middle of one; their players seem more fragile than a celebutante after 14 mai-tais. Adding another “Mr. Glass” in Lawson could exponentially increase the "this-squadron-will-self-destruct-in-15-seconds" potential, but, should they all stay healthy, their team could sneak up on you like HIV*.
* courtesy of John Gorman, check out his archive here
6. Memphis Grizzlies - Arizona G/F Chase Budinger
Chase, seriously, check this out, since I’ve got you heading to Memphis. Who knows, you may enjoy it more than playing for the Grizzlies.
7. Golden State Warriors - Louisville F Earl Clark
Clark’s shot selection is frequently poor, but he has tremendous upside. Yep, definitely a fit in Golden State.
8. New York Knicks - USC G Demar DeRozan
The Knicks had the No. 6 pick a year ago and wanted a USC freshman guard. Now, they get their "hot dog," just with less Mayo.
9. Toronto Raptors - Duke G Gerald Henderson
Figures that a Duke guard will play in another country. But wait, this one did make it as an NBA player?
10. Milwaukee Bucks - Memphis G Tyreke Evans
Evans earned McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball Game MVP honors a little over a year ago, and it was at the Bradley Center, the Bucks’ home court. Why not continue the hot streak in that building 41 times a year?
11. New Jersey Nets - Lottomatica Roma G Brandon Jennings
I’m being very generous to you, Brandon, placing you this high in the draft. But remember: If you make another big mistake (similar to not going to Arizona), you’re only about 14 hours away from some Italian league...again.
12. Indiana Pacers - Iowa State F Craig Brackins
I know what you’re thinking: ”Who the heck is this? I’ve never seen him on national TV.”
By the same token, can’t you say the same thing about the 2008-09 Pacers?
13. Charlotte Bobcats - Georgetown F Greg Monroe
Maybe, just maybe, Charlotte finally drafts that top-notch post partner that Emeka Okafor needs. Or, more than likely, they take yet another point guard or small forward prospect.
14. Detroit Pistons - Pittsburgh F Sam Young
The talk all season about Pittsburgh was its toughness. Young is tough, so why shouldn't he go to one of the traditionally tougher franchises in NBA history? Just makes sense.
15. Chicago Bulls - North Carolina G Wayne Ellington
If you know some history, you know the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition was in Chicago, and that tons of bricks were put up to build it. Ellington will help eliminate some of those bricks that have been dropping in the Windy City in the 21st century.
16. Philadelphia Sixers - Davidson G Stephen Curry
College basketball fans love Stephen Curry, but if he does indeed go to Philly, making 6-of-17 shots from the floor against the big boys won’t have fans sending any praise his way. It’ll probably be popcorn or beer.
17. Phoenix Suns - Wake Forest F Al-Farouq Aminu
Welcome to Phoenix, Al-Farouq, where your shot-blocking and defensive tools will more than likely become "liabilities."
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Miami) - Wake Forest F James Johnson
Another Demon Deacon forward in the first round. Seems Wake players understand the first round, and first round only.
19. Atlanta Hawks - Syracuse G Jonny Flynn
Joking aside, I think this would be an excellent fit.
20. Dallas Mavericks - Louisville G Terrence Williams
The last time Dallas made a solid first-round pick was 2003, when Josh Howard became a Maverick. This pick would mirror that one, especially since Williams’ game is comparable to Howard’s. The only differences are Williams respects "The Star-Spangled Banner" and only gets high by way of his vertical jump.
21. Utah Jazz - Virginia Commonwealth G Eric Maynor
Among NBA point guards, Utah's Deron Williams ranks third in minutes per game this season. Like The Beatles, he "needs somebody, not just anybody, to help him out when he’s feeling a little down." Maynor would be a solid backup.
22. New Orleans Hornets - Wake Forest G Jeff Teague
Teague goes to The Big Easy, where it won’t be so "easy" for him to get sufficient playing time.
23. Portland Trailblazers - Pittsburgh F DeJuan Blair
This really fills a crucial need for the Blazers. The franchise has been struggling to fill the short, fat guy role since the departure of Zach Randolph.
24. Sacramento Kings (via Houston) - UCLA G Darren Collison
The Kings seriously need to add some point guard depth. Now, Collison has proven he’s abysmal in big games, but that’s OK with the Maloof brothers, since the team they own won’t be playing in any games of significance.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via San Antonio) - Ohio State C BJ Mullens
After really improving in the second half of the season, the Thunder must make a move that will help in their efforts to run Kevin Durant out of town after his rookie contract expires. This pick would would be a huge step in that direction.
26. Chicago Bulls (via Denver) - Georgia Tech F Gani Lawal
Between Lawal and Tyrus Thomas, the Bulls would have the league’s best rotation of offensively unskilled and overdrafted power forwards.
27. Memphis Grizzlies (via Orlando) - Villanova F Dante Cunningham
What can I say, Memphis has a thing for scrawny power forwards from the Big East.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Boston) - Georgetown F DaJuan Summers
Raising the number of people named “DaJuan” in the state of Minnesota to one.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers - North Carolina F Tyler Hansbrough
Huge move here in the Cavs’ attempt to keep LeBron James. The team is sending a big message about its commitment to winning championships by a acquiring a spastic forward to dance like Mark Madsen at title celebrations.
30. Los Angeles Lakers - Connecticut G A.J. Price
Look for this new Windows commercial: After a day of Beverly Hills shopping, A.J. gets a few fully loaded MacBooks and gets to keep all of his $1,000.
- Draft order is based on how I think the regular-season records end and which teams have the best chance of landing top picks.
- I left out European players, because their contracts are apparently as confused as an unsolved Rubik’s Cube.
- This is all assuming current declarations stand and who I think will declare will (for instance, Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson said he’s returning to UK, but if he does end up making the jump, he’d be a lottery pick, and the same thing goes for a lot of players on the fence).
- The selections with "(via [team])" denotes a trade. If you're curious as to why certain teams get another team's pick, you can research that yourself.
Hope this was enjoyable.