There will be some NBA General Manager’s falling asleep tonight with dreams of only one thing: The first pick in this year’s NBA Draft. That determination will be made tomorrow night at the annual Draft Lottery. And of course, the lucky recipient of the top pick will then be entitled the opportunity to draft Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, who’s been dubbed the best player available by almost every draft expert in the country.
The 6'10" Griffin was a dominating force this past season and was undoubtedly the best player in the nation. Competing in the Big 12 Conference, he had plenty of opportunity for solid competition and against said competition had 30 double-doubles, which was one short of the all-time NCAA record.
Inside the paint he was a man possessed, unleashing an explosiveness rarely seen on the college level. His powerhouse inside game is reminiscent of Amare Stoudemire, maybe even better. Though his outside shot will need to improve, Griffin displayed all the tools necessary to excel at the next level and will be on the mind of every lottery team as the ping pong balls bounce tomorrow night.
If for some crazy reason Griffin isn’t chosen first overall, the following players could possibly be chosen instead:
Ricky Rubio – Rubio is a 6'3" point guard who plays in the Euroleague and is the one person that could possibly be chosen over Griffin. At 18 years old, Rubio is super-young but super-talented and mature.
Scouts have drooled over his cool-headedness, and of course his talent. He’s a legitimate team player and works to make his teammates better. Could be a Rajon Rondo type, but with the ability to score. The Euroleague is regarded as the best professional basketball organization outside the NBA so Rubio has certainly gained valuable experience playing there.
Hasheem Thabeet – Thabeet proved to be a monster this past year (his Junior season) and could possibly go number 1, but not likely. Nevertheless, at 7'3", Thabeet is sure to make an impact wherever he goes.
He averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds last year for Connecticut and played solid defensively blocking and altering shots. He only started playing the game when he was fifteen years old, so he is still a little raw, but his height is one thing that can’t be taught.
Jordan Hill – Hill is ranked high on every scout’s list, likely for his potential more so than his immediate impact. He’s a legit big-man at 6'10" who likes to mix it up on the inside. He’s a solid defender and athletic. He’ll need to improve his offensive skills and teams are banking on his competitiveness to fuel that fire to get better and become a star
James Harden – Harden is a crafty, polished-looking shooting guard who averaged 20 points, five rebounds and four assists as a Sophomore this past season. He likely won’t go higher than the third pick, but he deserves mention as one of the very best available players.
Harden was picked as an All-American and helped Arizona St. make it in the NCAA Tournament. He’s a good shooter, sees the court well and isn’t afraid to get in with the tall trees to grab a rebound. He looks to have the ability to make a team better whether it’s through scoring or intangibles.
There are fourteen teams hoping for the top spot tomorrow night. The Sacramento Kings have the highest likelihood of receiving the first pick with the Washington Wizards behind them. Their history may be forever altered with the fortunes of the always suspense-filled lotto. For whoever lands the coveted top pick will have the first crack at Griffin and high hopes for the seasons ahead.