Now that the ping pong balls have been selected, we can finally start to mock up the 2009 NBA Draft.
The talent pool isn’t as thin as some are saying, it’s just heavy on point guards and light on posts.
One interesting thing about this year’s draft is that many of the top teams in the NBA have already traded away their first-round picks, and with good value late in the round, they may want them back.
Teaming up with Eric Gordon, Griffin brings some stability to one of the most irritating franchises in the NBA.
Some compare Griffin to Carlos Boozer, which I think is an accurate depiction of his work ethic and intensity, but it doesn't do the former McDonald's Slam Dunk Champion justice.
Griffin's game is much closer to Amar'e Stoudemire. He can put the ball on the floor, run the break, and finish in traffic with a jump from outside the key.
The class of 2008 had many good prospects but none were at the level of Blake Griffin.
Second year guard Mike Conley came on strong after the All-Star break (14.4 PPG, 5.6 APG, 1.7 SPG) diminishing the demand for a new point man in Memphis.
Thabeet will help bulk the Gizz's developing front line of Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, and Hakeem Warrick—instantly providing a defensive presence.
The former Huskie has a very good work ethic and he wants to be the next dominant defensive center in the NBA. His offense is still raw but he has a developing jumper and he will not hold Memphis back offensively.
Teams could do whatever they wanted to the Grizz and Thabeet will make opponents think twice before entering the lane.
Without another elite post player Oklahoma City must take the best player on the board.
The Thunder drafted Russell Westbrook last year, anticipating he would be the franchise's point guard of the future but he was always a 2 playing the 1.
Rubio will fit in nicely with the up-tempo Thunder, creating open opportunities for his teammates in the half court. Although he is young, Rubio is very experienced and he is comfortable playing with star caliber players.
Rubio is not complete, he still needs to find his shots and develop a three ball as well as add size, but he is ready to play over 20 minutes per night easily.
The gap between Rubio and Jennings is much closer than people think, and Jennings may actually be a better fit in OKC.
With the pick the Kings are getting an amazing basketball player who missed out on the college spotlight due to poor grades--fleeing to Italy where he could develop in a professional setting.
Although he is a very capable scorer from inside-and-out, Jennings is dedicating himself to being a pass-first point guard.
As Jennings begins to workout more in America and compete against the other prospects don't be surprised if he leap frogs Rubio, he's that good.
Hate to say it, but Washington must move forward under the assumption that Gilbert Arenas may never be the player he once was. Harden is more than a backup plan, however.
Assuming Arenas starts the year healthy, Harden is ready to start at the shooting-guard slot. He will get plenty of open looks from the wing and he has the ability to create shots for himself.
Harden is a very solid defender who has a knack for stealing the balls. He has already started to lose weight before the draft which means he will be lean and mean for the season.
With Arenas the Wiz will be back in the playoffs, without him Harden will be able to soften the blow and help win a few more games.
With three picks in the first round Minnesota can afford to pass on a point guard and draft the player with the most potential in the draft.
Out of high school many were comparing DeRozan to Kobe Bryant, he is not as skill of a perimeter shooter but he shares a very similar body type, athleticism, and killer instinct.
DeRozen really came on towards the end of the year at USC and he stood tall towards the end of games, asserting himself to score points.
There will be some learning curve with DeRozan but in a few years he could be one of the most feared wings in the NBA.
It looks like Baron Davis may be headed back to East Bay and the Warriors have a roster full of wings, making Hill a solid selection.
I am not high on Hill because I think he is limited offensively but he plays with a lot energy and is really benefiting from the lack of posts.
In the 2007-08 season Hill was outshined in games against Stanford by the Lopez brothers, and UCLA by Kevin Love. He can block shots and is above-average on the break, but don't expect him to carry your team in the half court.
It seems too good to be true, but Curry is a great fit in New York. Then again, Mike D'Antoni passed on Eric Gordon last year, another great fit, which means Curry isn't a lock.
We all know about Curry's shooting ability, as well as his NBA pedigree. What we don't know is how Curry will adapt to playing against NBA caliber defenders every night.
This season he did show he can run the point, and while he is undersized at the 2, if Nate Robinson can play it, so can Curry.
The Knicks are a true wild card in the draft, but if they are looking to sway LeBron James in 2010 a guy like Curry on the wing could really help.
In Williams Toronto is drafting the best athlete in the draft.
There are some talented young players on the board but because of his experience, ability to play multiple positions and his ability to fill up the stat sheet he will get the nod here.
The Pre-Draft Camp should be the time where buzz about Williams heats up, elevating him into the lottery.
Toronto can start him at shooting guard or small forward and run him at point when Jose Calderon comes out.
Williams was not the best shooter in college but he was ever improving and his style of play translates much better to the NBA.
With all of the injuries the Bucks had it's difficult to determine where their problems really lie but both guard positions struggled at times during the year.
Holiday was a point guard prospect coming out of high school who played the two in college. He will be able to play either in the NBA but Holiday is best with the ball in his hand.
At UCLA, Holiday played second fiddle to Daren Collision which was a mistake because Holiday is much better at attacking a defense.
Holiday does need to add some size but he plays very strong and he is good at drawing the and-one.
New Jersey needs a forward and they are getting one of the most diverse prospects in the draft.
Clark can shoot the J, even the three, and he has the ability to put the ball on the floor making him a constant mismatch.
He didn't always display it at Louisville but Clark is a very good athlete who can rise above the rim and finish in traffic.
The Nets should feel lucky to get a player like Clark at 11.
The 12th pick would be considered a slip for Evans but he has some holes in his game so it wouldn't be a surprise.
The negatives are that he was awful from behind the arc and only decent at the line.
On the bright side Evans is a very good one-on-one scorer and his amazing length makes him a good defensive matchup.
While Evans is a competitive athlete, he does not stand out like some of the others which will also depreciate his stock.
Indiana runs one of the most high-octane offenses in the NBA and the addition Lawson gives them a point guard who can not only penetrate but more importantly shoot the three.
Lawson isn't a slouch defensively either and the Pacers could use help there as well.
T.J. Ford is a good player but his health is always a concern and he is simply not capable of facilitating offense from anywhere on the court.
The deep ball and his experience make Lawson the pick over the other point guards on the board.
Steve Nash is not dead yet but there is a strong possibility he won't finish his career in Phoenix. Flynn can backup Nash and even play alongside him in certain situations.
It's not a matter of if teams want Flynn after the grit he showed in the Big East Tournament it's just a matter of where he will go.
Flynn excels at penetration and would provide the Suns with a great change of pace as well as a point guard for the future.
With all of the point guards in this year's draft Johnson, a 3/4 hybrid, is flying under the radar.
Johnson was a part of that underachieving Wake Forest team that had us scratching our heads but I wouldn't put the early exit from the NCAA tournament on his shoulders.
Johnson has a developing face-up game, including a three-point shot, and he can post up effectively.
His real strengthen is his raw athletic ability though. Johnson will out jump his opponents for boards on both end of the court and if he's running on the break watch out or you will be posterized.
Currently, the feeling is that Chicago cannot re-sign Ben Gordon. Kirk Hinrich is a good off-guard, but the Bulls will still need more.
Henderson can ease the pain of Gordon leaving. He is a very polished prospect and a more well-rounded shooting guard than Gordon.
While Henderson is not lights-out from behind the arc he can shoot the ball well and he has the ability to create his own shot.
If Chicago is looking for more of a pure shooter they may go with Wayne Ellington.
Teague will give the Sixers the spark they need off the bench. He will be the team's best three point shooter and can play either the point or shooting guard.
Teague is not ready to run the offense yet and Philly should really think about bringing back Andre Miller for a few more years.
The Sixers can go a lot of different directions with this pick and a lot will depend on who they bring in or loose in free-agency.
Mike Miller was a failed experiment in Minnesota and the team needs to move him to a contender where his skills are better suited.
Daye will provide Minnesota with the three point shooter they thought they were getting with Miller.
One knock is that Daye is really soft. Not only does he need to put on bulk but he needs to add toughness to his game.
On the other hand, he has one of the purest shots this side of Stephen Curry.
Atlanta has struggled to connect with a point guard in the draft, but Maynor might be their guy.
In four years at VCU Maynor became one of the most experienced point guards in the nation. He is a leader and always elevates his game against top competition and in big moments.
Maynor can score and pass, he also gets steals. Unfortunately he has a very slight build so what you see is what you get.
There are some questions regarding the power forward position in Utah and Lawal will act as an insurance policy, and then some.
You may not know his name but you will love his game. Lawal is long and athletic, his game is still unrefined but he is a great energy guy to bring off the bench.
Don’t expect much in the half court aside from screens and dunks but in the fast break game he will run with the guards and finish strong.
It seems like Blair still had plenty to work on in college, so this may be a premature exit but he is taking his professional quest seriously.
Blair has already started to shed some pounds which is much needed because at 6'7" he needs to become more athletic.
The Hornets need to get tougher and Blair will help give them some muscle off the bench.
The Mavericks could use another post-type player with offensive ability and Hansbrough might be the most experienced player in the draft.
Playoff teams like to draft players with lots of quality experience because they know they will be ready to contribute now.
Hansbrough doesn't have much room between his ceiling and floor but he knows he needs to develop his jumper if he wants to stick in the NBA and he is a much better athlete than people give him credit for.
Sacramento traded away Brad Miller and while Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson are good starters, the team is thin down low.
Mullens is not the ideal selection here but there isn't a real established big man left so Mullens will have to learn on the job.
There are a lot of questions about Mullens desire. He can look like the next great center one day and then just look sort of average the next.
Not a great pick, I would suggest a trade to Sacramento.
If Portland is looking for a set-up man here is is. Don't expect Collison to lead the team in scoring but he is a very speedy guard who can dish the rock.
Similar to Steve Blake, Collison is a very good three point shooter so he can spot-up while Brandon Roy runs the offense.
Portland has a lot of ammo on their roster so I would not be surprised to see them trade for an established point guard.
If the Thunder can tap into Budinger's talent this could turn out to be a great pick. The problem is that Budinger can be hit or miss on any given night.
He is at is best on the break. Budinger can stop and pop from behind the arc or rise above the rim and slam. He seems to float in the air and will use his leaping ability to grab rebounds.
Budinger isn't a great defender and he isn't strong enough to hold players.
Don't count on Budinger speaking up either.
If so many playoff teams didn't trade away their first round picks Young would be one of the most sought after players in the later part of the draft.
He is a strong, established player who has really improved his scoring ability.
Young does not appear to be an elite athlete but he will surprise defenders with his ability to finish slams.
Young hits the glass hard and plays smart, making him a future starter in the NBA.
Mills gives the Grizz another point guard option behind Conley. He is more of a scoring guard which is a nice change of pace off the bench.
As a bonus Mills will also challenge Conley for playing time, hopefully getting the best out of both players.
Don’t be fooled by his sophomore status at Saint Mary's, Mills played against the NBA's elite as Australia's point guard in the Olympics.
The T-Wolves again?
Yes, Minnesota will be on the clock again but they may end up trading the pick away.
Douglas would best fit a team who lacks a scorer in their second line. He can score from anywhere on the floor but don't expect him to create many opportunities for his teammates.
There is a lot of value in the later part of the draft so don't be surprised if Minnesota trades out of this one.
Yes, the Lakers still have Kobe Bryant but it doesn't mean they can't bring another shooting guard on board.
Ellington is ready to contribute to a team next year and he is the perfect off the bench scoring option.
If the Lakers decide to go small, Ellington should get plenty of open looks playing opposite Bryant.
A player like this is too good to pass-up on for LA.
Summers is a prospect who can help Cleveland immediately.
Although he will be backing up LeBron James, Summers can come off the bench and hit shots in a Donnell Marshall type role.
Summers is a competitive athlete with a strong frame. He's what you're looking for in a role player.