Now that the draft lottery is set, I can finally get to my favourite part of the NBA year, prepping for the draft.
I am a draft junkie—I can't help it. I start watching highlights of prospects, I start deconstructing rosters, and I can't get enough. I hear people complain about too much coverage on drafts and I just crave more.
This year has some interesting prospects and I haven't started my usual obsessive compulsive researching so I can't give my full in depth mock draft. But I will start it off with the top five picks.
Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma Sooners
The Clippers already have 34 million dollars invested in '09-'10 for three front court players (Camby, Randolph, and Kaman), but when you finish with 63 losses something is not right. Griffin is the best player in the draft and when you only win 19 games, you go for the best player available.
Columnist all across the country will boldly state Ricky Rubio will go first because of the way Baron Davis mailed it in. Other columnists will say they agree and fans will rationalize that. But if the Clippers have any common sense (and decades of failure says they don't) they will draft Griffin.
Ricky Rubio, PG, from Spain
The Griz have a lot of good pieces in place. O.J. Mayo was fantastic last year, Marc Gasol had a very encouraging year, and Rudy Gay is playing out of his head.
But Mike Conley had a terrible sophomore year. Playing alongside Gay and Mayo, he only averaged 4.3 assists almost identical to his rookie year.
Rubio is the answer because he can run the team and get the ball to the scorers. He can also score near the basket, knows how to dribble in traffic, and can create his own shot. He's a good defender and will create space for and get the ball to Gay and Mayo
There's report of him having an ego but so does Mayo—how'd that work out for the Griz?
Hasheem Thabeet, C, University of Connecticut
Kevin Durant and Jeff Green are studs at the three and four spots. Russell Westbrook was a revelation at the point. But the two and five spots are a big problem for the Thunder.
They were 23rd in the league allowing 103.1 points per game. Thabo Sefolosha led the Thunder with 1.1 blocks per game. Nick Collison led the team with 6.9 rebounds (that's sad). However, they did out rebound their opponents.
While Thabeet will boost all of those stats, the Thunder will still probably lose around 50 games. What Thabeet will give them is a stud in the paint, and some toughness. He will change shots, and make the Thunder an elite rebounding squad.
Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Davidson
The first reach of the draft! However I don't think it will happen. This pick is the most likely to be traded. The Kings have a lot of bad contracts and with Rubio gone at this point they will likely move down.
BUT since there's no trade yet, Stephen Curry is the newest King
The Kings need a PG and a cat scan to see why they gave Beno Udrih the contract he has. Yes Curry is not the most explosive player, but he's a smart player and he will continue to become a better PG. He will also take some attention away from Kevin Martin.
I hear a lot about Brandon Jennings, but he only averaged 5.1 ppg and 1.6 apg. Why people like him are ahead of Curry is beyond me. Yes he's athletic, but so is Joey Graham
James Harden, SG, Arizona State
Another smart player take in the top five. Harden gives the Wiz's some depth behind Arenas, a good leader, a good scorer, a good (not great) defender, and someone who won't be a big distraction.
There's nothing that blows you away about Harden but there's also nothing that makes you doubt that he'll be able to hold his own in the NBA. This is why the Wizards will take Harden.
They don't need a super athletic player with a giant ego, they already have a very talented team with plenty of personalities and Harden will help with the cohesion of the team.