As I said in my previous Top Ten mock, after Blake Griffin, this is a fairly unpredictable draft. Ricky Rubio is probably too talented to fall past both Memphis and Oklahoma City, but necessity might win out.
Both teams could upgrade with the addition of Rubio, but both could also opt for Jordan Hill, or maybe even Hasheem Thabeet.
All debate aside (until you're finished reading, of course), here's a look at the first round. Keep in mind, this mock was done with the thought that GM's will start thinking more logically.
1. L.A. Clippers - Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma
It's as good as done. The Clippers' coach, Mike Dunleavy, already said "we're taking Griffin," so the writing is on the wall.
Add the fact that the Clippers have a ton of money invested in Baron Davis, and have a young scorer in Eric Gordon, their necessity moves to the paint.
They get the best player in the draft and address their main weakness: inside depth.
Injuries killed this team last year. With the addition of Griffin, they could push for the playoffs next season.
2. Memphis Grizzlies - Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn
The more I think about it, I don't think Memphis will take Rubio. They've seen enough out of Mike Conley as a starter that they can feel comfortable with him as the franchise point guard.
Rubio will undoubtedly be tempting, but grabbing an inside defensive force like Thabeet is a luxury they can't afford to pass up.
Thabeet may be limited offensively, but could step in and affect games immediately.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder - Jordan Hill, PF/C, Arizona
If they really want to compete, they can't keep relying on Nate Collison to do their dirty work. The Thunder have been able to run with anyone offensively, but don't have the toughness or defensive mindset they need to take the next step.
Hill can also help their offense, but will be good depth to their frontcourt, as he can block, rebound, and score at a high level.
4. Sacramento Kings - Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain
I can't say Rubio will be starting right away, but I do know there is no way the Kings pass this kid up.
Beno Udrih is a stop-gap who somehow talked the Kings into keeping him. He's a solid player, but nowhere near the talent Rubio already is, much less could become.
It's still unlikely he drops this far, but if he does, the Udrih trade demands will begin to surface.
5. Washington Wizards - James Harden, SG, Arizona State
Harden isn't the best available talent, but he does possess the best skill level, as well as unlimited versatility.
Harden could step in as an upgrade over DeShawn Stevenson (pretty much anyone could), or at least be a part of the rotation.
The Wizards are starting over with a new coach and philosophy, so could that mean they begin starting over at different positions?
Gilbert Arenas's knee injuries are piling up, and snagging a point guard like Brandon Jennings wouldn't be very surprising, either.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves - Brandon Jennings, PG, USA
DeMar DeRozan or Tyreke Evans are two guys I like at this spot, but Jennings will be too good to pass up.
If Jennings can pick everything up quickly and take over at the point, Randy Foye could slide over to his more natural position, shooting guard.
If Jennings is what he's hyped up to be, we could see a nice turn-around in Minnesota.
7. Golden State Warriors - Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Davidson
Curry could be gone at this point, but if he's here, Don Nelson will snatch him up.
The Warriors could probably use an athletic big man, or they could even reach for Ohio State's B.J. Mullens.
However, Nelson loves speed, quickness, and scoring. Curry fits the bill.
8. New York Knicks - Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse
There's always the possibility the Knicks trade for Steve Nash (he wants to go to NY), but even if they don't, a young, talented point guard would be good to start grooming.
They have four solid guys they could talk about: Flynn, Ty Lawson, Patrick Mills, and Eric Maynor.
Out of those four, Flynn is probably the worst shooter, but actually is the better ball-handler, leader, and creator. If they're looking for a Steve Nash clone, St. Mary's Patrick Mills comes close.
9. Toronto Raptors- DeMar DeRozan - SG, USC
The Raptors have been searching for an elite shooting guard ever since Vince Carter left, and in DeRozan, they may finally find him.
DeRozan is extremely athletic, but is still very raw.
His lack of inexperience and low skill-set could keep him out of the top ten, but his natural ability and fluidity could see him here, at the nine spot.
10. Milwaukee Bucks - Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina
I like Chase Budinger or Earl Clark here, too, but if Lawson falls into their lap, they need to grab him.
They aren't even sure they can get Ramon Sessions to stick around, and Luke Ridnour isn't a long-term answer.
It's time to start over at point guard, forgive themselves for drafting T.J. Ford, and snatch up an elite point guard.
Lawson is a gritty leader who can take over games on either side of the ball. He's quite arguable the most polished and NBA-ready point guard in the draft.
11. New Jersey Nets - Chase Budinger, SG/SF, Arizona
Budinger could go to Milwaukee if they don't like Lawson, but New Jersey seems a bit more likely.
The Nets need someone consistent and athletic on the opposite side of Vince Carter, and Budinger's athleticism should get him on the court right away.
It's like the Nets could get a white Richard Jefferson. And that's all kinds of awesome.
12. Charlotte Bobcats- Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina
Ellington is a fantastic shooter, and contributes effectively on defense.
Above that, he's a classy guy, and a hard worker; two things Larry Brown loves.
Brown has been looking for an energy guy who can knock down shots since he arrived in Charlotte, and now he'll have one.
13. Indiana Pacers - Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke
With Mike Dunleavy's injury, the Pacers are forced to think about "what if's," and probably will end up going for a dependable shooting guard with their selection.
Henderson is athletic, can shoot the ball, and is a good defender.
He's exactly the jolt the Pacers need to get back to their winning ways.
If they feel comfortable about Dunleavy, though, they could opt for a point guard, as T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack have received mixed reviews.
14. Phoenix Suns -Tyreke Evans, SG, Memphis
Are they a defensive team, or are they committed to running? No one knows.
Regardless, they need add youth everywhere, and why not where the scoring matters-at the guard spot.
Evans has elite athleticism and can shoot the ball fairly well. Grant Hill won't be around forever.
15. Detroit Pistons- Earl Clark, SF Louisville
Clark is a silky smooth shooter when hot, and has a great mixture of solid all-around skills. His game is so fluid, it'd be a huge surprise if there wasn't an easy transition.
While the Pistons calling card continues to be their defense, adding lengthy talent like Clark could at least aid their at times suspect offense.
16. Chicago Bulls- B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State
Mullens could go way earlier based on potential alone, but if he slips this far, Chicago will be waiting, tongue out, and all.
Yes, Chicago, let the salivation begin.
Mullens has the potential to be one of the next great centers, and could be an immediate upgrade over Aaron Gray, as well as be able to battle for minutes with Brad Miller and Joakim Noah.
If there is a weakness as far as elite talent goes Chicago, it'd be in their front-court.
17. Philadelphia 76ers- Eric Maynor, PG, VCU
The Sixers love their veteran, Andre Miller, but now is the time to get a guy who can grow behind him. Philly already is a solid team, but adding young talent behind and already proven starter can keep them competitive, while building toward the future.
The 76ers could definitely get some help inside, but may not be able to look past the talented Maynor.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves - James Johnson, SF, Wake Forest
Very big and long, Johnson is a fluid player who can score, and also has the ability to match up defensively with elite players.
The T'Wolves nabbed their point guard earlier in this round, so adding some depth on the wing is now key.
19. Atlanta Hawks - Jrue Holiday, PG/SG, UCLA
Holiday is an interesting prospect, considering he has the versatility to be a star at two positions.
Atlanta may not want another point guard, but they could definitely use depth at shooting guard.
It's possible Holiday is gone before this pick, though, leaving the Hawks with either a full-fledged point guard, or beefing up their front-court.
20. Utah Jazz - Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina
Believe it or not, Hansbrough is a lot like Carlos Boozer, and could actually be a solid replacement if Boozer jumps ship.
Even if Boozer sticks around, Hansbrough would be a great energy addition, as well as a reliable scorer inside. He may never be an elite player (and maybe he will), but Hansbrough is definitely worthy of a first round pick.
21. New Orleans Hornets- Taj Gibson, PF, USC
After attempting to trade Tyson Chandler last season, it's become obvious the Hornets aren't satisfied with their play of their bigs.
Gibson is a very underrated player who is efficient on both ends of the floor, and has great fundamentals.
He could be an immediate back-up to David West, and could filter into the rotation very early in the season.
22. Dallas Mavericks- Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest
I think Teague gets too much flakk for his team's regression toward the end of the season, and people forget about how money he was to start the season.
Regardless, the Mavericks need a point guard to help Jason Kidd (if he sticks around), and getting more athletic and smarter with the ball is a good idea, too.
23. Sacramento Kings- Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech
The Kings have Spencer Hawes, and that's about it.
Lawal is a tough, physical inside presence that Sacramento sorely lacks. He's a fantastic finished on the offensive end, and wreaks havoc in the middle as a shot blocker.
He's a very underrated big in this draft, and the Kings will be able to get a luxury/necessity pick, all in one.
24. Portland Trail Blazers- Omri Casspi, SG/SF, Israel
Casspi has a great feel for the game, and has the ability to take the ball to the rim, as well as shoot all over the floor.
Portland has shown in the past their love for taking chances on foreigners, and could easily bit on Casspi if he's available, here.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder- DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh
Blair is vastly under-sized, but after playing good basketball against the tower that is Hasheem Thabeet, he proved he can score on and defend taller defenders.
It's really as simple as that. If you can score on a guy who owns you be seven or more inches, height won't be an issue.
Other than that, he'll fit perfectly into their plans.
26. Chicago Bulls- Derrick Brown, SF, Xavier
Brown is a good athlete with solid range, and could help the Bulls offensively.
His long arms and lanky frame suggest he could be an elite defender, as well.
The Bulls will be primarily addressing their inside game, but getting anyone who can both score and defend at elite level will be on their mind.
27. Memphis Grizzlies- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA
I'm actually not sold that Collison lands in the first round, but I think the Grizzlies will simply take the best available point guard.
They like Conley, but Collison could be a good "spell" guy for the future.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves- DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown
Summers is a lengthy, rangy defender, and is also a very efficient offensive player.
Minnesota should likely be focusing on their back-court in this draft, as well as adding offensive talent that also has the potential to defend elite foes.
29. L.A. Lakers- Terrence Williams, SG/SF, Louisville
Williams is a freak athlete with good scoring ability, as well as the elite lateral quickness needed to defend well in the NBA.
The Lakers need to start adding elite athletic talent to their roster, and it wouldn't hurt to invest in some behind Kobe Bryant.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers- Sam Young, SF, Pittsburgh
The Cavaliers are all about playing defense, moving the ball, and LeBron James.
Young can come in and help out offensively, but only if he plays with-in himself.
The Cav's could also grab some more inside help.
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