The Los Angeles Clippers won the NBA draft lottery and in return got the number one overall pick in the 2009 draft.
This draft does not possess half the star power or potential as the instant classic 2008 draft, but, nonetheless it has a few studs that could help some teams right away.
Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio seem to be set in stone with the first two picks. After that the rest is just a blur.
This draft could possibly have some trade activity in the lottery due to the uncertainty of the talent, as well as some teams just needing a veteran to help them be a playoff contender.
Some may have forgotten about Brandon Jennings after his test score debacle with the NCAA. But after a year overseas, where he did get much playing time it should be interesting to see what team picks him and if his stock dropped because of his decision to skip college.
If you pay close attention to the NBA draft, teams usually follow trends when drafting. So whatever is hot at the time you can most likely expect your team to follow that trend unless they are the trend setters.
For instance, a few years ago when the European invasion happened, a lot of teams were drafting foreign players looking for the next Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. Many of those players never panned out or even came to the NBA.
Then you had the high-school phase when most drafts featured the top high-school stars right out of the McDonalds All-American game.
The trend now is getting a franchise point guard. With the instant success of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Rajon Rondo teams are chomping at the bit for these point guards.
The 2009 draft is loaded with stud point guards but will they all see the instant success as the players before them?...
Blake Griffin will be the number-one pick of the draft. Don't believe any of the hype about the Clippers thinking about trading down and getting Ricky Rubio.
Griffin is the best big man prospect to come out since Elton Brand and Tim Duncan. The scary thing about him is that he is taller and faster then Brand and is more agile and versatile then Duncan.
I believe Griffin can and will average 20ppg and 10rpg or close to it his rookie year.
Many "experts" have tried to compare his game to Amare Stoudemire which I believe is totally inaccurate. First of all, Stoudemire game was never this polished coming into the league and still is not.
Stoudemire's game is based around his unparalleled athleticism. For Griffin, athleticism is just the cherry on top. Griffin is his own player and has all the tools you could ever want in a player.
The things Griffin possesses are rare for any player. He has the talent, skill level, production, attitude, and he puts it all out on the floor (e.g. jumping into the stands for a loose ball the game after his concussion).
The Clippers will now have a franchise player they have not had in decades.
It seems like yesterday that Hubie Brown was behind the resurgence of the Memphis Grizzlies who were a playoff team on a consistent basis. That was only a few years ago. Now they are back to their old ways of being the cellar dwellers of the NBA.
The grizzlies need a lot of things. They have two promising players in Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo. Now they have the task of building a solid team around them to compete in the Western Conference.
With Griffin off the board, the next best player is point guard Ricky Rubio.
The Grizzlies crapped out on their last two first round picks on point guards with Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley. Lowry was traded and Conley started at point guard by default. Both players seemed to be restricted by their heights and were trying to duplicate Steve Nash success with the Phoenix-style offense former coach Marc Iavaroni was running.
Now they pretty much have to draft a point guard at this spot and that is were Rubio comes in. He is a dazzling player who has the quickness and point guard smarts to run an NBA team. He is only 18 years old, but NBA teams have been talking about this kid since he was 15-16 years old.
Rubio's age is no problem, though, because unlike an American player of that age he has been playing professionally for quite a few years. If you saw him play against team USA, you already know he can old his own against the NBA elite.
Rubio did damage off the pick and roll in the Olympics. Having success off the pick and roll is vital in NBA—and his speed helps him even more. He's not a major threat shooting the ball but he can and will knock down shots.
Rubio seems to have only one speed at the moment and is too flashy at times. In the Olympics, he got out of control a few times, doing too much and making errant passes, and the point guard duties were taking over by the veteran Juan Carlos Navarro.
But those nuances of the game will come with time and NBA experience. Rubio is one of the best point-guard prospects to come from overseas, and he is expected to contribute right away.
The Thunder actually have a pretty good team. They are just a few pieces away from competing for a playoff spot in the West. One of those pieces is a big man.
This draft is extremely light at the center position. After Thabeet there really is no other true center in this draft that is expected to make an impact.
Thabeet would be an excellent choice for the Thunder. He would give the team all the things they wanted from the Tyson Chandler trade that was rescinded. He gives them excellent height at over seven feet. He would bring the team rebounds, be a defense presence with his shot-blocking skills, and could get garbage points without taking any shots from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Many people forget that Thabeet has not been playing basketball as long as his peers and is still learning the game, but the way he has excelled in his three years at Connecticut is remarkable.
Thabeet reminds me of a more settled down Samuel Dalembert. He doesn't share Dalembert's athleticism, but they both are tall with slim builds and defensive-minded. However, Thabeet has a higher upside then Dalembert because he knows his limitations.
In the NCAA tournament, Thabeet was showing a nice little five- to teen-foot jumper, which would be a major plus to his game if it can get it to be consistent. He may not start or play right away—but when he does, he will be asked to be a defensive presence.
The Kings are one of the few teams that I think will make a draft day trade. On paper they pretty much have most positions set for the future, but you never know.
The front office may have decided to go in a new direction with the young talent after the big trade with the Chicago Bulls earlier in the year. If anything, the team may take a look at one of the many point guards available.
I think the Kings may take a look at Brandon Jennings, who is from California—a hometown kid. Jennings was already billed as the best point guard prospect in his senior year in high school, and has yet to be dethroned.
Jennings has a flair for the dramatic and brings a lot of excitement. He would probably become an instant crowd pleaser. The Kings have not had a young flashy point guard since Jason Williams—and we all know the buzz he created his few years in the NBA.
Jennings embodies the essence of a point guard, and likes nothing more then providing the assist to a teammate. His passing skills are top-notch, so he could easily help the team in that department.
Jennings is an underrated scorer and can really to get to that basket with his speed but will probable have to bulk up some for the NBA. He is also going to have to be committed to the defensive end.
The Kings need some buzz while they are rebuilding—and Jennings can provide that.
This is when the draft starts to get more interesting.
The Wizards are in a tough position at the fifth spot. They have to draft a player who will challenge one of their starters, or make a trade that will most likely consist of two or three nucleus players.
The Wizards have a lot of money tied up next season. 14 players are already under contract, and a lottery-pick player will put them well over luxury tax.
Expect the wizards to use Etan Thomas, Brendan Haywood, and Mike James as trade bait, because all three veterans have one year left on their deals and that is an asset when making trades. But if they do end up keeping the pick and/or still trading some vets to create cap space, I think the pick will be James Harden.
With no impact big men on the board the Wizards will probable address a position that has become very suspect. The shooting-guard position was a debacle all year. DeShawn Stevenson was not much of a factor last year and Nick Young has yet to grasp the nuances of the game and still has too many mental lapses.
James Harden would be a very good pick for the Wizards. He plays like a NBA veteran already. He has a complete offensive game and knows when to drive and when to shoot. Harden does both of those very well—and he is also no slouch on the defensive end either, so he will earn his minutes right away.
He is not very explosive or athletic, but I don't think that hurts him at all because he makes up with that with basketball smarts. Either way, the Wizards can't go wrong if they draft him—and hopefully can unload some of those contracts.
The Timberwolves are another team that may make a draft-day trade. They have a lot of players under contract for next, year and may have to get rid of a few more players in their rebuilding process.
Mike Miller a player they were dangling during the trade deadline this season, and he most likely will be traded away—maybe for another veteran player.
Whether they do or do not make a trade they need to address the backcourt immediately. Randy Foye is not the answer at the two-guard spot and Sebastian Telfair has yet to live up the hype he had coming out of high school—and his height and jump shot are still huge problems for him.
I see the Timberwolves taking Tyreke Evans with this selection. Evans is the x-factor player in this draft. He has the potential to be a great player and it rests on him working as hard as he can, because a knock on him is that he looks and plays lackadaisically at times. He will cause numerous problems at the point guard position with his height and length.
Evans has all the potential in the world, and can be the perimeter player Al Jefferson needs to help free him up from double teams.
Evans is a very good ball handler and his slashing skills are superior. He will definitely create many open shots for both Jefferson and Kevin Love, but he needs to work on his perimeter shot.
At times has known to be selfish and try to carry the team on his back. He won't need to do that in the NBA—especially with Al Jefferson, who is one of the best big men in the NBA, in the paint.
After Blake Griffin, I think Tyreke Evans can be a stud in the right situation—if his coach lets him play the point and not try to make him a shooting guard or swing man.
The Golden State Warriors have a lot of holes that they need to fill. The team is mostly made up of undrafted free agents and second-round picks. They are going to need more of everything to become a better team.
The team really needs some size up front because the team has a lot of guards and swing men. I think the best player they could pick would be forward Jordan Hill. Center Andris Biedrins is getting better every year, and a solid power forward like Hill would be beneficial for the team seeing that they have no one at the position—besides Corey Maggette, who is playing out of position.
Hill is a high-energy big man who loves to dunk. He runs the floor and that is good for the Warriors' up-tempo offense. Hill is also a great rebounder and goes after everything.
He is still developing as a player and his offense needs to be more polished but can live off his energy and athleticism for his rookie year until he develops a mid range game and more post up moves. Hill meets a lot of needs that the Warriors have and would be a solid fit.
The Knicks may make a trade at this spot or at least should. The team is most likely going to keep Nate Robinson and let David Lee go. If possible, they may do a sign-and-trade with David Lee, because he is too valuable a player to just let walk away.
Some sources say that the Knicks have promised guard Stephen Curry they would pick him at this spot, but I'm not too sure about that.
I think Demar DeRrozan will be the choice at this spot. His game is built for the Knicks' system. He has freakish athleticism and is an up-tempo player and loves to run the floor in transition.
DeRozan has a very good stroke, but it is inconsistent. He needs to work on his defense and ball handling. But DeRozan is very young still, so not much is expected from him in his first couple years.
The Toronto Raptors are in a good spot. They have both Shawn Marion and Anthony Parker coming off the books, so they are going to have some money to spend this offseason.
The Raptors are most likely going to let Marion leave and draft a swing man. That swing man should be Earl Clark. Clark posses an all-around game and has very nice size. He is one of those players who does a lot of things good but nothing great.
The biggest knock on Clark is he can be inconsistent at times. I think his extra year under Rick Pitino really helped him.
He can play either forward position, shoot the ball, has solid ball handling for someone his size, and also plays defense. If he can find a niche in the NBA, he will become a very solid player right away.
The Milwaukee Bucks have a few pieces on their team they are building around. The point guard spot is kind of up for grabs at the moment, because Coach Scott Skiles has not found the type of point guard he wants running the show.
The team may let Ramon Sessions walk and address this position in the draft. Stephen Curry looks to be the right selection at this spot.
Everybody knows he can put points on the board, but with a defensive minded old-school coach like Skiles, Curry is going to have to set the team up first and look for his shot second.
Curry is one the best shooters to come out of college in quite some time. He hits all kind of shots. His game is also more then just three-pointers.
He is a complete player offensively. His wide array of shooting makes him so difficult to contain and in the NBA were he is not going to be looked upon to carry the load will make things that much easier.
The only thing people are worried about is his slim build. He is going to have to bulk up immediately because he will be a defensive liability when bigger point guards will just back him down. Curry can definitely address the point guard problems the Bucks are currently having.