AboveLegit's 2009 NBA Mock Draft
1. Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin, PF, Sophomore, Oklahoma
The Clippers will be taking Blake Griffin. There is no exceptions; you take this type of talent 10 out of 10 times.
Even with a solid front-court, they will take Blake and build around him, as well as Gordon and Thornton. They will ship Kaman out of Los Angeles for a player like Luol Deng who can make an impact on offense and defense, and surround Blake with a good nucleus of young players.
Their main focus is rebuilding. I have always said franchises should build around big men, and the Clippers will do so here. They drafted Eric Gordon last year at the guard position and there is absolutely no need to draft a player like Rubio or Thabeet here.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain
The skills he has that are already advanced for someone his age; how far ahead of opponents he has always been, his age, and how his skills will actually translate to the NBA make Rubio the easy selection at No. 2. In his case it's all very good. He's got very good court vision, he's smart (although seems like a bit of a diva), he's got a fire, and his shot has been coming along very well.
I don't see what about him doesn't make him at least a No. 2 pick. If you take him and Griffin out of this draft, you basically get another 2006 draft, but with those two alone you have a much better draft.
Look at what happened to the Clippers in 1998 when they drafted for need: they wound up with Michael Olowokandi, who did legitimately seem like the best big man of that draft, but there were clearly better players right behind him on the draft board at other positions.
Griffin is the clear-cut best talent in this draft, and Rubio is the clear cut second best talent in this draft. When someone is clearly in a different class of talent, you don't dip to a class below just to fill a need.
Will he wind up being the second best player in the draft? Who knows, but right now he clearly looks like it.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder: Hasheem Thabeet, C, Junior, Connecticut
For me, this is between Harden and Thabeet.
Harden gives them another good scoring option, but I don't know how well he'd fit in with Westbrook in the back-court, who plays a hybrid one or two guard style.
With Thabeet, they don't get much of an offensive player at all, but with Durant, Green, and Westbrook in the starting lineup, they really don't need another scorer. Yes, Thabeet will be a bit of a risk, but I think it's fairly safe to say that he'll be a good defender.
So, based on team chemistry and needs, this is the obvious choice.
I don't see how he wouldn't fit into their team. He has excellent character and intangibles (OKC is very big on this at the moment), good defensively, and his offensive skills would go really well with Westbrook and Durant. He doesn't look to shoot and has great passing skills, which would make up for Westbrook's mentality. I think he would be a great complementary player for this team.
4. Sacramento Kings: Brandon Jennings, PG, International
I'm thinking they go with Jennings here.
They already have their wing spots filled along with a project in Donte' Greene. They need to draft a player that can come in and make an immediate impact on a position of need. That's why I believe if they can't move up in the draft they'll settle for Jennings, which isn't too bad of an idea at all.
Jennings was possibly a lock for a top-three spot if he had decided to stay with Arizona and show the country his talents in the Pac-10.
5. Washington Wizards: James Harden, SG, Sophomore, Arizona State
Harden is the most balanced shooting guard in this draft, above Evans, DeRozan, etc.
Drafting him only helps the Wizards' back-court, seeing as how Arenas is coming off an injury-plagued season.
The Wizards need Harden to take the load off of the offense while maintaining a good defensive game throughout the season.
I wanted DeRozan here, but due to his weak defensive play in his freshmen year, I was forced to pick James Harden.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves: DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, Freshman, USC
At 6'7, DeRozan has the ability to spread out the defense, and give versatility to this Wolves roster by playing the two and three positions. He has a very wide-ranged offensive arsenal, which the Wolves desperately need, due to the lack of support from All Jefferson's cast.
Pair up DeMar with Randy Foye in the back-court, and you have a a great future ahead of you. More importantly, he will fill in the hole at SG, which they need to act upon now if they want to move ahead and worry about other positions.
7. Golden State Warriors: Jordan Hill, PF, Junior, Arizona
The Warriors get a steal here by filling in their major hole at the power forward position.
They need to pair up Andris Biedrins with another post presence who is good on the defensive end; Hill fits that mold perfectly.
Many expect another guard drafting here, but I suspect the Warriors will heavily shop their current pick if they are not able to grab a big man in this first round. With their large array of guards, they will have no hesitation in drafting a power forward .
8. New York Knicks: Stephen Curry, PG, Junior, Davidson
Curry is their man: they have already stated on numerous occasions that they will choose him if he's available.
Frankly, I'm quite pleased with this move. Curry will be able to spread out the floor with his three-point shooting abilities and the Knicks desperately need that type of player since Jamal Crawford got traded to the Warriors.
And it seems like D'Antoni and Walsh think they can develop him into a great PG on the NBA level...trade for Nash and have him mentor Curry?
If they draft Curry, I hope Walsh trades for a SG to make up for Curry's weaknesses. I like Thabo Sefolosha a lot with rumors of OKC trying in getting Rubio and other rumors of them selecting Harden. Sefolosha he could be expendable—someone who would be perfect next to Curry, who plays great D, and is able to drive in.
9. Toronto Raptors: Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, Freshman, Memphis
This is an obvious pick for the Raptors. They need a combo guard who can produce on the offensive end. He's getting a great back-court mate in Calderon, who will find him and maximize his potential, and I'm sure the front office is aware of that.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Johnny Flynn, PG, Sophomore, Syracuse
With Michael Redd's career winding down, they need that primary scorer for their future and someone they can hopefully build around.
Flynn is instant offense. Every scouting report has him as one of the premier scorers of this class, so the Bucks have to pick him here.
He will be splitting time with Ramon Sessions, but I think it comes in his favor later on, as I was against him declaring for the draft so early in his NCAA career.
11. New Jersey Nets: James Johnson, SF/PF, Sophomore, Wake Forest
I have really been impressed with him as of late—his stock has slowly been on the rise.
He is 6'8" but incredibly strong and athletic, and can play the three and the four. He has a great offensive skill set, he is a great shooter, he can dribble, penetrate, and move without the ball, which would fit perfectly in the Net's offensive system.
Vince Carter could be on his way out either this offseason or the next, so I think it's safe to say James will replace him as they officially go into rebuilding mode for the next few seasons.
12. Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Henderson, SG, Junior, Duke
The Bobcats are on the verge of erasing their bad draft history as Adam "The Stache" Morrison was recently traded and Sean "Triple Chin" May's contract will not be renewed.
While Morrison brought his trademark white trash moustache to the NBA, he forgot to bring his game. Morrison has struggled to get playing time and will continue to do so, as he lacks the athletic ability to compete on a daily basis.
Meanwhile the other former lottery pick has had trouble just staying healthy enough to even be on the active roster. The only baskets May has contributed on lately in Charlotte is the eating of his "get well soon" pastry and cheese gift baskets.
The Bobcats can finally redeem themselves by selecting Henderson to be their backup and eventual starting two guard. I can't see Henderson being a star in the league but he can definitely carve out a niche for himself as a Raja Bell-type player.
Fortunately for Henderson if he is drafted by the Cats, he will be Bell's backup and who better to mould him into a Raja Bell type player than......well Raja Bell?
Henderson can beat expectations if his defensive intensity translates to the NBA game and his shooting range continues to expand.
13. Indiana Pacers: DeJuan Blair, PF, Sophomore, Pittsburgh
Indiana is in a tough spot. They have a bunch of alright players but no really good players besides Danny Granger and Troy Murphy.
This makes it hard to see who they want to replace and who they think they can build on. A lot will depend on whether they let Marquis Daniels and Jarret Jack walk. If they keep both of those guys, someone like DeJuan Blair would make sense for them. If not, they will need a replacement for those guys.
Blair would give them someone who isn't afraid to do all the dirty work inside and I think they could use someone like that.
14. Phoenix Suns: Ty Lawson, PG, Junior, North Carolina
I still believe Ty Lawson is a lottery pick.
This is the best situation for him, and I think the Suns realize the talent level this kid possesses. His maturity and in-game leadership is phenomenal, he has three years and one National Championship under his belt, so he will bring a winning attitude to this roster.
With Nash's window slowly coming to a close, they need to find his successor. Lawson has the most potential out of all these available PG's, he will become a sure star talent in three to four years from now.
Article written by AboveLegit, a Global Moderator at RealSportsTalk and co-owner of BeyondTheArc. BeyondTheArc currently has their own Bleacher Report Account located here, and the original article is shown here.
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