AboveLegit's NBA Mock Draft 2009
1. Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin, PF, Sophomore, Oklahoma
The Clippers will be taking Blake Griffin. There iare no exceptions, you take this type of talent 10 times out of 10. Even with a solid frontcourt, 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 the Blake with a good nucleus of young players.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain
He's always had skills that are advanced for someone his age, but how wll these skills actually translate to the NBA? . 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, 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 the second best guy in this draft.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder: Hasheem Thabeet, C, Junior, Conneticut
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 backcourt, who plays a hybrid guard style.
I don't see how he wouldn't fit into their team. He has excellent character and intangibles (OKC is very big on this atm), he's 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 complimentary 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.
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 backcourt. Seeing as how Arenas is coming off an injury plagued season, they need Harden to take the load off on 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, Freshmen, 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 spots. 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 backcourt, and you have a a great future ahead of you. More importantly, they 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 to be drafted here, but I suspect the Warriors to 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. And frankly, I'm quite pleased with this move. Curry will be able to spread out the floor with his three point shooting abilities. The Knicks have desperately needed 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 by trading for Nash and have him mentor Curry. But if they draft Curry, I hope Walsh trades for a SG to make up for Curry's weaknesses.
9. Toronto Raptors: Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, Freshmen, Memphis
This is an obvious pick for the Raptors, because they need a combo guard who can produce on the offensive end. He's getting a great backcourt 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 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, the Bucks have to pick him here. He will be splitting time with 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, and 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 skillset, 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 could be on his way out either this offseason or the next. 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.
The Bobcats can finally redeem themselves by selecting Henderson to be their eventual starting two guard. I can't see Henderson being a star in the leagu, but he can definately 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, Puttsburgh
Indiana is in a tough spot. They have a bunch of alright players but no really good players besides Danny Granger. 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, a guy 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 of 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 a few years from now.
15. Detroit Pistons: Terrence Williams, SG, Senior Louisville
This is probably the best pick for the Pistons. Williams has great athleticism, he can score, penetrate, and is a great defender, which will work well with the Pistons young nucleus of Affalo, Stuckey, and Maxiell. He isn't a great ball handler, and does turn the ball over a lot, but he is a sure pick for the Pistons, who are in dire need to get back to the top of the Eastern Conference. The only way to do so is by drafting defensive oriented players.
16. Chicago Bulls: Earl Clark, SF, Junior, Louisville
This pick is solely based off of my offseason predictions, as I thoroughly believe the Bulls will go after Chris Kaman via trade with the Clippers, in exchange for small forward Luol Deng. He would be the best replacement for Luol, not as great on the offense end by any means, but he makes up for it with his excellent defensive abilities, high basketball IQ, and great rebounding skill.
17. Philadelphia Sixers: Eric Maynor, PG, Senior, VCU
Another PG coming off his four year NCAA Career, Maynor possesses great range on his jumper and shoots at a very high percentage. He is a superb athlete, has a nice smooth game, and plays well on the fast break, something which the Sixers love to do with Iguodala. Their current starting PG, Andre Miller, is supposedly out, leaving them with no choice but to draft a replacement. I do not believe Louis Williams is the answer for them, as he is good off the bench, but in no way does he possess the talent and poise to be a starting point guard in the NBA.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jrue Holiday, PG/SG, Freshmen, UCLA
I was against Jrue leaving the NCAA early, after all he is coming off a great freshmen year, he is still a bit raw and could be a potential top five pick in a year or two. He is a great defender, versatile, is a combo guard, and loves to work the pick and roll. With Minnesota's coaching staff unfinished, there is still a lot to be told here, but from my basic knowledge, he would fit perfectly in their system (based off of last season).
19. Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Teague, PG, Sophomore, Wake Forest
Mike Bibby will be out of Atlanta in a year or two, leaving a hole at the PG spot. Though they have Acie as their primary back up for Bibby, it wouldn't be enough to fully contend for a playoff spot consistently for the next five years. Teague brings great athleticism, confidence, and a terrific scoring ability. Since he reminds me a lot of a young Mike Bibby, he would learn a lot from the Hawks organization, and more importantly, their current starting PG.
20. Utah Jazz: B.J. Mullens, C, Freshmen, Ohio State
Another young, raw player who I was very disappointed with after hearing their declaration for the draft. He has a tremendous upside, but does not have a great work ethic and has a below average basketball IQ. Very reliable in the post, he can can finish with both hands, and would do wonders for this Utah Jazz squad who are still looking for a stud big man. They drafted Koufus last season, but he didn't exacly come out as planned. I think B.J. is the only choice for them here.
21. New Orleans Hornets: Austin Daye, SF/PF, Sophomore, Gonzaga
The Hornets need help on offense and defense. They didn't do well this year mainly due to injuries and the lack of depth. Austin is a great defender, and an amazing blocker, averaged over two a game in his Sophomore year. Byron Scott can very easily play him at the 3, matching him with David West and Tyson Chandler in the front court. This way they can become a more defensive minded team, along with James Posey and Chris Paul, who are exceptionally well rounded defensive studs.
22. Dallas Mavericks: Chase Budinger, SG/SF, Junior, Arizona
With the lack of big men in the draft, the Mavs have no choice but to draft a guard/forward. They want to keep Jason Terry on the bench to start games, I think placing a big two like Chase in the starting lineup would help them a lot, especially on offense, where they seem to struggle starting off games. He is a great three point shooter, and very intelligent, can move without the ball, and would give Dirk a little more freedom on the block downlow when he gets hammered with double teams.
23. Sacramento Kings: Tyler Hansborough, PF, Senior, North Carolina
This would be a great pick for the Kings. They get an offensive stud with Tyler, who can create his own shot and get others involved without throwing up to many bricks. He isn't great on defense, doesn't possess strong, athletic abilities, and isn't a quick player. He would do well on the Kings, he will get playing time at the three and four spots, and would possibly be a reliable rookie off the bench.
24. Portland Trailblazers: Darren Collison, PG, Senior, UCLA
An experienced PG, played all four years at UCLA, with a great feel for the game. A great playmaker, terrific defender, and has a great skillset on offense when it comes to scoring. He is a leader, he can come in to the league and make a suden impact, but does get passive at times with the ball in his hands, and isn't a great shot creator.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Gani Lawal, PF, Sophomore, Georgia Tech
Love his rebounding and midrange game, reminds me a lot of Udonis Haslem, possesses a great frame and a long wingspan. A great hustle player, loves to play around the basket, and an excellent shot blocker. The Thunder need to add quality depth to their frontcourt, so this is a huge pick if Lawal slips to 25.
26. Chicago Bulls: Wayne Ellington, SG, Junior, North Carolina
Coming off a national championship, Wayne will be confident and will get his minutes. He reminds me a lot of Dequean Cook, a good player off the dribble, who can move without the ball, and will knock down threes. He is nothing more than a liability on defense, but makes up for it when he's hot from the field. With Gordon's contract almost up, they need some insurance at the SG position, I like Wayne at 26.
27. Memphis Grizzlies: Sam Young,SF/PF, Senior, Pittsburgh
I got a few chances at watching this kid at Pitt. He is a tough player in the paint with good athleticism. He has a solid midrange game, combined with a knack for grabbing rebounds. He's a smart player. I think Memphis will enjoy this pick they need some depth in their front court, they couldn't get a center here, but they get some help on offense and defense, and more importantly helps out Marc Gasol.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves: Nick Calathes, PG/SG, Florida
Many people are high on this kid. He has great court vision and a good feel for the game. Reminds me a lot of Ty Lawson. He can do it all. He is a great scorer, has a nice perimeter game and is a solid off the dribble, he makes great passes, but gambles a lot, and is a great rebounder for his size at 6'5.
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Patrick Mills, PG, Sophomore, Saint Mary's
A lot like Aaron Brooks, Patrick is an undersized PG who thrives off of his speed and intelligence. He is a very mature playmaker, with a decent three point shot, and is a very good penetrator. The Lakers are in need of a PG, though I don't see Mills getting a ton of action. He may develop into a decent role player one day.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers: Marcus Thornton, SG, Senior, LSU
A great pick for Cleveland, as they get an experienced senior SG to fill in some holes in their roster. He averaged over 21 PPG, as he fits in perfectly with the Cavs offense. He is great off of screens, loves to move without the ball, and is a great set shooter. I think he will do fine in the league, will see some playing time, especially since Wally's contract is expiring soon.