Blake Griffin was no doubt the best player in college this year at his position. He is blessed with great jumping ability, uncanny strength, and the ability to be a game changer. That was then, this is now. Griffin is not the best player in the draft, nor is he ready to be an impact player right now.
Ricky Rubio is NBA ready. He proved it when he punished the best point guards in the league as a 17 year old in the Olympics. Griffin has made his mark dominating guys who are at least three inches shorter and at least 50 pounds lighter.
Remember the last power forward to dominate the Big 12 and was potentially the first overall pick? It was last year and he was Michael Beasley.
Overall, Beasley had a productive year putting up almost 14 ppg and around 5 rebounds per game. At 6'10", Beasley played more like a shooting guard and no where near a power forward. Blake Griffin does not have half the offensive game as Beasley, but does excel a little defensively.
Rubio, at 6'4" is fully equipped with the physical attributes to wreak havoc at point guard. Likewise, Rubio has experience playing in big games and has a knack for distributing the ball.
Spain's national team is stacked with NBA players that love to score the ball. Likewise, the Kings have players who can score, between Kevin Martin, Francisco Garcia, and Andres Nocioni, point guard is a blaring necessity that would turn those tight games from losses to wins.
Finally, the Kings already have two young players who are developing nicely into the power forward and center position. Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson showed great promise at the end of this season and would flourish if they had a savvy point guard. Bear in mind, Beno Udrih average 4.5 assists per game on a team that averaged 100+.
Final thoughts: GM's around the league are searching for hidden gems and trying to steer clear of the busts in this years draft, look no further. Here are three steals and busts in the 2009 NBA draft.
1) Ricky Rubio: Is No. 2 a steal? If rumors are true, and Rubio does go second, he is not a steal, but grand theft. The kid is 17 and already is better than 20 starting point guards in this league.
2) Terrence Williams: Williams is a hybrid at was Mr. Everything for Louisville in a very competitive Big East conference. He was Big 12 player of the year in a conference that projects to have six players drafted in the first round. Williams has the ability to play anywhere from the point to even power forward and be successful.
3) DeJuan Blair: Blair is the next Paul Millsap. Millsap is one of the most underrated players in the NBA and was a definite steal for the Jazz. Millsap make his living stealing rebounds from bigger players. Blair led the NCAA in offensive rebounds and will be impact player in NBA.
...and now for the busts
1) Hasheem Thabeet: Thabeet is a bad Greg Oden. While you can't teach a player to be 7'3" , Thabeet will be thrown around like a rag-doll by NBA players. He has absolutely no offensive capabilities. Manute Bol anyone?
2) Brandon Jennings: While its hard to judge a player that you have not seen very much, Jennings represents all that is wrong with the direction the NBA is heading. Jennings decided that there was not a college that could enhance his dominant game, so he signed a contract with Lottomatica Roma.
His killer stat line read 5.6 ppg, 2.3 rbg, and 2.2 apg. Stellar! It is evident that Jennings will chase the dollar signs and is not a team player. Gerald Green anyone?
3) Stephen Curry: A hard transition from Jennings because Curry epitomizes team player. Curry would be a fan favorite, but Curry struggled all season. When teams worked hard to defend him, he lacked the ability to overcome those double teams.
While his teammates were not great, Curry is undersized and needs to polish his game in order to help in all facets of the game.