This mock draft can also be found at 5qsports.com.
1. L.A. Clippers: Blake Griffin, F, Oklahoma
The team with the first pick in the NBA Draft always has a lot of thinking to do. This year will be no exception, but since there is not much depth this year behind Griffin, there'll be a little less contemplation. The 2008-09 NCAA Player of the Year is the clear-cut choice to go first overall.
The Clippers have announced that they will choose the 6’10” big man first overall, which saves us two month's worth of drama. Griffin will be a fan-drawer for the "second" team in L.A.; this aging squad should look to shop some of their front line in order to make more playing time room for Griffin.
Griffin was a flat-out stud at Oklahoma. He averaged a shade under 23 PPG while grabbing well over 14 RPG. The fact of the matter is that an athletic big man like Blake does not come often; he scored and rebounded with ease in college, yet still has plenty of room for improvement at the next level. With games of 40, 35, 33 (twice), and 32 points, Griffin has proven skill that will make him a great NBA forward.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ricky Rubio, G, DKV Joventut
Ricky Rubio is well known for his play in the Beijing Olympics for Spain; he started against Team U.S.A. as a mere 17-year-old. He displayed endless skill at the point guard position.
The 6’3” now-18-year-old Rubio has a game that revolves around his incredible ball-handling ability, phenomenal passing, keen court awareness, and quick-handed defense.
That being said, if you look to Rubio for offense, you’re in trouble; he must improve his overall game on that end. Still, considering he turns just 19 in October, he has ample time to improve. Just like any other international star, Rubio will need time to get acclimated to the NBA. When he does, he will be a very good player.
Rubio will be a nice fit in Memphis. His premier passing ability will be displayed as he drops dimes to the likes of guard O.J. Mayo and swingman Rudy Gay.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder: Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut
Thabeet is the best center in this year’s draft and has plenty of size for the position. Standing tall at 7’3”, Thabeet is a monster in the paint. The Co-Big East player-of-the-year is much like a less-athletic version of Dwight Howard in that he will block almost anything that comes in the paint. He also has an offensive game that is improving and can get him to the free-throw line.
There is one thing that is certain with Thabeet: If you get him the ball close to the rim, it will pay off.
Besides Nick Collison, the Thunder do not have much to boast about down low. Thabeet will bring much-needed size to Oklahoma City’s front line. If the Thunder choose this tower, prepare for them to perhaps make some noise next season, depending on the ever-improving play of star Kevin Durant and swingman Jeff Green.
4. Sacramento Kings: James Harden, F/G, Arizona State
James Harden was an outstanding player in college. It took him just one year to prove he is a true scorer. The 6’4” lefty can flat-out put the ball in the hoop. His impressive line of 20 PPG, 5 RPG, and 4 APG hints at how he can provide energy and makes obvious to any team in the draft his scoring ability.
"Crafty" is an ideal adjective for Harden, considering how he can get to the rim at will, pull up and hit the outside shot, or finish in transition. Of course, there is the problem that he does not have a set position that he would fulfill in the NBA yet, and he will need to gel to the pro game and learn how to run offense through other players.
Harden will take his scoring ability to the Kings, where one of the best scorers in the game today, Kevin Martin, is featured. He will not get the playing time he wants right away, but he will produce and have himself a great rookie season.
5. Washington Wizards: Jordan Hill, F, Arizona
Jordan Hill is a new-age power forward that all NBA teams want. The slender former Wildcat is extremely athletic and has tons of leaping ability that shows in this rebounding (11 RPG). He has quick and explosive moves down low, which is where most of his 18.1 PPG came from, and has the ability to block a few shots once and awhile.
He should be able to add more muscle to his frame in the NBA, as well as become better in traffic to lower his turnovers. Also, he gets to the line a lot but needs to improve his free throw shooting.
The Wizards, with Antawn Jamison, have skill at the power forward position, so Hill will not get substantial playing time early on. However, he will learn from the veteran Jamison and grow to become an NBA player that no one thought he would.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Demar DeRozan, G/F, USC
When you watch Demar DeRozan play, you think of one adjective: "well-rounded." The 6’6” DeRozan is a very fundamental player with God-given athleticism. High-flying dunks and a smooth jumper highlight his game. He has been compared to Richard Jefferson, which is realistic since both DeRozan and Jefferson are players who can either pull up for a jumper from any spot on the floor or use their athleticism and strength to get to the rim.
However, DeRozan will not make an instant difference in the NBA because of his lack of defensive fundamentals and inability to create his own shot.
Composed of Randy Foye and many other exciting point guards, the Timberwolves lineup will find DeRozan to be a great fit. He should be able to compete for a starting job immediately.
7. Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry, G, Davidson
Stephen Curry will grace the 2009 NBA Draft with his extremely wide arsenal of offensive talent. He quite possibly may have the best offensive game in the draft class. Averaging over 28 PPG and six assists, Curry has given himself a name.
The 6’3” combo flip-flopped from shooting guard to point guard in the past season, but is naturally a shooting guard. As a junior at Davidson, Curry hit the 20-point plateau 30 times, the 30-point plateau 15 times, and the 40-point plateau four times. Weighing at just 185 lbs., he needs to bulk up quite a bit, but he will be ready to make a statement in the NBA for a team that is in need of a scoring threat.
The Warriors are already composed of many scoring threats, and with the addition of Curry, Golden State can improve its perimeter game tremendously.
8. New York Knicks: Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis
Tyreke Evans had an outstanding freshman season at Memphis, where he started the year as a shooting guard and ended as a point guard under coach John Calipari. The positional transition was clean, and that proves his versatility, which will pay off in the NBA.
The 6’5” freshman was a high-energy scorer in college, clocking in at 17.1 PPG. He energized the crowd by getting to the rim at will and frequently producing an acrobatic lay-in or high-flying dunk. His shooting form might look unorthodox, but he can dial in from long distance.
As there are for every draftee, there are a few kinks in his game that he will iron out in the league, not the least of which is the need to establish his true position. When he does, he will be exciting to watch as a pro.
Spike Lee will be happy to welcome Evans on board in New York. Evans will ignite Knicks fans and prove to have a great career while in New York.
9. Toronto Raptors: Brandon Jennings, G, Italy
Many scouts rated Brandon Jennings as the best high school senior last year when college teams were making their offers. At the time, he was a well-known guard that was set to hit Memphis and play for Coach Cal. So did he just disappear?
No, he was the first big-name high school player to make the jump across the pond; he went to the Euro League. Jennings may well have started a trend with his move.
He's an extremely exciting guard that can push the ball on the break and has great court vision. His strengths include ball handling, vision, and playmaking. His experience is lacking even with the past year spent in Europe, though, and he needs to add strength to his frame. He will bring solidified talent to a team that needs it at point guard.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Jeff Teague, G, Wake Forest
During Teague’s tenure at Wake Forest, he was known as a prolific scorer capable of having breakout games. And while the 6’2” point guard can certainly fill up a score sheet, he was also known for his lackluster games as well.
Thankfully, post-combine results have Teague impressing NBA scouts, including those for the Bucks organization.
Considering that Ramon Sessions is becoming a free agent, Teague will be given ample playing time in his rookie season and be able to learn under starting point guard Luke Ridnour.
11. New Jersey Nets: Johnny Flynn, G, Syracuse
Johnny Flynn was one of the top three guards last year in college basketball. Undoubtedly, he can make a difference in the NBA quickly. He has a well-rounded game that includes his strong jump shot and ability to break down defenses in transition. He'll either take in to the basket or find an open teammate.
At 6’0”, his height is a minor concern, and his defense looks to improve as he prepares to forego the rest of his college career and make the jump to the NBA.
Devin Harris and Keyon Dooling should provide exactly what Flynn needs as he enters his rookie season: time to adjust to the NBA. Flynn shouldn’t play a lot in his first campaign behind two veterans capable of running an NBA team, but he will become very exciting come his third or fourth NBA year.
12. Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Henderson, G/F, Duke
Many a college basketball fan knows exactly what Henderson is capable of, but nevertheless, the 6’5” wingman was still questioned on his game in the NBA. But now, with the help of a chance to prove himself at the Combine, Henderson showed NBA scouts and the rest of the draft pool the truth.
Henderson will be coming to a Charlotte team that needs wins, fast. The Bobcats are shaping up tremendously, and with the addition of Henderson, they should become a solidified NBA squad.
13. Indiana Pacers: Dejuan Blair, F/C, Pittsburgh
This Pittsburgh bruiser closed out last season being undoubtedly one of the most exciting big men in America. Blair will provide strength to any interior offense and defense. Losing 20 pounds from the end of his college season, Blair is much more agile than he was at Pittsburgh, which is a big factor. With his combination of scoring (15.7 PPG) and rebounding (12.3 RPG), Blair is a proven threat in the low post and on defense.
Blair will strengthen the Pacer frontcourt and will prove himself a force in quick fashion. Indiana is a great situation for this big man: Being a rebuilding franchise, they can use young, exciting players such as Blair to fortify their lineup for years to come.
14. Phoenix Suns: Jrue Holiday, G, UCLA
NBA scouts are practically drooling over Holiday. His frame is something that does not come often for a point guard: Standing at nearly 6’5”, Holiday is loaded with potential and may prove to be an NBA great one day.
Along with former teammate Darren Collison, Jrue left a positive mark on the Combine, which resulted in both their stocks rising substantially.
Holiday will be learning from one of the best in Phoenix, two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash. Nash will most likely take Holiday under his wing and make him one of the most thrilling players the Suns organization has seen in a while.
15. Detroit Pistons: Earl Clark, F, Louisville
16. Philadelphia 76ers: James Johnson, F, Wake Forest
17. Chicago Bulls: Terrence Williams, G/F, Louisville
18. Minnesota Timberwolves: BJ Mullens, C, Ohio State
19. Atlanta Hawks: Austin Daye, F, Gonzaga
20. Utah Jazz: Eric Maynor, G, VCU
21. New Orleans: Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona
22. Portland Trailblazers: Ty Lawson, G, UNC
23. Sacramento Kings: Wayne Ellington, G/F, UNC
24. Dallas Mavericks: Sam Young, G/F, Pittsburgh
25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Hansbrough, F, UNC
26. Chicago Bulls: Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech
27. Memphis Grizzlies: Patrick Mills, G, Saint Mary’s
28. Minnesota Timberwolves: DaJuan Summers, F, Georgetown
29. Cleveland Cavaliers: Derrick Brown, F, Xavier
30. L.A. Lakers: Darren Collison, G, UCLA
31. Sacramento Kings: Toney Douglas, G, Florida State
32. Portland Trailblazers: Marcus Thorton, G, LSU
33. Washington Wizards: Omri Casspi, F, Israel
34. Denver Nuggets: Dionte Christmas, G, Temple
35. Memphis Grizzlies: Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova
36. Detroit Pistons: Taj Gibson, F, USC
37. San Antonio Spurs: Jermaine Taylor, G, Central Florida
38. Portland Trailblazers: Jeff Adrien, F, UConn
39. Detroit Pistons: Jeff Pendergraph, F, Arizona State
40. Charlotte Bobcats: DeMarre Carroll, F, Missouri
41. Milwaukee Bucks: Danny Green, F, UNC
42. L.A. Lakers: Jonas Jerebko, F, Sweden
43. Miami Heat: Curtis Jerrels, G, Baylor
44. Detroit Pistons: Josh Heytvelt, F, Gonzaga
45. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jerel McNeal, G/F, Marquette
46. Cleveland Cavaliers: Greivis Vasquez, G, Maryland
47. Minnesota Timberwolves: A.J. Price, G, UConn
48. Phoenix Suns: Rodrigue Beaubois, G, France
49. Atlanta Hawks: Chris Johnson, F/C, LSU
50. Utah Jazz: Tyrese Rice, G, Boston College
51. San Antonio Spurs: Jon Brockman, F, Washington
52. Indiana Pacers: Leo Lyons, F, Missouri
53. San Antonio Spurs: Alex Ruoff, G, West Virginia
54. Charlotte Bobcats: Jodie Meeks, G, Kentucky
55. Portland Trailblazers: Wesley Matthews, F, Marquette
56. Portland Trailblazers: Josh Akognon, G, Cal State Fullerton
57. Phoenix Suns: Emir Preldzic, G/F, Slovenia
58. Boston Celtics: A.J. Abrams, G, Texas
59. L.A. Lakers: Robert Dozier, F, Memphis
60. Miami Heat: Milenko Tepic, G, Int'l.
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