Now that the deadline for underclassman has come and gone we officially know who is in and who is out of the draft. Some last minute withdrawals were Greivis Vasquez and Luke Harangody.
With the NBA Finals over the focus in the NBA world switches to the draft. The draft will be held on June 25th. With that said here is my latest NBA Mock Draft.
This pick has been a lock since the start and apparently since last year. Even the Clippers can’t screw this one up.
Griffin is the consensus top player in what is considered a weak draft. The drafting of Griffin will probably force the Clippers to trade either Zach Randolph or Chris Kamen.
This is where the drafts starts to get interesting. The Grizzlies could take Thabeet, Ricky Rubio, or trade the pick perhaps to Sacramento.
The Grizzlies don’t have a big need at center or point guard with Marc Gasol and Mike Conely Jr. at both positions but while Gasol is a solid player you don’t pass up a player like Thabeet for him.
Thabeet will be a defensive force early and if his offensive catches up he could have a career similar to Dikembe Mutombo.
The Thunder would love to have Thabeet fall to them to give them an defensive presence inside but will likely have to choose between Harden and Rubio.
The Thunder seem intent on keeping Russell Westbrook at point guard so drafting Harden to play shooting guard seems likely. Harden would give them another scoring punch and plays good defense.
The Kings will be ecstatic if Rubio falls to them at No. 4. The Kings went into the lottery thinking they would have Blake Griffin but Rubio would be a hell of a consolation prize.
Rubio is only 18 years old but has been playing professionally in Spain since he was 14. Also Rubio said he’d be open to playing in Sacramento which can’t be said for Memphis.
The Wizards are a real wild card in the draft. They have to talent to compete now and are looking to trade the pick for a veteran. There have been rumors of Dallas and Boston being interested but nothing serious has come of them.
If the Wizards are unable to trade the pick they will likely choose between Tyreke Evans and Jordan Hill. Evans will give them a guard who they can pair with Gilbert Arenas and play both guard sports.
The Timberwolves clearly need help at point guard and there are plenty to choose from. They could go with Curry, Evans, Flynn, Holiday, or Jennings.
Curry has been linked to the Knicks since the start of the draft process but has been rising up the boards lately and there is even talk of him going third. Curry and Randy Foye would give the Timberwolves a very formidable back court.
The Warriors are set with Monte Ellis in the back court but he needs a partner. Whether the Warriors want to play him at the point or at shooting guard will determine who they pick here.
Brandon Jennings is a traditional point guard who would fit in good in Don Nelson’s up temp system.
Jennings gained invaluable experience playing in Italy last year and Jennings has as much potential as anyone in the draft.
Previous Pick: Tyreke Evans
Everyone has been plugging Stephen Curry to Knicks and it seems like a perfect match but there is a chance Curry will be gone in which case the Knicks will have to regroup.
If they miss out on Curry, Johnny Flynn would be a great pick. The Knicks are in dire need of a point guard and Flynn was arguably the best in college basketball down the stretch last year.
Flynn lit up the Big East Tournament last season in Madison Square Garden and he could be calling it home next year.
Previous Pick: Stephen Curry
The Raptors get lucky here with DeRozan slipping all the way to No. 9. DeRozan got off to a slow start last year at USC but turned it on once conference play started and showed why he was one of the top recruits in the nation.
DeRozan has tremendous athletic ability and has the potential to be an All Star in the league. With Shawn Marion and Anthony Parker headed for free agency DeRozan would fill a big need for the Raptors and play right away.
The Bucks have two big free agents this off season in Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions. Both are restricted free agents but it is likely that the Bucks will lose at least one. If the Bucks lose Sessions Holiday would be a fine replacement.
Holiday was a top recruit but struggled to find playing time and produce at UCLA in his freshman year. Holiday has risen up draft boards with good workouts in the pre draft process and could go higher than this.
The Nets get lucky here with Jordan Hill falling into their lap at number 11. Hill has been projected to go as high as No. 5 to Washington and if he falls to them in the real draft it would be a steal. Hill improved every year while he was at Arizona and only started to play organized basketball as a senior in high school.
Hill will bring energy and rebounding to New Jersey's front line and would team with Brook Lopez to give the Nets a great young front line.
The Bobcats took a step forward in the first year under Larry Brown but still need help before they are a playoff team. After trading Jason Richardson the Bobcats created a big gap at shooting guard.
Henderson measured in at 6’5 with a 6’10 wingspan impressive numbers for the Duke alum. Henderson really came into his own as a junior at Duke and can play right away, something Larry Brown covets in rookies.
With the influx of point guards available in this draft one of them is certain to fall to the Pacers at 13. The Pacers seem to be set at the other positions with Brandon Rush at the two, Danny Granger and Troy Murphy at the forward sports, and Roy Hibbert in the middle.
The T.J. Ford, Jarrett Jack combo at point has not worked out and Lawson cold step in right away and play. Lawson was lights out in the tournament displaying his leadership and on court.
The Suns could go in a lot of directions with this pick. The could look at a point guard with Steve Nash set to become a free agent next summer or a center like B.J. Mullens if they decide to trade Shaq but they are most likely to take a wing player a la Shawn Marion and that’s where James Johnson comes in.
Johnson is a hybrid forward that can play both spots and has a great combo of size and strength. Johnson is also very good in transition making him a good fit in the Suns up temp offense.
The Pistons could lose Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, and Kwame Brown in the offseason so a froncourt player is needed. With the Piston looking toward the future they can take a chance on Mullens who will take time to develop.
There is talk the Bulls have promised to take Mullens here but if he is off the board the next best big available is DeJuan Blair. Blair would add some much needed toughness and despite his size (6’6) his 7’2 wingspan makes up for it.
Andre Miller is set to become a free agent this summer so addressing the point guard position is a necessity. Maynor despite playing at VCU got plenty of media attention thanks to his NCAA tournament performances and can step in and play right away.
After selecting a point guard earlier in the draft the Timberwolves can addres other positions. With no centers worthy of this pick the Wolves go with the best plyaer available in Earl Clark.
Clark is a combo forward who if he puts it all together can be special in this league.
The Hawks have been searching for a point guard for years. To passing over Chris Paul to selecting Acie Law the Hawks have had bad luck. With Mike Bibby set to become a free agent they will try their luck again. Teague struggled late in the season but if returns to his early season form this pick could be a steal.
The Jazz will likely lose either Carlos Boozer or Paul Milsap in the offseason and they might lose both creating a huge need at power forward.
Hansbrough measured taller than expected at the combine which helped erase some doubts about this potential in the league.
The Hornets could use this pick in a number of ways. They could use a backup oint guard for Chris Paul or a shooting guard after James Posey and Morris Peterson struggled last season.
Thorton is a local player and had a good workout with the Hornets. There is also the possibility the Hornets could sell this pick for cash.
The Mavs are looking for someone whou could help them right away as their core starts to get older. Budinger could help right away on the wing giving the Mavs a nice player off the bench. They could also look at a pint guard to replace Jason Kidd.
Taking Casspi after Rubio would make it a European sweep for the Kings. Casspi might saty overseas becoming coming to the Kings but could be a real asset for the Kings.
He isn’t the most skilled player but has a lot of toughness which is rare for a European prospect.
The Trailblazers don’t have any pressing needs and may look to trade this pick. If they keep the pick they could use another forward on the wing. Young was huge for Pitt last year and didn’t get much credit playing in the shadow of Blair but he is NBA ready.
Taking Collison would reunite the UCLA back court from a year ago in Collison and Russell Westbrook. Westbrook isn’t a natural point guard so the two could play together in the back court like their days at UCLA.
Collison isn’t a big scorer but is a great defender and would be an ideal back up point guard for the Thunder.
Ben Gordon had a great series against the Celtics in the playoffs and could cash in this off season. If he leaves the underrated Douglas would be a fine replacement. Douglas can play both guard positions and is a good defender.
The Grizzlies could use a true power forward here but with none available worth the pick they go with Brown. Brown is a combo forward who has great athletic ability. He and Rudy Gay could handle both of the forward sports giving the Grizzlies a nice combo.
This is the Timberwolves third first round pick so I wouldn’t be surprised if they trade this pick or one of their other picks. I they keep the pick Calathes would be an interesting pick.
Calathes signed with a team in Greece but the Wolves would retain his rights and could stash him there for a couple of years before trying to bring over the talented combo guard.
The Lakers fresh off a title win don’t have many needs so they can take a project here. Daye has all the upside in the world but never really put it together at Gonzaga.
In Los Angeles he won’t be forced to play early and can develop. The 6’10 forward profiles similar to a Lamar Odom, who happens to play for the Lakers.
After being upset in the playoffs by the Magic the Cavs lack of a true big man was exposed. They’re not going to find a big man who can play right away here and will probably trade for one (Shaq?).
Their other need is an athletic forward who can guard players like Hedo Tirkoglu and Rashard Lewis. Summers fit’s the bill and can shoot the ball from three.