1. LA 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, however, there is not much depth this year behind Griffin, resulting in a little less contemplation. The 2008-2009 NCAA player-of-the-year is a clear-cut choice to go first overall.
The Clippers have announced that they will choose the 6’10” big man first overall to save much drama in later months. Griffin will be a fan-drawer the second team in LA. The aging Clippers 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.
An athletic big man such as Griffin does not come often. Griffin scored and rebounded with ease in college, and also has plenty of room for improvement at the next level. With games of 40, 35, 33(2), and 32 points, respectively, Griffin has proven skill that will make him a great NBA forward.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: 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 of a load 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.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder: James Harden, F/G, Arizona State
James Harden was an outstanding player in college as just a freshman, he has proven in just one year that he is a true scorer. The 6’4” lefty can flat-out put the ball in the hoop.
20 PPG, 5 RPG, and 4 APG is an impressive line. Harden can provide energy and the obvious scoring ability to any team in the draft.
Crafty is an ideal adjective for Harden in that he can get to the rim at will, or pull up and hit the outside shot, as well as finish in transition. He does not have a set position that he would fulfill in the NBA yet. He also will need to gel to the NBA game, and learn how to run offense through other players.
4. Sacramento Kings: Ricky Rubio, G, DKV Joventut
Ricky Rubio is well known for his play in the Beijing Olympics for Spain. He started against the U.S.A. as just a seventeen year-old. He displayed endless skill at the point guard position.
The 6’3”, eighteen year-old Rubio has a game that is shaped around his incredible ball-handling ability, phenomenal passing, keen court awareness, and quick-handed defense. His weaknesses include his need to strengthen his offensive game.
If you look to Rubio for offense, you’re in trouble. However, Rubio turns just nineteen in October giving him ample time to improve. Just like any other international star, Rubio will need time to get affiliated with the NBA, but when he does, he will be a very good player.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: 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 Calapari. The transition was clean that proves his versatility that will pay off in the NBA.
The 6’5” freshman was a high-energy scorer in college at 17.1 PPG. He energized the crowd by getting to the rim at will, resulting in an acrobatic lay-in or a high-flying dunk.
His shooting form might look unorthodox, but he can dial in from long distance. There are a few kinks in his game that he will iron out in the league. He will need to establish his true position, and when he does, he will be exciting to watch in the NBA.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves: 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” Curry 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, however, he will be ready to make a statement in the NBA for a team that is in need of a scoring threat.
7. Golden State Warriors: Jordan Hill, F, Arizona
Jordan Hill is a new age power forward that all NBA teams want. The slender Hill 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 scoring comes from (18.1 PPG), 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.
8. New York Knicks: 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.
His high-flying dunks and 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 on any spot on the floor, or can 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.
9. Toronto Raptors: Johnny Flynn, G, Syracuse
Johnny Flynn was one of the top three guards last year in college basketball who 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 and 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 forgo the rest of his college career and make the jump to the NBA.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Brandon Jennings, G, Italy
Many scouts rated Brandon Jennings as the best high school senior last year when college teams were making their offers. Jennings was a well-known guard that was set to hit Arizona and play for Lute Olsen.
Then he just disappeared? No, he was the first big name high school player to make a bigger jump than going to the NBA; he went to the Euro League. Jennings might have been the first big name player to do so, but he is not the last.
Jennings is an extremely exciting guard that can push the ball on the break and has great court vision. His strengths include: ball handling, vision, can create for himself, and others.
His experience is lacking even with leaping to Europe and he needs to add strength to his frame. He will bring solidified talent to a team that needs it at point guard.
11. New Jersey Nets: Terrence Williams, G/F, Louisville
Terrence Williams is an athletic freak. His jump shot has improved tremendously throughout his college career into what is now a smooth, NBA jumper.
He can score the basketball along with play exceptional defense. Gary Payton will be proud to see Williams drafted this early, as he has been training T-Will.
There is growing speculation that the Nets could use the 11th pick on Louisville forward Terrence Williams.
"I know from close sources that New Jersey has interest in me, and I have a lot of interest in New Jersey with that level pick," Williams said after his workout with the club on Friday. "With my position, I think I could help right away and learn a lot from Vince Carter."
12. Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Henderson, G/F, Duke
Many College Basketball fan know exactly what Henderson is capable of, nevertheless, the 6’5” wingman was still questioned on his game in the NBA. Henderson, with the help of the NBA draft combine, has proved himself to NBA scouts and the rest of the draft pool.
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.
14. Phoenix Suns: Jrue Holiday, G, UCLA
NBA scouts are practically drooling for 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 came prove to be an NBA great one day. Holiday, along with his teammate, Darren Collison, left a positive mark on the NBA draft combine, which resulted in their stocks rising substantially.
15. Detroit Pistons: Earl Clark, F, Louisville
16. Philadelphia 76ers: James Johnson, F, Wake Forest
17. Chicago Bulls: Jeff Teague, G, Wake Forest
18. Minnesota Timberwolves: BJ Mullens, C, Ohio State
19. Atlanta Hawks: Tyler Hansbrough, F, UNC
20. Utah Jazz: Eric Maynor, G, VCU
21. New Orleans: Omri Casspi, F, Israel
22. Portland Trailblazers: Tywon Lawson, G, UNC
23. Sacramento Kings: Wayne Ellington, G/F, UNC
24. Dallas Mavericks: Sam Young, G/F, Pittsburgh
25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Austin Daye, F, Gonzaga
26. Chicago Bulls: Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona
27. Memphis Grizzlies: Patrick Mills, G, Saint Mary’s
28. Minnesota Timberwolves: DaJuan Summers, F, Georgetown
29. LA Lakers: Derrick Brown, F, Xavier
30. Cleveland Cavaliers: Darren Collison, G, UCLA
31. Sacramento Kings: Toney Douglas, G, Florida State
32. Portland Trailblazers: Marcus Thorton, G, LSU
33. Washington Wizards: Jonas Jerebko, F, Sweden
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: Rodrigue Beaubois, G, France
39. Detroit Pistons: Jeff Pendergraph, F, Arizona State
40. Charlotte Bobcats: DeMarre Carroll, F, Missouri
41. Milwaukee Bucks: Danny Green, F, UNC
42. LA Lakers: Nick Calathes, G, Florida
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: Jodie Meeks, G, Kentucky
47. Minnesota Timberwolves: AJ Price, G, Uconn
48. Phoenix Suns: Jeff Adrian, F, UConn
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: Paul Harris, F, Syracuse
54. Charlotte Bobcats: Jack McClinton, G, Miami (FL)
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: AJ Abrams, G, Texas
59. LA Lakers: Robert Dozier, F, Memphis
60. Miami Heat: Milenko Tepic, G, Intl