The 2009 NBA Draft concluded a mere couple minutes ago. But that doesn't mean it's too early to take a look at the winners of the night. I'm not a fan of looking at the losers, so I'll just keep it at the night's best.
Los Angeles Clippers- The Clips didn't screw up the No. 1, picking the consensus number one prospect in Blake Griffin. If they can figure out what to do with their glut of frontcourt players, the Clippers could be onto something. Team Baron Davis with Eric Gordon and Griffin and all of a sudden the Clips have a legit NBA trio.
Oklahoma City Thunder- Sam Presti came from the Spurs, so it's no surprise the guy knows how to build a franchise. Kevin Durant is the franchise player and is quickly being stocked with a ton of talent. Jeff Green was added with Durant and Russell Westbrook last year, and now the Thunder have added a shooting guard in James Harden and a center in B.J. Mullens. That's a young starting five loaded with potential. I'm beginning to see the Thunder as the Portland Trail Blazers of two years ago.
Charlotte Bobcats- The Bobcats still lack the back-to-the-basket scorer they need in the post, but they are beginning to fill in the other spots on the roster quite nicely. With Raymond Felton and D.J. Augustin capable of manning the point guard spots, the Bobcats added Gerald Henderson in the first round and Robert Vaden in the second round as solid impact wing scorers. Derrick Brown adds more athleticism and potential to the frontcourt.
Philadelphia 76ers- The Sixers only had one pick, and pretty much had one really big need and they filled it. Andre Miller looks to be departing via free agency, leaving the lone point guard on the team to be a guy named Louis Williams, who is extremely talented in his own right. Now, the Sixers added a guy full of untapped potential in Jrue Holiday, who will be able to develop as a role player off the bench before becoming a huge part of the Sixers down the road.
San Antonio Spurs- The Spurs made headlines when they landed Richard Jefferson in the days before the draft, but what the Spurs did tonight might have moved them even closer to the Lakers in the west. They added DeJuan Blair, who is a beast inside as a rebounder and will provide the Spurs with much needed grit and muscle off the bench. They also added a scoring combo guard in Jack McClinton, who will give them another option coming off the bench.
Memphis Grizzlies- If only the Grizzlies had a little luck and a stable foundation like the Thunder where all this young talent could mesh together. The Grizz already have two of the league's better athletes in O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay to build around at the wing spots, and if Mike Conley can develop into the point guard a lot of people think he can be, then that's a quality top three. Add to that Darrell Arthur, a first rounder last year, and Marc Gasol, a former second rounder with a lot of offensive upside, and that's a starting five that could go head-to-head with the Thunder's bunch. In this draft, they shored up the interior defense by adding Hasheem Thabeet at No. 3, adding a little more grit and hustle in DeMarre Carroll at No. 27, and then they landed a guy who can immediately step in and pack a punch off the bench in Sam Young.
I know I said I try to avoid handing out the losers, but here's a quick rundown of the teams that I didn't like what they did tonight.
Minnesota Timberwolves- Too many guards with all their picks. Don't like trying to fill one hole with multiple pegs at the same stage in their career (Rubio, Flynn, Calathes).
New Jersey Nets- They're rebuilding. I think their rebuilding process would have been better suited trading down and picking up an extra pick while still being able to land Williams.
Chicago Bulls- James Johnson is a chemistry issue waiting to happen and I think Taj Gibson is undersized and a little too non-athletic to be a factor in the league.
Dallas Mavericks- For a team that's aging quickly and fading from the league's elite even faster, they did very little to remedy that with proven, young talent.