'09 NBA Draft Lottery: How I Saw It
The NBA the lottery played out much like it was expected to, with a couple of surprises, one bonehead move, and a lot of repetitive analysis. The following is one man's account of how it played out.
1. Clippers: Blake Griffin
This was the most obvious pick of the draft. Griffin has been the No. 1 player on the board since midway through the college season. This was truly a no-brainer.
Mark Jackson on the pick: “Griffin is going to a great situation on a talented team.”...Um, I've never heard that about the Clippers before. Did he get them mixed up with the Lakers or something?
2. Grizzlies: Hasheem Thabeet
Presumably this pick meant that the Timberwolves weren't able to move up. The knock on Thabeet has been that he lacks an offensive game. In interviews, we learn that he grew up playing soccer until he was a teenager (a game where you don't use your hands). Could this explain his lack of offensive skills? Does it mean he can still improve them.
Stu Scott: “Hasheem means 'destroyer of evil'.” Interesting.
3. Thunder: James Harden
Harden is a great fit for the Thunder. By all accounts, he is the most mature and NBA- ready player in this draft. Just watching him sit and talk, he has an air of cool confidence about him. He is articulate and knows a lot about the team he's going to.
He reminds me a lot of how Brandon Roy carried himself of draft night a couple of years ago. On top of that, he's actually excited to be going there and being a part of what they're doing.
4. Kings: Tyreke Evans
So, here was the first dilemma of the draft. It was no secret the Kings were set on Evans. Many fans (myself included) thought he was the right guy for them. The question, however, was with Ricky Rubio falling, would that change the plans? The Kings stick to the plan and get Evans. I am a big fan of this pick.
Chad Ford openly questions the pick.
5 and 6. Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn
Rubio fell to them and so they took him; I have no issues with that. The problem is that they immediately followed that up with another point guard in Flynn. Jay Bilas claims that they can play on the court together and that this is a great strategy for them.
I am not buying it. I am assuming that they picked one of them to trade. As the night unfolds, however, that seems not to be the case. I am dumbfounded. This is not a team with just one need to fill. They should have diversified with these two picks.
Further complicating things for the Timberwolves is that it is now the morning after and there are already reports from Rubio's dad that he is now likely to return to Europe for several more years. I guess he wasn't to happy with where he got picked?
The Timberwolves are now going to be forced to trade Rubio's rights elsewhere or do some serious convincing of Rubio to stay.
7. Warriors: Stephen Curry
Not since Steve Francis has a player seemed so upset to be picked. Minutes before the draft, Curry actually admitted (on TV!) that he'd be disappointed if he didn't get picked by the Knicks. Then he goes just one pick before them; that has to sting.
For the Warriors, they get the best shooter in this draft, a player that will fit right in and likely thrive under Don Nelson. But how motivated will he actually be?
8. Knicks: Jordan Hill
Having seen Curry go one pick before them, they take the next target on their radar in Hill. Hill looks like someone who will fit right in with the Knicks running offensive attack. He is a big man, but an athlete that can run the court. So much so that Bilas notes, “he is more of an athlete than a basketball player.”
Could this pave the way for the Knicks to let David Lee go?
9. Raptors: DeMar DeRozan
This was one of the worst kept secrets in the draft. The Raptors had targeted DeRozan and got their man.
10. Bucks: Brandon Jennings
This pick looks a lot like insurance for Ramon Sessions. Jeff Van Gundy calls him, “a very left-handed player.” ok...moving right along...
11. Nets: Terrence Williams
The Nets get another young player, Rick Pitino looks ready to cry in joy.
After trading Vince Carter earlier in the day, they draft someone who could eventually fill his wing spot. Probably a good idea.
12. Bobcats: Gerald Henderson
Another pick that was a surprise to...nobody. And the Bobcats add another local player...no way!
13. Pacers: Tyler Hansbrough
Hansbrough goes higher than many expected. It is good to see a great college player get rewarded. (Please don't mention J.J Redick, I just ate.)
The crowd chants, “o-ver-ra-ted.”
14. Suns: Earl Clark
I have heard this guy compared to everyone from Chris Webber to Antoine Walker. Well, one of those would be a good pick.
Rick Pitino says he's very shy. Is that a quality you really want in an NBA player? Pitino is now full-on crying. I now can see it's not that he's happy, it's because he just watched his starting front-court move on to the NBA and he has to figure out how to replace them.
And that is your NBA lottery, and that is how I saw it.
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