Last month, we released our first pass at a mock of the 2009 NBA Draft. Here is our second attempt at projecting the draft, which will take place on June 25.
1. Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma – All indications still point towards the Clippers taking Griffin with the first pick. It is pretty much a lock, unless they get stupid and try to trade the pick. Griffin is far and away the biggest talent in the draft and he should have an impact next year. Look for the Clip Show to try to trade Zach Randolph or Chris Kaman to anyone unfortunate enough to take on their bad contracts. If Randolph stays, it may hamper Griffin’s rookie campaign numbers, but I still think he could average 14 points and eight rebounds a game. If you are in a keeper league, there is even more incentive to take the former Sooner, as he will continue to get better and should be a dominant player by year three.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn – The Grizzlies seem to be actively shopping this pick, but I really do not see them moving it. Ricky Rubio has spurned Memphis, mostly because of its dealings with Juan Carlos Navarro and Pau Gasol, so I don’t see the Grizz considering the Spainard. If the Grizzlies keep the pick, I think they will take Thabeet to solidify their back line of defense. Although Thabeet is not offensively sound, he will be an impact player defensively from Day One. He should be considered next year in Fantasy leagues solely due to his shot blocking ability. Other possibilities: Rubio.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder: Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain – I think general manager Sam Presti sees Rubio as the second best prospect in the draft, which also makes him the second best asset. I think the Thunder drafts Rubio with intentions of trading him to the highest bidder. This could totally blow up the rest of the draft if a trade happens on draft day. Regardless of the scenario, I think Rubio will be selected third, but I have no clue who he plays for next year. Also, if OKC can not find a deal that suits the team, oh well, it has Rubio! Other possibilities: James Harden, Stephen Curry, Hasheem Thabeet.
4. Sacramento Kings: Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse – It is possible that Rubio slips to the Kings at this spot, and it would be a no brainer to go with him because they desperately need a point guard after inconsistent Beno Udrih pretty much proved he’s not a legitimate NBA starting PG. With Rubio off the board in this mock draft, I think the Kings reach out and take Flynn of Syracuse, even though he is projected later in the lottery by most. This lightning-fast guard really impressed the Kings’ brass during workouts as he provided a great deal of energy and leadership. Flynn could be a Fantasy stud right away next year if he ends up in Sactown. Other possibilities: Rubio, Jrue Holiday.
5. Washington Wizards: James Harden, SG, Arizona State – All indications point to the Wizards trying to move this pick for a veteran that will give them a chance to compete. It is possible that the Celtics could trade Ray Allen for this pick and some salaries. Under that scenario, the Celts would take Tyreke Evans, whom Danny Ainge loves. If the Wizards keep the pick, they will be deciding between Harden, Evans, and Jordan Hill, with the former two being the lead candidates. Ultimately, I think it would be foolish to trade for Allen and his one year left and give up the chance at a young stud. I say the Wizards keep the pick and take Harden out of Arizona State. Other possibilities: Curry, Hill, Evans.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Tyreke Evans, SG, Memphis – I could easily see the T-wolves taking Curry in this spot, but Evans projects as a more dominant pro, and fits better on their roster. If Tyreke lands here, I think he has a good chance to start next year in the backcourt with Randy Foye, which would give the Wolves some decent guards to pair with Kevin Love and Al Jefferson. Evans should be an immediate impact player in Fantasy to some extent. Other possibilities: Curry.
7. Golden State Warriors: Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona – I have always thought Hill should be the pick for the Warriors at No. 7. While the Warriors have a number of lanky prospects, Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright are not the same type of players that Hill could become. When Andris Biedrins was injured last year, the lack of frontcourt depth was very evident. Hill is also a big man that can run with the Warriors’ up-tempo offense and pound the boards. Other possibilities: Flynn, Brandon Jennings, Curry, Terrence Williams.
8. New York Knicks: Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Davidson – I think the only real threat to take Curry before this spot is the Timberwolves at No. 6. If Curry does land in New York, the fans will be ecstatic. I think it would be hilarious to see what would happen if Curry is available and New York passes on him, especially considering he’s been rumoured to be earmarked for MSG for weeks. In Mike D’Antoni’s offense, Curry becomes an immediate Fantasy asset because of his long-range shooting ability. Other possibilities: Hill, Flynn, Jennings.
9. Toronto Raptors: DeMarr DeRozan, SF, USC – With Anthony Parker and Shawn Marion headed for free agency, the Raptors need an athletic wingman to fill the void. DeRozan really came on at the end of last year and showed some of the promise he had coming out of high school. I am not sure how the move across the border would affect a guy who is always been in the Southern California area. DeRozan is fairly raw still, but should get a good amount of playing time next year. Other possibilities: Holiday, Gerald Henderson, Earl Clark.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday, PG, UCLA – Holiday could go as high as No. 4 in the draft, with his worst case scenario falling here to the Bucks. Head coach Scott Skiles will love the defense and length that Holiday can bring to the table. With Ramon Sessions likely leaving via free agency, Holiday is sure to get his fill of playing time. Other possibilities: Flynn, Jeff Teague, Jennings, Clark.
11. New Jersey Nets: Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina – Most people have Hansbrough going later in the first round, but I think the Nets want and need a guy like this Tar Heel legend. During workouts he showed that he was taller and more athletic than most gave him credit for. Hansbrough also showed off an improved jumper that could allow him to have a long NBA career. I think this is a solid choice for the Nets and he could contribute right away. Other possibilities: Williams, James Johnson, DeJuan Blair.
12. Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke – The fact that he’s a solid defender, a capable shooter, and a fan favourite all come into play here. The Bobcats would appease many of their loyal fans by taking the Duke product with the 12th overall pick. Other possibilities: Clark, B.J. Mullens.
13. Indiana Pacers: Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy – Jennings is a lightning-quick point guard who I think hit a bit of culture shock in the Euroleague. Teams over there do not really play on potential as much as what you can do in their system. The Pacers could take a risk on this point guard with the 13th pick and hope he becomes a star. Other possibilities: Eric Maynor, Teague, Austin Daye, Blair.
14. Phoenix Suns: Austin Daye, SF, Gonzaga – Daye decided to stay in the draft this year which makes me think he knows that he will go in the top 20. He said in the past that he would like to stay in the top 20 or go back to school. Daye seems like the type of player the Suns would take, even though he is a string bean and gets pushed around, even at Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference. Other possibilities: Clark, Johnson.
15. Detroit Pistons: Earl Clark, SF, Louisville – The Pistons need an overhaul and this could be started with taking this small forward from Louisville. Clark is a versatile player that could help infuse the Piston lineup with some exciting young talent. Other possibilities: Johnson.
16. Chicago Bulls: B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State – The Bulls could definitely use a 7-footer that is a paint filler and post presence. I think if Mullens is still on the board at 16, he will be wearing red next season. I am not a huge fan of Mullens as I think he will be a total stiff in the NBA and I really do not think he is much of a Fantasy sleeper next year. He is also rumored to be going to the Knicks at No. 8, which I think would be crazy. Other possibilities: Blair, Hansbrough (if the Nets don’t take him).
17. Philadelphia 76ers: Eric Maynor, PG, VCU – I think this is a steal if Maynor slips to 17. He can contribute right away and even make some Fantasy noise. Other possibilities: Teague.
18. Golden State Warriors (Projected trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves): Terrence Williams, SG/SF, Louisville – The projected trade sends Wright and 2010 lottery protected first round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 18th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. The Warriors really like Williams and the Timberwolves already have three first round picks this year and would like to gain assets for the future.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest – If the Hawks trade Josh Smith and use the cap space to sign Mike Bibby, they may go in a different direction. As of now, it looks like Smith will still be in Atlanta come draft day and there is no guarantee that Bibby will re-sign. Look for the Hawks to take Teague if he is still available. He is very talented and could go as high as 10 to the Bucks, but this draft is pretty heavy at the point guard position.
20. Utah Jazz: DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh – Worries about Blair’s knee may send his draft stock downward. He dominated the Big East, but the NBA is a different animal. I really do not see him evolving into an Elton Brand type. I think his best case scenario would be a Paul Millsap type of player, which the Jazz may need to replace this coming season.
21. New Orleans Hornets: James Johnson, PF, Wake Forest – Johnson is a super athletic big man would can play all over the court. He was quite inconsistent last year and I think he lacks the intangibles and overall basketball IQ to be a lottery pick. I do not see him contributing much next year from a Fantasy perspective, but he could earn court time if he outworks some guys in front of him.
22. Dallas Mavericks: Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina – If Lawson really falls into the 20’s I think he will be disappointed. After his insane March performances, he was probably thinking he would go in the lottery. The Mavs need a point guard to replace Jason Kidd, and Lawson may be the best on the board at this point.
23. Sacramento Kings: Chase Budinger, SG/SF, Arizona – Budinger could fall anywhere from 15 to 30 in my eyes and rightfully so. He is a very athletic scorer who can thrive if placed in the right system. A year or two ago, he looked like a top 10 pick on potential alone, but he never really took the bull by the horns and relished the go-to guy role at Arizona.
24. Portland Trailblazers: Darren Collison, PG, UCLA – The Blazers already have Steve Blake, Sergio Rodriguez, and Jerryd Bayless, but none of these guards is known as a lock down defended. I think Portland will try to move Rodriguez, opening up some playing time for a more defensive-minded guard in Collison.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Omri Casspi, SF, Israel – Think of a skinnier version of Andres Nocioni who could give the Thunder some needed toughness on a rather finesse team.
26. Chicago Bulls: Toney Douglas, PG, Florida State – Douglas is a gamer who I think can make it in the league. The Bulls would also have another scorer who could replace Ben Gordon if he leaves via free agency. If you have seen Douglas play at Florida State, I am sure you would think he is a first round talent.
27. Memphis Grizzlies: Sam Young, SF, Pittsburgh – A crafty lefty scorer can certainly be a nice addition to Memphis’ stable of young talent. The future is bright in Memphis and Young could be a part of something special in two years. I like his ability to create shots off the dribble, something that is needed to be a consistent NBA scorer.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves: Patrick Mills, PG, St. Mary’s – I have the T-Wolves taking Evans with the sixth pick and trading the 18th pick to the Warriors. Here, with their third first round pick, I think they may take a shot with Mills. The speedy guard could give the Wolves some backcourt depth, but I do not think Mills will be a Fantasy factor over the next few years.
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Dajuan Summers, SF, Georgetown – Summers is a good passer with a decent overall skill set who should be able to produce in the Triangle Offense. He should be ignored for Fantasy purposes next year, though, as the Lakers have their skilled guys locked up. If Lamar Odom does leave via free agency, Summers is a candidate to be groomed to fill that spot in the lineup.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers: Derrick Brown, SF, Xavier – Brown is a definite upgrade to aging Wally Szczerbiak and he would help add depth the Cavalier bench. Brown was a great scorer and defender for what seems a decade at Xavier. Cleveland sorely needs someone like him and he could actually be a key for them to win a championship. This would be a great pick and a great spot for Brown to start his career.
Look for the final edition of our Mock Draft next week right before the NBA Draft on June 25.