Generally, I’m pretty good at these things…this year, if I get 6 or 7 right, I will be happy. I honestly don’t know what the hell to expect. This is an odd draft–nearly all of the best players are guards, but two of the top three are big men.
1. LA Clippers: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
This is one I will get right. Let’s hope that Mike Dunleavy acts like, well, Mike Dunleavy and picks Rubio, though.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Hasheem Thabeet, UConn
The more and more I think about this and the closer we get to the draft, the more I think Thabeet is their man. I disagree, but so be it. This pick literally controls the fate of the entire draft.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder: Ricky Rubio, DKV Joventut
I wish the Grizzlies would pick Rubio and figure out what to do with Conley. Apparently, the Grizzlies are really high on Conley, for reasons I don’t understand. I don’t think his ceiling is nearly as high as Rubio’s.
4. Sacramento Kings: Tyreke Evans, Memphis
A couple of things on Tyreke–first of all, I think he has tremendous upside. If he can develop a little jump shot, he could be a steal, even at 4. I wouldn’t be upset at all if the Grizzlies picked him at 2. That being said, the people who think he’d sell a bunch of tickets for the Grizzlies are wrong. What sells tickets is winning. No one is going to buy tickets to see Tyreke just because he’s Tyreke…if he turns out to be Dwyane Wade, then people would buy tickets.
5. Minnesota T’Wolves: Stephen Curry, Davidson
I hope that the Grizzlies can somehow move down to this spot, because Curry playing opposite Gay and Mayo would be terrific. This is exactly the kind of sharpshooter they need to kick the ball out to when they drive to the basket. I would very strongly consider taking him at #2.
6. Minnesota T’Wolves: James Harden, Arizona State
Having no backcourt, the T’Wolves rebuild it with two guards in a row.
7. Golden State Warriors: Jonny Flynn, Syracuse
I’m not sure about this one, because they may be close to acquiring Acie Law and Speedy Claxton. They do need a point guard to play off Monta Ellis though, so I have them taking Flynn.
8. New York Knicks: Jordan Hill, Arizona
I literally have no idea what the Knicks will do with this pick, but it will either be Hill or Jrue Holliday from UCLA.
9. Toronto Raptors: Demar DeRozan, USC
If they don’t re-sign Shawn Marion, they will have nothing at either the 2 or the 3. If I’m the Grizzlies, I’m trying to pry away Bosh with Rudy Gay, the 2, and Warrick (or something like this). Bosh will leave Toronto for nothing at the end of next season…try and trade for him and get an extension done.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holliday, UCLA…UPDATE: BRANDON JENNINGS, VIRTUS ROMA
With their trade for Bowen, Oberto, and Kurt Thomas Tuesday, it’s clear they don’t mind making next season a wash. Why not take a project point guard to back up Ramon Sessions?
11. New Jersey Nets: James Johnson, Wake Forest…UPDATE: TERRENCE WILLIAMS, LOUISVILLE
Either they will trade Vince Carter in a salary dump, or move him back to the 2 and take Johnson to play the 3/4. They have Keyon Dooling playing the 2 right now. Keyon Dooling!!
12. Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Henderson, Duke…UPDATE: JAMES JOHNSON, WAKE FOREST
Against better judgment, I have Michael Jordan picking a Dookie here. They have a really interesting lineup if this happens. Also a possibility of taking Hansbrough here to back up Boris Diaw.
13. Indiana Pacers: Brandon Jennings, Virtus Roma…UPDATE: JRUE HOLLIDAY, UCLA
For some reason, people have cooled on Brandon Jennings because he went to Europe for a year. I think he’s going to be awesome. Great pick here for the Pacers.
14. Phoenix Suns: Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
He’ll be a very capable backup to Amare Stoudemire.
15. Detroit Pistons: Ty Lawson, North Carolina
Just because he’s only 6 feet tall in shoes, this guy is slipping down draft boards. I’m telling you people, he’s going to be good. He was easily the best point guard in college basketball last year. Easily. A rich man’s TJ Ford. If Hansbrough slips here, they’ll take him…they need help for their aging front line, and he’s a Detroit kind of guy. Except for the fact that he massacred Michigan State twice there last year.
16. Chicago Bulls: DaJuan Blair, Pittsburgh
They seriously need some beef on that front line. Blair is a bit shorter than Elton Brand and Kevin Love, but he’s similar. The best offensive rebounder I’ve seen in years. He’ll be a very solid pro.
17. Philadelphia 76ers: Terrence Williams, Louisville…UPDATE: GERALD HENDERSON, DUKE
They’re a good shooting guard away from being really scary. Williams will never be a star, but he does a lot of things well.
18. Minnesota T’Wolves: Earl Clark, Louisville
Could be Rudy Gay, or he could be terrible. Wildly inconsistent. The T’Wolves can afford to gamble, though.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
When he learns to shoot, look out. This guy can freaking score. He was the best player by far in the ACC the first half of the season.
20. Utah Jazz: Sam Young, Pittsburgh
Jerry Sloan won’t take Austin Daye or BJ Mullens, because they suck and are not his type of player. Sam Young does the dirty work…Sloan will like him.
21. New Orleans Hornets: BJ Mullens, Ohio State
Since they have Tyson Chandler, they can afford to stow this guy away on the bench for a few years. It’s at least going to take a few years for this guy to be any good. Strange that an Ohio State 7-footer came out too early for the second straight year (remember Kosta Koufos?).
22. Portland Trail Blazers (from Mavericks): Eric Maynor, VCU
They need some semblance of a point guard, and barring a trade, Maynor could back up Steve Blake; I still can’t believe Blake has a starting point guard job in the NBA.
23. Sacramento Kings: Omri Casspi, Maccabi Tel Aviv
24. Dallas Mavericks (from Blazers): Austin Daye, Gonzaga
Daye is the softest player I’ve ever seen. He can learn from another tall guy who floats on the perimeter (Dirk) how to be a bit tougher.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder: DeMarre Carroll, Mizzou
If this guy is around at pick #27, I hope like hell that the Grizzlies take him. He will be in the league for years because he’s big, plays with limitless energy, and can guard three positions. I love this guy.
26. Chicago Bulls: Wayne Ellington, North Carolina
They need someone to back up Gordon at the 2 (or possibly replace him if he walks). He would benefit greatly from Rose’s ability to get to the basket.
27. Memphis Grizzlies: Derrick Brown, Xavier
They need someone to spell Rudy at the 3, and I don’t believe there are any shooters available this late in the first round with Ellington going to the Bulls. Marcus Thornton and Danny Green are also possibilities here.
28. Minnesota T’wolves: Chase Budinger, Arizona
Really–four first rounders? Expect them to trade.
29. LA Lakers: Taj Gibson, USC
They won’t keep this pick, so I don’t even know why I did this one.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers: Patrick Mills, St. Mary’s
Need a backup at point to Mo Williams.
So there you have it. Again, I would be surprised if more than 7 of these are right. Tune in to the Sports Bar this afternoon for more draft talk. Also, I will be Twittering @waskew all night with (hopefully) entertaining reaction to the proceedings. In addition, I am putting together a promotion for the Sports Bar Twitter page (@sportsbar560) that you can only win if you are following us on Twitter. Enjoy the draft tonight…hopefully the Grizzlies do something interesting.
UPDATE: Reportedly, the Bucks are settling on Brandon Jennings at the #10 pick, and the Bulls are trying to trade up and get Terrence Williams. Also, the Nets are very close to trading Vince Carter. Stay tuned…
ANOTHER UPDATE: Apparently the Nets did what I said and salary dumped Carter for Rafer, C. Lee, and Tony Battie. They will draft Terrence Williams at #11…allegedly.