Breaking Down The NBA Draft

by Trevor Freeman

Ahhhh…..the NBA Draft is almost upon us. The convergence of college and pro that makes for some of the most riveting television of the year. While this year’s draft is considered to be the worst one in years (mainly because a staggering amount of college stars opted to stay in school), it should still be an experience that requires the setting of Tivo and the purchase of Yuengling. As is a yearly tradition, we have put together our mock draft. We begin with a franchise that is desperate for a true superstar…

With the first pick in the 2009 NBA Draft the Los Angeles Clippers select…

1. Blake Griffin, Oklahoma, PF, Soph.
Not even the Clippers can botch this pick. Blake Griffin has Carlos Boozer’s low-post game and Amare Stoudamire’s athleticism. Toss in that he is a high-motor guy and this is a no-brainer.

The Memphis Grizzlies select…

2. Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut, C, Jr.
The Grizzlies select their center of the future in Thabeet. This should give Memphis a quality, young starting five with Mike Conley Jr., O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol joining the former Huskie.

The Oklahoma City Thunder select…

3. Stephen Curry, Davidson, PG, Jr.
Curry has actually shut down his workouts as he is hoping to slide to New York at eight. I do not see that happening as he feels like a Sam Presti pick. Presti has had three first round picks and he spent them on Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook. All three of those players were proven college performers. The Thunder pass on Ricky Rubio and go with the most productive college player in this draft and somebody that reminds me a lot of Steve Nash when he left Santa Clara.

The Sacramento Kings select…

4. Ricky Rubio, Spain, PG
The Kings take Ricky Rubio and cross their fingers that he becomes the next European sensation.

The Washington Wizards select…

5. Jordan Hill, Arizona, PF, Soph.
I think Hill will go here, but one concern about him is this. What is the difference between him and Ronny Turiaf? I liked Turiaf in college and I like him in the NBA. However, Ronny Turiaf is not somebody who gets taken with the fifth overall pick in an NBA Draft.

The Minnesota Timberwolves select…

6. James Harden, Arizona State, SG, Soph
I was a big fan of Harden’s up until I saw his lunch get eaten by Dionte Christmas in the NCAA Tournament.

The Golden State Warriors select…

7. Brandon Jennings, PG, High School/Italy.
The smart move is drafting Jonny Flynn here. Unfortunately this is my beloved Golden State Warriors we are talking about so one has to assume a moronic pick is in play. Figure the Warriors take Brandon Jennings or Jrue Holliday with this pick.

The New York Knicks select…

8. Jonny Flynn, Syracuse, PG, Soph.
Flynn will be on billboards in New York by midseason. Bank on it. Flynn was born to run that Mike D’Antoni offense.

The Toronto Raptors select…

9. Gerald Henderson, Duke, PG, Jr.
Henderson can average double figures right now and will step immediately into Jason Kapono’s minutes.

The Milwaukee Bucks select…

10. Jeff Teague, Wake Forest, SG, Soph.
The hot rumor flying around is that Milwaukee gave Jeff Teague a first round guarantee. Apparently the game tapes of the Demon Deacons loss to Cleveland State in the NCAA Tournament did not make their way to Bucks headquarters.

The New Jersey Nets select…

11. Demar DeRozan, USC, SG, Fr.
If this happens, Rod Thorn should jump onto the conference room table at Nets headquarters and start breakdancing. I personally think DeRozan is the third best player in this draft behind Blake Griffin and Stephen Curry.

The Charlotte Bobcats select…

12. DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh, PG, Soph.
Blair just feels like the kind of tough guy that Larry Brown would be enamored with.
The Indiana Pacers select…

13. Tyreke Evans, Memphis, PG/SG, Fr.
If T.J. Ford stays healthy, the Pacers will not be that far away from being a playoff contender. Evans and Ford give Indiana a pretty dynamic backcourt when they are both healthy. Plus Evans can give you minutes at the point guard spot should Ford get injured.

The Phoenix Suns select….

14. Earl Clark, Louisville, SF, Jr.
Earl Clark can be the good Boris Diaw all over again for Phoenix. This would be the perfect fit as Clark as a taller, agile player who would thrive playing for a team that likes to push it.

The Detroit Pistons select…

15. Austin Daye, Gonzaga, SF, Soph.
Over the last two years, I have moved from “Austin Daye could be the next Kevin Durant” to “Austin Daye better declare for the draft before everybody realizes that what you see is what you’re going to get”.

The Chicago Bulls select…

16. James Johnson, Wake Forest, SF, Soph.
Chicago is a team that will contend in the East next season regardless of what happens. Losing Ben Gordon will not have any real effect other than increasing the minutes that Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich play. I think Rose’s upside will cancel out any loss they might feel. With this pick, I think the Bulls grab another athlete who can help a year from now. Johnson is that athlete. Plus Johnson is apparently a martial arts master which should help out the squad should another Rajon Rondo throwing Kirk Hinrich into a table incident happen again in next year’s playoffs.

The Philadelphia 76ers select…

17. Eric Maynor, Virginia Commonwealth, PG, Sr.
Maynor is the biggest sleeper in this draft. Andre Miller is getting long in the tooth so it makes sense for the 76ers to take Maynor and make him their point guard of the future.

The Minnesota Timberwolves select…

18. Jrue Holiday, UCLA, PG, Fr.
Here’s an actual conversation that happened last week…
Trevor’s Friend: I hear Jrue Holiday is rocketing up the draft board.

Trevor: Really, didn’t he average six points a game last year?

Trevor’s Friend: He actually averaged eight and a half.

Trevor: Excuse me; I’m sorry for shortchanging Jrue a bucket.

Trevor’s Friend: He had four points in twenty-seven minutes against Villanova….the only game he had at least twenty in was against Florida International.

Trevor: Isn’t that where Isiah Thomas is coaching now?

Trevor’s Friend: (Laughing). You are probably going to be the first and only person who ever incorporates Isiah Thomas and Jrue Holiday in the same sentence.

The Atlanta Hawks select…

19. B.J. Mullins, The Ohio State University, C, Sr
Atlanta is a young team with a lot of good parts in place as Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams and Al Horford give them a nice core. They can afford to go hit or miss and I think they take the B.J. Mullins gamble. While Mullins is extremely raw, he does have athleticism. If he pans out two to three years from now then the Hawks scored big.

The Utah Jazz select…

20. Wayne Ellington, North Carolina, SG, Jr.
Ellington is a perfect fit for this Jazz team as he would give them an athletic knockdown shooter.

The New Orleans Hornets select…

21. Marcus Thornton, LSU, SG, Sr.
Thornton had an outstanding senior season for the Bayou Bengals and is somebody who can provide instant offense. Plus he is an LSU guy which may help a little at the box office.

The Dallas Mavericks select…

22. Ty Lawson, North Carolina, PG, Jr.
Jason Kidd was like a turnstile last year for every fast, young point guard. This is a need pick…as in Dallas needs a point guard that can keep other team’s point guards from dropping 35 and 10.

The Sacramento Kings select…

23. Derrick Brown, Xavier, SF, Jr.
If the Kings draft Rubio like suggested, then they have a core of Kevin Martin, Ricky Rubio and Jason Thompson. Adding Brown would be a savvy decision as I think he is the best player that nobody is talking about in this draft. Brown does a little bit of everything on the court and is an incredible leaper.

The Portland Trailblazers select…

24. Darren Collison, UCLA, PG, Sr.
I have to say that it surprises me how far down on most draft boards Darren Collison is. Was there any question that Collision was superior to his teammate Jrue Holiday in every facet of the game last year? Collison can step right in and play quality minutes at point guard for Portland. This pick makes a lot of sense for a Portland team that is close.

The Oklahoma City Thunder select…

25. Terrence Williams, Louisville, SG, Jr.
A perfect fit for a Thunder team that is on the rise. Williams is an outstanding passer with great athleticism. It would not surprise me if Williams becomes an elite defender at the NBA level as he has quick feet as well.

The Chicago Bulls select…

26. Victor Claver, Spain, SF
With what the Bulls already have on their roster, I think the Bulls draft an international player whom they tell to stay overseas for a couple years.

The Memphis Grizzlies select…

27. Omri Casspi, Israel, SF
Somebody is making that pick…..Memphis just feels like that somebody.

The Minnesota Timberwolves select…

28. Dionte Christmas, Temple, SG, Sr.
Christmas is a great catch and shooter. He makes sense for the Timberwolves as they can position him on the floor opposite Al Jefferson.

The Los Angeles Lakers select…

29. Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina, PF, Sr.
This would be a perfect fit for Tyler as I think Hansbrough fits best in the NBA as a role player in a winning environment. The Lakers should have a need at the four since Lamar Odom may not be resigned. Hansbrough could hop right in give quality minutes behind Gasol and Bynum.

The Cleveland Cavaliers select…

30. Patty Mills, St. Mary’s, PG, Soph.
Mills is the steal of this draft as I cannot fathom how he has slipped to the second round on some draft boards. If he does not get injured at the end of this season, there is no way he goes later than twenty. This is a hopeful pick as I want Mills to give Cleveland a dazzling guard who they can use off the bench to change the pace of a game.

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