NBA Mock Draft 2009

Information is still be processed as we speak and rumors will continue to rise to the surface in the coming hours, but this appears to be our final crack at the mock draft for 2009. Anything that happens leading up to the draft will be updated appropriately.

nba_draft09_203

[Final update @ 6:43 p.m. EST)

lac#1] LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS –
BLAKE GRIFFIN
FORWARD | OKLAHOMA
6-10 250

Despite Clippers GM/Coach Mike Dunleavy’s alleged obsession with Ricky Rubio, he continues to insinuate that Griffin will be the pick here. Despite already having some serious cash locked up in its frontcourt, coming to any other conclusion would be absolutely absurd.

mem#2] MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES –
HASHEEM THABEET
CENTER | CONNECTICUT
7-3 265

Though Memphis would like to move this pick, presumably to Minnesota in an effort to get Rubio, but it’s sounding more and more as if they’ll keep it and take Thabeet.

It has been suggested that trading the pick would be a way of saving face without having to pass on Rubio, who most league executives believe to be clearly the second best player in the draft.

James Harden, Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans could all get consideration, but with Mike Conley, Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo on board, the Grizzlies already have a nice core of perimeter players.

okc#3] OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER –
JAMES HARDEN
GUARD | ARIZONA STATE
6-5 222

Our first three is the same that we started with in our first mock draft. After moving Harden out of this spot because of misinformation we had been receiving, he’s back here for our final edition.

Though Rubio may be the better player down the road, we believe Thunder GM Sam Presti is committed to keeping Russell Westbrook happy and at the point. Therefore, Harden makes the most sense here.

sac#4] SACRAMENTO KINGS –
RICKY RUBIO
GUARD | SPAIN
6-4 180

Unless a trade is made inside the top three, its quite possible that Rubio falls to Sacrament at this spot. The Kings have had Jonny Flynn and Tyreke Evans in and impressed in two separate workouts and some feel both players have the advantage over Rubio as a result.

But the Sacramento front office if catching a lot of flack from fans who want to see Rubio in a Kings uniform next season. Though he reportedly didn’t blow anybody away when he did work out for the Kings, the pressure to take Rubio combined with the glaring need for a point guard should be enough to convince them to pull the trigger on Rubio. If not, Flynn and Evans will both get a serious look here.

was#5] MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES –
TYREKE EVANS
GUARD | MEMPHIS
6-6 220

The T’Wolves are in a great position here, with an opportunity to draft two top tier perimeter players to team with Al Jefferson and Kevin Love moving forward. Harden had a last-minute workout in Minnesota Tuesday night, and should get serious consideration here if he’s available.

But under this scenario, Evans is the guy unless he goes to Sacramento. Either way, they’ll get one of the two. Evans’ backstop is probably Minnesota, with the possibility of going as high as No. 2 overall.

min#6] MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES –
JONNY FLYNN
GUARD | SYRACUSE
6-0 195

Several draft prognosticators are starting to catch on to what we’ve been saying all year about Flynn; that he’s one of the top players in this draft. His play at the end of the season, combined with his physical tools and maturity and poise during the interview process at the pre-draft combine likely pushed his stock into the top ten.

If Rubio is somehow available, he’d get the nod here over Flynn – but under this scenario he’s not. Few had Flynn going to Minnesota before we did, and in a desperate need for a point guard, he’d be a real coupe here.

gsw#7] GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS –
JORDAN HILL
FORWARD | ARIZONA
6-10 235

Though a point guard makes a lot of sense here, Don Nelson appears to be devoted to giving Monta Ellis a shot at running the point for a full season before giving up on the idea. Stephen Curry, if still available, would be a very intriguing pick here. But Brandon Jennings and Jrue Holiday are both high risk/high reward players that they’d be rolling the dice on.

That means Hill becomes a serious possibility at this spot. With his size, mobility and high motor, he fits the mold of a guy who could really thrive in Don Nelson’s system.

nyk#8] NEW YORK KNICKS –
STEPHEN CURRY
GUARD | DAVIDSON
6-3 180

Under this scenario, the Knicks end up with their guy, Stephen Curry. We had Curry here on our original mock draft, but moved him around based on what we were hearing. He’s back at the No. 8 spot and would be an ideal fit in Mike D’Antoni’s system. Knicks fans should be ecstatic at the Garden tonight.

Hill and Jrue Holiday would be next in line if Curry if off the board. Hill would be a great fit in D’Antoni’s system and help soften the blow if they lose David Lee to free agency this summer.

tor#9] TORONTO RAPTORS –
DEMAR DEROZAN
GUARD – FORWARD | SOUTHERN CAL
6-6 210

Most have had DeRozan penciled in here for quite some time. He has the freakish athleticism that will make him a fan favorite as long as he doesn’t bust, as some of us have predicted. But he also has a lot of upside and, with the right coaching staff, could really excel in the league.

Other possibilities include Hill, Holiday and Gerald Henderson. GM Bryan Colangelo has reportedly shown serious interest in all three.

mil#10] MILWAUKEE BUCKS –
JEFF TEAGUE
GUARD | WAKE FOREST
6-2 175

With starting point guard Ramon Sessions looking for a big payday on the free agent market this summer, the Bucks would likely turn their attention towards addressing the point guard position. The Bucks like Flynn, Teague and Jennings, but Teague gets the nod here with Flynn already gone.

We’re hearing that Jennings would be the pick if Flynn is gone, but whether or not he meshes well with Scott Skiles is the real question.

njn#11] NEW JERSEY NETS –
TERRENCE WILLIAMS
GUARD – FORWARD | LOUISVILLE
6-6 213

Williams has reportedly been given a promise from Charlotte, but he may be off the board to New Jrsey at No. 11. With Vince Carter now heading to Orlando, he would make a lot of sense here.

The versatile Williams was one of the best players in college basketball this season and his ability to do a little bit of everything should be appealing to a team in desperate need of help on the wing. He isn’t a natural scorer, but they won’t need him for that, anyway.

cha#12] CHARLOTTE BOBCATS –
GERALD HENDERSON
GUARD | DUKE
6-5 215

The Bobcats could use a big man in the middle, but there’s nobody worth taking at this point that fits the bill. Instead, look for them to take a guy who could help boost local fan interest and fill a long-term need on the wing at the same time.

The fact that Henderson is already a solid defender should help him to quickly win over Larry Brown, who happens to know Henderson’s father quite well.

ind#13] INDIANA PACERS –
BRANDON JENNINGS
GUARD | ITALY
6-2 170

Jennings has the talent to be a top five pick, but his self-imposed exile from American basketball this season hasn’t helped his cause. Had he went to college and dominated, there’d be very few question marks. Instead, most GMs simply haven’t seen enough of him.

TNT’s Reggie Miller said he expects the Pacers to trade away either T.J. Ford or Jarrett Jack to make room for a new point guard on draft day. Teague is from Indianapolis, which may give him an edge if he were still on the board. Instead, Jennings could be a steal at this point if he pans out.

pho#14] PHOENIX SUNS –
EARL CLARK
FORWARD | LOUISVILLE
6-10 225

Talent-wise, Clark is a top ten pick. But here are question marks about his motor and character. If he can develop a work ethic, he could be a steal at this point. Considering the age of its roster, the Suns would be fortunate to land such a talent this late in the lottery.

det#15] DETROIT PISTONS –
AUSTIN DAYE
FORWARD | GONZAGA
6-11 192

Daye has been all over the board all season, starting in the top ten and ending in the bottom half of our Top 30. Though his production at Gonzaga isn’t what it should’ve been, he’s an intriguing prospect because of his skill set and size on the perimeter.

He could be gone at this point, but if not, look for a team like Detroit, who’s building for the future, to snag a player that has the upside to be a very good player down the road.

chi#16] CHICAGO BULLS –
TYLER HANSBROUGH
FORWARD | NORTH CAROLINA
6-9 250

Though most observers believe Hansbrough is a natural fit in Utah, it’s just hard to imagine him lasting that long – especially in a draft weak on big men. Several teams in the mid first round will likely give him a look based on his production in college and ability to contribute immediately. Chicago is believed to be looking for a banger down low, and Hansbrough would be the next best player fitting that mold.

phi#17] PHILADELPHIA 76ERS –
TY LAWSON
GUARD | NORTH CAROLINA
5-11 198

After the pre-draft combine, Lawson appears to be slipping on most draft boards due to his lack of size and conditioning. But the Blazers are supposedly looking for another point guard and Lawson is likely the next best available.

Lawson’s the type of player that excels on the court, as opposed to drills, and should adhere to someone in the first round, even if it’s not Portland.

min#18] MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES –
JRUE HOLIDAY
GUARD | UCLA
6-4 200

With his performance at the pre-draft combine and in individual workouts, Holiday really collected a following and now has a lot of fans around the league. If New York, Toronto, Milwaukee and Indiana pass on him, he could be in for a slide.

Under this scenario, Holiday is still available for the T’Wolves, who would completely remake its backcourt with Evans, Flynn and Holiday. Wow, that would be exciting.

atl#19] ATLANTA HAWKS –
JAMES JOHNSON
FORWARD | WAKE FOREST
6-8 255

Johnson could also be in for a slide, but his backstop is probably Atlanta. With the acquisition od Jamal Crawford, it is believed that the Hawks have changed its draft strategy and are no longer looking for a point guard.

With that in mind, they could really use some help in the frontcourt. Johnson is a blue-collar player who would give them an additional power forward option other than Josh Smith, who’s more of a small forward anyway.

uth#20] UTAH JAZZ –
ERIC MAYNOR
GUARD | VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH
6-3 165

Almost any other year, Maynor would probably be a lottery pick. But with the draft heavy on point guards, he’ll likely fall to the second half of the first round.

His experience, poise and overall game are on par with any player at his position, and the Jazz are in the need of a backup to Deron Williams. Some believe Maynor is a sleeper, and would be a very good value at this point.

nor#21] NEW ORLEANS HORNETS –
SAM YOUNG
FORWARD | PITTSBURGH
6-7 225

Young has excelled as an athletic forward while at Pittsburgh, and while he doesn’t have a high ceiling, he’d be able to come in and contribute immediately for a Hornets team looking at making adeep playoff run next year.

por#22] PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS (VIA DALLAS MAVERICKS) –
DARREN COLLISON
GUARD | UCLA
6-1 165

Collison isn’t my favorite point guard, but the Blazers apparently like him and might pull the trigger here. With Steve Blake on the trading block, snagging a point guard would make some sense. And Collison could be a nice, speedy, change of pace guard in the mold of Houston’s Aaron Brooks.

sac#23] SACRAMENTO KINGS –
OMRI CASSPI
FORWARD | ISRAEL
6-9 220

Casspi has been rumored here for quite some time. Though he may stay overseas for a year, he has the talent and determination to be an NBA regular for a decade or longer. His toughness would be a welcome addition to a team looking to change its soft image.

dal#24] DALLAS MAVERICKS (VIA PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS) –
CHASE BUDINGER
GUARD | ARIZONA
6-7 205

Sacramento went big the last two years and will ideally look for a point guard with its first pick this year. That means they could use this pick as a trading chip or look for the best available player. Under this scenario, that’s probably Budinger, who would give them some immediate outside shooting and athleticism on the wing.

mem#25] OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER –
B.J. MULLENS
CENTER | OHIO STATE
7-1 260

Some believed Mullens was a top-five pick early this season, though we refused to buy into the hype. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t an intriguing prospect, and his size and raw talent will give him a great shot to crack the first round.

The Thunder have the luxury of waiting on Mullens while he develops or could decide to move the pick if they so desire.

chi#26] CHICAGO BULLS –
NICK CALATHES
GUARD | FLORIDA
6-6 205

Calathes would be an ideal fit for any team looking to stash a player overseas for a year or two. With the Bulls likely to move Kirk Hinrich this summer, Calathes would make a lot of sense as an eventual replacement for the versatile guard.

mem#27] MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES –
DEMARRE CARROLL
FORWARD | MISSOURI
6-8 207

Carroll is a first round talent, but health concerns may push him into the second. If anybody is going to take a chance, it’s likely Memphis, who could use his energy and physicality in the frontcourt.

min#28] MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES –
WAYNE ELLINGTON
GUARD | NORTH CAROLINA
6-5 205

Most are sleeping on Ellington as a first rounder, but he took his time making his decision to forgo his collegiate eligibility, and only did so based on the feedback he received from the league. He played brilliantly towards the end of the season and proved to be a better athlete than most had previously given him credit for.

Minnesota is rebuilding its backcourt and Ellington could be a nice addition this late in the draft.

nyk#29] NEW YORK KNICKS (VIA LOS ANGELES LAKERS) –
TONEY DOUGLAS
GUARD | FLORIDA STATE
6-2 185

The Knicks reportedly made the trade with the Lakers earlier today with Douglas in mind. He’d be a great fit in D’Antoni’s system, as he can play both guard positions and really score the basketball.

cle#30] CLEVELAND CAVALIERS –
DEJUAN BLAIR
FORWARD | PITTSBURGH
6-7 275

Though Blair is a lottery talent in this draft, some major red flags were raised about the health of his knees, and he’s likely to slip into the late first round or early second as a result.

With Anderson Varejao likely to test the free agent market this summer, the Cavs could really use his toughness on the front line as they compete for a championship next year. Blair would be well worth the risk this late in the draft.

*Email Andrew at ajohn135@gmail.com

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