2009 NBA draft rookies would have to be one of the most versatile pool of players playing multiple positions. Everybody thought Sacramento would grab the first overall pick but when lady luck smiled on the LA clippers it was a smile of redemption dating back on 1998 when they’ve chosen Michael Olowokandi as the first overall pick ahead of Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce and Rashard Lewis. The “Kandi Man” never made it to his potential when injuries hampered his career. It was one of NBA’s draft busts and the Clippers are highly criticized for such move. But this time made no mistake about it they have been given a third try after drafting also an underachiever Danny Manning in 1988 drafting the most talented rookie in the pool would be their priority and Blake Griffin belongs to that category. Here are the top 10 mock draft
1. LA Clippers – Blake Griffin
DeAndre Jordan, Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman are good post defenders but they lack the offensive power needed in the post. Blake Griffin gives them that with his mid range shooting, strength, toughness and work ethic. He is a 6’10” 248 lb forward who can provide the muscle inside. He can also play as a solid small forward with his quickness and can add depth to the Clippers team. This time the Clippers are in a win, win situation with Griffin.
2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ricky Rubio/Stephen Curry
Ricky would have been a solid no.2 pick playing along Marc Gasol but Memphis would have to shell out a huge buyout on Rubio’s former team DKV Joventut well the Grizzlies can very well afford the buyout considering the vast salary cap remaining on their team but why risk a lot of money when you can pick a combo guard in Stephen Curry. The son of Marksman Dell Curry he makes good decision and has the quickness and shooting ability he can very well pair up with OJ Mayo. Rubio is also a tested point guard but Curry has the lateral quickness Rubio lacks in defense. Well all eyes on no.2…Memphis in the pressure cooker.
3. Oklahoma City – Jordan Hill
Oklahoma don’t need guards they need a scoring big man and since Griffin is assumed taken the next big thing would have to be Jordan Hill. A good mid range shooter but can very well be use as a rebounding and defensive player. He has the mobility and quickness and one trait I like from Jordan Hill is his ability on the screen and roll situations. They could use him with Russel Westbrook or Kevin Durant.
4. Sacramento Kings – James Harden
A consistent scoring threat and an intelligent basketball player who is very unselfish and has quality playmaking ability a very solid pick for the Kings lackluster offense James Harden can clearly help the Kings inconsistent offense.
5. Washington Wizards – Hasheem Thabeet
The Wizards are now a healthy team with Arenas, Butler and Jamison back they honestly don’t need a roster change but considering their situation they would have to pick a safety choice and Hasheem Thabeet fit the bill. A 7’2” 267lb center that still lacks the offensive game can very well be used as a defensive center. He is still very raw but his willingness to learn is a plus factor. The Wizards would have to take their time Hasheem can be very helpful especially if Haywood injures again.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves – Brandon Jennings
Minnesota has an abundant of point guards but aside from Randy Foye there is no other solid backup point guard who can ease Foye’s duty and Brandon Jennings is a good open court point guard who attacks in transition with speed and ball control. Played in Europe after highschool he is a good defensive guard and a good pull up jumper but struggled playing in a halfcourt offense but was tamed by his coach and can now play a milder and systematic offense. He can clearly help Minnesota’s stagnant offense.
7. Golden State Warriors – Tyler Hansbrough
A hustle player who makes great decision in the post he shoots the ball pretty well from 15-16 feet and can defend and rebound the ball with great positioning. Although he lacks the ideal size of a power forward but he can very well compensate with his tremendous energy and feel of the game. This would be a solid pick for the Warriors but Hansbrough can slide down to 10 because of his size and he struggles to keep up with strong and athletic forwards.
8. New York Knicks – Tyreke Evans
Mike D’ Antoni’s style of offense needs a guard who can keep up the up-tempo game. Chris Duhon came up big early on the season but was burn out on the later part. Brandon Jennings fit the up tempo play but Tyreke Evans can make a good case out of it. He is a good transition player who is a solid shooter and a reliable distributor a plus factor if you are in a run and gun environment.
9. Toronto Raptors – Earl Clark
If Chris Bosh returns to the Raptors they would have no problem on their forward spot but if not Earl Clark can help them with his versatility and inside and outside attack. Clark is a good defender with strength and speed more like a Boris Diaw type of player with long strides and mid range jumper. Can very well compliment Bosh and Bargnani
10. Milwaukee Bucks – Gerald Henderson
Richard Jefferson and Michael Redd need a reliable backup and Henderson is the most athletic wing player in this draft. He provides instant offense for the Bucks a good listener and understands defensive principles which are what coach Scott Skiles preaches. A good defender which can give the Bucks a solid 2 or 3 position.