With the crazy college allegiances throughout the Dime office, NCAA hoops is always a hot topic of conversation. So we figured that we’d create our own NBA mock draft, based not only on the hours and hours of non-NBA basketball that we watch, but also upon realistic team needs. Instead of just ranking prospects 1-30, we broke down the 1st Round of the ’09 Draft in team order as if the season were to end today.
Before getting right into it, note that there are a couple of omissions. DKV Joventut’s Ricky Rubio reportedly said that he wouldn’t be entering the draft until 2010, so we don’t have him here… yet. College freshmen like Jrue Holiday and Willie Warren would probably be drafted if they declared, but at this point we have them as staying in school.
30. Minnesota * – Omri Casspi 20-year old 6-8 SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv – The Wolves could use some international flavor, especially a 6-8 shooter after Mike Miller goes to a contender either this year or next.
29. Cleveland – Terrence Williams 6-5 Sr. PG/SG/SF, Louisville – Maybe the most athletic prospect in this year’s draft isn’t a great shooter, but he’ll lock up on D and get out in transition – two things that Mike Brown likes these days.
28. LA Lakers – Tyler Hansbrough 6-9 Sr. PF, UNC – Without Ronny Turiaf, the Lakers could use someone to run around like a chicken with their head cut off trying to get loose balls and rebounds.
27. Orlando – Samardo Samuels 6-8 Fr. PF, Louisville – A brolic PF who could make for the strongest frontcourt in the NBA next to Dwight Howard.
26. New Orleans – Manny Harris 6-5 So. SG, Michigan – A two built in the mold of Jamal Crawford.
25. Sacramento – Patrick Patterson 6-9 So. PF, Kentucky – Tougher than anyone on the team right now.
24. Portland – DaJuan Summers 6-8 Jr. SF, Georgetown – Well-rounded SF is a poor man’s Caron Butler. Stockpiling talented 6-8 F seems to be Kevin Pritchard‘s idea of a good time.
23. Denver – Jonny Flynn 6-0 So. PG, Syracuse – This year’s Mario Chalmers (but better offensively) doesn’t slip to the second round. And why not unite two ‘Cuse guys?
22. Atlanta – Patty Mills 6-0 So. PG, St. Mary’s – A blur of a PG who already proved his wears on the international circuit.
21. Oklahoma City * – Jerome Jordan 7-0 Jr. C, Tulsa – Who knows what’s going to happen with Robert Swift? Petro doesn’t seem to be working out either – he’s been on the bench since Scott Brooks took over. Why not try this dude out?
20. Phoenix – Stephen Curry 6-1 Jr. PG/SG, Davidson – By the time the draft rolls around, hopefully Phoenix will have given up on their all-defense, all-the-time philosophy. And Steve Nash is the perfect guy to teach Curry how to perfect the off-balance jumper.
19. Minnesota * – Ty Lawson 5-11 Jr. PG, UNC – Supersonic PG if the Wolves aren’t really convinced that Randy Foye is the solution.
18. Detroit – Sam Young, 6-8 Sr. SF/PF, Pittsburgh – Productive small forward with sneaky athleticism.
17. Minnesota * – Leo Lyons 6-9 Sr. PF, Missouri – This year’s Jason Thompson without as good a jumper.
16. New Jersey – DeMar DeRozan 6-6 Fr. SG/SF, USC – Freak athlete with a broken ratchet could learn from Vince.
15. Chicago – Greg Monroe 6-11 Fr. SF/PF, Georgetown – 6-11 lefty who could play the three but is still very young. If his numbers stay around 13-and-6, he could fall to here. Otherwise, he’s going higher.
14. Dallas – Tyler Smith 6-7 Jr. SF, Tennessee – A versatile three who contributes right away. Best-case scenario is the next Josh Howard.
13. Milwaukee – Cole Aldrich 6-10 So. PF/C, Kansas – How can the Bucks get real help on the glass at the back-end of the lottery? KU’s Aldrich is their best bet, as he’s pulling down close to 11 boards per game in the Big XII.
12. Philadelphia – Damion James 6-7 Jr. SF, Texas – A true “basketball player” has two-guard skills in a three’s body.
11. New York – Jordan Hill 6-11 Jr. PF, Arizona – Gifted rebounder runs the floor very well. Complements David Lee, but what about LeBron?
10. Toronto – Chase Budinger 6-7 Jr. SG/SF, Arizona – One of the best pure shooters in this class is hitting just under 60% from three this season. Raptors will drool over his accuracy.
9. Indiana – Al-Farouq Aminu 6-9 Fr. SF/PF, Wake Forest – Though he’s the same height as Danny Granger, Aminu’s game is best right around the basket. He’s got good athleticism, and will be a good rebounder with more muscle.
8. Memphis – Hasheem Thabeet 7-3 Jr. C, UConn – A lot of people think he’s top three – he could go as high as No. 2, allowing Al Jefferson to slide to the PF slot. Even if the Clippers have Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman, and DeAndre Jordan on the bench, Thabeet needs some work before he’s an NBA starter.
7. Charlotte – Austin Daye 6-11 So. SF, Gonzaga – His upside merits top five consideration, but his numbers suggest he should stay in school. If he continues to give glimpses like the 22-point (8-13 FG, 2-3 3FG) performance he had against ‘Zona, he’d go higher than 7.
6. LA Clippers – Gani Lawal 6-9 So. PF, Georgia Tech – The Clips technically have a starter at every position, but they could use some young depth in the frontcourt. That’s why Lawal makes sense. He’s a super athletic, aggressive PF with freaky athleticism for 6-9 240 lbs.
5. Golden State – Earl Clark 6-9 Jr. SF/PF, Louisville – How about another three-four tweener who runs and rebounds? Nellie can’t get enough of them.
4. Sacramento – B.J. Mullens 7-0 Fr. C, Ohio State – Though Thad Matta‘s been stingy with his PT thus far, Mullens showed the damage he can do when he sees more than 20 minutes of burn: he put up 19 points, 8 boards, and 3 blocks vs. UNC Asheville. A young frontcourt of Mullens, Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson is reason to be excited.
3. Washington – Brandon Jennings 19 year-old PG, Virtus Roma – Even with Javaris Crittenton, the Wizards need a playmaking point guard. Jennings will prove to be the guy during pre-draft workouts.
2. Minnesota – James Harden So. SG, Arizona St. – The best pure scorer in the draft bar none.
1. Oklahoma City – Blake Griffin So. PF/C, Oklahoma – Simply the best overall.