1) LAC- Blake Griffin- PF (Oklahoma)
The Clippers have an easy choice at #1, as they’ve been clear since they won the lottery that Griffin is their guy.
2) MEM- Ricky Rubio- PG (Spain) (Rights traded to SAC)
*As draft day approaches, it becomes clear that Ricky Rubio is too valuable not to be the pick at #2. Therefore, Memphis takes Rubio and waits to see what OKC does. If they take Thabeet, Memphis will look to trade Rubio’s rights for an veteran big man. If OKC takes Harden, Memphis trades Rubio’s rights to Sacramento for the fourth and twenty-third picks.*
3) OKC- James Harden- SG (Arizona State)
OKC gets to choose between Harden and Thabeet, each of who would be a great fit. However, OKC chooses offense over defense and takes Harden.
4) MEM (from SAC)- Hasheem Thabeet- C (Connecticut)
Memphis moves down to 4 to get the guy they really wanted- Thabeet. They also manage to get another first-rounder out of the deal.
5) WAS- Brandon Jennings- PG (Italy)
Jordan Hill is hands-down the best player available at #5, but the Wizards have a stable of long, athletic power forward types (Antawn Jamison, Andrey Blatche, Javale McGee), so I have a hard time believing they’ll pull the trigger on Hill. Instead, they’ll probably take a bit of a reach on a guard with upside- either Jennings or Tyreke Evans.
6) MIN- Stephen Curry- PG (Davidson)
Curry had a strong showing at the pre-draft combine, and his stock seems to be rising. He would be a good fit alongside Randy Foye in Minnesota’s backcourt.
7) GSW- Jordan Hill- PF (Arizona)
Golden State lands Hill at #7, which might be the steal of the top 10. Hill is a great fit for the Warriors because they could use some size and Hill can rebound effectively and run the floor.
8) NYK- Tyreke Evans- SG (Memphis)
The Knicks miss out on Curry at #8 and are left with the choice of Evans and DeMar DeRozan. They take the more versatile player in Evans, who can play either the point or the off-guard.
9) TOR- DeMar DeRozan- SG (Southern Cal)
Toronto takes DeRozan at #9, which is a great fit. Toronto has shooters on the wings, but could really use an athletic slasher with the potential to become the franchise player if Chris Bosh leaves next summer. In DeRozan, the Raptors will hope to find the next Vince Carter, who had a pretty stellar run north of the border himself.
10) MIL- Jonny Flynn- PG (Syracuse)
Milwaukee will look at either a point guard or a power forward, and after taking Joe Alexander and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute last season, it should be time to find a leader in the backcourt.
11) NJN- James Johnson- SF/PF (Wake Forest)
New Jersey has some nice pieces to build around, and a big strong body like Johnson on the boards would be a great addition.
12) CHA- DeJuan Blair- PF (Pittsburgh)
I had some trouble filling this spot, and if the draft were to fall this way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Charlotte look to move this pick. As it is, Charlotte could use an upgrade in the frontcourt, and Blair is by far the best true big man available.
13) IND- Earl Clark- PF (Louisville)
The other remaining lottery-worthy forward is Earl Clark. Indiana would love to land a point guard with this pick, but with Washington reaching for Jennings and Milwaukee consequently taking Flynn, the Pacers are left to take Clark, the best player available.
14) PHO- Wayne Ellington- SG (North Carolina)
Ellington slips into the lottery at #14 to the Suns, who will be looking for a replacement for the aging Grant Hill. Point guard is a strong possibility here as well, but the value just doesn’t seem to be there unless they go after Jrue Holiday. Ellington would be a better fit, as I see him developing into a very similar player to Grant Hill (the healthy version).
15) DET- Gerald Henderson- SG (Duke)
16) CHI- Jrue Holiday- PG (UCLA)
17) PHI- Eric Maynor- PG (Virginia Commonwealth)
18) MIN- Terrence Williams- SF (Louisville)
19) ATL- Jeff Teague- PG (Wake Forest)
20) UTA- Chase Buddinger- SG (Arizona)
21) NOH- Jermaine Taylor- SG (Central Florida)
22) DAL- Patty Mills- PG (St. Mary’s)
23) MEM (from SAC)- Gani Lawal- PF (Georgia Tech)
24) POR- Omri Casspi- SF (Israel)
25) OKC- BJ Mullens- C (Ohio State)
26) CHI- Austin Daye- SF (Gonzaga)
27) MEM- Ty Lawson- PG (North Carolina)
28) MIN- Darren Collison- PG (UCLA)
29) LAL- Sam Young- SF (Pittsburgh)
30) CLE- Marcus Thornton- SG (Louisiana State)