1) LAC- Blake Griffin- PF (Oklahoma)
A no-brainer for the Clippers.
2) MEM-Hasheem Thabeet- C (Connecticut)
Memphis' asking price is simply too high. The Griz keep the pick and address their biggest need- interior defense.
3) OKC- James Harden- SG (Arizona State)
Oklahoma City has a tough choice between Harden and Rubio. It may come down to Russell Westbrook- he showed the ability to play the point last season, but struggled with his jump shot, making the move to off-guard seem implausible.
4) SAC- Ricky Rubio- PG (Spain)
This is a tough pick to project for me- I really believe the Kings are extremely high on Tyreke Evans and that teams will opt for the known commodities in this draft, but Rubio has too much value and too much upside to slide past Sacramento.
5) MIN- Tyreke Evans- PG/SG (Memphis)
The biggest obstacle to Minnesota moving up to get Ricky Rubio may have been the likelihood that they would be left with a second point guard in Stephen Curry or Jonny Flynn at number six. In this scenario, however, the Wolves get a very versatile player in Evans, who is a good replacement for Randy Foye.
6) MIN- Stephen Curry- PG (Davidson)
Recent reports have the Wolves very high on Jonny Flynn at this spot, but I think Curry has to be the pick because of the value he represents. I still think a trade with New York at this spot is a possibility if Minnesota plays their cards right.
7) GSW- Jordan Hill- PF (Arizona)
Word out of San Francisco is that Don Nelson plans to move Monta Ellis to the point and play Stephen Jackson at the off-guard spot now that Jamal Crawford appears headed for Atlanta. Golden State could use a small forward or a power forward, and Hill is by far the best available at this spot.
8) NYK- Jonny Flynn- PG (Syracuse)
New York is reportedly very high on Jrue Holiday and Brandon Jennings, as well as DeMar DeRozan, but Flynn could also be the pick here. If so, I think a trade might be in the works- specifically with Minnesota. Stay tuned.
9) TOR- DeMar DeRozan- SG/SF (Southern Cal)
Recent reports have Jonny Flynn at the top of Toronto’s wish list, but DeRozan has always been a much better fit. With Flynn off the board, it should make things pretty simple for the Raptors.
10) MIL- Jrue Holiday- PG/SG (UCLA)
Milwaukee could use a point guard or a power forward, and they’ve been leaning towards a point guard for some time. Holiday needs some seasoning, but he has a ton of talent and could be a star at the next level.
11) NJN- DeJuan Blair- PF (Pittsburgh)
Teams' fears over Blair's knees seem to have subsided, causing Blair's stock to rebound in a big way. He is exactly the "moose" that Rod Thorn is looking for and reportedly won't slip past Indiana at 13, making a Nets-Bulls trade unlikely.
12) CHA- Terrence Williams- SG/SF (Louisville)
It seems that Charlotte is looking for an athletic off-guard. I think the would land Holiday if they had the chance, but Williams and Gerald Henderson and the options here, and Williams gets the nod because of his versatility and ability to contribute from day one.
13) IND- Gerald Henderson- SG (Duke)
The Pacers got Brandon Rush in the draft last year, and he had a fairly respectable rookie campaign, but Henderson is a very solid prospect on the wings. If he could improve his jump shot, he could be a special player in the NBA.
14) PHO- Earl Clark- SF (Louisville)
The Suns will likely target an athletic wing or a replacement for Steve Nash. With Holiday and Flynn gone, the wings have much better value here. Clark and James Johnson seem to be the two possibilities.
15) DET- James Johnson- PF (Wake Forest)
Detroit begins their rebuilding efforts with the versatile Johnson, who can play both the three and the four.
16) CHI- Tyler Hansbrough- PF (North Carolina)
The Bulls are reportedly very high on Hansbrough and had considered moving up (presumably) to get him. Now, with Blair back in the lottery, Chicago should able to land their man with their pick at 16.
17) PHI- Brandon Jennings- PG (Italy)
The 76ers are high on Ty Lawson, and Jennings’ stock is taking a nosedive, but he is too good for them to pass up at 17. He will get looks at 6, 7, 8, 10, 13, and 14 and could get snatched up sooner, but falling any farther seems unlikely.
18) MIN- Austin Daye- SF (Gonzaga)
With the third of their four first round picks, Minnesota lands a project in Daye. At 6’11”, Daye has a great jump shot for a man his size, but needs to gain a lot of strength. This pick may complete the Stephen Curry-Jonny Flynn trade I discussed earlier, with Wilson Chandler thrown in as well.
19) ATL- BJ Mullens- C (Ohio State)
The Hawks are looking to re-sign Mike Bibby and will likely land Jamal Crawford. I’ve had a point guard here since Jump Street, but with the addition of Crawford, the backcourt in Atlanta is getting a little crowded. Al Horford is a good player, but might be better suited to play the power forward in the NBA, and would allow Mullens to progress at his own pace.
20) UTA- Chase Buddinger- SG/SF (Arizona)
This is a bit of a reach with some quality point guards on the board, but Utah could really use a consistent scorer on the wings. Buddinger is versatile, athletic, and could develop into a lock-down defender.
21) NOH- Wayne Ellington- SG (North Carolina)
There’s a good chance that Cleveland will move up to this spot. Ellington would be a great fit in either destination, as Chris Paul and LeBron James could each use a big time shooter on the wings.
22) POR- Omri Casspi- SF (Israel)
Casspi is the definition of a hit-or-miss prospect. Portland has had great luck with international prospects, and they would love for Casspi to be the next example.
23) SAC- Derrick Brown (Xavier)
Sacramento would have loved Omri Casspi, which is probably why Portland gave up two second rounders to jump above them. Brown is a solid consolation prize. He has good size and is a similar player to Joe Alexander, who went #8 last year.
24) DAL- Ty Lawson- PG (North Carolina)
Dallas moves back a couple of spots, but still gets their choice of the three remaining point guards- Lawson, Jeff Teague, and Eric Maynor. They opt for Lawson, the quickest of the three and a proven winner.
25) OKC- Taj Gibson- PF (Southern Cal)
After taking a guard in James Harden with the third pick, the Oklahoma City needs a big man in a huge way. Gibson has above average athleticism and a promising offensive game.
26) CHI- Sam Young- SG/SF (Pittsburgh)
With their second first-rounder, Chicago lands another NBA-ready prospect in Young, who should be an effective wingman alongside Derrick Rose for years to come.
27) MEM- Jeff Teague- PG (Wake Forest)
The last thing Memphis needs is another point guard, but with Teague and Maynor on the board at 27, they opt for the best player on the board in Teague.
28) MIN- Eric Maynor- PG (Virginia Commonwealth)
Minnesota lands a steal at 28 in Maynor, probably the most NBA-ready point guard in the draft. Minnesota could use depth in the backcourt after trading away Randy Foye and Mike Miller, and Maynor is a great addition.
29) LAL- Darren Collison- PG (UCLA)
Collison would have an easy transition with the Lakers after growing up in the area and playing his college ball at UCLA. (He also played with Jordan Farmar as a freshman.) He has good speed and real leadership potential.
30) CLE- DaJuan Summers- SF (Georgetown)
Cleveland would love to land an elite shooter like Wayne Ellington or another freakish athlete like Chase Buddinger, but if they fail to move up to 21, they’ll settle for leftovers and grab a lengthy backup for LeBron.