#1 – LA Clippers. Blake Griffin. Only because it’s the safest choice and nobody will blame them even if Griffin turns out to be a bust. After Olowakandi the Clippers will never reach for anything again. Ever. This is a clear-cut pick, a lot like Portland and Greg Oden. Sometimes the #1 pick is a little too consensus for the picking team to independently analyze what it is that they actually want and what everybody else is expecting them to do. Word has it Andy Roeser was high on meth during the lottery.
#2 – Memphis Grizzlies. They’ll trade this pick if the basketball people in Memphis manage to convince Michael Heisley that Hasheem Thabeet is Stromile Swift 2.0. Mike Conley Jr. isn’t the answer at PG and the sooner Memphis realizes that and override him with Rubio the better for them. But wait, it doesn’t matter since Rubio doesn’t care for them after fellow Spaniards Gasol and Navarro had unpleasant experiences in FedEx-town. Since Rubio is so highly sought I wouldn’t be surprised if the Grizz picked him only to trade him. Not to mention that this miserable excuse of a team might actually be too cheap to pay a lottery pick. Whatever the case, somewhere this guy will be smiling.
#3 – OKC Thunder. If Rubio is still available, they’ll take him and move Russell Westbrook over to #2. Personally, I think Westbrook will have trouble playing off-guard because he needs the ball in his hands to be effective. Asking him to spot up for jumpers and slash off the catch isn’t natural to him, he’s better off using his burst off the dribble. If Rubio’s gone they’ll pick Thabeet and try to make him the Chandler they almost had. Nick Collison FTW.
#4 – Sacramento Kings. The Kings will either try to acquire Ricky Rubio in a trade or make a huge reach for another PG. My gut feeling is Brandon Jennings, yeah, it’s probably way too high for him but when you got as many holes as the Kings, you can’t really make a bad choice. Quiet reminder: When Chris Webber’s rotten luck ruined it for the Kings in Secaucus, he went home and did this.
#5 – Washington Wizards. Another team that needs a PG and could end up swinging a deal with Memphis to get their hands on Rubio. If that doesn’t workout they could also reach for a PG, the safer bet would probably be to get someone like James Harden giving them a Harden-Butler-Jamison combo, not too shabby. Jordan Hill is the other option but since they already got Andray Blatche, how many bad one-on-one defenders can you afford to have. Hey, did you know Gilbert Arenas retired from the internet too?
#6, #7 – Minnesota, Golden State. If I’m either of these two teams I pick Stephen Curry and call up Mike D’Antoni, hold his feet to the fire and make him give up his pick and another player. I’ll be shocked if GSW actually drafts a player here, but if they do and its a 2-guard, look for the Monta Ellis trade rumours to pick up steam. As for Minnesota, they just can’t go wrong by picking Tyreke Evans as their future 2-guard. Word.
#8 – NY Knicks. If Stephen Curry is there they’ll take him, if he’s not they’ll probably look long and hard at Tyreke Evans but already having Nate Robinson might dissuade them from him. If Curry isn’t available Brandon Jennings is an option but they’ll need to give themselves a good reason not to stick with Chris Duhon. Bird in hand equals two in bush. Aah, remember this. Too bad it ended in tears.
#9 – Toronto Raptors – Demar DeRozan. Unless James Harden is miraculously available, this should be an easy decision for the Raptors. And yes, he could be. I honestly don’t see much difference in talent and potential in picks #3 through #10 so its entirely conceivable that a high-profile player could drop. DeRozan can’t create his own shot, yet, but he’s a good enough defender and will bring much needed athleticism into the mix. Think Joey Graham minus strength plus slashing ability minus crapiness plus self-control. Make no mistake, he’s a bit of a project and not someone that will contribute immediately. Terrence Williams is also an option (very questionable shot-selection at times) and someone I liken to a rookie-year Mo Pete, as in he moves great without the ball, doesn’t hog the rock and plays defense. If we’re going by the higher ceiling go with DeRozan, if we’re looking for help now, go with Williams although it might be considered a reach at #9. We simply can’t mess this up.
#10 – Milwaukee Bucks. They need a PG and Jonny Flynn feels about right at #10. After Ramon Sessions led them nowhere, will the Bucks give the reigns to a rookie PG? If their plan is to rebuild is earnest, maybe, if not, look for them to move this pick if they can get help right now. Try to make the connection if you can.
#11 – NJ Nets – DeJuan Blair. He’s only going to fall this far because no other team really needs a PF that badly. The Nets could combo him with Brook Lopez for a pretty fierce frontcourt. It’s always possible that Blair wows some team in the workouts and they pick him only as trade-bait. Remember, the value for most of these players is highest before they’ve played a single game. Is that Ron Harper?
#12 – Charlotte Bobcats – Earl Clark. DeRozan will be gone so Earl Clark is the slasher they’ll look to in order to replace Jason Richardson. If only other GMs would let Michael Jordan do this to them?
#13 – Indiana Pacers. Many sites have them drafting a PG here but with Jarret Jack’s qualifying offer coming cheap and TJ Ford under contract, I don’t see it happening. They might go with a semi-tweener like Jrue Holiday who could form a formidable wing-combo with Danny Granger. Marquis Daniels has shown he’s nothing but average and easily expendable, the Raptors should look at making a possible play. Which one of these two got laid that night?
#14 – Phoenix Suns – Jeff Teague. Nash is going away soon and Barbosa is ideal trade-bait to net a couple players which means the draft is the best way to get a good three-point shooting guard. He’s a tweener but who isn’t these days? A team like Phoenix shouldn’t have much trouble looking past his defensive deficiencies and look forward to his explosiveness. Whose trophy is that?Follow @raptorsrepublic