The 2009 Draft Season is officially on the way. We are a month away from the 2009 NBA Draft Lottery and only a week away form the early entry deadline. Seriously, for the purpose of the Memphis Grizzlies, the draft season is going very well for our long term future. A lot of potential 2009 NBA draft lottery picks have decided to go back to school which will make our pick next year stronger. I am, as always, expecting great things from the May 19th draft lottery.
Once again I will be using the ESPN Lottery Generator to determine order:
1. Oklahoma City Thunder – Blake Griffin – After LeBron to Cleveland and Derrick Rose to Chicago, this will result in conspiracy theorist going nuts. This should also establish the Thunder as the best young core in the NBA, including Portland. They have almost every base covered and have $15 million in capspace to fill in the empty spaces. Be afraid if this happens.
2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ricky Rubio -The Grizzlies would really consider taking John Wall but in the end they go with the safer pick and the Spain to Memphis pipeline continues. Would set up an interesting summer on what to do with Conley.
3. Sacramento Kings – Brandon Jennings – Kings shock the world with this pick. However, another season with Beno is about as much as they can take. Very high upside and could bring back the glory years they had with White Chocolate. Italian Chocolate?
4. Washington Wizards – James Harden – Harden’s liabilities should be covered playing between Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler. Would be the perfect position for him as he will not be expected to be the next superstar undersized shooting guard.
5. Los Angeles Clippers – DeMar Derozan – The Clippers have a need at small forward and Derozan can be moved to shooting guard on the off chance they can convert Eric Gordon to the point guard position. Derozan is a Los Angeles native and has the potential to bring star power to the Staple Center step child.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves – Hasheem Thabeet – The Timberwolves need a big defensive center to rotate with Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Thabeet can be brought along slowly with those two starting and he will not have any pressure to score. He will just have to anchor the Timberwolves defense while he is in the game. Good fit for both parties.
7. Golden State Warriors – Jordan Hill – For a lottery team, the Warriors are actually loaded and don’t have a big need for another non-superstar. Jordan Hill will probably replace Brandon Wright in the Nellie dog house. It is almost impossible to figure out what the Warriors will do this off season.
8. New York Knicks – Stephen Curry – I expect Curry to add strength in the NBA and make a successful transition to the pseudo-PG. He has the skills to be unreal in D’Antoni’s offense. Heck, Nate Robinson has excelled in it.
9. Toronto Raptors – Tyreke Evans – The Raptors are in need of someone who can get to the hole with the ball and someone who is ultra agressive offensively. Evans fits the bill. Also, Evans should be ready to compete in the NAB from day 1 even though there will be considerable growing pains.
10. Milwaukee Bucks – Eric Maynor – This pick allows them to justify letting Ramon Sessions leave for nothing . Maynor would be surrounded with good offensive targets if Redd and Bogut come back healthy and can be a good player to build around.
11. New Jersey Nets – Earl Clark – A great fit for the New Jersey native. Has the skill and game to fit in nicely with the Nets and will not have any pressure to score. Should be able to show off his versatile game by playing some power forward next to Brook Lopez.
12. Charlotte Bobcats – Gerald Henderson – It seems like every year the Bobcats are plugged into the appropriate ACC product. This year it is Duke’s Henderson. He might be a little short longterm with DJ Augustin but I think the Bobcats are on a playoff or bust mantra next season and he can help them.
13. Indiana Pacers – DeJuan Blair – Blair is the type of player that would be loved in Indiana. He would be an excellent backup power forward and provide them with needed toughness and intangibles.
14. Phoenix Suns – James Johnson – For a team that wants to run again, Johnson can provide them some versatile scoring off the bench..
15. Detroit Pistons – Patrick Patterson – Pistons take the best talent on the board as they might be in for a slight rebuilding phase under Dumars.
16. Chicago Bulls – Chase Budinger – The Bulls need some more outside shooting and Budinger can replace some of what could be leaving in Ben Gordon. Allows Salmons to enter the starting lineup with Deng.
17. Philadelphia 76ers – Tywon Lawson – Resigning Andre Miller for more than 1 or 2 seasons is probably not an option with Elton Brand’s contract on the books. Lawson will provide agood transition .
18. Minnesota Timberwolves - Jrue Holiday – T’Wolves pass on the more proven Jonny Flynn to go with the bigger point guard prospect with more upside. Would love to go get Maynor and they have the juice to do it.
19. Atlanta Hawks – Jonny Flynn – The Hawks happily take Flynn who might lack polish but is a proven leader for a team in desperate need of a floor leader.
20. Utah Jazz – Jeff Teague – The Jazz need another player capable of creating their own offense and Teague is a master at that. Has the ability to play with Deron and still be his long term primary backup. Good value pick here.
21. New Orleans Hornets -Gani Lawal – Might be a little reach right here but his early season play showed he has potential to be a very good player.
22. Dallas Mavericks - Terrence Williams – Mavs take a potential lock down defender here. Lack of outside shot drops Williams but late season surge suggests he has potential to correct that short coming.
23. Sacremento Kings – BJ Mullens – Kings take on the long term project with upside. Mullens and Wall give the Kings a very athletic draft.
24. Portland Trailblazers – Tyler Hansbrough – Blazer elect to get a good backup power forward who can come in and contribute from day 1.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder – Patrick Mills – Presti gets a spark plug at backup point as it seems that former Grizz, Earl Watson, does not want that assignment again.
26. Chicago Bulls – Nick Calathes – I expect Hinrich to suggest he is tired of being a backup and Calathes should be more acceptable to that role.
27. Memphis Grizzlies – Danny Green – Grizzlies go get a player with the potential to be a lock down defender in the league. Not a great athlete but projects as a great defender.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves – Sam Young – T’Wolves use their third first rounder for more depth. Young’s age should allow him to contribute early.
29. Los Angeles Lakers – Micheal Washington – If the Lakers let Odom go in free agency, they will need some type of frontcourt depth in the future.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers – Wayne Ellington – Ellington becomes the fourth Tar Heel in the first round and the best NBA prospect stayed in school. No wonder they won the title. It takes talent.