15 GMs rank the top 13 point guards

I don’t know how he did it, but Chad Ford convinced 15 NBA GMs/executives to rank the top 13 point guards in the draft. If I were running a team and he asked me to do this, I would have told him to go jump off a cliff. (Or I’d have my secretary rank the players by how cute she thinks they are and pass that off as my list.)

Anyway, here are the rankings, along with an average ranking. Ford’s column has a lot more detail on each player.

1. Ricky Rubio (avg 1.9)
2. Stephen Curry (2.4)
3. Jonny Flynn (3.0)
4. Jrue Holiday (3.8)
5. Tyreke Evans (4.5)
6. Jeff Teague (6.5)
7. Brandon Jennings (6.8)
8. Eric Maynor (8.0)
9. Ty Lawson (9.5)
10. Patrick Mills (10.0)
11. Darren Collison (11.0)
12. Nick Calathes (12.0)
13. Toney Douglas (12.5)

I’m surprised that Stephen Curry moved up so much. Prior to the combine, there were still some who questioned whether or not he was even a first round talent. But apparently he put those concerns to rest. Besides, if you can shoot the ball like he can (and aren’t a complete stiff in other areas of the game), there’s a place for you in the NBA.

Brandon Jennings is hurting himself by skipping the combine and the Reebok Eurocamp. He’s going to need to go head to head with some of these players if he wants to stick in the lottery. Conversely, Jonny Flynn is impressing in his interviews and teams are happy to see that he measures over six-foot in shoes. He’s basically the same size as Chris Paul. So is Ty Lawson, but he continues to fall. I still think whoever gets him in the mid- or late-first round is going to have a starter-caliber point guard in a couple of seasons.

Florida’s Nick Calathes raised a few eyebrows when he decided to sign a three-year deal with Greek team Panathinaikos, but since he already has dual citizenship and a closer look at the contract reveals that he’d need to go in the lottery to match the financial windfall he’s going to enjoy overseas, it’s probably a good decision for the young man.

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NBA Rumors: Draft Combine

The NBA draft combine started yesterday and here are some of the rumors and observations coming out of Chicago (from Draft Express and ESPN’s Chad Ford).

James Harden might go #3 to Oklahoma City or #5 to Washington. Sacramento #4 is a no-go because the Kings already have a star shooting guard in Kevin Martin.

James Harden for example has elected not to conduct any interviews with teams drafting outside the top five, canceling a scheduled interview at the Westin Hotel with the Cleveland Cavaliers for example. He also reportedly will not be conducting any competitive workouts with anyone anywhere in the draft process. A source close to him tells us he feels very good about the possibility of being selected by Oklahoma City or Washington, and for right now is not planning on visiting the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Most teams we’ve spoken to in Chicago are indicating that they believe Oklahoma City is indeed leaning towards picking Harden. They also believe the Thunder are not enamored with Rubio at all, as they are committed to developing Russell Westbrook at his natural position—point guard.

This seems high for Harden, who had a great season but completely disappeared in the NCAA tournament. He is a very skilled scorer and he should thrive if open shots are created for him by a playmaking teammate. I don’t know how good he is at getting his own shot.

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2009 NBA Mock Draft Version 1.0

With the NBA Draft Lottery behind us, we now know the exact order of the first 14 picks. The Los Angeles Clippers hit paydirt when they won the right to draft Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin with the first overall pick. The Grizzlies moved up from #6 to #2, and the Thunder moved up one spot to pick #3. The big losers Tuesday night were Sacramento and Washington, who had the best and second-best shot at the top pick, but instead fell to #4 and #5, respectively.

Mock drafts are tough for me because I’m usually thinking about what teams should do instead of trying to predict what they will do. This mock will be more predictive, but if I disagree with a selection, I’ll say so. Over the next few weeks, I’ll update this mock to jive with the latest news from around the league. It’s still very early in the process so things are very fluid. One mock has a player going #11 while another may have him going #29.

I’m just going to make picks for the first fourteen slots on the first go-round and then provide the picks of a few different mocks that I respect for #15-#30, along with a short writeup for each team.

#1 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Even Mike Dunleavy can’t screw this one up. Barring something obscenely out of the blue, Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin will be the first overall pick. The Clippers could use a power forward to replace Elton Brand, and Griffin is the only “sure thing” in this draft. He’s strong, skilled and athletic, and he has an improving offensive game. He has star written all over him.
Pick: Griffin, PF

#2 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
The Grizzlies were reportedly one of the few teams more interested in UConn’s 7’3” center Hasheem Thabeet than they were in Blake Griffin. The Grizzlies already have 7’1” Marc Gasol, so Thabeet wouldn’t fill a need like Jordan Hill, Ricky Rubio or Brandon Jennings would (assuming the team isn’t sold on Hakim Warrick or Mike Conley), but Thabeet has the potential to become a dominant defensive center along the lines of Dikembe Mutombo. But will he be willing to put the work in to become an effective post player?
Pick: Thabeet, C

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