Blogging the Bloggers: NBA girlfriends, pranking Red Sox fans, and more

DEADSPIN has pics of Wayne Ellington and his girlfriend (right) as they waited for his name to be called Thursday night. She looks different standing up than she does sitting down.

THE SPORTZ ASSASSIN lists a few guys that made themselves available for the NBA Draft and probably shouldn’t have.

SPORTSbyBROOKS has the details of an awesome prank sprung on some visiting Red Sox fans by a Nationals fan.

US SOCCER previews tomorrow’s Confederations Cup final between the U.S. and Brazil.

SLATE wonders why baseball uses an offset, misleading camera angle to show the pitcher and the batter.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

2009 NBA Mock Draft Version 3.0 + Updated Consensus

The draft is just a few days away, so it’s a good time to take one final stab at mocking the first round of this draft. I’ll continue to update the consensus draft this week, but this will be my last attempt at predicting what will happen this Thursday.

First, let’s take a look at the most recent consensus. Chad Ford released the most recent version of his mock draft today, NBADraft.net also updated today, while DraftExpress updated their mock yesterday.

Now I’ll go, pick by pick, through the first round, taking the consensus into account while also throwing in my $0.02 here and there.

#1 CLIPPERS
The Clips have shown no signs of trading away their opportunity to draft Blake Griffin. There is much fluidity with the next few picks, but the Oklahoma product is pretty much guaranteed to be the first pick. The Clippers will then (reportedly) try to move Zach Randolph or Chris Kaman, though it might be wise to move forward with Kaman and Griffin in the front court, Baron Davis at the point, and Eric Gordon and Al Thornton on the wing. Randolph is going to be tough to move. (I still can’t believe that Mike Dunleavy traded for him last season.)
Pick: Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma

#2 GRIZZLIES
The consensus says that Hasheem Thabeet will be the pick and I don’t disagree, even though he just pulled out of a workout with Memphis due to a shoulder injury. DraftExpress thinks that Memphis will go with James Harden and move O.J. Mayo to the point, which they say is his natural position. I don’t know that they’ve given up on Mike Conley yet, so I think they will go big with this pick. Their biggest need is at power forward, so trading down and drafting Jordan Hill is a possibility. But if they stand pat, Thabeet could very well be the pick, even though he doesn’t seem to want to play in Memphis.
Pick: Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn

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2009 NBA Mock Draft Version 2.0

It has been about two weeks since I published my first mock draft, so it’s a good time to check back in with all the news and rumors and take another stab.

Like I said in the intro of my first mock, it’s tough for me to make predictions about what teams will do because I’m constantly thinking about what they should do. These are obviously two very different things.

For this go-around, I’m going to try something a little different. I’ve compiled the picks for four mock drafts from sites that I respect — ESPN (Chad Ford), Dime Magazine, DraftExpress and NBADraft.net — and then I’ll provide my own picks taking their picks into account, to form some sort of consensus.

Let’s get on with it…

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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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Ty Lawson to enter NBA Draft; Ellington too

It’s official: Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington are forgoing their remaining college eligibility and declaring for the 2009 NBA Draft.

Lawson was arguably the best point guard in the country this season and was named ACC Player of the Year. He gutted through a swollen toe in the NCAA tournament, guiding the Tar Heels to a national championship (and f——g my bracket in the process). NBADraft.net has Lawson going #15 (to Detroit, which seems odd considering Joe Dumars has hitched his wagon to Rodney Stuckey), while DraftExpress has him slated for the 11th pick (New Jersey — another odd pairing, considering Devin Harris’ stellar play this season). Both mocks have Lawson behind Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings amongst point guards. Jonny Flynn, Tyreke Evans, Eric Maynor and Stephen Curry are ranked ahead of Lawson in one mock or the other.

I haven’t seen much of Jennings, but I think I’d favor Lawson over the other five right now. He has everything you want in a point guard — good vision, quickness, speed, strength, shooting — except for size, and Chris Paul (and others) have proved that you don’t need to be tall to succeed in today’s NBA.

As for Ellington, I’m surprised to see that NBADraft.net has him going 11th to New Jersey. Draft Express projects him to go with the 30th pick to the Cavs. When I first heard the news that he was going pro, my assumption was that he’d be a second round pick that might sneak into the first round with a series of good workouts. He shot the ball brilliantly in the NCAA tournament and that kind of clutch performance can really boost a player’s stock, but I’d be shocked if he becomes a lottery pick. Wings that can score are a dime a dozen in the NBA, so unless a player has a quality that really makes him stand out — i.e. Gerald Henderson’s athletic ability — they usually end up being late-first round or second round picks. We’ll see.

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