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.

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

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.

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

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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Early entries keep coming

Arizona junior Jordan Hill will skip his final year and enter the NBA draft. Hill averaged 18.1 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats and the 6’10” power forward is projected to be a top 5 pick. His teammate, Chase Budinger, already declared for the draft…Wake Forest sophomore Jeff Teague will make himself eligible for the draft but won’t hire an agent, so there’s a good chance that he’ll return for his junior season…USC junior guard Daniel Hackett will enter the draft and hire an agent, ending his career at Southern Cal.

Mock drafts: NBADraft.net, DraftExpress

Teague leads Demon Deacons past Tar Heels

Everyone, meet Jeff Teague…

He’s a 6’2″ sophomore combo guard from Indiana who is averaging 20.6 points and 4.1 assists per game. Last night, in a marquee matchup with UNC’s Ty Lawson, Teague posted 34 points and four dimes to help #4-ranked Wake Forest pull out a 92-89 win over the #3-ranked Tar Heels. Teague completely outplayed Lawson — nine points, five assists, six rebounds — which makes one wonder why Lawson is projected to go in the mid-first round of the NBA Draft while Teague isn’t even on NBADraft.net’s draft board. Wait, there he is at #14…hmm…he wasn’t there last night when I checked. Does that mean, according to NBADraft.net, that Teague’s performance against North Carolina raised his stock from undrafted free agent to borderline lottery? It would appear so. (For the draft geeks, here is DraftExpress.com’s profile for Teague. They aptly compare him to Aaron Brooks and Louis Williams.)

Danny Green led the Tar Heels with 22 points, hitting 3 of 4 of his three-point shots. Tyler Hansbrough finished with 17 points, but only shot 3 of 12 from the field. The Demon Deacons’ big men did a nice job of keeping him from catching the ball in the post.

Wake Forest is a team to be reckoned with in the ACC. In addition to Teague, they have Al-Farouq Aminu (a 6’9″ lottery prospect) and James Johnson, who are both projected to go in the first round of the NBA Draft. Seven-footer Chas McFarland (who posted 20 points and nine boards last night) anchors the middle.

Wake Forest has a pair of tough road games coming up against Boston College and Clemson before coming home to host Virginia Tech and Duke.

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