2009 NBA Mock Draft
The NBA All-Star game is upon us and that means that we are a bit more than halfway to the crowning of a new champion. But it also means that we're getting closer to the point in the season where teams start tanking games to improve their odds in the 2009 NBA Draft Lottery.
I know it's a little early, but I thought it would be fun to throw a 2009 NBA mock draft out there for all to see. This 2009 NBA mock draft is more for fun than it is an attempt at an accurate prediction. So with that in mind you have to be able to suspend some facets of reality going in. First, we haven't even hit the NBA Trade Deadline so we can't be sure how teams' needs are going to change. Also, there is still some uncertainty about what free agents are going to move where and how that will alter rosters.
Finally, I don't know who is coming out early in college. There are always surprises, one way or another, and we won't know until late June who is really staying and who is coming out. So for the purposes of this exercise everyone is fair game. Everyone, that is, except foreign players. I'm not even going to attempt to project that nonsense.
So, with all that in mind, here is 2009 NBA mock draft:
1) Sacramento - Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma
Griffin has it all and would be the second Top 2 pick out of the Big 12 in as many years (Michael Beasley, 2008). Griffin isn't as polished on the perimeter as Beasley, but he is tougher, better around the rim, and a stronger passer.
2) Washington - James Harden, SG, Arizona State
Harden is unstoppable one-on-one at the college level and will be a strong pro. He can score inside and out and is very advanced in his understanding of the game.
3) L.A. Clippers - Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut
The most dominating defensive force in college basketball, Thabeet could develop into an exceptional power forward or a center for a team that runs up and down the court. He still needs to bulk up, but his coordination and athleticism is amazing for a guy his size.
4) Oklahoma City - Greg Monroe, C, Georgetown
Already an NBA-level passer, Monroe has a tremendous upside. He needs to work on his jumper, but if the freshman decides to jump he's going to land softly in the Top 10.
5) Memphis - Terrence Williams, SF, Louisville
In my opinion, Williams has had a First-Team All American season and has really elevated his stock. He is a great passer, a solid defender; he is improving his shooting, and is daring getting to the basket.
6) Golden State - Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest
Aminu would be another "upside" pick. The freshman is a bit raw but is bursting with potential and has a definite NBA frame.
7) Minnesota - Stephen Curry, PG, Davidson
Why wouldn't you want Pistol Pete Lite? Curry is the top perimeter scorer in college basketball and there is nothing he can't do with the ball. His dad was a solid pro and his son will be a very solid point guard for the next 10-15 years.
8) Toronto - Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke
Henderson may not go this high but I think that his athleticism and his highly-developed mid-range game make him an appealing option. He can also get down and defend, which is something the Raptors don't do a lot of.
9) Charlotte - Patrick Mills, PG, St. Mary's
Mills has proven himself against NBA competition and has to be one of the top three or four point guards taken in this draft. His stock may be dropping because of his broken hand, but I still think Mills is going to be a quality pro.
10) Indiana - DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh
Blair is just a man among boys on the college level and I see a lot of Elton Brand in his game. He'll be a 20-10 guy within his first three years.
11) New York - Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee
Smith is an interesting option to fit into the D'Antoni offense. He has a complete offensive arsenal and is dangerous as a passer or scorer while slashing to the basket.
12) Chicago - Scottie Reynolds, PG, Villanova
Reynolds is a bit small but I think he will be a steal for some team in the draft. He can handle the ball and is as tough as they come. He isn't a great passer but I do think he has a nice feel for the game. Also, he's a plus-scorer from the PG position.
13) Milwaukee - Sam Young, SF, Pittsburgh
Young clearly has the athleticism to play at the next level and is stellar along the baseline. Not a lot of Pitt guys have gone on to the NBA and performed lately but Young will be an exception.
14) Utah - DeJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown
Summers is athletic and fundamentally sound and would be a nice wing piece in the Jazz offense. Wouldn't be that big of an adjustment coming from the Hoyas' Princeton offense.
15) New Jersey - Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina
Ellington has a sweet stroke and is an underrated athlete. His mentor would happen to be another former UNC star shooting guard.
16) Philadelphia - Earl Clark, SF, Louisville
Clark has to be moving up draft boards because of his athleticism and his solid all-around game. Philadelphia is at its best when it gets out and runs and Clark would fit nicely in that strategy.
17) Minnesota - Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina
I think Kevin McHale - if he were still around - would have to be salivating at the shot to mold Hansbrough. I like to say that Psycho T is a white Mark Madsen. But there's no denying his solid jumper and incredible motor.
18) Detroit - Patrick Patterson, SF, Kentucky
With 'Sheed on his last legs it would be nice if the Pistons could pick up the ultra-athletic Patterson. He's very raw, but Patterson has the type of body and upside that would make him a nice investment in the middle or late first round.
19) Phoenix - Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina
The Suns need to figure out what type of team they want to be, first and foremost. But the shoplifter-quick Lawson will be a nice understudy for a veteran point guard.
20) Atlanta - Chase Budinger, SG, Arizona
I question Budinger's heart and drive when it comes to playing in the NBA. But I wouldn't question is athleticism. The Hawks could use another wing scorer and Buds could be a decent gamble.
21) Dallas - Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest
Teague is tough as nails and would be a poor man's Jason Terry. The Mavs have a lot of needs but a young point guard would be a luxury pick.
22) Sacramento - Tyreke Evans, PG, Memphis
The Kings are going nowhere fast so they could afford to take a shot on one of the nation's best freshman.
23) Portland - Eric Maynor, PG, VCU
I like Maynor's game and his attitude. But he'll have to be much, much more assertive if he wants to collect an NBA paycheck. He can shoot, defend, is fearless, and has a great understanding of the game.
24) New Orleans - Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette
This might be a bit of a reach here, but if the Hornets don't pick up another big man then I think they could do worse than Marquette's sleek shooting guard. Don't underestimate Matthews' ability to rebound and defend.
25) Oklahoma City - Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas
Aldrich is a project. But then again, so is Oklahoma City. This is Big 12 country so he should feel right at home.
26) Oklahoma City - Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU
Another project, Thornton has some nice upside because of his athleticism. I don't know if I want him on my team, but the kid has proven that he can fill up a stat sheet.
27) Orlando - Darren Collison, PG, UCLA
Jameer Nelson, winner. Darren Collison, winner. Collison is a plus-defender and can shoot when necessary. I think he has a limited upside but would be a real nice pupil.
28) Minnesota - Demar DeRozen, SG, USC
If the T-Wolves got their point guard and their big man in this draft already this would be a luxury pick and they could afford to gamble. I've seen flashes out of this kid, but there's no doubt he's still a couple years away from contributing.
29) Cleveland - Luke Nevill, C, Utah
Nevill is not as strong as former Utah big men Andrew Bogut or Michael Doleac but he is probably quicker and has a better perimeter game at this stage of his career. Doleac and Bogut have never been dominant players, but they have contributed. And if the Cavs lose Big Z this would be decent value.
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30) L.A. Lakers - Robert Vaden, SG, UAB
Mark it down: Vaden can score on an NBA level. No doubt about it. I bet he would have some decent horse games with Kobe after practice.