Pre-Draft Camp Mock and Draft Thoughts Part II: L-O-T-T-O!

If you haven’t already done so take a look at Part I, done prior to the lottery.

Now that the ping pong balls have bounced, leaving our beloved Knickerbockers no better or worse off than they’d have been just based on record, I’ll re-work the lottery picks and post the remainder of this first round mock.

1. LA Clippers – Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma: If Mike Dunleavy’s recent declaration of undying love for Blake Griffin is true then he’ll probably trade players to clear room for his new beloved. If it’s not true then the #1 pick may represent a rare opportunity to clean up a roster that is a mess, possibly in one fell swoop. (Previously: Ricky Rubio)

2. Memphis – Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain: Choosing Rubio has its advantages, regardless of whether he wants to play in Memphis. His rights become an asset for the asset-starved Grizz. Even though Memphis should do this, no player in this draft generates more ambivalence for me than Rubio. The talent is evident, but there are lots of reasons it may not work out for the team that drafts him. (Previously: Demar DeRozan)

3. Oklahoma City – Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn: Thabeet may be a one-trick pony but his trick is precisely what OKC needs. He’s a defensive anchor, with a decent shot at becoming a more athletic Mutombo. The downside is that he will probably never be even an average offensive player. But, in this draft there’s something to be said for being fairly certain of a player’s “floor”. (Previously: Brandon Jennings)

4. Sacramento – Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy: Sactown will most likely take the best PG left on the board. I suspect Rubio would prefer Sactown over Memphis, and perhaps a deal can be struck. (Previously: Blake Griffin)

5. Washington – Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona: The Wiz is the team I think most likely to deal its pick. If they keep it they’ll be looking for depth that could help in a pinch, but with some upside. Hill is a lot like Chris Wilcox. (Previously: Hasheem Thabeet)

6. Minnesota – Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis: I think Minny opts for the highest upside player on the board regardless of position. It could be Evans, depending on workouts. It could also be Hill, Jennings, DeRozan, or Lawson. Almost literally nothing they do would surprise me, which I hope they interpret as a challenge. (Previously: Evans)

7. Golden State – James Harden, G, Arizona State: I’ve loved to watch this kid play since he was a junior in high school. To me he’s the 6’5″ Paul Pierce. Other mocks have him higher right now, but I expect that on draft night he’ll slide in between 5 and 8. (Previously: Jordan Hill)

8. New York – Ty Lawson, G, UNC: I almost pulled the trigger on Lawson in the previous version. Now that I think Nate Robinson most likely will be signed-and-traded this July, Lawson becomes a better fit. He used to be just a fly-down-the floor guard (and frankly, there is something to be said for that) but his screen roll game has really evolved. I expect him to shine in workouts. He may be this year’s Westbrook–an already well-regarded player who vaults up the board based on superior workouts. Oh, and I really hope Walsh can find a 2nd round pick this year. This draft has some potentially very useful role players. (Previously: James Harden)

9. Toronto – Stephen Curry, G, Davidson: Is it possible to NOT love Steph Curry’s game? He fits Toronto like a glove, even down to his weaknesses (i.e., lateral quickness, overall athleticism, defense). He’s also the right kid to play outside the lower 48. This is a makes-too-much-sense-NOT-to-happen move if Curry is available. (Previously: Stephen Curry)

10. Milwaukee – Dejaun Blair, PF/C, Pittsburgh: Blair’s rebounding and long arms may get him to the top ten. (Previously: Ty Lawson)

11. New Jersey – Demar DeRozan, SF, USC: I think DeRozan is the biggest gamble this draft. It’s just not clear if he’s really good at anything yet. Add to that, he may be leaving town one step ahead of the sheriff with allegations of payola hanging over Tim Floyd at USC. Having said that, I’d honestly be a bit surprised if someone doesn’t pull the trigger on him earlier. (Previously: Jeff Teague)

12. Charlotte – Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke: With Larry Brown making personnel decisions, there is simply no way to anticipate what he’ll do. What I can probably write down is “scrappy, hard-nosed defender with a high basketball IQ” and just wait to fill in the name. I like Henderson as a solid sixth man who plays both ends. (Previously: Gerald Henderson)

13. Indiana – Jrue Holiday, G, UCLA: Holiday was probably among the most shocked when Darren Collison return to UCLA for his senior season. That moved Holiday to SG, where he struggled playing limited minutes out of position for a team with a style that doesn’t exactly fit his strengths. I’m not an “everyone should play one year!” guy, but Holiday should go back to school for another year. He’d definitely move to PG this year and could vault himself into the top 5 of next year’s draft. He may yet do so in this draft based on workouts, but the new format doesn’t allow as many chances for teams to see players as in the past. As of this writing he hasn’t hired an agent, but everything I have read suggests that he’s in the draft to stay. (Previously: Earl Clark)

14. Phoenix – Johnny Flynn, PG, Syracuse: The rumor mill says that Phoenix likes him. We’ll take that as a baseline pick. (Previously: Johnny Flynn)

15. Detroit – Earl Clark, F, Louisville: I am not a fan of Clark’s offensive game, particularly shot selection, but he’s a good defender. (Previously: Wayne Ellington)

Once we get out of the lottery, beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. I expect trades galore and one or two “who the hell is that guy!?” selections as well.

16. Chicago – Jeff Teague, G, Wake Forest: Teague is an undersized SG, a high-usage player both years at Wake but improved his TS% from 59% to 62% almost exclusively by getting to the line. He looks like Ben Gordon with a clue.

17. Philadelphia – Chase Budinger, SG/SF, Arizona: I posted a fairly extensive take on him at Arizona Desert Swarm. At this point in the draft he’s a bargain as a 6th or 7th man. It’s also worth noting that Philadelphia currently puts absolute blechhh! on the floor at SG.

18. Minnesota – BJ Mullens, C, Ohio State: This would be a reasonable gamble on size, athleticism, and potential in the high teens.

19. Atlanta – Terrance Williams, SG/SF, Louisville: Like his Cardinal counterpart, Williams brings much more to the floor in defense and other areas unrelated to scoring. For its part Atlanta doesn’t need another mouth to feed on offense. Williams could bring back a little of what they miss since Josh Childress left for Greece.

20. Utah – Sam Young, SF, Pittsburgh: He plays a similar game to Matt Harpring; a little jump shot and a lot of bruises.

21. New Orleans – Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU: I’m not a huge fan of Thorton as a playmaker, where he was often miscast in college. As the new (better) Janero Pargo I like him a lot better.

22. Dallas – James Johnson, F, Wake Forest: I think the Mavs take the most athletic front court player they can find at 22.

23. Sacramento – Tyler Hansborough, PF, North Carolina: Hansborough isn’t a first or even second option in the NBA, but he will rebound, run the floor, get to the line, and should be a decent pick and pop player. DraftExpress’ comparison to Luis Scola sounds about right.

24. Portland – Jermaine Taylor, SG, Central Florida: What Portland needs is a slashing small forward to better compliment Roy, but they won’t get one unless they trade. They’ll probably end up moving this pick, but if not Taylor is a player that could develop into the kind of slasher they need.

25. Oklahoma City – Darren Collison, PG, UCLA: He would join former backcourt mate Westbrook, and projects to a very solid backup PG.

26. Chicago – DaJaun Summers, SF, Georgetown: Gamble on upside.

27. Memphis – Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC

28. Minnesota – Eric Maynor, G, VCU

29. LA Lakers – Jodie Meeks, G, Kentucky

30. Cleveland – Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech

Note: Austin Daye would definitely be in the first round, but right now I am unsure about whether he’ll return to Gonzaga. I hope he does. I love his game. He just needs to put on some muscle.

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Part-time blogger on the Knicks at and Seahawks at In my free time I hang out at the University of South Carolina and occasionally fill thirsty young minds with knowledge about various and sundry things related to consumer behavior and marketing.

37 thoughts to “Pre-Draft Camp Mock and Draft Thoughts Part II: L-O-T-T-O!”

  1. A. The sixers have no need of another SG/SF and have a great need ta point guard.

    B. Secondly, yes the sixers started willie green for most of the season at two guard, do you think maybe that had to do with Elton brand being out most of the season and Thaddeus Young having to be the starting forward, cause I do…a healthy brand and green goes where he belongs…

  2. Thanks for that heads up BK. I had not seen that story. I changed the pick to Ga. Tech underclassman Gani Lawal.

  3. Jemagee,

    Although this draft’s depth is at point guard, it’s fairly sharply tiered imo. The top tier includes the two international guys and Lawson. There’s a middle tier of Curry, Holiday (on potential), and Flynn. Then there’s a drop off to the third tier that includes guys who are undersized SGs (Teague and Thornton) or who have somewhat limited upside (Maynor and Collison).

    Some of the third tier guys will be excellent if they’re in the right situation. I could definitely see Teague fitting nicely in Philly if he’s available.

    Still, if Philly comes out of this deal with a swingman as talented as Budinger, warts and all, they’d have to feel pretty good.

  4. I think there’s something to DraftExpress’ logic that Calathes becomes MORE valuable by signing in Greece: a team that doesn’t want to commit the money and roster spot late in round 1 could take him looking to bring him back in a year or two, still signing him to a rookie deal when he’s got a year or two at the highest level in Europe under his belt.

    Lawson would be an interesting pick for the Knicks. Likely to excel in D’Antoni’s offense and has shown the commitment to make big improvements to his game. His stats are pretty sick. I still have a hard time getting excited about using our lotto pick on a 5-10 guard, though…
    If the Knicks somehow end up with a mid-first, Earl Clark would be a great gamble for them. He and Danilo would give the Knicks two gifted passers in the front-court, each with another skill (Clark=defense, Danilo=efficient scoring). I’d even consider him at #8.

    I think it might take Eric Maynor a couple of seasons to run an NBA team and fill out his body, but why single him out as lacking upside?

    I’m confused by your Rubio comments.

    Budinger would be a great fit for the Sixers, and is one of my favorite prospects projected in the teens. Not going to be great, but a good athlete and strong shooter. The Sixers had one of the better PGs in the NBA this past season, unless they’re letting Andre Miller walk they don’t have any short-term need there. They’ve also got a promising shoot-first PG in Louis Williams.

    I was critical of him after his rookie season, but Mike Conley took a big step forward last season. I don’t know if the Knicks make the most sense, but some team might get him cheap and watch him blossom.

  5. I read somewhere (maybe DraftExpress or ESPN) that the Thunder have scouted Thabeet more than any other NBA franchise, so it stands to reason that they’re in a decent position to make a decision on him.

  6. This draft could be pretty unpredictable – lot of different opinions on these guys.

    And Rubio is a wild card. I still don’t see him coming to Memphis. From everything I read, he has a great life back in Spain, and would be perfectly happy to earn an extra $8 million by staying there another year. That’s leverage. Memphis could play hardball by drafting him anyway, but can that franchise really afford to wait another year or two before seeing their draft pick on the court?

    If Rubio goes on the block, what then? Just a guess — he doesn’t want to play in OKC, either. And Sacramento would have a hard time putting together a decent package. The Wiz could trade Jamison & the #5 for Rubio, Jaric & something else… or the Clippers could trade Griffin for Rubio & Gay… or we could see something shocking, like Portland trading Oden or Aldridge.

    I could see the Knicks jumping up to OKC or Sacramento’s spot – say, Nate and the #8 for Kenny Thomas and #4 — but in this draft, I don’t know that 3 or 4 is that much better than 8. If there were somehow a way to get to #2… like Lee & #8 for Jaric & #2 — but I have a feeling Memphis will get better offers.

    On another note, I recently talked to someone who works closely with the NBA, and talks to scouts, and he told me the buzz on DeJuan Blair is that he’ll measure out around 6’4. I’m not sure I believe that – but if he comes in under 6’6, I would cool on Blair a bit. Still – you can’t argue with results, and he’s probably the best college rebounder in 20 years. Since another 6’4 guy.

    “I was critical of him after his rookie season, but Mike Conley took a big step forward last season. ”

    Ted, I’m interested in your thoughts on this one… I had sort of the opposite response to Conley’s sophomore season. I was a pretty big fan of his coming out of OSU, and even after the rookie year, considering he fought through a few injuries. I saw his second season as a disappointment. He was a more efficient scorer, but didn’t really improve in any other way and certainly didn’t make an impact. I’d be pretty happy to have him – a playmaker and decent defender – but I think his ceiling has come way down. Hope I’m wrong…

  7. Caleb,

    Can’t say that I saw a lot of Memphis this season, but Conley’s stats were solid overall (14.3 PER, .154 WP48) and an improvement on his rookie season. I guess it might be in large part because I never thought his ceiling was very high. If he takes another same-sized step forward next season he’d be a nice player.

    It’s a small sample size, but his scoring efficiency improved from Al Thornton to Tim Duncan territory. He hit 40% of his 3s, turning a weakness into a strength. He also had a good season in WOW terms:
    He was apparently Memphis’ best player last season by that metric:

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but Lee, Nate, and #8 for #2 gives you two sure-thing impact rotation players and a potential 3rd. Some teams will offer more “value” or more potential, but add three strong players to Mayo, Gay, Gasol, Conley, and Warrick/Arthur/Milicic and you’ve got a pretty good level of talent throughout your rotation. I don’t think Rubio and LeBron would be a good pairing, but do you plan entirely around the chance of getting LeBron?

  8. Caleb, you think teams would actually give up players as solid and proven as David Lee, Greg Oden or LaMarcus Aldridge for the right to draft Rubio? I’m a fan, so there’s a freewheeling part of me that loves the idea of going for broke for the chance to get out of mediocrity — but I tend to agree with the line of thought that everyone in this draft is too unproven to risk overpaying dramatically by giving away core players.

    Here’s a piece expressing that line of thinking, from a Sacramento point of view:

    Regarding Lawson, I still have my reservations about drafting someone short and injury prone, even a PG as fun to watch as Lawson. I think D’Antoni wants more shooting and scoring (which is where Curry would make sense), but that’s just my bias and speculation.

  9. I think Blair in Milwaukee is a great fit. Villanueva is a free agent (albeit restricted), and they’re just dying for a post up player.

    With all the rumors about Curry and the Knicks, it’s hard to envision Curry still being on the board and the Knicks passing on him. One thing about Isiah’s draft – he held things very close to the vest. Last year the rumors were Westbrook and Gallo. Westbrook was off the board, so New York grabbed Gallo. I’m usually not one to go for rumor-mongering, but if Curry is out there I’d be shocked if the Knicks didn’t grab him.

    That said I don’t think I’d mind Lawson. Whether or not they keep Nate, the Knicks are going to need a PG that can run the offense in 2010. Although New York has had a glaring need for a shot blocker since Camby left (Mutombo’s one season excluded) I think you can get one cheaply. Look at Marcin Gortat & Chris Andersen. I think PG is a more pressing need*.

    *(Although I think you should still grab the best player on the board.)

  10. BK, I don’t think Aldridge or Oden will be traded for Rubio, but more because of size than anything. If I were Portland I would consider moving Aldridge to get Griffin if a deal were on the table, though. Aldridge will probably command a max deal next summer. He’s a good player, but for max dollars you can do better. Maybe move Aldridge for Rubio and then go after Bosh next summer… At the same time, I think a score-first PG might make the most sense next to Brandon Roy (maybe Jared Bayless…). David Lee is (unfortunately) less valuable to the Knicks than he would otherwise be because he’s a free agent and they’re (apparently) looking to maintain 2010 cap space.
    The link you posted makes a reasonable point, but they’re talking about moving up from #4 to #2, not #8 or #24. Last time someone traded in for a top 5 pick, Ray Allen was the cost of the #5 pick. The #8 pick that year cost Jason Richardson (I thought and still think that moving his contract for Wright was a great move for GS). The year before that, #9 cost Shane Battier. The interesting link here was that no real proven size was given away, but three quality wing players nonetheless. In 2004 Antawn Jamison was moved for #5.

    I don’t know how much more proven than Ricky Rubio a PG prospect can be, though… he’s played professional basketball for several years. He’s mostly unknown to the average US fan, but high level European players are hardly unknowns to NBA scouts and GMs anymore. Luis Scola, Marc Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, even Pau… these guys might have been unknowns in the US, but they were the best players in the Spanish league and amongst the best in Europe. Rubio’s been injured all year and his jumper needs to improve, but I have little doubt he can be a good-to-great NBA PG.
    Griffin, Thabeet, and Harden have also shown what they can and can’t do to as great an extent as most NCAA prospects these days. (Could say the same for Ty Lawson and some others, but I was trying to stick to Top 5 prospects.)
    This draft is probably average or even slightly below that, but I think way too much has been made about it being a weak draft. People were bemoaning how week this class was even before guys like Ed Davis, Donatas Motiejunas, Greg Monroe, Cole Aldrich, Al-Farouq Aminu, Willie Warren, Patrick Patterson, Devin Ebanks, Craig Brackins, etc., etc. made their intentions known. That’s probably half of next season’s lottery, so if this was a weak draft with all those guys in it then next season must be truly terrible…

  11. Mike,

    It’ll be interesting to see if the Knicks lottery pick is known at the start of the playoffs two years in a row. It would actually make three years we know who the Knicks are taking before the draft starts, after the Wilson Chandler promise was leaked.

    Blair to the Bucks does make sense, and Skiles would love him. Sessions is also a FA, though. If Blair measures 6-4 I’m not sure the Bucks risk him #10 with so many good PG prospects likely on the board, depending on their intentions with Sessions/Chuck V.

    Agree 100% on Gortat/Birdman… I’d throw 1 year, full MLE at either. Don’t know about a long-term deal, though. However, I’d say it’s a lot easier/cheaper to find a passable PG than a passable C, generally speaking.

  12. “Caleb, you think teams would actually give up players as solid and proven as David Lee, Greg Oden or LaMarcus Aldridge for the right to draft Rubio?”

    Not everyone, but a lot of teams. As Ted points out, Rubio is no mystery – he was starting for a top-flight Euro team at 16, probably playing against better competition than any D-I conference. At 17 he was playing on the world champions and at 18 he did the same for the silver medal Olympic team. If he were in the U.S. he’d be just graduating high school. He’s not going to be a star his first season but IMO it’s a pretty safe bet he’ll be better than Lee or Aldridge in a few years. Oden is an unusual case – just threw him in there because the injuries and whispers have raised doubts. Rubio is a legit #2 pick and I’m not sure everyone still sees Oden in that light (I’m still keeping the faith, barely…)

    I do think big trades like that are rarer than they should be, because teams are too conservative and they fall in love with their own talent. A lot of GMs see trading their own draftees as admitting they were “wrong” – which is a silly way to look at it.

    Anyway, contending teams probably won’t bid on Rubio because he’ll take a couple of years to pay off, and they won’t trade a star player for that – which is what it will take. But as a wild guess, half a dozen teams will have the goods to make a serious offer.

    “If I were Portland I would consider moving Aldridge to get Griffin if a deal were on the table, though..”

    While I’m at it I might “consider” swapping Blake for Tony Parker, something like that!

    BG is a beast. I’ll be surprised if he isn’t a lot better than Aldridge his rookie year, much less a couple of years from now.

  13. Great job, DC. Excellent analysis. It’s a really interesting draft year. Per the Clipper pick: there is no better prospect than Griffin. To trade the pick would be ludicrous. The only way would be if they could trade him AND Randolph and Baron and get back Rubio and another great player. Actually, maybe they swap with Memphis, for Rubio, Gay, and take Darko and maybe a future 1st for Griffin, Thornton, and Baron. Then the Clips have Rubio, Gordon, Gay, Zach, and Camby/Kaman. Pretty strong. And the Grizz have Barron/Conley, OJ, Thornton, Griffin, Gasol.
    As for us getting the Memphis pick, didn’t D. Lee’s agent say at one point that he wouldn’t sign an extension with Memphis? Someone said our best shot was the Wiz pick at 5- I agree with that, but what’s the point of moving up to 5? Unless they fall in love with someone during workouts. Maybe Sacto at 4 if they don’t like Jennings or Hill.
    After BG and Rubio, noone has really stepped up… until the workouts. I think someone will show themselves as 3,4 and 5 spot worthy by then.
    As for the #8, there’s a chance Curry could go to Minny at 6. He seems like a McHale guy. They seriously need some shooting help for Miller, and he can take over the point from Telfair. I would be happy with Lawson at 8, but Flynn could have more long term potential even though he’s a little raw right now. It’s really tough to gage this group of pg’s, aside from Rubio.
    That said, Mike D. likes a polished player who can shoot, so Curry and Lawson seem like prime candidates. I would also be happy if Harden dropped, but I don’t see it.

  14. Caleb, the Clippers are listening to offers… I’d make one if I were Portland. I was specifically responding to this comment, though: “I tend to agree with the line of thought that everyone in this draft is too unproven to risk overpaying dramatically by giving away core players.”

    “what’s the point of moving up to 5?”

    Harden, that’s who I’d take anyway. Or to get a PG Walshtoni is afraid Minni or GS is taking. I see your point, though. If you’re losing Lee or Nate anyway and can’t use them in a more attractive deal it could be a good move.

    BTW, anyone have links to Hollinger or WoW or any other predictions on 2009 prospects’ NBA futures?

  15. Dave Berri promised a draft preview…. soon. He also said that DraftExpress lists PAWS #s, but the link he provided just went to the main DraftExpress stat page which doesn’t calculate PAWS, as far as I can tell (the data is there should you want to do it yourself).

    I know it’s a longshot, but I noticed Chad Ford writing yesterday that Rubio is hoping to play for the Kings or the Knicks.

    I just don’t see how we put together an offer good enough to get that pick… unless his agent is willing to play total hardball, threaten to stay in Spain another year or two, and mean it.

    Here’s an idea, that assumes the Grizzlies take Thabeet:
    Lee & #8 to Sacto
    #4, #23 & Donte Green to OKC
    #3 (Rubio) & Kenny Thomas to New York

    there are more options, if we’re willing to eat salary. For example:
    Nate & #8 to Sacto
    #4, #23 & Donte Green to OKC
    #3 & Nocioni or Udrih to New York (Kings get Nate instead of Lee but clear some cap, too)

    Both scenarios assume that neither Sacramento or OKC is drooling over Rubio – that they’d accept a combo of good talent or picks in his place.

    It’s probably impossible to deal directly with Memphis because a) by all accounts they want Thabeet… and if they drop to #4 they probably lose him to OKC. b) Lee supposedly won’t play there which takes away a big chip c) they’re under the cap so we can’t help them by taking on salary.

    But hopefully Rubio’s stiff-arm will keep Memphis out of the picture.

  16. Right Caleb. But if Sacto wants Rubio, it could offer Greene and the #23 (or one of their other young players) just to swap places with OKC. And OKC just has to “settle” for Harden. Really what OKC needs is a top flight center which neither Sacto or NYK can offer (the closest thing would be Hawes I guess?)
    One guess is that Memphis is bluffing on Thabeet, who OKC would want to get them to make the swap. I don’t see Rubio in OKC- moving Westbrook over is a bad idea. They need to addess sg and c.
    I think it will be tough for NYK to capitalize on the top picks this year. If there were a way to pick up a first rounder next year I would be happy. Maybe someone like Dallas would part with next years 1st rounder for Nate?

  17. Memphis doesn’t have much leverage – Rubio is only 18, reportedly happy in Spain and has an $8 million buyout – it doesn’t cost him anything to stay put, if he doesn’t have a deal in place. Memphis could draft him anyway and hold his rights for a year, but I think their remaining fans would consider that an unforgiveable scenario.

    “if Sacto wants Rubio, it could offer Greene and the #23 (or one of their other young players) just to swap places with OKC. And OKC just has to “settle” for Harden.”

    Sure, Sacramento could go that route but it’s not crazy to think they’d prefer having Lee and the #8. Or even Nate, the #8 and cap relief. Though personally, I’d prefer Rubio…

    “I think it will be tough for NYK to capitalize on the top picks this year.”

    Sadly, I agree… those scenarios are a sliver of daylight but not much more.

    “If there were a way to pick up a first rounder next year I would be happy. Maybe someone like Dallas would part with next years 1st rounder for Nate?”

    We’ve got some expiring deals that could get an extra late first in the right scenario. Probably more of a trade deadline thing. Nate is worth a lot more than a mid-20s pick. Do you think Stephon Curry is going to be that much better?

  18. I know I’m thinking out loud… but you might be right about Nate.. When you factor in a $4-5 million salary difference, that probably puts his value in the 15-25 range, in terms of a pick. What about Philly, for Willie Green and the #17?

    Another route to go with the the #8 is to try and trade for another player on a rookie contract. Joakim Noah (#9 two years ago) and Mareesse Speights (#16 last year) are two favorites of mine.

    re: OKC and whether they would pick Rubio – I say unless you trade the pick, you have to take the best player on the board. And there’s a big dropoff after Rubio. Sure, you won’t play him next to Westbrook long-term. But you’ll eventually trade one of them for a huge payoff – more than you’ll get out of James Harden in your backcourt, I’d guess.

  19. Yeah, my original idea was a sign and trade of Nate for Brandon Bass and the Mavs 1st rounder, but that seemed a little steep.
    Nate’s got great numbers, but seriously, he’s not a starter and that puts a cap on his trade value. Grabbing someone like Maynor or Terrence Williams at that spot could be worth it. But a re-signed Nate at 5 mil is a pretty good deal.
    What about Nate and the #8 to Chicago for Noah, #16, and #26?
    But honestly, you could probably buy #24 outright from the Blazers or something like that. So it makes more sense to do that, draft Curry at 8, Mullens, Budinger or Mills later, and try and resign nate. Hell, but a 2nd rounder and grab Dionte Xmas, why not?

  20. If Rubio’s refusing to play in Memphis I don’t see why he’d play in OKC…
    The Knicks would be a great fit for Rubio: D’Antoni’s system, Duhon to ease his transition, Walsh in the front office, some talent already on the roster, 2010 cap space to add some pieces, another young Euro stud in Danilo, huge market to help make up $8 mill buyout quickly, cultural center, half the distance to Spain as West Coast teams… If I were him I would try to strong arm my way to NY.

    How about #8 for Speights AND #17??? Philly would have to really love someone at #8, which I sort of doubt unless maybe DeRozan is still on the board. Most of the guys projected around 8 are PGs and undersized SGs, where Philly already has Andre Miller and Louis Williams. Maybe they see someone as their PG of the future? I don’t think the three teams ahead of us would be interested in Speights, if Philly were looking to move up.

    I’ve always wondered why the Knicks don’t buy picks the way the Blazers do.

  21. DraftExpress is reporting that OKC is leaning towards picking Harden. Apparently he is refusing workouts past the top 5. That would probably make Jennings, Evans and DeRozan available at 8 for the Knicks assuming Sacto takes the scraps between Rubio and Thabeet.

    I know KB has the Knicks taking Lawson, but is Evans a better prospect? Admittedly, I don’t know much about Evans. I have concerns about Jennings being too frail for full time duty at pg (6’1, 170). DeRozan seems to be a wild card in a lot of peoples’ minds. I saw him play late in the season and was impressed, however, earlier in the season, he did not dazzle anyone.

    I also read a story that the Knicks have picked up Alex Acker to play in the summer league. I saw Alex play several times at Pepperdine. He was well above average (for the WCC), however, he seems like JCraw-lite. Unfortunately, I don’t see him ever making much of an impact in the NBA.

  22. DeRozan is one of those super-athletic guys who looks like he can do anything and will be a star – but on the court, against other D-1 basketball players, didn’t do much. Stay away.

    You could say similar things about Evans, but he was at least pretty good for a freshman, and had the excuse of playing out of position — he’ll be a straight-up 2-guard in the NBA. Great athlete, nice slasher skills, but also bust potential – I don’t really like the risk at #8. I have a feeling he’ll go top-10, maybe even 5 or 6, though.

  23. Draft measurements are out. Blair measures out at just over 6″5 without shoes (the same height as shooting guard Danny Green from Carolina). He does have a 7″2 wingspan though, which is longer than anyone but Thabeet, Austin Daye, Earl Clark and a couple of non prospects. Interesting.

  24. Whew! I’d heard the buzz was 6’4. The usual measurements you hear (like, on the roster list) are WITH shoes so he’ll probably get listed at 6’7. Short, but not ludicrously so, especially with those arms. Obviously it doesn’t keep him from being effective.

    I love the guy, but I’m still worried about the weight and the knee history.

    Clark is an interesting prospect, and so is Daye, who is probably undervalued by now, in the 20s.

  25. What stands out to me is Tyreke Evans with a longer wingspan than Griffin! No wonder he is so good at finishing at the hole. Evans has got to be the biggest boom/bust candidate in this draft. He could be Brandon Roy or he could be Gerald Green. Still so hard to say. If he’s still there he could be worth the risk. Harden measured out good too… same build as Evans (a true 6’4″ 220lbs.) minus .5 inch in wingspan. I think that puts him in the top 4 for sure.
    Curry’s measurements worry me a little. He gives up almost 8 inches in wingspan to Evans and is only a true 6’2″, but that’s better than all the other point guards after Holiday…. but is he a true point?

  26. The speculation continues to be crazy in such an unpredictable draft. Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee reported the other day that DeRozan’s stock has risen dramatically and Rubio might fall to the Kings. But who knows if that changes today or tomorrow? :-)

    To address the earlier point I made about trading core assets for high draft picks, I probably should have clarified. I don’t have an issue with trading David Lee for Ricky Rubio, based on my own assessment of Rubio’s upside (and Lee’s limitations)– I’d do it today. (I also agree that teams tend to overvalue their own assets while there’s still hope they can develop). But even Rubio is being viewed with some wariness, though you could argue there’s some gamesmanship among GMs in the whispers that are leaking currently.

    I don’t even believe this is a very “weak” draft — there are a lot of interesting players who could become crucial pieces with their teams. But the issue is determining relative value, and what kind of assets are worth giving up when you can’t be sure the 3rd pick is going to be better than the 8th pick or even the 12th. The currency of draft position in this kind of draft and economy is especially volatile.

    I know I’m a broken record, but I just can’t shake nervousness regarding Lawson. D’Antoni likes to ride his horses hard once he has a set rotation, and someone as fragile as Lawson getting 38 to 40 minutes a game doesn’t instill confidence. Of course that won’t happen soon, and you could say the same of Curry or other guards, but Lawson doesn’t scream durable to me. Curry has an opposing set of issues (better shooter, shakier handle), but if he even makes it down to 8, I like him better.

    Pass on Tyreke Evans — I’d love to see him on the Warriors in Nelson’s circus offense though.

  27. I’m curious what the knock on Evans is… I’ve heard weak jump shot, bad decision making, but have only seen the highlights of him.
    If Derozan is moving up that almost guarantees that Curry will be there for us. I’m guessing we’ll get one of Evans, Holiday or Curry. Those 3 grade out pretty even in my book.
    I think Flynn and Lawson grade out a bit lower. My question mark is Jordan Hill. Is he really a #5 pick, or is he just that high up because of the dearth of good post players? I see him as the 9th, or 10th best player, if that. Does he even project as a starter in the NBA?
    If Rubio falls to 4, and we get Curry or Holiday, then we could pull some sort of trade involving Nate or Lee and our pick… depends on how high Sacto is on Rubio.

  28. ess-dog, Evans’ measurements are definitely attracting attention — the most impressive of all the players. A number of Sacramento fans want him if they can’t have Rubio. Makes sense for their team, since pairing him with an extremely efficient backcourt partner like Martin looks quite good.

    But I think we all know that going by the cult of wingspan carries all sorts of risks. He doesn’t have a jumpshot and the few times I’ve seen him, I didn’t like the way he monopolized the ball. He’s young enough to be refined, but I wonder if D’Antoni and his staff have the patience to sandpaper the edges, or if Curry or Holiday are more the types of young guys they like to work on.

    Now I say all this with the caveat that I said similar things about Eric Gordon last year — knew he could be good, but wasn’t sure about his head or how fast he would develop in a league with a surplus of combo guards. I’m still glad we picked Danilo (as long as his health issues are really a thing of the past), but no one would pay me to make a call on these guys. :-)

  29. Some interesting notes from Jonathan Givony…

    – The Knicks loving Evans and Holliday. Interesting, because if true, it suggests the Knicks are looking in a different direction than we’ve all assumed, and are willing to take players whose athleticism outshines their polish. The knock on both is simple – their production was not super-impressive compared to guys like Lawson and Curry. As we’ve seen, production is an excellent predictor of production in the NBA. I know that sounds obvious, but many GMs don’t get it, which is why DeRozan will go top-10 and BJ Mullens will be drafted, period (two bad, bad mistakes).

    That said, Evans and Holliday weren’t bad as freshmen, just not great. They’re very young so it’s not crazy to think they’ll justify a #8 slot eventually. Of the two I prefer Evans; for one thing he was playing out of position at the point. He’s a classic 2-guard. Holliday I think enjoys an unfair glow from people comparing him to Westbrook. They are similar “type” players, but apples to apples, Westbrook was more productive at UCLA (yes, he was a soph, but they were the same age). Also, from what I read, Holliday is a very good athlete but not the freak that is Westbrook.

    – Ty Lawson getting bad buzz, as in not even close to the lottery. People calling him injury-prone and a product of the system. Durability is a fair question, but the rest is overthinking. This guy was far, far more productive than Jonny Flynn or the other players he’s being compared to. For the Knicks this could be good news; we might grab Lawson with a pick in the late teens or 20s, if we can get one via trade.

    – The Thunder love James Harden and are not hot for Rubio. If true, more good news for us. (BK mentioned Eric Gordon above – Harden’s game is basically a clone of Gordon, for better and for worse).

  30. I don’t think anyone posted the link to the predraft stats, so here you go:

    I’m skeptical about the stats on Flynn. By this chart, it looks like he is the same size as Lawson, but with a 3 inch larger wingspan. Everything I’ve read says that Flynn is noticeably shorter than Lawson by a couple of inches.

    Teague is intriguing in that he’s only 1 inch taller than Lawson but has an extra 7 inches in wingspan.

    Compared to last year’s chart, this year seems quite a bit shorter, not to mention, much more incomplete. Does anyone know why the verts, bench press, etc are missing?

  31. Givony pointed out that all three North Carolina players (Lawson, Green, Ellington) all measured half an inch TALLER this year… so if anything, these heights are probably high. That can happen when you measure in the morning instead of the afternoon. Or when you slip mr. tape measure a franklin or two!

    Not sure if and/or when they’re doing the physical testing this year.

  32. Buzz du jour on the first day of June: Chad Ford’s poll of 15 GMs after the combine has Rubio as the top ranked PG prospect (though only 8 first place votes), Curry second, and Flynn third. Jennings placed 7th and Lawson 9th (which confirms Caleb’s point about his bad buzz currently).

    Tyreke Evans was fifth, but had only one first place vote and no 2nd place votes — as might be expected, most GMs don’t think he’s a point, and are mainly fascinated with the raw athleticism.

    If this holds, barring a trade, it looks like we may not get Curry.

  33. DraftExpress still has the Thunder taking Harden and Rubio sliding to the Kings at the 4th slot. Assuming, they are correct, it would be nice if the Knicks could come up with an interesting package that included swapping picks with the Kings.

    I don’t think a re-signed N8 and the 8 would get it done. I’d rather keep Lee, but would a sign and trade with Lee work?

    Vecsey mentioned in his column yesterday that several teams would be selling their first round picks, including the Hornets (picking 21st), so there is another possibility as well. If Lawson does drop, it would be nice to see if the Knicks could buy another pick and grab Curry at 8 and Lawson later in the first.

  34. Looks like Rubio is interested in landing in NY and may be trying to steer his way there. According to’s Dave D’Alessandro:

    “Speaking of agents: You’ve already heard about Dan Fegan issuing his Ricky Rubio warning. If the Spanish teen doesn’t like his top 5 landing spot, he’s staying home. Paying $6 million for the privilege of landing in Tennessee or Oklahoma isn’t worth it, the story goes.

    But we’ve heard this proviso from a few GMs in the last week: If Rubio gets a guarantee that he’ll land in New York, he’ll grab it with both hands even if the Knicks (picking 8th) don’t have to move into the top 5 to get him.”

    Also, Alan Hahn of Newsday is reporting that the Knicks are certain to obtain a second rounder. He speculates that the Knicks may be eyeing Danny Green or Luke Harangody.

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