By: David K.
This begins an interesting few weeks. Now is when we begin to see which underclassmen will be entering the NBA Draft and which will be returning to school. As the decisions are made, it changes the entire layout of the draft. These are my projections as to which underclassmen are likely to declare (below you will see a list of who I think will/should stay in school.) As it is made more concrete as to who is throwing their hat in the ring, we will get a better idea of how the draft might unfold.
1. Sacramento- Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-10, So.
-Griffin has proven to be the most dominant player in college basketball and the undoubted number one pick. He is a double-double machine, a ferocious finisher, and can play facing or with his back to the basket.
Think: Amare Stoudemire
2. Washington – Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown, 6-10, Fr.
-Monroe is an outstanding passer for a big guy and is at his best when taking players off the dribble which is a rare skill to find in a 6-10 player.
Think: Chris Bosh
3. L.A. Clippers- Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
-Absolutely owns the paint on the defensive end. If he is not blocking a shot, he is altering it. Offensively, his game continues to develop. He needs to learn how to stay out of foul trouble.
Think: Ben Wallace, but six inches taller
4. Memphis – James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
-Harden has the ability to take over a game whenever he wants, although he also tends to be too unselfish at times as well. His offensive repertoire is loaded and is an above average defender even though he played primarily in a 2-3 at ASU.
Think: Paul Pierce
5. *Minnesota- Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, So.
-A tremendous athlete for his size, Hill can run the floor, hit the mid-range jumper, and attacks the glass. He will need to add some muscle to bang down low with the post players in the NBA.
Think: LaMarcus Aldridge
6. Oklahoma City- Earl Clark, SF, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
-Clark has really elevated his game during the past few weeks. He has the potential to be a point forward type player in the NBA, is a freak of an athlete, and has nice range on his jumper.
Think: Lamar Odom
7. Golden State- Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke, 6-4, Jr.
-The Blue Devil finally showed us why he was so hyped since coming to Duke. He has proven he can be a big-time scorer, knocking down shots from the outside or taking it to the basket. He will likely only get better once he enters the NBA.
Think: Rudy Fernandez
8. Toronto- Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
-Evans has led the Memphis charge since John Calipari moved him to the point. He plays like a man with his ability to almost effortlessly get to the basket. His shot selection is questionable at times and needs to become more consistent from the outside.
Think: Manu Ginobli
9. ?New York- Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
-The Trojan freshman has really come along strong during the past month of the season. DeRozan is extremely athletic, has a nice mid-range game, and can ‘D’ it up. His three-point shot needs improvement.
Think: Vince Carter
10. Indiana- Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
Flynn just gets it. He understands how to run the point, when to be a distributor, and when his team needs him to be a scorer. There might not be a better point guard in college at leading the break.
Think: Raymond Felton
11. New Jersey- Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
-Jennings is probably counting down the days until the NBA Draft. He chose to play overseas after academic issues prohibited from going to college and has had a difficult time finding his niche. Still, his potential should be intriguing to NBA scouts.
Think: Kenny Anderson
12. Milwaukee- Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
-Budinger’s strength is his versatility. He can jump out of the gym when around the hoop, stroke it from deep, handle the ball, and play a few positions. His tendency to disappear at important parts of games is his biggest knock.
Think: Stephen Jackson
13. Charlotte- Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest, 6-9, Fr.
-Aminu is one of those “upside” picks. Whoever drafts him probably will not see an immediate contribution, but his size and athleticism will certainly be attractive to an NBA team.
Think: Travis Outlaw
14. Phoenix- Terrence Williams, SF, Louisville, 6-6, Sr.
-Williams is the definition of versatile. He attacks the hoop, is a very improved shooter, can rebound, is a great passer, and plays defense. I think he is a steal of a mid-first round pick.
Think: Gerald Wallace.
15. Chicago- Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
-Mills can create his own shot, excels in transition, and is lightning quick off the dribble. He had a very successful Olympics last summer playing for Australia and caught the eyes of a lot of NBA scouts.
Think: Ramon Sessions
16. Detroit- Eric Maynor, PG, VCU, 6-3, Sr.
-Maynor is a playmaker on the offensive end, a true floor general, and has good size to play the point in the NBA. He must continue to become a more consistent shooter.
Think: Antonio Daniels
17. =Philadelphia- Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.
-One of the most aggressive offensive rebounders in college basketball, James is an outstanding athlete. He shoots the ball well from the perimeter and has an NBA-ready body.
Think: Marvin Williams
18. #Minnesota- Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, So.
-Lawal is a slightly under-sized power forward who has a nice low-post game. He is a solid rebounder, decent shot blocker, but doesn’t have much of a perimeter game.
Think: Brandon Bass
19. Atlanta- Sam Young, G/F, Pitt, 6-6, Sr.
-Young can elevate, hit it from deep, and has a tremendous basketball IQ. He can take bigger defenders off the dribble and post up smaller guys. He is not the greatest ball-handler on the perimeter, but is ready to contribute right away.
Think: Michael Finley
20. Dallas- Ty Lawson, PG, UNC, 5-11, Jr.
-Lawson might be the best floor general in college basketball. He is gifted in creating with the basketball and finding open teammates, and is very quick with the ball and has improved his three-point shot.
Think: Jameer Nelson
21. Portland- A.J. Price, PG, UConn, 6-2, Sr.
When Price is on, he can absolutely light it up from deep. However when his shot is not on, he tends to be too much of a non-factor. He is a good decision maker and handles the rock fairly well.
Think: Delonte West
22. Utah- Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee, 6-7, Jr.
-Smith is fearless when attacking the hoop and thrives on the break. He is not a great outside shooter and must develop more consistency. His rebounding and passing really help his stock.
Think: Jeff Green
23. New Orleans- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA, 6-0, Sr.
-Collison knows how to run an offense and has a lot of success and experience doing so. He is a smart-decision maker, solid shooter, automatic free-throw shooter, and great on-the-ball defender. A less than stellar senior season hurt his stock.
Think: Bobby Jackson
24. +Oklahoma City- Tyler Hansbrough, PF, UNC, 6-9, Sr.
-One of the most decorated players in college basketball defines what toughness is inside. However, the biggest question is how will his game translate into the NBA? I don’t see him being anything more than an energy guy off the bench at the next level.
Think: Eduardo Najera
25. &Sacramento- Greivis Vasquez, PG, Maryland, 6-5, Jr.
-A combo guard, Vasquez has the complete all-around offensive game from handling the ball to lighting it up from deep. He is not a great defender and needs to add some toughness to contribute at the next level.
Think: Francisco Garcia
26. %Chicago- James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
-An athletic forward who can put the ball on the deck and attack the rim. His frame is ready for the rigor of the NBA, but his shot is not.
Think: Wilson Chandler
27. ^Minnesota- Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette, 6-3, Sr.
-McNeal elevated his game as an all-around offensive threat this season. He can handle the ball, drive, and is a much improved shooter. Add that to his defensive abilities and he could be a late-first round steal.
Think: Charlie Bell
28. Orlando- A.J. Ogilvy, F/C, Vanderbilt, 6-11, So.
-The Aussie has a solid, fundamental low post game and a nice touch around the basket. He is not very physical or athletic which would be a concern at the next level.
Think: Rasho Nesterovic
29. L.A. Lakers- Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU, 6-4, Sr.
-Thornton is a little undersized to play the two in the NBA, but there is no question can kid can flat-out shoot the rock. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in strength. He would be worth the risk this late.
Think: Daequan Cook
30. Cleveland- Jerome Jordan, C, Tulsa, 7-0, Jr.
-Jordan has the size and potential that is intriguing. He is still growing as an offensive players and has average athleticism at best. He is a good shot blocker and would be a bit of a project.
Think: Theo Ratliff
31. Josh Heytvelt, PF, Gonzaga, 6-11, Sr.
32. Jermaine Taylor, SG, UCF, 6-4, Sr.
33. Curtis Jerrells, PG, Baylor, 6-1, Sr.
34. Danny Green, SF, UNC, 6-7, Sr.
35. Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
36. Omri Cassipi, SF, Isreal, 6-8, 1988
37. Jeff Pendergraph, PF, Arizona State, 6-10, Sr.
38. Lester Hudson, PG, UT-Martin, 6-3, Sr.
39. Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette, 6-5, Sr.
40. Jonas Jerebko, PF, Sweden, 6-9, 1989
41. Toney Douglas, PG, Florida State, 6-2, PG
42. Dionte Christmas, SG, Temple, 6-5, Sr.
43. Vitor Faverani, F, Brazil, 6-11, 1989
44. Chris Johnson, PF, LSU, 6-11, Sr.
45. Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova, 6-8, Sr.
46. Robert Vaden, SG, UAB, 6-5, Sr.
47. Tyrese Rice, PG, Boston College, 6-1, Sr.
48. Luigi Datome, SF, Italy, 6-8. 1987
49. Jack McClinton, PG, Miami (FL), 6-1, Sr.
50. Nando de Colo, G, 6-5, France 1987
51. Stefon Jackson, SG, 6-5, UTEP, Sr.
52. Brandon Costner, PF, N.C. State, 6-9, Jr.
53. Jeff Adrien, PF, UConn, 6-7, Sr.
54. Demarre Carroll, F, Missouri, 6-8, Sr.
55. Sergio Llull, G, Spain, 6-3, 1988
56. Jeremy Pargo, PG, Gonzaga, 6-2, Sr.
57. Antonio Anderson, SG, Memphis, 6-6, Sr.
58. Jon Brockman, PF, Washington, 6-7, Sr.
59. Ben Woodside, PG, 5-11, North Dakota State, Sr.
60. Robert Dozier, F, Memphis, 6-9, Sr.
Declared for the Draft:
Earl Clark, F, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
Brandon Costner, PF, N.C. State, 6-9, Jr.
Staying in School:
DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
Other First Round talent likely to stay in school:
B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
Willie Warren, G, Oklahoma, 6-3, Fr.
Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
Jrue Holliday, SG, UCLA, 6-4, Fr.
Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-2, Jr.
Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State, 6-10, So.
DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So.
Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
Austin Daye, SF, 6-10, Gonzaga, So.
Cole Aldrich, F/C, Kansas, 6-10, So.
Nick Calathes, G, Florida, 6-5, So.
Kyle Singler, F, Duke, 6-8, So.
Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC, 6-4, Jr.
Derrick Brown, F, Xavier, 6-9, Jr.
Manny Harris, SG, Michigan, 6-5, So.
*Clippers get Minnesota’s ’09 1st round pick (top ten protectred) via Marko Jaric trade
?Utah gets New York ’09 1st round pick (top 22 protected) via Phoenix
=Minnesota gets Philadelphia ’09 1st round pick (from Utah –Gordon Giricek trade-top 22 protected) via Rodney Carney trade
&Kings get Houston ’09 1st round pick via Ron Artest trade
#Minnesota gets Miami’s ’09 1st round pick (top ten protected) via Ricky Davis trade
+Thunder gets Spurs’ ’09 1st round pick (lottery preotected) via Kurt Thomas trade
%Bulls get lower of Thunder’s ’09 1st round pick (from either SA or Den) via Thabo Sefolosha trade
$Memphis gets Orlando ’09 1st round pick via Rafer Alston trade
^Minnesota gets Boston’s ’09 1st round pick (top 3 protected) via Kevin Garnett trade
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