A 2009 NBA Draft Put to NFL Age Rules

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by: David Kay

Like clockwork, every May and June in the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft, there is debate about the rule the league implemented where prospects must have played at least one year of college basketball or at least be 19 years old by the end of the calendar year before entering the draft. Some “experts” love the idea so high school players cannot go straight to college. Others think the rule needs to be lengthened because the “one-and-done” college hoopsters only have to take one semester of classes seriously before leaving school.

The NFL has a similar rule stating that a player must be three years removed from high school before entering the draft. So what if the “one-and-done” haters got their wish and the NBA adopted the NFL’s age regulations? That is what this mock draft is all about.

derrick-rose-720798Think about the impact that rule would have. Players like Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love, Eric Gordon, Jerryd Bayless, Anthony Randolph, Donte Greene, Blake Griffin, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Jonny Flynn, Demar DeRozan, Austin Daye, James Johnson, Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague, B.J. Mullens, Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings would all still be either in college or playing overseas. Meanwhile, current NBA stars like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Brook Lopez would just be entering the draft.

I took some of the following factors into account when figuring out this mock draft. I considered what positions the teams drafted last month and tried to stick with that spot. There is more big-man talent in this specific class than there was in the actual 2009 NBA Draft, so some teams that selected certain positions instead went for size.

I also factored in the development of each player if they would have stayed in college or overseas for an extra year or two. For example, Ohio State’s Daequan Cook would have developed his game significantly with two more years with the Buckeyes, thus improving his status as the 21st overall pick in 2007.

I also assumed that certain teams were filled at their current positions. For instance, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook wouldn’t have been on the Thunder last season, but I am drafting under the theory that Oklahoma City had comparable players on their roster.

Click here for the complete mock draft with NFL age rules

NBA Draft Grades

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By: David Kay

Embarrased… Ashamed… Disappointed… I apologize for my poor showing with my final NBA mock draft.  After tying ESPN’s Chad Ford last year (we each picked 9 first round choices correctly), Ford OWNED me this year getting 13 right compared to my pathetic showing of six.  But like Teddy KGB in Rounders, I can admit when I have been defeated.  “He beat me.  Straight up.”

Anyway, with the craziness that was the 2009 NBA Draft in the books, it’s time to hand out some “grades.”  I say “grades” because I think it is way too early to use the regular A, B, C, D, F scale to judge a draft.  Plus, I’m all about straying from the norm.  So my grading scale is as followed:

LOVE IT
Makes Sense
Meh
Don’t Get it
REALLY???

Chicago Bulls Grades:


16. James Johnson, F, Wake Forest

The Bulls need a physical player down low. I think Blair would have been a safer pick, despite the whole “No ACL’s in his knees” rumors. Johnson needs to work on his jumper if he is gonna stick around. (Pick Grade: Makes Sense)

26. Taj Gibson, F, USC
They already took James Johnson, a physical power forward at 16, so how does Gibson fit? The Bulls needed to get a wing player in case they don’t re-sign Ben Gordon. I can’t believe Blair has fallen past the Bulls twice. (Pick Grade: Don’t Get It)

Other Draft Grades:

T’Wolves: Do you like the Ricky Rubio/Jonny Flynn combo in Minnesota?  I don’t.

Milwaukee: Brandon Jennings to the Bucks?  Meh

Detroit: Pistons draft Tayshaun Prince’s thinner, yes thinner, look-alike.

For every team’s grades, click here

2009 NBA Draft Blog Live From Chicago’s Berto Center

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By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

5:28 (PMB) Welcome to our 2009 NBA Draft Live Blog. Dave and I will be commenting all night on every pick as it comes through, we request, no require that you add your commentary in the threads below. There will be also be added commentary from time to time by my ESPN.com buddy West Lamy, who accompanied me to the Chicago Bulls practice facility in beautiful Deerfield, IL. Yes, this blog will indeed be brought to you live from the HQ of the league’s most dynastic franchises. I’m excited! I know a lot of people are bummed out about Farah Fawcett’s death, and the critical condition that the King of Pop Michael Jackson is reported to be in. But let’s not let that spoil our fun. Happy Draft Day everyone!

5:46 (DK) I’m nervous Paul… like butterflies in my stomach nervous… I just want to beat ESPN’s Chad Ford. That’s all. We tied last year each picking nine right in the first round… this year something crazy is going to happen and one of us will be broke with our picks… BTW, I am setting an over/under of 25,000 words for this exchange.

5:59 (PMB) I might have to take the over on that! I’m a little nervous about it too, but Christmas is here. I don’t want to be too much of a buzzkill, so I’ll just post the link to Michael Jackson’s “Jam,” the video he did in ’92 with the other MJ, Michael Jordan. Since it’s basketball related. Again, it’s too sad to really go in-depth on here, but I wanted to pay my respects….To move on to something more light hearted. Take this quiz of NBA Draft night suits.

6:03 (PMB) Everyone is familiar with Jo Noah’s “Dean of Clown College” ensemble from ’07, but you’ll see plenty of other suits that look like they belong on one of the gangster villains in the early 90s live action “Dick Tracy” movie

6:11 (DK) Paul, why won’t Jay Bilas return my calls? He could be the blonde-haired guy to my Paul Rudd in “I Love You, Man”

6:15 (DK) Stuart Scott just put Anferne Hardaway in the same sentence as LeBron, Kobe, and D-Wade. Really??? Ok, gotta go anchor the 6:00 sports. See you for the start of the draft.

6:30 (PMB) Wow! that was a horrible “observation” like my opinion of Stu Scott could go any lower….I guess it just did. On the other side of the spectrum, Paul Schmidt made a keen insight below- Ricky Rubio is indeed the man you want to be right now. As Nate Dogg would say “gets more ass than a toliet seat”. BTW, West, who’s sitting across from me right now loves my 2 laptops going at the same time, just in case one fails. He said “I’m in the matrix”

6:33 (PMB) I think I might have to fire bomb both this place and the United Center tonight if the Bulls draft Tyler Hansbr…like Pete I can’t even stand to say his name. Ok, obviously, I’m joking about that. I’m not a terrorrist. but if you’re with Psycho T. then you truly are with the terrorists.

NCAA/BASKETBALL

6:33 (DK) It’s go-time… Thank goodness David Stern mentioned that New York is the home of the Liberty.

6:36 (DK) If I could punch Stuart Scott in the face and not in trouble for it, I would totally do it… Why is it taking the Clippers so long to write Blake Griffin’s name down?

6:39 (DK) Like Q, I LOVE Rubio. Q just likes him because of his sweet hair though. The Griz will be kicking themselves in three years for drafting Thabeet over him.

6:44 (DK) Blake Griffin definitely got stuck with his mom’s looks…

6:48 (DK) Grizzlies are dumb. Kevin Durant is popping bottles of Cris like he’s Diddy right now since he’ll be playing alongside Ricky Rubio.

6:56 (PMB) First surprise of the night! Kings will likely get what they want. Kendall Gill in the house, other end of media table. Can he be “KG” as well? is there only one? Kings take Tyreke. Ricky Rubio’s stock falling like Brady Quinn in ’07 NFL draft.

6:58 (DK) WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! James Harden… REALLY??? Kevin Durant just shattered the bottle of Cris over his head. The Kings just pee’d themselves a little bit… If I’m Minnesota I’m trying like hell to get to #4 and take Rubio… or what if Rubio falls to 5??? My head is spinning… and my mock is trashed!

6:59 (DK) LOVE Tyreke Evans… have been saying it all year… don’t love him on Sac-town though… I think Peter Christian is crying in realizing that the T-Wolves landed Rubio at 5!!!

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7:05 (DK) HUH? Rubio AND Flynn??? Aren’t they both point guards?? One of them has to be getting traded… right? maybe?

7:23 (DK) Hey, Dell Curry and I share the same birthday.  The Curry-Hill combo at 7 and 8 gets me back in the race vs. Chad Ford.  Current count, Me: 3 Ford :4

7:24 (DK) AHHHH!!!!!!!! Rachel Nichols.  Why? WHY?  WHY RUIN MY FAVORITE EVENT OF THE YEAR BY HAVING HER COVERING A TEAM????  DAMN YOU ESPN!!!!

7:27 (DK) DeRozan was pretty much a gimme.

7:32 (DK) Bucks last 2 first round picks: Yi Jianlian and Joe Alexander.

7:35 (DK) I don’t see the Jennings-Scott Skiles relationship going well.  I think Fran Fraschilla jizzed his pants a little bit.

7:39 (DK) Bilas’ boy!!!  I like T-Will a lot.  Of course I do, he is from the Big East.  By the way, Chad Ford is OWNING me right now.  FORD: 7, ME: 4

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7:45 (DK) Anyone from Duke who gets drafted seems like such an anti-climactic pick.  Cue Dickie V. in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

7:50 (PMB)  THANK GOD THE BULLS WON’T GET HANSBROUGH. As much I hate to see him drafted this high, I’m so glad he wont be in Chicago…Hallelujah

7:53 (PMB) I guess my hate for Indiana teams…Colts, Hoosiers, ND, now the Pacers are very much a part of that too. I like the guy picked ahead of him a lot, Henderson simply because he once bloodied Psycho T.’s nose

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Duke N Carolina Basketball

7:57 (PMB) cue the Bill Rafterryism Clark BARRRRRRRR! SEND IT IN!

7:59 (DK) I thought Jennings wasn’t in the “green room.”  That was bizarre.  Especially him praising the going overseas experiment.  I would have set the odds at 1-1 that a “Clark Bar” reference would come about from Banks when Earl was pick.  By the way, COMPTON!!!!

8:04 (DK) With Daye going to the Pistons, I will now prepare my speech conceding this race.  Shocker, Dickie V. praising Hansbrough AND Curry… No way…

8:06 (DK) A Dickie V rant on proven college players is as predictable as Brett Favre retirement/un-retirement rumors every off-season.

8:06 (PMB) Straight outta Compton! Here we go Chicago…they’ll take the player in this draft most likely to win the Shawn Kemp award…for having the highest number of illegitimate children.

8:11 (DK) Steve Kerr pretty much just admitted Steve Nash and Amare are going to be traded.  Let the bidding begin.

8:16 (DK) Don’t mistake Jrue Holiday for Dru Hill… If B.J. Mullens goes to the T-Wolves at 18, I wouldn’t want to be near Peter Christian.

8:21 (DK) I’m baffled.  There has to be a trade coming.  Right?  Or is David Kahn truly Kevin McHale part 2.  Ok, Lawson to Denver.  I can calm down now.

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8:25 (DK) HEY! Teague to Atlanta!  I picked that!  Ford is still embarrassing me though.  I owe him an apology.  Even though he updated his mock like 10 minutes before the draft started and my last update was at 4:00.  Yes, that was an excuse.

8:30 (DK) Is it wrong that I am really happy B.J. Mullens is sliding?

8:31 (PMB) Jay Bilas said earlier “there’s not a lot of low post talent available in this draft” UNDERSTATEMENT of the century! if BJ Mullens is an actual 1st rd prospect

8:32 (PMB) They handed out sheets profiling James Johnson here. Love what it says under Personal: “Father is 7 time world champion kick boxer. Is middle child in family of nine children, six brothers and two sisters.”

8:34 (DK) I love when late first round picks come to the draft and walk out of the crowd onto the stage.  Collison is a bit of a reach at 21.

8:37 (DK) That whole “Blair having no ACL thing” really did hurt his stock huh?

8:38 (PMB) DID YOU HEAR ME ON THE MORNING BREAK TODAY?! WHEN I SAID JAMES JOHNSON WOULD BE A GREAT FIT FOR CHICAGO AND EXACTLY WHAT THEY’RE LOOKING FOR? I KNOW I SHOULD TAKE A BOW…SERIOUSLY. Guess we’re not going to reach 25,000 words…but it might be close

8:41 (DK) Fran Fraschilla is to foreign players what Dickie V. is to Duke/UNC/upperclassmen.

8:42 (DK) Shaq is great!  How can people not like this guy?

8:43 (DK) “I came off the bench behind the great Stanley Roberts”- Shaq.  GOLD JERRY, GOLD!

8:46 (DK) Seriously, is there any foreign player Fraschilla doesn’t love?

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8:54 (DK) Bulls fans are relieved B.J. Mullens is off the board.  DeJuan Blair??  Sam Young??

8:55 (PMB) Mullens’ upside= Yinka Dare

8:58 (DK) Peter, I had Beaubois going 42 to Charlotte… so he was on my board.  Gibson to the Bulls.  Another post player.  Can’t believe Blair is falling this far.  WOW!

9:03 (PMB) Taj Gibson, Chicago takes two prospects to play the four? ARE YOU LISTENING TYRUS THOMAS?! Time to obtain an actual post move.

Blair’s stock is falling worse than General Motors…za-zing!

9:04 (PMB) They should have Shaq on again “I had a mental conversation with them” LOVE IT!

DaMarre Carroll! The man no journalists seemed interesting in talking to at Combine Media Day…He was nice though. good man

9:05 (PMB) This NBA Draft has convinced me where I need to go this summer on vacation….Spain!

9:08 (DK) Wayne Ellington would be a great fit with ‘Sota.

9:12 (DK) Hey, saved a little bit of face with that call.  David Kahn may know what he is doing after all…

9:15 (DK) Darko for Q-Rich.  Remember how sweet Q and D-Miles were with that antenna on the head thing.  I used do that in intramural hoops with Q.

9:17 (DK) Young, Blair, Budinger, Mills, Brown… a lot of solid players on the board.

9:18 (PMB) Can Stu Scott at least PRETEND not to have a boner over his alma mater UNC having so many guys drafted? This is why I hate the “Boo-Yah Network” and Eastern Seaboard Programming Network so much

9:23 (DK) WOW… DeJuan Blair doesn’t get picked in the first round.  I’m stunned.  Has been seen in a wheelchair or something?  Are his knees that big of a red flag?

9:24 (DK) Final tally:  Ford: 13  Me: 6  I’m embarrassed.  I need to start cold calling NBA GM’s.

9:27 (DK) Hey, thanks for coming.  I have a sportscast to produce.  Check back here or at www.walterfootball.com for more Draft analysis.  Good luck to Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews getting drafted.

9:46 (PMB) I’m back. James Johnson was on conference call…seems like a nice dude. Was a more interesting interview at the draft than here. I guess Tyrus could be on the way out? I haven’t heard anything concrete but what I’ve heard I guess they’re shopping him.

9:50 (PMB) Got a chance to look around this place. Lots of Bulls bling. The title trophies are encased near the practice court and there’s a little hardwood indoor track around the court. All the banners are up too.

10:05 (PMB) In case you’re new here and wondering what this site is all about….this email from Amanda H. in Seattle sums up TSB best….

You said it perfect when you said something along the lines of it being the place to find the info/access of a reporter & the passion of the die-hard fan! It’s like that buddy we all have, the one you watch football with every weekend (college & NFL), the guy you go to Opening Day with every year.. It’s like that guy somehow got into these places/events, met these people and is telling you about it.. Mind you that “buddy”of mine cannot write quite as well as you Paul, but the wittiness and passion is there, along with the occasional hilarious, BAD joke! (I mean that as a compliment!)

10:28 (PMB) Well, this was fun everyone wasn’t it? Stay tuned for NBA Draft grades and much much more on Walter Football.com I got a few candid questions in just now during the press conference with Bulls GM Gar Forman and Coach Vinny Del Negro. Look for more Bulls offseason analysis, with insights from both men soon. Both at Walter Football and here at TSB. It’s been fun! See you soon

FINAL 2009 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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by: David Kay

All your NBA Draft needs including my Final Mock Draft, prospect profiles, position rankings, and NBA team off-season needs are just a click away.

1. L.A. ClippersBlake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-10, So.
Poor Blake Griffin.  This has to be the worst case scenario for him.  The Clips are a destination where players just do not thrive.  They already have some talented big man in Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby, and Zach Randolph.  Maybe Griffin can be the spark and hard worker the Clipper franchise has been longing for for the past decade-plus.
Think: Amare Stoudamire

2. MemphisHasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
Since it appears the Griz are not trading this pick to Minnesota, Thabeet is the guy.  He could be the defensive presence Memphis badly needs.  I maintain Ricky Rubio is the second best prospect in the draft and the Griz will regret not selecting him or trading down to gain more assets.
Think: Ben Wallace, but six inches taller

3. Oklahoma City– Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
I get the feeling the Thunder GM Sam Presti is far too intelligent to let Rubio pass them.  Drafting the Spanish sensation means Russell Westbrook shifts to the two which may not be the ideal fit, but is worth doing to land Rubio.  P.S. Is it me or are the Thunder the best young team in the NBA if they land Rubio?
Think: Steve Nash

4. SacramentoTyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-5, Fr.
I am very high on Evans and apparently so are the Kings.  Sacramento needs a point guard which Evans played at Memphis, but is probably better suited as a two-guard in the NBA.  I would be curious to see how Evans and Kevin Martin would co-exist in the same backcourt.  If the Kings decide to take a more pure point guard, Jonny Flynn, Jrue Holiday, and Stephen Curry are all options.
Think: Manu Ginobli

5. Minnesota (from Washington)- Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-3, Jr.
The T-Wolves have to be massively disappointing that they traded into this spot and didn’t land Rubio, Thabeet, OR Evans.  I’ve had more than one person say to me that Curry is in a way, a Randy Foye Part 2 which makes the trade with the Wiz a bit of a head scratcher.  Regardless, they need a point guard prospect with one of their top 6 picks.  Yeah, I know Curry isn’t even a real point guard.  Ish.
Think: Jason Terry

Here is the rest of my mock draft (don’t worry, you need not be an Insider like ESPN.com to access it)

Click here for prospect profiles.

Interested in position rankings?

How about NBA off-season team needs?

NBA Draft Live Blog Tomorrow!!

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Be sure to stop by this very homepage tomorrow night as The Sports Bank.net NBA Draft gurus David Kay and Paul M. Banks will bring you a live blog while the draft unfolds. We invite you to please comment along with us in the threads below! We’re going to be making snarky comments, so we would love to hear yours as well. Banks will be live blogging from the Berto Center (the Bulls practice facility in Deerfield, IL)

Also, you can catch Paul M. Banks on the air in Chicago discussing the NBA draft at 10:30 A.M. Tune in to 1240AM “The Morning Break”, and call-in to the show. 773.792.1240 You can also listen online by clicking here.

Also we’ve once again updated our NBA Mock Draft, which you can check out here

Bulls Draft Picks: Budinger, Blair or T Will?

<br /> <a href=”http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1731785/” mce_href=”http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1731785/”>Who should the Bulls Draft Thursday Night?</a><span style=”font-size:9px;” mce_style=”font-size:9px;”>(<a href=”http://www.polldaddy.com” mce_href=”http://www.polldaddy.com”>survey software</a>)</span><br /> <br /><br />

By Paul M. Banks

Two Days before the NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls got great news about their small forward depth. Luol Deng, out since Feb 28th with a fractured tibia, started running and looks to make a full recovery without surgery. If only the Bulls’ salary cap space could recover from the massive wound inflicted by Deng’s contract. It will be interesting to see how this news affects the Bulls’ plans. New General Manager Gar Forman will likely use one (or maybe both) of the team’s two first round draft picks on someone who played at least a couple years at a big name program. It’s how former GM and current VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson operates. Here are three candidates fitting that bill.

Arizona’s Chase Budinger

The name value is there and he could potentially be gone when Chicago’s on the board at #16 but more than likely falls into the mid-20s, so maybe the Bulls can grab with their second pick at #26. He likely would have been a lottery pick if he declared after his freshman or sophomore seasons. This past year however, Budinger stock fell like the Dow Jones. Budinger spoke about the meaning and prestige of being drafted high.

“There is some status, but I try to look past that. When they get to the NBA, every rookie is going to be on the same level. Look at a guy like {Orlando Magic F} Courtney Lee, who was picked later. He became starter and he’s getting a lot of minutes on a very good team,” Chase said.

Louisville’s Terrence Williams

One of this draft’s top small forwards, Williams was very candid at the combine about Draft workouts. “Some other players don’t really work out because they feel they’re already secure in a certain spot, and that surprises me because you’d think that people who love basketball would play regardless,” Williams said. He also expressed his love for the idea of playing for the Bulls. When a reporter reminded him how rare that is (a player so honest about wanting to play for a specific team) he didn’t back away from his comments. Will Chicago reciprocate?

Pitt’s DeJuan Blair

He only measured in at 6-6.5 in shoes which is far from the ideal size for an NBA power forward. But his physicality and 7-2 wingspan will help wipe away any doubt teams have about his future productivity. Blair is pretty confident: “I don’t think there was a better offensive rebounder by far in this class at all. There’s something about that ball, I go get it,” he said at the combine.

In addition to his rebounding, NBA Draft aficionados also buzz bout Blair’s astonishing weight loss (40 pounds in three weeks). Blair had a sense of humor about it. “I told my mom about it this morning, she said did you cut off your leg off?” Get ready for the next best-selling book: “The DeJuan Blair Diet.”

Bulls Draft Moving Forward?

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By Paul M. Banks

In the NBA Draft, lying is the only truth. NBA GMs often tell the media they’ll be focusing on guards with their draft choices. Before they say they’re focusing on forwards. Or maybe centers. Others just go the “best player available” route. In this environment of doublespeak, it’s good to focus on need when attempting to predict where a team will go. And the Chicago Bulls need a scoring big man like a newbie author needs an Oprah’s Book Club recommendation. Unfortunately, there are very few legitimate 4s and 5s with offensive game in this draft after Blake Griffin.

Therefore, when the Bulls possibly pick a forward with their two first round picks (#16 and #26, they have no picks in the second round this year) it may be at the 3, a.k.a. small forward or swingman. One of those could be North Carolina’s Danny Green, who had a physical workout at the Bulls practice facility before the NBA Draft Combine. At combine media day he spoke about his experience at the Berto Center. “They were really cool guys that I knew from last year when I met, sat down and talked with them. I saw Joahkim Noah there, I did high school ball at AAU with him,” Green said.

Partially due to the ridiculous amount of unnecessary hype surrounding his teammate Tyler Hansbrough, perhaps no player in college basketball did more for his team and received less attention for it than Green. He isn’t going to blow you away with any particular part of his game, but he does a little bit of everything- truly earning the title “glue guy.”

Perhaps this statistic solves the Chicago draft riddle: about three-quarters of the players who have worked out for the Bulls were forwards. Including: UConn’s Jeff Adrien, Gonzaga’s Josh Heytvelt, LSU’s Chris Johnson, Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal, USC’s Taj Gibson and Wisconsin’s Marcus Landry.

UCLA Pair Part of Point Guard Heavy Draft

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By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

In recent years, we have seen how drafting a point guard can help change the face of an NBA franchise.  Think of the impact Chris Paul has had on the Hornets, Deron Williams in Utah, Rajon Rando with the Celtics, or just this past year, what Derrick Rose brought to the Bulls.  If you are a team in need of a point guard this year, the crop of point guard prospects is deeper than any draft this decade, possibly of all time, and could produce a couple players who may have the impact of the aforementioned young NBA floor leaders.  Two prospects who play “the one” Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison played their college ball at perhaps the most storied of all programs, UCLA.

Ricky Rubio, Brandon Jennings, Jonny Flynn, and Stephen Curry join Holiday in a group of players that could be picked in the lottery to run the point at the next level.  That list doesn’t include Tyreke Evans who ran the point at Memphis, but figures to be a two guard in the NBA.  Add in the likes of Eric Maynor, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Nick Calathes, and Patrick Mills, and I have ten point guards being taken in the first round in my latest mock draft.  It’s possible that number could grow to as high as 12 if Holiday’s teammate Collison or Florida State’s Toney Douglas sneaks into the first round.
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Jrue Holiday

Despite grossly underachieving in his freshman year at UCLA, Holiday is catching the eye of many NBA teams.  Holiday was highly recruited coming out of high school, but played out of position with the Bruins, spending more time at the off-guard than the point since Darren Collison was already the squad’s established leader.  He struggled in Ben Howland’s offense which is more a grind-it-out style rather than an up-tempo system which would better fit Holiday’s game.  Still, based on his potential and athleticism, Holiday decided to declare for the draft and could possibly go as high as #4 to Sacramento. Playing at possibly the most high profile program of all may give Holiday an advantage over other rookies in adjusting to the bright lights of the NBA. “At UCLA you’re definitely an icon at school, around campus and pretty much everywhere you go because of the stature that UCLA has built, and it definitely prepares you for NBA life,” Holiday told me at the NBA Draft Combine.


Darren Collisoncollison

As for Collison, he would have been better off declaring for the draft after his sophomore or junior season when he was considered a possible lottery pick.  Returning to UCLA and putting together a less than stellar senior season really hurt his stock as he will most likely be taken early in the second round.  There is a chance that due to his experience, quickness, and shooting ability, he could end up being selected in the latter part of the first round. “I’m an unselfish teammate, I’ve never been on a team where it’s ‘I’ and we have to work around an individual. A team that takes me will get a great point guard because I’ve been in school for four years so I know what it takes to win at the second highest level and I’ve been to the final four three out of the four years,” Collison said at the NBA Draft combine.

Truly, this is the NBA’s Golden Age of point guards. Older veterans like Steve Nash, Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups are still in their prime or just slightly dropping off it. They’ll be remembered among the games’ all-time greats because they played in a era where young star floor generals like Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Derrick Rose also emerged. The Association’s talent level at the point will only increase with the ’09 draft class.

“This is the draft you want to be in right now if you’re a point guard. Everyone’s getting so much credit, from Jonny Flynn, to me, to Eric Maynor right on down the list because everyone knows they need point guards to win ballgames, to take that next step. And teams need a first string and a second string the whole game to be solid, and all the point guards in this draft have the potential to do that,” Collison said.

2009 NBA Mock Draft

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Eight days until the NBA Draft, and our very own David Kay has made some major changes to his mock draft.

1. L.A. ClippersBlake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-10, So.
Poor Blake Griffin.  This has to be the worst case scenario for him.  The Clips are a destination where players just do not thrive.  They already have some talented big man in Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby, and Zach Randolph.  Maybe Griffin can be the spark and hard worker the Clipper franchise has been longing for for the past decade-plus.
Think: Amare Stoudamire

2. MemphisHasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
Since it looks like the Grizzlies are going to hang onto this pick, Thabeet is the best option.  Memphis needs a defensive presence in the middle to compliment their young talent on the wing.  I still maintain that Rubio is the better long term prospect, but it appears the Spanish sensation isn’t interested in playing for the Griz.
Think: Ben Wallace, but six inches taller

3. Oklahoma City– James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
The former Sun Devil would be a nice backcourt compliment to Russell Westbrook and provide an added scoring punch to put alongside Kevin Durant.  Rubio could once again be an option but like Memphis, he doesn’t seem very interested in playing in OKC.  Drafting Rubio would also mean shifting Westbrook to the two-guard spot which is not a great fit since he struggles with his outside shot.
Think: Paul Pierce

4. Sacramento– Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
This is a dream situation for the Kings.  All along, I have said that Rubio is a perfect match for a Sacramento team in need of a point guard and face of the franchise.  The Kings could royally screw up my mock draft if they decide to take Jonny Flynn or Jrue Holiday instead; a rumor that is gaining steam.
Think: Steve Nash

5. WashingtonStephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-3, Jr.
Rumors remain persistent that the Wizards are still actively shopping this pick with hopes of landing a veteran player.  If they do end up staying put, Curry would make sense to pair with Agent Zero in the backcourt.  Expect Curry of Jordan Hill to be the target if a team trades into this spot.
Think: Jason Terry

Click here for David Kay’s complete first and second round mock draft.

For other draft related content including player profiles, position rankings, and a complete list of who is in the draft, check out www.walterfootball.com

NBA Draft Power Forward Rankings

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Here are the top three in the 2009 NBA Draft Power Forward rankings. Go here for the rest of the 2009 NBA Draft Power forward Prospect Rankings.


Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
Height: 6-10. Weight: 248. Year: So.
Projected Selection: 1.

An absolute beast in the post… A man among boys at the collegiate level… Outstanding athleticism, strength, and explosiveness… Good quickness with his post moves showing a nice touch around the paint… Plays at 100 percent all the time… Needs to improve his range from the perimeter and free throw shooting.


Jordan Hill, Arizona
Height: 6-10. Weight: 234. Year: Jr.
Projected Selection: 3-10.

Long, athletic power forward who has shown continued growth throughout his three years at Arizona… Uses his body well down low… His shot is tough to block in the post because of his length… Improved jump shooter with range out to 15 feet… Great in transition with his ability to run the floor and finish above the rim… Must become more physical and stronger.

DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh
Height: 6-6. Weight: 276. Year: S0.
Projected Selection: 10-16.

A truck on the low block who uses his outstanding strength and length to make up for his lack of ideal size… Has knack for cleaning up the glass… Doesn’t back down against taller opponents… Has a true passion for the game… Decent range on his jumper but needs more consistency… Questions has been raised about possible ailing knee injuries.

Here are the top three in the 2009 NBA Draft Power Forward rankings. Go here for the rest of the 2009 NBA Draft Power forward Prospect Rankings.

Stellar USC Duo Leave Scandalous Program for NBA

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By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

With all the turmoil surrounding the USC basketball program and head coach Tim Floyd’s recent resignation amid allegations of paying an associate of O.J. Mayo $1,000, former Trojans Demar DeRozan and Taj Gibson undoubtedly made the right decision to leave school early and enter the NBA Draft. They may have been on the fence earlier in the process, but there’s no more “testing the waters” for these two men of Troy. With the USC program possibly degenerating into a real life version of the early ‘90s film “Blue Chips,” Gibson and DeRozan know returning to Los Angeles (unless the Clippers and Lakers draft them) is out of the question.

Like Mayo, DeRozan entered Southern Cal with a lot of hype.  His early season struggles in acclimating himself to the college game left many wondering if he could truly make a Mayo-type impact during his freshman campaign with the Trojans.  As the season progressed, DeRozan came into his own averaging 19.1 points per game over his last seven games. Playing in the rugged Pac-10 motivated him to take his game up a notch.  “Every year, the Pac-10 always had the greatest amount of NBA prospects come up, going through that each year is great- preparing you for what the NBA is going to be like night in and night out,” DeRozan told me at the NBA Draft Combine.usc_floyd_basketball1

Athleticism has never been a concern for DeRozan.  He is as gifted with his quickness, explosiveness, and speed as any wing player in the college game.  His strength is getting to the basket with his driving ability, but he also showed an improved mid-range game during the course of the season.  Three-point shooting is still a major area of concern as DeRozan connected on just 17% of his attempts from downtown.

With his un-tapped potential, DeRozan is high on many NBA teams’ radars.  He could possibly go as high as number six to the Timberwolves and shouldn’t drop out of the top ten.  His impact in the NBA may not be felt right away, but in a few years; he could be a special player.


Taj Gibson

Teammate Taj Gibson is the opposite of DeRozan in terms of what he can bring to the table at the next level.  Despite just finishing his junior season, Gibson is already 23 years old and should be able to contribute off the bench right away.  He will likely make a living as a professional thanks to his rebounding and shot blocking ability which is helped out by his somewhat freakish 7’4” wingspan. The only combine attendee to have a larger wingspan was the 7’3” Hasheem Thabeet, so when Gibson goes up for a rebound or to block a shot his arms reach towards the sky like the spires of the Taj Mahal.

Offensively, Gibson is no slouch either.  He has a decent mid-range game and is effective with his back to the basket.  Developing his pick and roll game will be a must if Gibson is going to contribute on the offensive end. The now embattled Floyd has NBA coaching experience with the Chicago Bulls (a team that is showing a lot of interest in Gibson) and served as a primary mentor to Gibson. “My coach has been a big factor in my life, going through the NBA system, just learning and watching; and he told me I was ready,” Gibson said.

NBA Draft Prospects Centers

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Here are the 2009 NBA Draft Center rankings. Go here for the rest of the  2009 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings.

For the full list of centers click here.

# 1  Hasheem Thabeet, UConn
Height: 7-2. Weight: 265. Year: Jr.
Projected Selection: 2-5.

Alters an entire game by his mere presence in the paint… Outstanding shot blocker who can swat a shot with either hand… Changes as many shots as he stuffs due to his incredible length and athleticism… A solid rebounder because of his height, but relies too much on his length which often puts him out of position and gets him into foul trouble… Still raw on the offensive end… Has a decent stroke from 10-15 feet out but it still needs a lot of work… Little threat when catching the ball on the block, but has shown steady improvement in that area.

# 2 B.J. Mullens, Ohio State
Height: 7-1. Weight: 258. Year: Fr..
Projected Selection: 14-21.

An intriguing prospect loaded with potential… A very good athlete for a seven-footer… Soild footwork in the post, but needs to do a better job of establishing him as a force down low… Average ability when facing the basket… Nice strength for some as young as he is and that should only improve over time… Probably a couple of years away from being a steady contributor in the NBA…