Charlotte Bobcats: 2012-13 NBA Season Preview

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The Sports Bank will be counting down to the opening tip of the 2012-13 NBA season with team by team previews starting with the worst and working our way to the title contenders.  There is no lockout this time around so let’s get going.

After finishing with the worst winning percentage in NBA history, the Charlotte Bobcats have nowhere to go but up.  Their rise won’t be rapid but owner Michael Jordan made a couple of minor moves that should make the ‘Cats slightly more competitive this season although not likely enough to get them out of the cellar of the Eastern Conference.

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NBA Draft: Where Do The Charlotte Bobcats Go From Here?

Michael Jordan

The Charlotte Bobcats could not have had a worse season. Actually, if winning 7 of 66 games isn’t embarrassing enough, it would be even more embarrassing if the Bobcats didn’t end up getting the #1 pick in the June draft. This team has a lot of improving to do and it starts with cleaning house.

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Bobcats Can’t Win one for MJ, Keep Positive Momentum Going

Michael Jordan

Say this for the Charlotte Bobcats, they know how to get it done against the best in the NBA. It’s the rest of the league they often find themselves struggling with. Prior to last night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Bobcats had won three of five; with those three being over the Eastern Conference leading Boston Celtics, the currently fourth seeded Atlanta Hawks and the defending champion LA Lakers.

Actually, they gave the Lake Show it’s worst loss of the year, 109-89.

But in Chicago, they just couldn’t keep it going against the team with the third best record in the East; a team they had beaten twice already.

By Paul M. Banks

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Chicago Bulls Finally Get Best of Charlotte Bobcats 106-94

luvabulls

Tonight, the Chicago Bulls were a lot like the priests who restored Linda Blair because they were exorcising demons all over the place.

Third time the charm for beating the Charlotte Bobcats? Roger that.

Winning the first home game after a long road trip instead of falling flat in the homestand opener? Done.

Beating an inferior team that for some reason matches up really well? Check.

Defeating the team owned by His Airness at Chicago homecoming? Check mate.

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ACC Well Represented in NBA Draft Again

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By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

Jeff Teague

As usual, the ACC will be represented with numerous prospects in this year’s NBA Draft. Wake Forest’s Jeff Teague emerged as a legitimate NBA caliber player thanks to the Demon Deacons winning their first sixteen games of ’08-’09 and garnering national attention.  Teague is a shoot-first point guard which isn’t a discouraging trait considering his percentages this past season (49% FG, 44% 3-pt FG, 82% FT.)  Some reports have the Bucks interested in him with the tenth pick, but Teague more than likely falls into the late teens/early twenties. At the Draft combine, Teague discussed what he needs to work on the most to improve his NBA stock. “Being a pure point guard, I’m a scoring point guard right now, just  show them I can really run a team and get everybody involved,” he said.

Miami Wake Forest Basketball

James Johnson

At the Combine, Teague’s BFF, roommate and college teammate James Johnson’s measurements stood out.  It wasn’t so much his height of 6’8”, but more his 257 pound frame.  That type of strength combined with his impressive athleticism is what allowed Johnson to be successful at Wake Forest.  He was able to muscle weaker defenders down low while also using his ability to drive and finish.  Johnson’s range from deep leaves plenty of room for improvement, but he did develop a more consistent mid-range game as a sophomore. “I can create my own jumper and I’m an inside/outside guy,” Johnson told me when I asked him about his best selling points. 

If Johnson can become a bigger threat from downtown, he could play the three at the next level and be a difficult match-up for opposing defenders.  As it stands now, his game is better suited to power forward, despite his lack of height.  He’s one of this draft’s many wild cards- he could go as high as #11 to the Nets, but could also easily slip down to the early twenties.

On a side note, Johnson inadvertently validated my theory that every team’s public relations department distributes a set of talking points and canned responses to each player, and trains them to recite these platitudes as responses to media queries.

I asked him if he and Teague “compare notes” at the end of the day meeting the media. “You know how we had a tumble at the end of the season, after starting off great, so sometimes we get asked the same question. We compare, we talk a little bit, it’s funny cuz they ask us the same questions, we laugh it off, because I tell him one thing, he tells them the same thing and we didn’t even talk about it,” Johnson said.

james_johnson_21

Gerald Henderson

Like many Dukies, Gerald Henderson arrived in Durham with a lot of hype.  But during his first two years as a Blue Devil, Henderson was known more for being the player who bloodied Tyler Hansbrough’s nose in Chapel Hill than for his performance on the court.  That all changed this past season when Henderson stepped his game up and emerged as a legitimate NBA prospect.  So what kind of team might be a good fit for Henderson? “I like fast pace, transition like the Phoenix Suns. I like their style of play, the way they get up and down the court,” Henderson said at the NBA Draft Combine.hansbroughground
 
His athleticism is ideal for an NBA-two guard.  He is very aggressive when attacking the basket and is a great finisher around the rim.  What allowed Henderson to become a more valuable player his junior season was his mid-range game.  He plays well off the ball, using screens well, but can also create space with an effective pull-up jumper.  From three-point range, Henderson still has issues with his consistency, hitting just 34% of his attempts this past season.  Henderson also talked about who he looks up to in the Association. “A guy I like to watch a lot is Brandon Roy. With his athleticism, his strength, his ability to get to the basket, maybe him the most,” He said.

The other areas of his game help his value as he is a strong rebounder, good passer, and plays hard on the defensive end.  Henderson could hear his name called as high as number nine to the Raptors on draft day and likely doesn’t fall below #16 to Chicago.

In yet another example of a public figure describing a coincidental circumstance, and mislabeling it ironic, Henderson spoke about his BFF Wayne Ellington. “Wayne’s my best friend, I played with him in high school together, he had a great career at Carolina and it’s just ironic that we came out of high school the same year and we’re going on to the next level the same year.”

(Note: I want to congratulate ESPN’s Steve Berthiaume who stated on the June 21st episode of Baseball Tonight: “In a manner of coincidence and not irony, Justin Verlander had the same home plate umpire in both of his career starts against the Brewers.”

NBA Draft Early Entrants

By David K.

The NBA released the official early entries for this year’s NBA Draft which will be held on June 25th (coincidentally enough, that is my birthday.  It’s only fitting.)  The college players who have declared but not signed an agent, thus keeping their eligibility open in case they decide to return to school, have until June 15th to make the decision to stay in the draft or pull their name off this list.  The NCAA recently moved that date to May 8th for next year with the intention of not hand-cuffing college coaches who are waiting on a player to make a decision while figuring out what to potentially do with that scholarship that would open.

EARLY ENTRY CANDIDATES FOR 2009 NBA DRAFT

*Darion Anderson-Northern Illinois, 6-2, Sophomore
*Ryan Anderson-Nebraska , 6-4, Junior
*Dominique Archie-South Carolina, 6-7,  Junior
DeJuan Blair-Pittsburgh, 6-7, Sophomore
*Derrick Brown-Xavier, 6-8, Junior
Chase Budinger-Arizona, 6-7, Junior
*Nick Calathes-Florida, 6-6, Sophomore
Earl Clark-Louisville, 6-9, Junior
*Dwayne Collins-Miami, 6-8, Junior
*Kareem Cooper-Texas-El Paso, 7-0, Junior
*Kenneth Cooper-Louisiana Tech, 6-10, Junior
*Brandon Costner-North Carolina State, 6-9, Junior
Stephen Curry-Davidson, 6-1, Junior
*Bryan Davis-Texas A&M, 6-9, Junior
*Austin Daye-Gonzaga, 6-10, Sophomore
DeMar DeRozan-Southern California, 6-7, Freshman
Eric Devendorf-Syracuse, 6-4, Junior
*Devan Downey-South Carolina, 5-9, Junior
*Osiris Eldridge-Illinois State, 6-3, Junior
Wayne Ellington-North Carolina, 6-4, Junior
*Chinemelu Elonu-Texas A&M, 6-10, Junior
*Tyreke Evans-Memphis, 6-6, Freshman
Gary Flowers-Chipola JC (FL), 6-8, Sophomore
Jonny Flynn-Syracuse, 6-0, Sophomore
*Jonathan Gibson-New Mexico State, 6-2, Junior
*Kyle Gibson-Louisiana Tech, 6-5, Junior
*Taj Gibson-Southern California, 6-9, Junior
Blake Griffin-Oklahoma, 6-10, Sophomore
D’mond Grismore-Huston-Tillotson (TX), 6-6, Junior
*Rogér Guignard-Texas-Arlington, 5-11, Junior
Daniel Hackett-Southern California, 6-5, Junior
*Luke Harangody-Notre Dame, 6-8, Junior
James Harden-Arizona State, 6-4, Sophomore
Kevin Harris-Northwest Mississippi CC, 5-11, Sophomore
*Paul Harris-Syracuse, 6-5, Junior
*Gerald Henderson-Duke, 6-5, Junior
Jordan Hill-Arizona, 6-9, Junior
*Jrue Holiday-UCLA, 6-4, Freshman
*Damion James-Texas, 6-7, Junior
James Johnson-Wake Forest, 6-9, Sophomore
*Mac Koshwal-DePaul, 6-10, Sophomore
*Gani Lawal-Georgia Tech, 6-9, Sophomore
Ty Lawson-North Carolina, 5-11, Junior
*James Lewis-Fresno Pacific, 6-4, Junior
*Darnell Lindsay-Tennessee Tech, 6-4, Junior
*Dior Lowhorn-San Francisco, 6-7, Junior
*Ater Majok-Connecticut, 6-10, Freshman
*Jodie Meeks-Kentucky, 6-4, Junior
Nate Miles-Southern Idaho, 6-7, Freshman
*Patrick Mills-St. Mary’s, 6-0, Sophomore
*Tasmin Mitchell-LSU, 6-7, Junior
B.J. Mullens-Ohio State, 7-0, Freshman
Ronald Ogoke-Paul Quinn College (TX), 7-0, Junior
*Patrick Patterson-Kentucky, 6-9, Sophomore
*Scottie Reynolds-Villanova, 6-2, Junior
*D.J. Rivera-Binghamton, 6-4, Junior
*Terrence Roderick-Alabama-Birmingham, 6-6, Sophomore
*Magnum Rolle-Louisiana Tech, 6-1, Junior
*Junior Salters-Wofford, 6-1, Junior
*Donald Sloan-Texas A&M, 6-3, Junior
*Tyler Smith-Tennessee, 6-7, Junior
DaJuan Summers-Georgetown, 6-8, Junior
*Shawn Taggart-Memphis, 6-10, Junior
*Jonathan Tavernari-BYU, 6-6, Junior
*Jeff Teague-Wake Forest, 6-2, Sophomore
Hasheem Thabeet-Connecticut, 7-3, Junior
Malcolm Thomas-San Diego City College, 6-9, Sophomore
Dar Tucker-DePaul, 6-5, Sophomore
*Jarvis Varnado-Mississippi State , 6-9, Junior
*Greivis Vasquez-Maryland, 6-6, Junior
Martez Walker-Riverside CC (CA), 6-6, Freshman
*Michael Washington-Arkansas, 6-9, Junior
*Jeremy Wise-Southern Mississippi, 6-2, Junior
*Nic Wise-Arizona, 5-10, Junior

*has not hired an agent to preserve eligibility if they choose to return to college.

International players who have applied for early entry into the 2009 NBA Draft:

Amadou Aboubakar Zaki-Nancy (France), 7-1, 1988
Rodrigue Beaubois-Cholet (France), 6-0, 1988
Nemanja Bjelica-Crvena Zvezda (Serbia), 6-10, 1988
Georgios Bogris-Ilysiakos (Greece), 6-10, 1989
Omri Casspi-Maccabi Elite (Israel), 6-9, 1988
Victor Claver-Pamesa Valencia (Spain), 6-9, 1988
Vladimir Dasic-Buducnost (Montenegro), 6-10, 1988
Christian Eyenga-DKV Joventut (Spain), 6-5, 1989
Vitor Faverani-Unicaja Malaga (Spain), 6-10, 1988
Sergey Gladyr-Mykolaiv (Ukraine), 6-5, 1989
Adam Hanga-Albacomp (Hungary), 6-7, 1989
Bari? Hersek-Efes Pilsen (Turkey), 6-9, 1988
Rudy Jomby-Le Havre (France), 6-6, 1988
Tanel Kurbas-Kalev/Cramo (Estonia), 6-6, 1988
Milan Macvan-Hemofarm (Serbia), 6-9, 1989
Boban Marjanovic-Hemofarm (Serbia), 7-4, 1988
Tim Ohlbrecht-Bamberg (Germany), 6-1, 1988
Carl Ona Embo-Biella (Italy), 6-1, 1989
Nikolaos Pappas-Real Madrid II (Spain), 6-5, 1990
Anton Ponomarev-Astana Tigers (Kazakhstan), 6-10, 1988
Paulo Prestes-Unicaja Malaga (Spain), 6-11, 1988
Miroslav Raduljica-FMP Zeleznik (Serbia), 7-0, 1988
Fernando Raposo-Pau Orthez (France), 6-9, 1989
Ricky Rubio-DKV Joventut (Spain), 6-4, 1990
Evangelos Sakellariou-Pagrati (Greece), 6-5, 1989
Alexandros Sigkounas-Olimpia Larissa (Greece), 6-7, 1988
Ludovic Vaty-Pau Orthez (France), 6-9, 1988
Ibrahim Yildirim-Banvit (Turkey), 6-3, 1990
Artem Zabelin-CSKA Moscow (Russia), 7-1, 1988

*Country indicates where team plays, not country of nationality.

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2009 NBA Mock Draft

By: David K.

This is my second mock draft that has taken team needs into account.  Now that the NBA regular season is done, the preliminary order is set until the draft lottery takes place on May 19th.  The deadline has also passed for college underclassmen to announce if they are declaring for the draft or returning to school.  Those underclassmen that have yet to hire an agent have until June 15th to do so.  Remember, I got as many picks correct last year as ESPN’s “expert” Chad Ford and watched 274 college basketball games this season, so I feel pretty good about my projections.

1. Sacramento- Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
If the Kings land the top pick, it’s a gutsy call, but I think Rubio is their guy.  Sacramento has a few young bigs, but has a major need for a long-term franchise player and a point guard, both roles that Rubio can fill.  Plus, I think Rubio is the “sexier” pick and the Maloof brothers are all about “sexy.”
Think: Steve Nash

2. Washington – Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-9, So.
Griffin has proven to be the most dominant player in college basketball and will likely be the number one pick if any team but the Kings are selecting first.  While he doesn’t fill a need for the Wizards, he is too good to pass up with the second pick.
Think: Amare Stoudamire

3. L.A. Clippers- Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
The Clips already have Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman up-front, but Camby is a free agent after next season.  Thabeet is the third best prospect in this class and absolutely owns the paint on the defensive end.  Not being needed to contribute major minutes in his first season might actually be a good thing since his offensive game still needs to improve.
Think: Ben Wallace, but six inches taller

4. Oklahoma City- James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
OKC would likely take a long look at Jordan Hill as well, but Harden fills a major void for a shooting guard.  He has the ability to take over a game whenever he wants, although he also tends to be too unselfish at times as well.  Harden would be a nice running mate for Kevin Durant.
Think: Paul Pierce

5. Minnesota- Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
I love Evans and think he would be the perfect fit for the T-Wolves who need a player that can attack the basket which is Evans’ strength.  He can also play some point guard, a position that Randy Foye has never really taken over since arriving in Minnesota.  The knock on Evans is his inconsistent outside shot, but that improves with time.
Think: Manu Ginobli

6. Memphis – Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, So.
The Griz would be ecstatic if Hill fell to them.  With young perimeter players like Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, and Rudy Gay, Memphis needs someone to play down low.  Hill has great athleticism which would be perfect for a young team that wants to run.  He also has nice touch around the basket, but will need to get stronger
Think: LaMarcus Aldridge

7. Golden State- Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
Jennings is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft because he did not have great success playing overseas this year, but is loaded with potential.  He would be a perfect fit for a team needing a true point guard who can get other players involved, but also score when called upon.
Think: Kenny Anderson

8. New York- Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
With Larry Hughes, Cuttino Mobley, and Quentin Richardson all one year away from free agency, the Knicks need to find a long-term solution at the two-guard.  DeRozan is an incredible athlete and really came along strong during the final month of the season, though his three-point shot still needs work.
Think: Vince Carter

9. Toronto- Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke, 6-4, Jr.
The Raptors have a major hole for a wing player who can take it to the rack.  Henderson took a major step during his junior season and will likely continue to improve at the next level.  He is that athletic scorer needed in Toronto and can also stroke it from deep.
Think: J.R. Smith

10. Milwaukee- Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
Flynn seems like a player who Scott Skiles would love to coach.  He is tough, plays with a lot of heart, and just gets it.  He understands how to run the point, when to be a distributor, when his team needs him to be a scorer.  Since Luke Ridnour is not the answer and Ramon Sessions is a free agent, Flynn is the choice.
Think: Raymond Felton

11. New Jersey- Earl Clark, SF, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
This would be somewhat of a steal for the Nets at 11.  Clark 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.  He would be a great fit in New Jersey as they need some help on the wing.
Think: Lamar Odom


12. Charlotte- Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC, 6-5, Jr.

Playing for the National Champion Tar Heels certainly elevated Ellington’s stock.  The Bobcats could use some depth on the wing and Ellington would provide that.  He has one of the smoothest shooting strokes in college hoops and can also take it to the rack.
Think: Richard Hamilton

13. Indiana- Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-3, Jr.
Is he a one or a two?  Despite being the most talented pure shooter in college basketball and having limitless range from the outside, the fact that Dell’s son is a “tweener” could deter teams from taking him.  Plus, he is rail thin.  He likely won’t fall out of the lottery and the Pacers could use a sharpshooter to bring off their bench.
Think: Jason Terry

14. Phoenix- Ty Lawson, PG, UNC, 5-11, Jr.
Steve Nash is getting up their in age and if the Suns pick up his option for next season, would become a free agent in 2010.  Like Ellington, Lawson’s stock soared during UNC’s title run.  He was probably the best floor general in college hoops and has greatly improved his three-point shot.
Think: Jameer Nelson

15. Detroit- Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
I think it’s safe to say the Allen Iverson deal backfired.  AI and Rasheed Wallace are both free agents so the Pistons could go in either direction with this pick.  Teague is a scoring point guard who shot the ball at a very high percentage last season.
Think: Keyon Dooling

16. Chicago- DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So
It has been pretty clear against the Celtics, that the Bulls lack that low post bruiser.  Enter Blair.  At 6-7, he is undersized to play power forward, but he is just so strong and long which makes him a force on the block and board.  It is uncertain how that will translate to the pro game, as Blair will need to work on his mid-range jumper to be effective at the next level.  A shooting guard could also be an option in case Ben Gordon leaves via free agency.
Think: Craig Smith

17. Philadelphia- Eric Maynor, PG, VCU, 6-3, Sr.
With Andre Miller eligible for free agency, the Sixers likely draft a point guard..  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

18. #Minnesota- Terrence Williams, SF, Louisville, 6-6, Sr.
With the second of their three first round picks, I still think the T-Wolves need to address their need for athletes on the wing.  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.

19. Atlanta- James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
With only seven players under contract for next season, the Hawks need depth at every position and probably take the best available player.  One major NBA Draft web-site has Johnson listed as the tenth best prospect in this draft, which is a bit ridiculous in my mind.  The former Demon Deacon is an athletic forward who can play the three or four, and while his frame is ready for the rigor of the NBA, his shot is not.
Think: Wilson Chandler

20. Utah- B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
I am still surprised Mullens decided to go pro as he would have been better served returning to the Buckeyes and developing his game.  But based on his athleticism, size, and potential, he is definitely worth a mid-first round pick  The Jazz likely go for a post player since Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur could both opt out of their contracts this off-season.
Think: Spencer Hawes

21. New Orleans- Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
The Hornets need to add some depth up-front as Hilton Armstrong is their only reserve post player under contract for next season.  Patterson has a nice combination of size, strength, and athleticism, and decent range on his jumper.
Think: Kenyon Martin

22. Dallas- Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, So.
The Mavs have two important players entering free agency, Jason Kidd and Brandon Bass, so drafting a replacement for either makes sense.  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

23. &Sacramento- Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
Assuming the Kings take Rubio at #1, they should look for a wing player here. Budinger’s strength is his versatility.  He can jump out of the gym, hit the three ball, and has a nice inside-outside game, but his tendency to disappear during stretches is a major knock.
Think: Stephen Jackson

24. Portland- Victor Claver, F, Spain, 6-11, 1989
The Blazers roster is pretty much set for next season, so the logical move would be to trade out of this pick or draft another Euro player and stash him overseas.  Claver is a typical Euro-style player in that he is long, has a good all-around skill set, but needs to get stronger.
Think: Donte Greene

25. +Oklahoma City- Tyler Hansbrough, PF, UNC, 6-9, Sr.
Despite being one of the most decorated in recent college basketball history, a lot of people are questioning how his game will translate into the NBA.  I don’t see him being anything more than an energy guy off the bench at the next level, but could bring his work ethic and winning mentality to OKC.
Think: Eduardo Najera

26. %Chicago- Sam Young, G/F, Pitt, 6-6, Sr.
Since I have the Bulls going big at #16, they likely take a wing player in case Gordon does bolt this off-season.  Young can elevate, hit it from deep, has a tremendous basketball IQ, can take bigger defenders off the dribble and post up smaller guys.  His lack of NBA-type athleticism drops him to this spot.
Think: Michael Finley

27. $Memphis- Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
The Griz are likely to address their need for a back-up point guard with this pick.  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

28. ^Minnesota- Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.
I doubt the T-Wolves actually keep all three of their picks, but James would be a good value here.  A sub par season hurt his stock as he was once a projected lottery pick.  He was one of the most aggressive offensive rebounders in college basketball, has an NBA-ready build, and a nice shot from the perimeter.
Think: Maurice Evans

29. L.A. Lakers- Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee, 6-7, Jr.
Smith would provide some insurance if Lamar Odom leaves via free agency.  The former Vol is fearless when attacking the hoop and thrives on the break.  He is not a great outside shooter, but his rebounding and passing abilities help his stock.
Think: Thabo Sefolosha

30. Cleveland- Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU, 6-4, Sr.

Thornton is a little undersized to play the two in the NBA, but there is no question the kid can flat-out shoot the rock, and what he lacks in size, he makes up for in strength.  I think he would be a great late first round pick especially for the Cavs who would just need him to compliment LeBron for a few stretches a game.
Think: Daequan Cook

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Second Round
31. Sacramento- Vladimir Dasic, SF, Montenegro, 1988
32. Portland- Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
33. Washington- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA, 6-2, Sr.
34. Denver- .Jermaine Taylor, SG, UCF, 6-4, Sr.
35. Memphis- DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
36. Detroit- Jeff Pendergraph, PF, Arizona State, 6-10, Sr.
37. San Antonio- Omri Casspi, SF, Isreal, 6-8, 1988
38. Portland- Milan Macvan, PF, Serbia, 6-9, 1989
39. Detroit- Greivis Vasquez, SG, Maryland, 6-5, Jr.
40. Charlotte- Danny Green, SF, UNC, 6-7, Sr.
41. Milwaukee- Josh Heytvelt, PF, Gonzaga, 6-11, Sr.
42. L.A. Lakers- Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette, 6-3, Sr.
43. Miami- Chris Johnson, PF, LSU, 6-11, Sr.
44. Detroit- Lee Cummard, G/F, BYU, 6-7, Sr.
45. Minnesota- A.J. Price, PG, UConn, 6-2, Sr
46. Cleveland- Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova, 6-8, Sr.
47. Minnesota- Jonas Jerebko, PF, Sweden, 6-9, 1989
48. Phoenix- Demarre Carroll, F, Missouri, 6-8, Sr.
49. Atlanta- Dionte Christmas, SG, Temple, 6-5, Sr.
50. Utah- Jeff Adrien, PF, UConn, 6-7, Sr.
51. San Antonio- Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette, 6-5, Sr.
52. Indiana- Leo Lyons, F, Missouri, 6-9, Sr.
53. San Antonio- Jon Brockman, PF, Washington, 6-7, Sr.
54. Charlotte- Curtis Jerrells, PG, Baylor, 6-1, Sr.
55. Portland- Dar Tucker, SG, DePaul, 6-5, So.
56. Portland- Nando de Colo, G, 6-5, France 1987
57. Phoenix- Toney Douglas, PG, Florida State, 6-2
58. Boston- Robert Vaden, SG, UAB, 6-5, Sr.
59. L.A. Lakers- Sergio Llull, PG, Spain, 6-5, 1988
60. Miami- Jack McClinton, PG, Miami (FL), 6-1, Sr.

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Declared for the Draft:
>Dominique Archie, SF, South Carolina, 6-7, Jr.
DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So.
>Derrick Brown, F, Xavier, 6-9, Jr.
Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
>Nick Calathes, G, Florida, 6-6, So.
Earl Clark, F, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
>Dwayne Collins, PF, Miami, 6-8, Jr.
>Brandon Costner, PF, N.C. State, 6-9, Jr.
Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-2, Jr.
>Bryan Davis, PF, Texas A&M, 6-9, Jr.
>Austin Daye, F, Gonzaga, 6-0, So.
Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
>Eric Devendorf, G, Syracuse, 6-4, Jr.
>Devin Downey, PG, South Carolina, 5-9, Jr
>Osiris Eldridge, SG, Illinois State, 6-3, Jr.
Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina, 6-5, Jr.
>Chinemelu Elonu, F/C. Texas A&M, 6-10, Jr.
>Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
>Roderick Flemings, SF, Hawaii, 6-7, Jr.
Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-10, So.
Daniel Hackett, PG, USC, 6-4, Jr.
>Luke Harangody, PF, Notre Dame, 6-8, Jr.
James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
>Paul Harris, G/F. Syracuse, 6-5, Jr.
>Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke, 6-4, Jr.
Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, Jr.
>Jrue Holliday, G, UCLA, 6-4, Fr
>Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.
Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
>Mac Koshwal, C, DePaul, 6-10, So.
>Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, So.
Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina, 5-11, Jr.
>Ater Majok, PF, UConn, 6-10, Fr.
>Jodie Meeks, SG, Kentucky, 6-4, Jr
>Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
>Tasmin Mitchell, SF, LSU, 6-7, Jr.
B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
>Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
>Scottie Reynolds, PG, Villanova, 6-2, Jr.
Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
>David Sloan, G, Texas A&M, 6-3, Jr.
>Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee, 6-7, Jr.
DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
>Shawn Taggart, PF, Memphis, 6-10, Jr.
>Jonathan Tavernari, G/F, BYU, 6-6, Jr.
>Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
Dar Tucker, SG, DePaul, 6-5, So.
>Jarvis Varnado, PF, Mississippi State, 6-9, Jr.
>Greivis Vasquez, SG, Maryland, 6-5, Jr.
>Michael Washington, PF, Arkansas, 6-9, Jr.
>Jeremy Wise, PG, Southern Miss., 6-2, Jr.
>Nic Wise, PG, Arizona, 5-10, Jr.

>has yet to hire an agent

Staying in School:
Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas, 6-11, So.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest, 6-9, Fr.
James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma St., 6-6, So.
Trevor Booker, PF, Clemson, 6-7, Jr.
Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State, 6-10, So.
Patrick Christopher, SG, Cal, 6-5, Jr.
Sherron Collins, PG, Kansas, 5-11, Jr.
Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina, 6-10, Fr.
Devin Ebanks, F, West Virginia, 6-9, Fr.
Manny Harris, SG, Michigan, 6-5, So.
JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue, 6-10, So.
Jerome Jordan, C, Tulsa, 7-0, Jr.
Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown, 6-10, Fr.
Dexter Pittman, C, Texas, 6-10, Jr.
Stanley Robinson, SF, UConn, 6-8, Jr.
DeShawn Sims, SF, Michigan, 6-8, Jr.
Kyle Singler, F, Duke, 6-8, So.
Evan Turner, SF, Ohio State, So.
Willie Warren, G, Oklahoma, 6-4, Fr.

#Minnesota gets Miami’s ’09 1st round pick (top ten protected) via Ricky Davis trade
&Kings get Houston ’09 1st round pick via Ron Artest 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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2009 NBA Mock Draft

By: David K.

This is my first mock draft that has taken team needs into account.  Now that the NBA regular season is done, the preliminary order is set until the draft lottery takes place on May 19th.  Remember, I got as many picks correct last year as ESPN’s “expert” Chad Ford and watched 274 college basketball games this season, so I feel pretty good about my projections.

1. Sacramento- Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990

-If the Kings land the top pick, it’s a gutsy call, but I think Rubio is their guy.  Sacramento has a few young bigs, but has a major need for a long-term franchise player and a point guard, both roles that Rubio can fill.  Plus, I think Rubio is the “sexier” pick and the Maloof brothers are all about “sexy.”
Think: Steve Nash

2. Washington- Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-9, So.
-Griffin has proven to be the most dominant player in college basketball and will likely be the number one pick if any team but the Kings are selecting first.  While he doesn’t fill a need for the Wizards, he is too good to pass up with the second pick.
Think: Amare Stoudamire

3. L.A. Clippers- Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
-The Clips already have Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman up-front, but Camby is a free agent after next season.  Thabeet is the third best prospect in this class and absolutely owns the paint on the defensive end.  Not being needed to contribute major minutes in his first season might actually be a good thing since his offensive game still needs to improve.
Think: Ben Wallace, but six inches taller

4. Oklahoma City- Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, So.
-The Thunder could use a big man or a scoring two-guard, both of which will available with the fourth pick.  Hill is a tremendous athlete for his size and has improved his outside shot.  He would add to the young nucleus in OKC.
Think: LaMarcus Aldridge

5. Minnesota- Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
-I love Evans and think he would be the perfect fit for the T-Wolves who need a player that can attack the basket which is Evans’ strength.  He can also play some point guard, a position that Randy Foye has never really taken over since arriving in Minnesota.  The knock on Evans is his inconsistent outside shot, but that improves with time.
Think: Manu Ginobli

6. Memphis – James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
-What the Griz could really use is a power forward and would probably love Hill to slip to them at five.  But since he doesn’t, Harden is the next best option.  He has the ability to take over a game whenever he wants, although he also tends to be too unselfish at times as well.  Harden doesn’t fill a need, but putting him on the floor with Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, and Mike Conley would provide a lot of offensive firepower.
Think: Paul Pierce

7. Golden State- Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
-DeRozan would be a great fit for Nellie Ball because of his great athleticism and versatility.  The Trojan freshman really came along strong during the final month of the season, though his three-point shot still needs work.
Think: Vince Carter

8. ?New York- Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
This is probably the highest you will see Flynn in any mock draft, but I think he would thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo style of play.  Flynn just gets it.  He understands how to run the point, when to be a distributor, when his team needs him to be a scorer, and he is ready to contribute immediately.
Think: Raymond Felton

9. Toronto- Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke, 6-4, Jr.
-The Raptors have a major hole for a wing player who can take it to the rack.  Henderson took a major step during his junior season and will likely continue to improve at the next level.  He is that athletic scorer needed in Toronto and can also stroke it from deep.
Think: J.R. Smith

10. Milwaukee- Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
-Jennings is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft.  He has not had great success playing overseas, but still has tons of potential.  I could see Jennings going as high as five or six, but also dropping to the late lottery.  Since Luke Ridnour is not the answer at point for the Bucks, Jennings would a wise pick.
Think: Kenny Anderson

11. New Jersey- Earl Clark, SF, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
-This would be somewhat of a steal for the Nets at 11.  Clark 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.  He would be a great fit in New Jersey as they need some help on the wing.
Think: Lamar Odom

12. Charlotte- Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC, 6-5, Jr.
Playing for the National Champion Tar Heels certainly elevated Ellington’s stock.  The Bobcats could use some depth on the wing and Ellington would provide that.  He has one of the smoothest shooting strokes in college hoops and can also take it to the rack.
Think: Richard Hamilton

13. Indiana- Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State, 6-10, So.
-The Pacers are in a spot where they might need to just take the best available player.  They have some bodies up-front, but not a lot of athleticism, which is what Brackins would bring to Indiana.  He is a lengthy forward, but not very strong, has a nice touch on his shot and can knock down mid-range jumper.
Think: Hakim Warrick

14. Phoenix- Ty Lawson, PG, UNC, 5-11, Jr.
-Steve Nash is getting up their in age and if the Suns pick up his option for next season, would become a free agent in 2010.  Like Ellington, Lawson’s stock soared during UNC’s title run.  He was probably the best floor general in college hoops and has greatly improved his three-point shot.
Think: Jameer Nelson

15. Detroit- Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.

I think it’s safe to say the Allen Iverson deal backfired.  AI and Rasheed Wallace are both free agents so the Pistons could go in either direction with this pick.  Teague is a scoring point guard who shot the ball at a very high percentage last season.
Think: Keyon Dooling

16. Chicago- Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
-The Bulls risk losing Ben Gordon to free agency this off-season so would be smart to draft a wing player.  Budinger’s strength is his versatility.  He can jump out of the gym and hit the three ball.  His tendency to disappear during stretches of games is his biggest knock.
Think: Stephen Jackson

17. Philadelphia- Eric Maynor, PG, VCU, 6-3, Sr.
-With Andre Miller eligible for free agency, the Sixers likely draft a point guard in case Miller signs elsewhere.  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

18. #Minnesota- Terrence Williams, SF, Louisville, 6-6, Sr.
-With the second of their three first round picks, I still think the T-Wolves need to address their need for athletes on the wing.  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.

19. Atlanta- Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.

-With only seven players under contract for next season, the Hawks need depth at every position and probably take the best available player.  Patterson has a nice combination of size, strength, and athleticism, and decent range on his jumper.
Think: Kenyon Martin

20. Utah- B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
-I am still surprised Mullens decided to go pro as he would have been better served returning to the Buckeyes and developing his game.  But based on his athleticism, size, and potential, he is definitely worth a mid-first round pick  The Jazz likely go for a post player since Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur could both opt out of their contracts this off-season.
Think: Spencer Hawes



21. New Orleans- DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So

Blair would give the Hornets a brusier to come off their bench, something they don’t really have.  What Blair lacks in height, he makes up with his outstanding strength.  He knows how to use his big body on the block and boards.  It is uncertain how that will translate to the pro game, as Blair will need to work on his mid-range jumper to be effective at the next level.
Think: Craig Smith

22. Dallas- Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
-The Mavs need to prepare for like post-Jason Kidd since he is an unrestricted free agent.  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

23. &Sacramento- Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.

-Assuming the Kings take Rubio at #1, they should look for a wing player here.  A sub par season hurt his stock some as he was once a projected lottery pick.  James was one of the most aggressive offensive rebounders in college basketball, has an NBA-ready build, and has a nice shot from the perimeter.
Think: Marvin Williams

24. Portland- James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
-The Blazers roster is pretty much set for next season, so I would not be surprised if they dealt out of this pick or drafted another Euro player and stashed him overseas.  For now, I’ll give them the best available player.  Johnson is 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

25. +Oklahoma City- Sam Young, G/F, Pitt, 6-6, Sr.

-OKC lands a nice role player in Young.  He can elevate, hit it from deep, has a tremendous basketball IQ, can take bigger defenders off the dribble, and post up smaller guys.  His lack of NBA-type athleticism drops him to this spot.
Think: Michael Finley

26. %Chicago- Tyler Hansbrough, PF, UNC, 6-9, Sr.

-Despite being one of the most decorated in college basketball, a lot of people are questioning how his game will translate into the NBA.  I don’t see him being anything more than an energy guy off the bench at the next level which is all Chicago would be asking of him at this point.
Think: Eduardo Najera
27. $Memphis- DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
-Despite underachieving at G-Town this past season, Summers has thrown his name into the draft.  He has an NBA-ready body, is a good slasher, and a decent outside shooter.  I question how he will match-up athletically with other three’s in the NBA.  He is worth the risk for Memphis this late.
Think: Bobby Simmons

28. ^Minnesota- Vladimir Dasic, SF, Montenegro, 1988
-I doubt the T-Wolves actually keep all three of their picks, so why not take a guy they can stash overseas for a year or two.  Dasic is like most Euro’s in that he is an athletic, lengthy wing player.  He will need to become more physical to adapt to the NBA.
Think: Nicolas Batum

29. L.A. Lakers- Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee, 6-7, Jr.
-Smith would provide some insurance if Lamar Odom leaves via free agency.  The former Vol is fearless when attacking the hoop and thrives on the break.  He is not a great outside shooter, but his rebounding and passing abilities help his stock.
Think: Thabo Sefolosha

30. Cleveland- Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU, 6-4, Sr.
Thornton is a little undersized to play the two in the NBA, but there is no question the kid can flat-out shoot the rock, and what he lacks in size, he makes up for in strength.  I think he would be a great late first round pick especially for the Cavs who would just need him to compliment LeBron for a few stretches a game.
Think: Daequan Cook

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Second Round
31. Sacramento- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA, 6-2, Sr.
32. Portland- Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
33. Washington- Jermaine Taylor, SG, UCF, 6-4, Sr.
34. Denver- A.J. Price, PG, UConn, 6-2, Sr.
35. Memphis- Jeff Pendergraph, PF, Arizona State, 6-10, Sr.
36. Detroit- Josh Heytvelt, PF, Gonzaga, 6-11, Sr.
37. San Antonio- Greivis Vasquez, SG, Maryland, 6-5, Jr.
38. Portland- Omri Casspi, SF, Isreal, 6-8, 1988
39. Detroit- Danny Green, SF, UNC, 6-7, Sr.
40. Charlotte- Chris Johnson, PF, LSU, 6-11, Sr.
41. Milwaukee- Vitor Faverani, F, Brazil, 6-11, 1989
42. L.A. Lakers- Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette, 6-3, Sr.
43. Miami- Lee Cummard, G/F, BYU, 6-7, Sr.
44. Detroit- Dionte Christmas, SG, Temple, 6-5, Sr.
45. Minnesota- Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova, 6-8, Sr.
46. Cleveland- Jeff Adrien, PF, UConn, 6-7, Sr.
47. Minnesota- Curtis Jerrells, PG, Baylor, 6-1, Sr.
48. Phoenix- Demarre Carroll, F, Missouri, 6-8, Sr.
49. Atlanta- Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette, 6-5, Sr.
50. Utah- Dar Tucker, SG, DePaul, 6-5, So.
51. San Antonio- Jonas Jerebko, PF, Sweden, 6-9, 1989
52. Indiana- Leo Lyons, F, Missouri, 6-9, Sr.
53. San Antonio- Jon Brockman, PF, Washington, 6-7, Sr.
54. Charlotte- Toney Douglas, PG, Florida State, 6-2, PG
55. Portland- Luigi Datome, SF, Italy, 6-8. 1987
56. Portland- Nando de Colo, G, 6-5, France 1987
57. Phoenix- Eric Devendorf, G, 6-4, Syracuse, Jr.
58. Boston- Robert Vaden, SG, UAB, 6-5, Sr.
59. L.A. Lakers- Rodrigue Beaubois
60. Miami- Jack McClinton, PG, Miami (FL), 6-1, Sr.

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Declared for the Draft:
>Dominique Archie, SF, South Carolina, 6-7, Jr.
DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So.
>Derrick Brown, F, Xavier, 6-9, Jr.
Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
>Nick Calathes, G, Florida, 6-6, So.
Earl Clark, F, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
>Dwayne Collins, PF, Miami, 6-8, Jr.
>Brandon Costner, PF, N.C. State, 6-9, Jr.
>Austin Daye, F, Gonzaga, 6-0, So.
Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
>Eric Devendorf, G, Syracuse, 6-4, Jr.
>Devin Downey, PG, South Carolina, 5-9, Jr
Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
>Roderick Flemings, SF, Hawaii, 6-7, Jr.
>Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-10, So.
Daniel Hackett, PG, USC, 6-4, Jr.
>Luke Harangody, PF, Notre Dame, 6-8, Jr.
James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
>Paul Harris, G/F. Syracuse, 6-5, Jr.
Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, Jr.
>Jrue Holliday, G, UCLA, 6-4, Fr
>Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.
Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
>Mac Koshwal, C, DePaul, 6-10, So.
>Jodie Meeks, SG, Kentucky, 6-4, Jr
Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
>Tasmin Mitchell, SF, LSU, 6-7, Jr.
B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
>Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
>Shawn Taggart, PF, Memphis, 6-10, Jr.
>Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
Dar Tucker, SG, DePaul, 6-5, So.
Michael Washington, PF, Arkansas, 6-9, Jr.
Jeremy Wise, PG, Southern Miss., 6-2, Jr.
>Nic Wise, PG, 5-10, Arizona, Jr.

>has yet to hire an agent

Staying in School:
Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas, 6-11, So.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest, 6-9, Fr.
James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma St., 6-6, So.
Trevor Booker, PF, Clemson, 6-7, Jr.
Patrick Christopher, SG, Cal, 6-5, Jr.
Sherron Collins, PG, Kansas, 5-11, Jr.
Ed Davis, PF, North Carolina, 6-10, Fr.
Devin Ebanks, F, West Virginia, 6-9, Fr.
JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue, 6-10, So.
Jerome Jordan, C, Tulsa, 7-0, Jr.
Greg Monroe, PF, Georgetown, 6-10, Fr.
Dexter Pittman, C, Texas, 6-10, Jr.
Kyle Singler, F, Duke, 6-8, So.
Evan Turner, SF, Ohio State, So.
Willie Warren, G, Oklahoma, 6-4, Fr.

Other First Round talent still undecided:
Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-2, Jr.
Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, So.
Manny Harris, SG, Michigan, 6-5, So.

?Utah gets New York ’09 1st round pick (top 22 protected) via Phoenix
#Minnesota gets Miami’s ’09 1st round pick (top ten protected) via Ricky Davis trade
&Kings get Houston ’09 1st round pick via Ron Artest 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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Top Ten College Hoops Teams for ’09-’10

By: David K.

The 2008-2009 college basketball season has only been wrapped up for a week, but it is never too early to start looking ahead to next year.  Several elite college players are still sorting out whether or not they will return to school which obviously has a major impact on how loaded some teams might be next season.  I have taken into account which players appear likely to be returning to school when coming up with top ten rankings for next year.

1. Kansas- Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins are returning to Lawrence, meaning KU will have everybody back from a team that won the Big 12.  Add on two top 25 recruits and the Jayhawks earn my #1 ranking.  Aldrich replaces Tyler Hansbrough as college basketball’s most hated player.

Starters:
C- Cole Aldrich (Jr)
F- Marcus Morris (So)
G- Brady Morningstar (Jr)
G- Sherron Collins (Sr)
G- Tyshawn Taylor (So)

Bench: F- Markieff Morris (So), G- Travis Releford (So), G-Tyrel Reid (Jr), G- Mario Little (Sr), PF-Thomas Robinson (Fr #20), SG- Elijah Johnson (Fr #25)

Gone: Nobody

2. Kentucky- Even if John Calipari didn’t come to Lexington, I would think highly of Ashley Judd’s favorite team next season.  Everyone should be back (even though Jodie Meeks declared for the draft, he did not sign an agent) and on top of the two top 100 recruits already committed, DeMarcus Cousins (#6) has followed Cal from Memphis to UK, and Xavier Henry (#4) could join them as well.

Starters:
C- DeMarcus Cousins (Fr #4)
PF- Patrick Patterson (Jr)
F- Perry Stevenson (Sr)
SG- Jodie Meeks (Sr)
PG- Michael Porter (Sr)

Bench: F- Ramon Harris (Sr), F- Darius Miller (So), G- Kevin Galloway (Sr), G- DeAndre Liggins (So), C- Josh Harrellson (Sr), C- Daniel Orton (Fr #12), SF- Jon Hood (Fr #36)

Gone: Nobody

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3. Duke- A top ten ranking depends on Gerald Henderson’s status.  If he declares for the draft, the Devils likely drop out of my top ten team.  They add some size up front with a pair of talented, but not very physical freshmen.

Starters:
C- Lance Thomas (Sr)
F- Kyle Singler (Jr)
SG- Gerald Henderson (Jr)
G- Elliott Williams (So)
PG- Jon Scheyer (Sr)

Bench: PG- Nolan Smith (Jr), C- Brian Zoubek (Sr), PF- Miles Plumlee (So), PF- Ryan Kelly (Fr #11), PF-Mason Plumlee (Fr #19)

Gone: G- Greg Paulus

4. North Carolina- I am assuming Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington leave Chapel Hill after winning their National Championship.  Despite the likelihood of losing four starters, the Heels have another loaded recruiting class and should be a top ten team.  Getting Marcus Ginyard back from injury and Will Graves from suspension will definitely help.  If Lawson and/or Ellington do return, move the Heels above the Dukies.

Starters:
C- Ed Davis (So)
PF- Deon Thompson (Sr)
G/F- Will Graves (Jr),
SG- Marcus Ginyard (Sr)
PG- Larry Drew II (So)

Bench: C- Tyler Zeller (So), PF- Jon Henson (Fr #3), SG- Dexter Strickland (Fr #18), PF- Travis Wear (Fr #41), PF- David Wear (Fr #42), SG- Leslie McDonald (Fr #63)

Gone: PF-Tyler Hansbrough, SF-Danny Green, G-Bobby Frasor, PG-Ty Lawson, SG-Wayne Ellington (Sr)

5. Purdue- Matt Painter will return his top six players from this season, but will lose a little bit of depth.  If the Boilermakers stay healthy, which was a major issue this year, they should be a top ten caliber team.

Starters:
C- JaJuan Johnson (Jr)
F- Robbie Hummel (Jr)
G- Chris Kramer (Sr)
G- E’Twaun Moore (Jr)
PG- Lewis Jackson (So)

Bench: G- Keaton Grant (Sr), PF- Jeff Robinson (Fr #91)

Gone: C Nemanja Calasan, F Marcus Green

6. Texas- Damion James’ status is still up in the air whether or not he will turn pro.  Even if he does not return for his senior season, the Horns should be a top ten team.  Florida transfer Jai Lucas will be eligible in December and two top 15 recruits will certainly boost this team’s status.

Starters:
C- Dexter Pittman (Jr)
F- Damion James (Sr)
F- Gary Johnson (Jr)
G- Justin Mason (Sr)
PG- Jai Lucas (So)

Bench: PG- Dogus Balbay (Jr), G- Varez Ward (So), F/C- Clint Chapman (Jr), SG-Avery Bradley (Fr #10), SF- Jordan Hamilton (Fr #13), SF- Shawn Williams (Fr #44)

Gone: G A.J. Abrams, PF Connor Atchley


7. Michigan State-
Sparty loses a few important pieces to their team, but still brings back some very talented players, especially in the backcourt.  If they can find some consistency up-front, State will be tough once again.

Starters:
F- Delvon Roe (So)
F- Draymond Green (So)
SF- Raymar Morgan (Sr)
SG- Durrell Summers (Jr)
PG- Kalin Lucas (Jr)

Bench: G- Chris Allen (Jr), PG- Korie Lucious (So), C- Tom Herzog (So), PF- Derrick Nix (Fr #56)

Gone: C Goran Suton, PF Marquise Gray, G Travis Walton, C Idong Ibuk

8. West Virginia- Bob Huggins has everybody back except for Alex Ruoff.  Joe Missoula should get a medical redshirt since he missed all of the past season with a shoulder injury.  Combine that with a maturing group of long, athletic forwards and the Mountaineers will likely be the best team in the Big East.  Watch out for Devin Ebanks next season.

Starters:
F- Wellington Smith (Sr)
F- Devin Ebanks (So)
F- De’Sean Butler (Sr)
G- Joe Missoula (Sr)
G- Truck Bryant (So)

Bench: F- John Flowers (Jr), F- Kevin Jones (So), F- Cam Thoroughman (Jr)

Gone: SG Alex Ruoff

9. Florida- Calathes is the charge in the Gators offense.  He has put his name in the draft, but has not signed an agent and should be back in Gainesville.  The addition of Georgetown transfer Vernon Macklin should give Billy Donovan the low post presence he lacked this past season.

Starters:
C- Vernon Macklin (Jr)
F- Dan Werner (Sr)
F- Alex Tyus (Jr)
G- Erving Walker (So)
G- Nick Calathes (Jr)

Bench: F- Chandler Parsons (Jr), G/F Ray Shipman (So), C Kenny Kadji (So), SG- Kenny Boynton (Fr #8), PF- Erik Murphy (Fr #39), PF- Deshawn Painter (Fr #52)

Gone:
G Walter Hodge

10. Villanova- The Wildcats lose their three starting forwards, but do return the best guard play in the country.  If Jay Wright can get his four top 31 recruits to contribute right away, Nova should once again be a factor on the national scene.

Starters:
F- Antonio Pena (Jr)
G- Reggie Redding (Sr)
G- Scottie Reynolds (Sr)
G- Corey Fisher (Jr)
G- Corey Stokes (Jr)

Bench: SF- Dominic Cheek (Fr #15), PG- Maalik Wayns (Fr #26), PF- Mouphtauo Yarou (Fr #28), PF- Isaiah Armwood (Fr #31)

Gone: F Dante Cunningham, F Shane Clark, F Dwayne Anderson

Honorable Mentions:
Ohio State- If B.J. Mullens didn’t turn pro, Buckeyes would be a top five team.
Syracuse- If Flynn, Devendorf, and Harris return, Cuse is a top two team.
Tennessee- Tyler Smith is expected to turn pro, but everyone else is back for the Vols.
Butler- Everyone is back, Bulldogs should be the elite of the mid-major teams.
Michigan- Harris and Sims should help the Wolverines take the next step.
Georgetown- Greg Monroe will lead the Hoyas who return four starters.
California- Return all their players under second year head coach Mike Montgomery.
Xavier- We’ll have to see how they respond without Sean Miller in charge.

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2009 NBA Mock Draft

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 to be an effective pro.
Think: Ben Wallace, but six inches taller

4. Oklahoma City- 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. Memphis – 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. *Minnesota- 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

7. Golden State- 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

8. ?New York- Demar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
-The Trojan freshman really came along strong during the final 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

9. Toronto- 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

10. New Jersey- 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. Milwaukee- 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. Indiana- B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
-I am still surprised Mullens decided to go pro.  He would probably be better served returning to the Buckeyes and developing his game.  Based on his athleticism, size, and potential, he is still likely a late lottery pick.
Think: Spencer Hawes

13. Charlotte- Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State, 6-10, So.
-A lengthy forward, Brackins has the size to play the four in the NBA, but not the strength.  He has a nice touch on his shot and can knock down mid-range jumper, but does not have the ideal athleticism to play the three.
Think: Hakim Warrick

14. Phoenix- 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

15. Detroit- 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.

16. Chicago- 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 during stretches of games is his biggest knock.
Think: Stephen Jackson

17. #Minnesota- 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

18. =Philadelphia- 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

19. Atlanta- 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

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. Utah- 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

22. New Orleans- DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.
-Despite underachieving at G-Town this past season, Summers has thrown his name into the draft.  He has an NBA-ready body, is a good slasher, and a decent outside shooter.  I’m not sure how he will match-up athletically with other three’s in the NBA.

23. &Sacramento- 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

24. Portland- 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

25. +Oklahoma City- 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

26. %Chicago- 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

27. $Memphis- 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

28. ^Minnesota- 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

29. L.A. Lakers- 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

30. Cleveland- 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

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Second Round
31. Jermaine Taylor, SG, UCF, 6-4, Sr.
32. Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette, 6-3, Sr.
33. Curtis Jerrells, PG, Baylor, 6-1, Sr.
34. Danny Green, SF, UNC, 6-7, Sr.
35. Josh Heytvelt, PF, Gonzaga, 6-11, Sr.
36. Omri Cassipi, SF, Isreal, 6-8, 1988
37. Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
38. Lester Hudson, PG, UT-Martin, 6-3, Sr.
39. Jeff Pendergraph, PF, Arizona State, 6-10, 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. Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette, 6-5, 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. Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova, 6-8, Sr.
54. Demarre Carroll, F, Missouri, 6-8, Sr.
55. Jeff Adrien, PF, UConn, 6-7, Sr.
56. Ben Woodside, PG, 5-11, North Dakota State, Sr.
57. Antonio Anderson, SG, Memphis, 6-6, Sr.
58. Jeremy Pargo, PG, Gonzaga, 6-2, Sr.
59. Sergio Llull, G, Spain, 6-3, 1988
60. Robert Dozier, F, Memphis, 6-9, Sr.

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Declared for the Draft:
>Nick Calathes, G, Florida, 6-6, So.
Earl Clark, F, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
Brandon Costner, PF, N.C. State, 6-9, Jr.
Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
>Roderick Flemings, SF, Hawaii, 6-7, Jr.
James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
>Mac Koshwal, C, DePaul, 6-10, So.
B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.

>has yet to hire an agent

Staying in School:
Trevor Booker, PF, Clemson, 6-7, Jr.
JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue, 6-10, So.
Dexter Pittman, C, Texas, 6-10, Jr.
Evan Turner, SF, Ohio State, So.

Other First Round talent likely to stay in school:
Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
Jrue Holliday, SG, UCLA, 6-4, Fr.
Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-2, Jr.
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.
Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, 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

2009 NBA Mock Draft

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

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Second Round
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.

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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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2009 NBA Mock Draft

By: David K.

2009 Mock NBA Draft
To justify that I am not some hack throwing out a random mock draft, consider that I got as many right in my final mock of 2008 as ESPN “expert” Chad Ford, and less than a handful of other mocks on the web had more correct than I did.  Considering I don’t have the “connections” that Ford or some other sites have, that is pretty impressive.  Team needs have not been taken into account with this mock.

1. Sacramento- Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, 6-10, So.
-physical, explosive, can put the ball on the floor, owns the boards
Think: Amare Stoudemire

2. Washington- Greg Monroe, C/F, Georgetown, 6-10, Fr.
-does it all on offense, best passing big in college, extremely athletic
Think: Chris Bosh

3. L.A. Clippers- Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, 7-3, Jr.
-athletic for his size, tremendous shot blocker, still raw on offense
Think: Ben Wallace, but six inches taller

4. Oklahoma City- James Harden, SG, Arizona State, 6-5, So.
-great at attacking the hoop, solid outside shooter, too unselfish at times
Think: Paul Pierce

5. Memphis- Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona, 6-10, So.
-lives around the rim, great on the glass, much improved outside game
Think: LaMarcus Aldridge

6. *Minnesota- Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest, 6-1, So.
-shoots it at a high-percentage from all areas, a true play-maker
Think: Devin Harris

7. Golden State- Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke, 6-4, Jr.
-ferocious finisher, much improved shooter, team player
Think: Rudy Fernandez

8. Toronto- Earl Clark, SF, Louisville, 6-8, Jr.
-a point forward type, excels as a penetrater, good rebounder
Think: Lamar Odom

9. ?New York- Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest, 6-9, Fr.
-all-around skill set from handling the ball to creating his own shot, runs floor well
Think: Travis Outlaw

10. Indiana- Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona, 6-7, Jr.
-ridiculous athleticism, can stroke it from deep but is sometimes too streaky a shooter
Think: Stephen Jackson

11. Charlotte- Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy, 6-0, 1989
-tremendous court vision, unselfish, not afraid to take it to the hoop
Think: Kenny Anderson

12. New Jersey- Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis, 6-6, Fr.
-slasher, handles the ball well in transition, needs more consistency with jumper
Think: DeShawn Stevenson

13. Chicago- Stephen Curry, G, Davidson, 6-2, Jr.
-unbelievable three-point range and scorer, great vision as a passer
Think: a sharp-shooting Tony Parker

14. Phoenix- Damion James, SF, Texas, 6-8, Jr.
-very versatile, strong rebounder, nice mid-range game
Think: Marvin Williams

15. Milwaukee- Patty Mills, PG, St. Mary’s, 5-11, So.
-made a name for himself in Olympics playing for Australia, has been out a month with a broken bone in his hand.
Think: Ramon Sessions

16. =Philadelphia- Gani Lawal, F, Georgia Tech, 6-8, So.
-low-post threat, solid on the boards, not a great shooter
Think: Brandon Bass

17. Detroit- Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
-great skill set in the post, very physical, good ball-handler for a big
Think: Kenyon Martin

18. #Minnesota- Ty Lawson, PG, UNC, 5-11, Jr.
-very quick with the ball, suffocating perimeter defender, leader on the floor
Think: Jameer Nelson

19. Atlanta- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA, 6-0, Sr.
-great on-the-ball defender, smart decision-maker, can hit three ball
Think: Bobby Jackson

20. Dallas- Eric Maynor, PG, VCU, 6-3, Sr.
-playmaker on the offensive end, a floor general, must become more consistent shooter
Think: Antonio Daniels

21. Portland- Terrence Williams, SF, Louisville, 6-6, Sr.
-very versatile, great passer, solid defender, needs to work on outside shot
Think: Gerald Wallace

22. Utah- Johnny Flynn, PG, Syracuse, 6-0, So.
-can take over a game, great range and driver, lock-down perimeter defender
Think: Raymond Felton

23. &Sacramento- Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee, 6-7, Jr.
-fearless when attacking the hoop, great in transition, must improve outside shooting
Think: Jeff Green

24. New Orleans- Sam Young, G/F, Pitt, 6-6, Sr.
-can score from outside or inside, doesn’t take a lot of bad shots, not a great creator
Think: Michael Finley

25. ~Oklahoma City- Tyler Hansbrough, PF, UNC, 6-9, Sr.
-high basketball IQ, plays with an incredible intensity, nice touch on jump shot
Think: Eduardo Najera

26. +%Chicago- James Johnson, F, Wake Forest, 6-9, So.
-can put the ball on the deck and attack the rim, NBA-ready body, inconsistent shooter
Think: Wilson Chandler

27. $Memphis- A.J. Price, PG, UConn, 6-2, Sr.
-can light it up from deep, good decision-maker, sometimes disappears during games
Think: Delonte West

28. ^Minnesota- Jerome Jordan, C, Tulsa, 7-0, Jr.
-big time shot blocker, still raw on the offensive end, average at best athleticism
Think: Theo Ratliff

29. Cleveland- Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette, 6-3, Sr.
-creates his own shot, much improved shooter, ferocious defender
Think: Charlie Bell

30. L.A. Lakers- Danny Green, SF, UNC, 6-7, Sr.
-does a little bit of everything, will be a great role player in the NBA
Think: James Posey

Second Round
31. Vitor Faverani, F/C, Brazil, 7-0, 1988
32. Jermaine Taylor, SG, Central Florida, 6-4, Sr.
33. Omri Cassipi, SF, Isreal, 6-8, 1988
34. Wesley Matthews, SG, Marquette, 6-5, Sr.
35. Josh Heytvelt, PF, Gonzaga, 6-11, Sr.
36. Jack McClinton, PG, Miami (FL), 6-1, Sr.
37. Taj Gibson, PF, USC, 6-9, Jr.
38. Tyrese Rice, PG, Boston College, 6-1, Sr.
39. Robert Vaden, SG, UAB, 6-5, Sr.
40. Luigi Datomi F, Italy, 6-8, 1987
41. Jeff Pendergraph, PF, Arizona State, 6-10, Sr.
42. Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU, 6-4, Sr.
43. Dionte Christmas, SG, Temple, 6-5, Sr.
44. Dante Cunningham, F, Villanova, 6-8, Sr.
45. Curtis Jerrells, PG, Baylor, 6-1, Sr.
46. Lester Hudson, PG, UT-Martin, 6-3, Sr.
47. Hank Norel, PF, Netherlands, 6-11, 1987
48. Leo Lyons, PF, Missouri, 6-9, Sr.
49. Jonas Jerebko, PF, Sweded, 6-9, 1989
50. Joe Ingles, SF, Australia, 6-8, 1987
51. Lee Cummard, G/F, BYU, 6-7 Sr
52. Jeff Adrien, PF, UConn, 6-7, Sr.
53. Chris Johnson, PF, LSU, 6-11, Sr.
54. Nando de Colo, G, 6-5, France 1987
55. Luke Nevill, C, Utah, 7-0, Sr.
56. DeMarre Carroll, F, Missouri, 6-7, Sr.
57. Jon Brockman, PF, Washington, 6-7, Sr.
58. Jeremy Pargo, PG, Gonzaga, 6-2, Sr.
59. A.J. Abrams, G, 5-11, Texas, Sr.
60. Stefon Jackson, SG, UTEP, 6-5, Sr.

Other First Round talent likely to stay in school/overseas:
Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain, 6-4, 1990
B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State, 7-0, Fr.
DeMar DeRozan, SG, USC, 6-6, Fr.
Austin Daye, SF, 6-10, Gonzaga, So.
DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt, 6-7, So.
Kyle Singler, F, Duke, 6-8, So
Derrick Brown, SF, Xavier, 6-8, Jr.
Willie Warren, G, Oklahoma, 6-3, Fr.
Craig Brackins, PF, Iowa State, 6-10, So.
Cole Aldrich, F/C, Kansas, 6-10, So.
Nick Calathes, G, Florida, 6-5, So.
Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC, 6-4, Jr.

Returning to School:
DaJuan Summers, F, Georgetown, 6-8, Jr.

*Clippers get Minnesota’s ’09 1st round pick (top ten protectred) via Marko Jaric trade
#Minnesota gets Miami’s ’09 1st round pick (top ten protected) via Ricky Davis trade
=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
?Utah gets New York ’09 1st round pick (top 22 protected) via Phoenix
+Thunder gets Spurs’ ’09 1st round pick (lottery preotected) via Kurt Thomas trade
~Thunder gets Denver ’09 1st round pick (lottery protected) via Johan Petro 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