NBA Draft: Don’t draft No Orange “Heeled” Fighting Illini

Carmelo Anthony

I am doing a little research on previous drafts, trying to figure out which players will be successful in the NBA. Here is today’s post about NBA Draft Don’ts. [Read more…]

The Minnesota Timberwolves draft: Logic is Thrown out the Window

rubio600

By Peter Christian

I’ve had more than 24 hours to digest the first round point guard smorgasbord that was the Minnesota Timberwolves draft platter. All I can still say is, “Ummm, OK?” and “Now what?”

I have run so many different theories as to the logic being dished in the Timberwolves draft room by the Anti-Brain Trust headed up by first time GM David Kahn (no, I know he was technically GM in Indiana a few years back, but that was in title only, he had absolutely NO SAY in the basketball decisions with Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird calling the shots) and honestly I think that I’m being far too generous with the optimistic spin I’ve put on the eyebrow raising decisions yesterday.

Before I get too far into my spinning and destroying, I want to go on record to say thank you to Chris Wallace, Sam Presti and Geoff Petrie for passing on a player that could become the best point guard on the planet:

Thank you fellas and see you back in the lottery next season, its decisions like that that ensure you will be counting your ping pong balls in early February rather than determining how you match-up against potential play-off opponents.

ricky_rubio1

I was so happy that the Wolves were in a position to draft Ricky Rubio that I may have uttered praising words of David Kahn. For anyone that heard them, please disregard what you heard and continue believing that I am the biggest proponent of raising awareness about his arrogance and basketball ineptitude.

Only minutes later however, the other shoe dropped, kind of. When the commissioner announced that the Wolves had selected Jonny Flynn with the sixth pick (over the expected pick of Stephen Curry) I immediately started thinking of trade opportunities. As time wore on and no rumors surfaced I was briefly scared that Kahn (from here on out referred to as The Idiot) was trying to secretly shop Rubio (which I’m denying is an option at this point, but with The Idiot, anything could happen)

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I kind of talked myself into a combination of Rubio and Flynn until the 18th pick was announced, at which point I just started laughing like the Joker in “Batman” (the one with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson). It’s worth mentioning that after this pick I made the comment that I really like Sebastian Telfair as a 4th string point guard in the NBA. I think that is his ideal role in the league.

despair

Shortly thereafter I started brainstorming what The Idiot was doing. Did he mistake the 2009 NBA draft for a fantasy basketball draft? Was he really just really worried that he was going to “miss” on a point guard in one of the best point guard drafts ever, so he tried to take as many as possible to cover his ass? Was he just trying to prove a point to Timberwolves fans that in fact, it can get worse than having Kevin McHale as your team’s GM? No matter what the strategy was, it sucked. The Idiot illustrated in his first draft that he has no business making decisions to build a basketball team, because he was seemingly unaware that a) a successful team needs more than just a plethora of point guards and power forwards and b) that he can actually select players that play ANY position in the draft.

(note: I like the Wayne Ellington pick, a lot and the selection the guy named Henk is meaningless, let’s just deal with the fact that the Wolves had six picks and took a point guard with four of them).

In hindsight, I’ve come to the realization that the Wolves took Flynn as insurance for the possibility that Rubio isn’t too excited to live in Minnesota (which he isn’t) and that if they let Rubio stay in Spain for a year or two it isn’t the end of the world. Flynn can handle the point, Ellington might have a bit of an extended role as a #28 pick and the team can likely look forward to three first round picks next year (two of which should be in the top twenty).

Does that mean that I’m sold on the events that took place yesterday? Not a chance. Do I think The Idiot has a plan? Only if he just read that last paragraph.

Oh the wonders of being a Timberwolves fan.

UNC Quartet helped NBA Draft Stock by returning to School

tylerhansbrough

By Paul M. Banks

In 2006, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, and Corey Brewer all decided to return to Florida in hopes of winning back-to-back national titles, a feat that came to fruition.

Last summer, North Carolina faced a similar situation.  The Tar Heels saw sophomores Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington, and junior Danny Green declare for the NBA Draft, but later pull their names out in hopes of bringing a championship to Chapel Hill.  Also returning to UNC was National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough.  With all that experience returning, the Heels did what they set out to do, breezing through the NCAA Tournament and defeating Michigan State in the championship game.  Now the four Tar Heels will try to follow in the footsteps of the Gators, when Horford, Brewer, and Noah were three of the top nine picks in the 2007 NBA Draft.

“We all accomplished something very special and now we’re here this year trying to take that next step,” Wayne Ellington said at the NBA Draft Combine before discussing how playing another year in college and winning a title helped their stock. “We definitely didn’t hurt ourselves at all, we all got better individually and as a team and we did it on the biggest stage, and that definitely helps your resume.”

Tyler Hans….must I actually type out his name?
Off the four Heels that will be drafted, Hansbrough is obviously the most heralded (and over exposed).  But despite all the accolades (and the ridiculous amount of coverage) this polarizing player received during his collegiate career, scouts question how his game will translate into the NBA.  We all became nauseuous from incessantly hearing about his hustle, heart, determination, blah, blah, blah and how his fearless attitude on the court earned him the nickname “Psycho T.”  But those attributes will only take you so far in the pro game as raw talent tends to take over.  Duke N Carolina Basketball

“I’m not going to work out for a lot of teams, probably about 8, I’ve played for four years, these guys have seen me play, and I don’t think they’re going to judge me by one workout,” Hansbrough said at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Everyone’s favorite player to hate will certainly be a first round pick, likely going as high as 16th overall to the Bulls and dropping as low as the mid-20’s, but his outlook at the next level is more of a role player, an energy guy who can come off the bench, grab rebounds, and do everybody’s favorite cliché, “the little things that don’t show up in the box score.” Hansbrough gave a mind-numbing cliché when asked about where he might end up. “I’ll work out with these eight teams that I think I fit in best with and we’ll go from there,” Hansbrough said.


Ty Lawson

Lawson is a tough prospect to figure out.  Because the point guard class is so deep this year, it is hard to tell where teams will rank him compared to others.  I would not be surprised if Lawson went as high at number ten to the Bucks, but also wouldn’t be shocked if he fell into the early 20’s. “I’d love to play there,” Lawson said about Milwaukee, “I talked to the coaches yesterday, and their ones play up and down, that’s my type of game. They have a lot of weapons, Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson, Andrew Bogut, so there are a lot of options and I wouldn’t mind going there,” the student of the game said.

Whoever drafts Lawson will get a proven floor leader and someone who understands how to run an offense.  He is lightning quick with the basketball and a great distributor.  The biggest concern regarding Lawson last year was his inconsistent outside shooting, but he increased his three-point percentage from 36% to 47% during his junior campaign, proving he can knock down big shots when needed. Lawson himself is pretty confident in his J. When I asked him what are the best things he brings to the NBA table Lawson responded, “probably my speed, leadership, I think I can shoot with the best of them, me and Steph Curry are probably the best shooters out of the group, and I can take care out of the ball, so I think that separates me from the rest of the group.”

Wayne Ellington

Ellington is a pure shooter who had one of the prettiest strokes in college basketball.  He has a great mid-range game, knows to move without the ball, but is too often streaky from downtown.  His athleticism isn’t ideal for most NBA two-guards and hasn’t shown a tenacity to attack the basket.  More than likely, Ellington will be a solid role player at the next level because of his ability to shoot the rock, but it is doubtful that he will ever become a go-to player.  He could realistically go as high as #12 to Charlotte, but more than likely falls into the late-teen’s/early-twenties. Ellington was asked where he might fit in within the big picture, “Right now all you can do is work, I’ve been working hard and getting ready and preparing myself,” he responded.


Danny Green
unchate

Partially due to the ridiculous amount of unnecessary hype surrounding 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 does a little bit of everything truly earning the title “glue guy.”  Green validated this concept when I asked him what his most saleable skill is. “I don’t like to categorize myself in one area or be put in one category, I’m a basketball player. Whatever a team needs me to do, I’ll do. Whether it’s box out, grab rebounds, play defense, get steals, block shots, spot up shooting, whatever it is, I’m going to try and do,” Green said.

Offensively, he is a solid shooter, decent ball-handler, and can post up small defenders on the block.  His defense is what will likely allow him to stick on an NBA team because he can guard on both the perimeter and the post.  If he lands in the right situation, he could be an invaluable bench player and a steal of a second round pick. I asked Green who people compare his game to. “My younger brother likes to compare me to Brandon Roy and hopefully, I can do some of the things that he can do because we’re the same height, same build,” Green responded.

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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