Archive for June 26th, 2009


That’s a wrap.  The NBA Draft is finally complete, and yes… there were surprises.

Blake GriffinNo shock at the #1 spot, as the Los Angeles Clippers selected Oklahoma superstar Blake Griffin. Leading up to the draft, Griffin was nervous that the Clippers would trade the pick, which would send him elsewhere.  Perhaps somewhere he never thought of.  Although, there was little to no evidence of this, and the #1 pick went-off as predicted.

Hasheem ThabeetThe suspense started with the #2 pick, as many didn’t know if Memphis would select UCONN’s Hasheem Thabeet, Spain’s Ricky Rubio, or trade the pick to Minnesota.  What did they do?  Again, as predicted by most, they picked Thabeet.  This will give them a big defensive presence down low, and could make them a sleeper playoff team in the West.  Remember, they have two up-and-coming stars in O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay.  Can they get any team chemistry?  And, their home attendance has been pretty sparse as of late.

Ricky RubioThen, a big shocker.  Many thought Ricky Rubio was a lock to go Top 3, especially given his spectacular performance on a grand stage at the Olympics.  He completely held is own against Team USA’s top guards Chris Paul and Derron Williams.  He looked fantastic.  But, with the 3rd pick, the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to pass him up for Arizona State’s James Harden.  Harden gives the Thunder a pure shooting-guard, and will leave Russell Westbrook at the point.  (Insiders worried it could be detrimental for Westbrook if he had to compete with Rubio for the point-guard position).  But, get this, with the #4 pick in the draft, the Sacramento Kings, who really needed a point-guard, drafted Memphis’ Tyreke Evans.  Evans shot up draft boards in the past few weeks, but Rubio is relatively proven.  Down the road, the Grizzlies, Thunder, and Kings could really be kicking themselves.

Finally, it was Minnesota’s turn.  They had back-to-back picks (5, 6), and did something interesting, but strange.  Of course, they finally drafted Rubio.  But then, they took another point-guard, Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn.  This gives them a very intelligent backcourt presence (and they must have a strategy, perhaps moving Rubio to the #2 spot).  Some thought they would trade the #6 for something substantial, but they held on to the pick.  Then, later in the draft, they drafted another shooting guard in North Carolina’s Wayne Ellington.  The Timberwolves could also be an emerging sleeper in the West.  They will definitely be an exciting team to watch next season.

Finally, 4-year UNC veteran, Tyler Hansborough, whom many thought would be a late 1st round, early 2nd round pick, turned out to have a fortunate evening.  He ‘wow-ed’ a lot of teams with his workouts, and took off their ‘young guy potential blinders’.  This guy was a force in college for 4 straight years, and is coming off a championship win.  Why wouldn’t you pick him?  Well, the Indiana Pacers went with the safe, smart choice at #13, and drafted the hard-working TarHeel.  He’s great for team chemistry, and could be a key building block in Indiana’s rebuilding.  So, Hansborough went from early 2nd-round pick to Lottery pick.

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