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Monday, June 1, 2009

Mike Bradley: NBA Mock Draft Version 1.0

1. Los Angeles Clippers - Blake  Griffin, F, Oklahoma
Already a foregone conclusion, Griffin's outstanding skill set will be on display in glamorous Los Angeles. Now all he needs is Mike Dunleavy fired, competent ownership to take over for Donald Sterling, and a little help from the man upstairs. 

2. Memphis Grizzlies - Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut
Already equipped with capable scorers O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay, along with rising star point guard Mike Conley, all the Grizzlies are missing is a big man and some depth. Enter Thabeet, the skyscraping 7'3" shot blocking machine from Tanzania. While Marc Gasol played admirably in his rookie season, a proven rebounder and defender like Thabeet would do wonders for this young team.

*TRADE* OKC trades #3 pick to Golden State for #7 pick and future compensation
3. Golden State Warriors - Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain
This Spanish sensation has garnered comparisons to anyone from Pistol Pete Maravich to Jason Kidd, and the buzz is surely warranted. After a stellar campaign in the Olympics, this 18 year old prodigy can step right in and guide a Golden State team oozing with athletic potential.

4. Sacramento Kings - Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, Memphis
With Rubio gone, and a clear need at the point, the Kings make a slight reach and grab the combo guard out of Memphis. Evans started slow for the Tigers, but really gained steam after his move to playing the point full time. With a roster featuring Kevin Martin and not much else, Evans can come in and be the spotlight player that he loves to be.

5. Washington Wizards - James Harden, SG, Arizona State
A playoff-caliber roster that fell on some tough luck and injuries (see: Arenas, Gilbert), this draft position is a gift from the gods. Pairing a scoring stud like Harden with the likes of Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, and a healthy Gilbert Arenas could be a lethal recipe for lots of 100-point nights for the Wizards in '09-'10.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves - Brandon Jennings, PG, Lottomatica Roma
While the experiment with one ex-prep superstar has seemingly failed (Sebastian Telfair), the T-Wolves still have a glaring need at the point and the best available point is prep-to-international pro Brandon Jennings. While much of his hype came from his decision to skip college and play a year in Europe, the skills are there. A gifted shooter, crisp passer, and commanding floor presence should give Minnesota the man they need to feed star players Al Jefferson and Randy Foye.

7. Oklahoma City Thunder - Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Davidson
By trading down, the Thunder get the 2-guard they want in the sweet-shooting Curry. By taking the combo guard, the Thunder have the luxury of playing both Curry and 2nd year man Russell Westbrook at the same time and splitting the point guard duties evenly. With this pick, the Thunder are one big man away from a legitimate playoff run. 

8. New York Knicks - Demar DeRozan, SG/SF, USC
With the selection of Curry by Oklahoma City, the Knicks are forced to go to the next guy on their board. A physical clone of Kobe Bryant, DeRozan should bring the toughness and physicality that the Knicks need. Even following a less-than-stellar freshman campaign at USC, DeRozan's pure ability and NBA-ready body will be enough to tantalize the New York front office.

9. Toronto Raptors - Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona
While it's not a need for the Raptors, Hill is too much of a talent to pass up this late in the draft. With the ability to slide 7-footer Andrea Bargnani to the 3 and Chris Bosh to the center position, Toronto should have no trouble finding playing time for this rebounding machine.

10. Milwaukee Bucks - Jrue Holiday, PG/SG, UCLA
With Ramon Sessions' future up in the air, the Bucks need to select one of the point guards in this draft in preparation for the return of Michael Redd. With the pick of Holiday, the Bucks solve the issue at the point while also gaining a player skilled enough to play shooting guard while Redd is on the bench. Versatility is the theme of this year's draft, and Holiday has just that. 

11. New Jersey Nets - DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh
With the Yi experiment looking like a bust, the Nets need to provided rookie sensation Brook Lopez with some help in the post. Blair's big body and soft hands should provide a perfect compliment to the long Lopez. With both of them on the court at the same time, look for the Nets to dominate the boards on both ends of the court.

12. Charlotte Bobcats - Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke
One of the most improved players in all of college is reward for his play by getting to suit up for MJ's team. With a nucleus in place with Okafor, Gerald Wallace, and the combo of Ray Felton and D.J. Augustin, the slashing style of Gerald Henderson would fit perfectly into the hole the Bobcats have at the shooting guard position.

13. Indiana Pacers - Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse
One of the highest risers on draft boards since his 6OT performance against UConn in the Big East Tournament, the Energizer bunny that is Jonny Flynn is exactly the kind of player Larry Legend loves. A proven leader with outstanding speed, control, and ability, Flynn is the prototypical point guard in all aspects of the position. He is a consistent outside jump shot away from being an all around threat, but the Pacers will take him just as he is right now. Danny Granger should send a thank you note to each GM in front of the Pacers for allowing this godsend fall into his lap.

14. Phoenix Suns - Austin Daye, F, Gonzaga
In a draft with little superstar power, the Suns steal one of the most skilled players in the draft with the 14th pick. Daye showed flashes of brilliance during his days at Gonzaga, and he projects to be a do-it-all forward at the next level (a la Shawn Marion, ironically enough). After many years of selling first rounders, the Suns can be happy with keeping this pick.

15. Detroit Pistons - James Johnson, PF, Wake Forest
In a strange position, the Pistons find themselves selecting in the middle of the first round. With an aging nucleus, look for the Pistons to start building a foundation for the future. The pick of Johnson gives the Pistons a versatile forward with a lottery-worthy skill set to pair up with point guard Rodney Stuckey and fellow forward Jason Maxiell for the future.

16. Chicago Bulls - Earl Clark, F, Louisville
A team littered with young talent, fresh off an impressive playoff series, finds themselves with two first round picks to build upon an already outstanding foundation. While Clark has always had character flaws, his talent would be too much to pass up at this point in the draft. His size (6'9") and his versatility will allow him to find playing time at some position with the Baby Bulls. Look for a lot of Rose-to-Clark alley oops in the coming season.

17. Philadelphia 76ers - Eric Maynor, PG, VCU
With the departure of Andre Miller seemingly inevitable, the Sixers will be looking to add a young point guard to their stable of youthful wings. A proven leader and winner, Maynor is a perfect fit for these Sixers. His ability to control a team and lead them to victory should mesh perfectly with the athletic Thaddeus Young and the budding superstar Andre Iguodala. His size, scoring, and defense are all perfect to replace a steady vet like Miller.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves - Terrence Williams, SG/SF, Louisville
After solving the PG problem with Jennings earlier in the first round, the Timberwolves snag the multitalented Williams to share time at the 3 with Ryan Gomes (who is better suited as a 6th man). His length and talent should fit in nicely with the young nucleus of Jefferson, Foye, Jennings, and Kevin Love.

19. Atlanta Hawks - Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina
Mike Bibby isn't getting any younger, and Lawson is the perfect heir to his starting spot. Bibby can take Lawson under his wing and teach him how to run a team, while Lawson still gets his ears wet pushing the tempo with the likes of Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Marvin Williams. This team should be fun to watch when Lawson is at the helm.

20. Utah Jazz - B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State
A much better prospect than fellow Buckeye Kosta Koufos, Mullens is a lottery-type talent that needed to leave school early for financial reasons. With Carlos Boozer on his way out, Mullens fills the need for size with that departure while also providing Jerry Sloan with a solid young center to groom into the starting spot.

21. New Orleans Hornets - Jeff Teague, PG/SG, Wake Forest
At face value, this looks like a wasted pick. Chris Paul is still the best point guard in basketball, but he isn't superman. A few minutes of rest here and there would be good for him, and Teague is more than capable of filling in. His scoring ability would also allow the Hornets to use him as a shooting guard from time to time in a small, speedy lineup. This tandem out of Wake Forest should be keeping defenses on their toes for years to come.

22. Dallas Mavericks - Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina
The knock on the Mavericks has always been the fact that they're a soft team. Any time your best player is a 7-foot finesse player from Europe, you are surely going to hear these types of statements being made. While a guard is more in the realm of what the Mavs need, it would be hard to pass up the hard-nosed Hansbrough at this point in the draft. While his athleticism leaves much to be desired, his effort, toughness, and tenacity can never be questioned. This late in the first round, a consistent double-double threat off the bench is more than justifiable. 

23. Sacramento Kings - Sam Young, F, Pittsburgh
The worst team in the league inevitably has a lot of holes to fill. While Francisco Garcia did in admirable job as a starter, he was slightly in over his had. Enter Young, an ultra-athletic do-it-all forward that can play either the 3 or the 4. With Sacramento also shopping one of their bigs (Jason Thompson or Spencer Hawes), the versatility of Young also factors into this choice.

24. Portland Trailblazers - Chase Budinger, SG/SF, Arizona
One of the best fits in the draft, the young talent in Portland will get a little bit deeper. While Budinger never truly tapped his true potential with Arizona, he is a super athletic wing with shooting ability. Matching him with Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rudy Fernandez would create matchup problems all over the floor. These aren't your daddy's JailBlazers.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder - Gani Lawal, PF/C, Georgia Tech
While his 6'8" frame doesn't scream "prototypical NBA center," his 7'0" wingspan and freakish athleticism should be enough to dethrone the immortal tandem of Nenad Krstic and Nick Collison. While he projects as more of a 4 throughout his career, Lawal would be an absolute steal for the suddenly potent Thunder. 

26. Chicago Bulls - Marcus Thornton, SG, LSU
While their chief priority this offseason is to lock up Ben Gordon to a long-term deal, the Bulls still snatch up some insurance at the 2 by taking pure scorer Marcus Thornton. His ability to carry a fring-average team like the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament speaks volumes about his leadership and winning mentality. Matching him with Derrick Rose for the next 10 years would be mighty appealing for the Baby Bulls.

27. Memphis Grizzlies - Patrick Mills, PG, St. Mary's
Despite the emergence of Mike Conley as a solid starting point guard, depth never hurt anyone. Mills contributions to a previously-irrelevant St. Mary's club cannot be dismissed. Add to that an impressive showing on an equally-forgettable Australian national team, and it's easy to see the talent oozing from this guard from down under.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves - DaJuan Summers, F, Georgetown
With their third pick of the first round, the Timberwolves should look to add even more size to their front court. Summers fits that bill. An all-around talent for the Hoyas for his whole career, Summers can take his time learning the ropes in the NBA while providing a breather for the likes of Jefferson and Love.

29. Los Angeles Lakers - Darren Collison, PG, UCLA
Derek Fisher is on his last legs and pairing Jordan Farmar with another solid UCLA point could be a recipe for success. Collison's defensive ability and winning mentality would fit in perfectly in a tandem with the offensively adept Farmar. Keeping the Rancho Cucamonga-native in California should only keep him happier.

30. Cleveland Cavaliers - Omri Casspi, F, Israel
The best team in the league still needs to build around the best player in the league. Casspi might be a bit of a project, but Casspi has made steady progress in each of his years in the Iraeli league. Fitting the 6'8" forward with LeBron shouldn't be too much of a problem, and there isn't much left at this point in the draft as far as first round talent.
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