Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Updated: May 27, 7:05 PM ET
Mock Draft: Version 2.0
By Chad Ford
In the week since we debuted our first full mock draft of 2009, I've gotten a lot of feedback from NBA scouts and executives around the league.
While there are only a few significant changes to this edition of the mock draft, we should expect a lot more changes over the next four weeks.
The Chicago NBA pre-draft combine is this week, and every front office in the league will be there to evaluate and gossip. After that, the Reebok Eurocamp, which is especially loaded this year, will draw a number of top decision-makers. And the hundreds of team workouts still to go will dramatically alter the face of the draft.
For now, 29 days before the draft, this is our best stab, after talking to numerous NBA team sources, at how the draft might play out June 25.
Analysis: Clippers coach and GM Mike Dunleavy was quick to say that the team would be taking Griffin with the No. 1 pick.
But there is some maneuvering here. One source in Los Angeles estimated there is a 70 percent chance the Clippers will keep the pick. In other words, they aren't completely averse to trading the pick. So Dunleavy's pronouncement also served to let teams know that the Clippers (A) are the team to deal with for those teams that want Griffin and (B) wouldn't be eager to give away the pick; the price will be high. Still, a number of teams will try to put together a package that will tempt the Clippers.
As it stands now, L.A.'s best move is to keep the pick and figure out how to get rid of Zach Randolph or Chris Kaman.
Analysis: Yes, Memphis has gone out of its way to deny what I wrote in the previous mock draft: that Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley wants Thabeet. But my sources in Memphis continue to insist that, short of a trade, drafting Thabeet is the most likely outcome.
Even if the front office convinces Heisley that Ricky Rubio should be the pick, the Grizzlies have to deal with the fact that Rubio isn't thrilled about playing in Memphis after two other Spaniards -- Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro -- had bad breakups with the Grizz.
The best option for Memphis is to find a team hot for Rubio and get a couple of great assets for the pick.
Analysis: This is a tougher one.
I'm told the Thunder like Rubio and that Rubio wouldn't object to being in Oklahoma City.
So from the Thunder's point of view, the issue is how well Rubio would fit on the roster. Some in Oklahoma City see Russell Westbrook as the point guard of the future and aren't sure how he'd fare without the ball in his hands.
If Rubio is off the board, this could be a tough decision between Thabeet and James Harden.
But Thunder GM Sam Presti is an opportunist. If he can get a couple of good assets in return for the No. 3 pick, he won't be afraid to pull the trigger.
Analysis: This would be very high for Holiday, but this year, there just isn't a big difference between the fourth pick and the 10th pick in terms of quality. The Kings need a point guard, and if they can't get their hands on Rubio, Holiday's combination of size and defensive ability should get him the nod in Sacramento.
Brandon Jennings is also a real possibility here if he wows the Kings in Treviso at the Eurocamp. So is Syracuse's Jonny Flynn, who is getting a lot of love from NBA GMs of late.
Analysis: The Wizards want either Griffin or Rubio. If both are out of reach, look for them to try to work out a trade so they can turn this pick into a veteran who can help them now.
If they keep the pick, they'll probably have a tough choice between Harden and Hill. Harden would give them another offensive presence in the backcourt, but Hill's rebounding and defense would fill bigger needs right now.
• Click here for picks 6-30 of Chad Ford's Mock Draft
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN.com.