Sunday, June 21, 2009
Updated: June 22, 11:46 PM ET
Mock Draft: Version 6.0
By Chad Ford
With the NBA draft on Thursday
it's officially crunch time.
NBA teams are wrapping up workouts, with some of the top prospects going head-to-head early this week as they try to write their tickets to the draft.
Jonny Flynn is battling Brandon Jennings in Milwaukee.
Terrence Williams and Gerald Henderson are duking it out in Charlotte.
DeJuan Blair, James Johnson and B.J. Mullens are in callbacks in Chicago.
NBA teams are starting to firm up their draft boards. But, unlike in previous years, there is a lot of uncertainty at the top. Usually at this time of year, teams have narrowed it down to two or three guys. This year, most teams are still deciding between four or five guys.
And with teams in the top 16, like the Grizzlies, Wizards, Timberwolves, Knicks, Nets and Bulls, all talking trades, this whole thing could get out of whack pretty quickly.
So while we have a good feel for who is on the draft board of every team, which player a team eventually will take is still up in the air.
Said one prominent NBA GM: "The only thing I can predict about this draft is that it will be one of the most unpredictable in draft history."
Here's our latest take, after talking to numerous NBA team sources, on how the draft might play out Thursday. Check out updated comments, too -- I included all my draft notes from the weekend here.
And for the first time this year, we have our second-round mock ready to roll.
Analysis: For the past several years, we've been blessed with at least a little suspense when it comes to who will be the No. 1 pick. Not this year. Griffin is going to be a Clipper. Sources around the league say trade talks with the Clippers are virtually nonexistent when it comes to Griffin. Instead, the Clippers are focusing on finding a new home for Chris Kaman or Zach Randolph.
Analysis: There is still a lot of talk about Memphis trading this pick. The Wolves, Wizards and Kings have all called. So have Boston and Portland. But if the Grizzlies don't trade it, whom will they take?
The consensus is that the Grizzlies will take Thabeet, whom we've had here since our first mock draft. The Grizzlies need defense and shot blocking, and Thabeet brings those skills.
However, the fact that Thabeet canceled his workout (shoulder injury) with Memphis on Sunday could be a big factor. Chris Wallace has already interviewed him, but owner Michael Heisley hasn't. And the subtle message behind the cancellation can't be what the Grizzlies want to hear -- Thabeet doesn't want to play in Memphis.
As for the rest of the Grizzlies' draft board? Notably absent is Ricky Rubio. Sources say he is off the board after refusing to visit.
So, does a desire to play in Memphis matter to Heisley?
If so, James Harden, Tyreke Evans and Jordan Hill might be more in the mix than we thought.
Analysis: Thunder GM Sam Presti flew to L.A. on Saturday to talk to Rubio. He also got a chance to review Rubio's physical and contract -- two important pieces of the puzzle for whoever drafts him.
Then, on Sunday, he met with James Harden and Hasheem Thabeet in L.A. And just to make things even more confusing, we hear Presti is now hot for Stephen Curry.
Whom will the Thunder draft? I think this one is going down to the wire. I know Presti is a fan of all four players -- Rubio and Thabeet have the upside, and Harden and Curry are the better fits. If Presti can get a couple of assets in return for the No. 3 pick, he won't be afraid to pull the trigger on a trade, either.
If the Thunder keep the pick, my brain says Harden is a perfect fit in Oklahoma City next to Russell Westbrook. The scuttle is that Curry is the hot name in the Thunder's draft war room. And a few think Thabeet's size will win the day. But I have to believe that Rubio, whom we've had here since the night of the lottery, will end up in OKC.
Analysis: At this point, I think it's safe to say the Kings have narrowed it down to Flynn, Rubio and Evans.
Sources say the camp is pretty split among the three. Flynn brings vocal leadership, athleticism and an NBA-ready body to the mix. Rubio is physically less ready for the NBA, but he's a purer point guard who understands the game better than anyone in the draft. Evans isn't a true point, but the Kings love his strength, toughness and size -- especially after his second workout.
Evans was in Sacramento on Sunday and had his way with Flynn and Stephen Curry. He was relentless taking the ball to the basket. As one Kings scout remarked, "It was a man beating up boys."
So, has Evans risen to the top of the Kings' list? Maybe.
Sources in Sacramento say the Kings have reservations about Rubio, and his rocky visit there last week didn't help the situation. They feel like Flynn could be a leader and the guy who could come in from day one and contribute, but they are worried about his size.
Evans has been described as sort of a compromise candidate. He gives the team size and some point guard skills. As for Jrue Holiday? He was in the mix for a while, but sources say he's fallen off the top three on their board.
Analysis: As we've been reporting since draft lottery night, the Wizards continue to shop this pick, and Washington sources say they've had a number of interesting offers. The Wizards' goal is to get back a veteran who can play right now ... and to shed a few million dollars off their cap if possible.
A couple of NBA agents who have been talking to the Wizards say they believe it's highly likely the pick will get traded. But to where? Every source has a different answer.
A number of teams -- including the Knicks, Rockets and Pacers -- are possibilities here. So are the Timberwolves, who have tried to pick up another lottery pick.
If the Wizards keep the pick, they'll have a tough choice among Harden, Curry and Hill. Hill's rebounding ability and motor are great, but adding a dead-eye shooter in the backcourt like Curry or an all-around talent like Harden appears to be a bigger need.
• Click here for picks 6-30 of Chad Ford's mock draft.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN.com.