Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Updated: June 24, 8:41 AM ET
Mock Draft: Version 6.1
By Chad Ford
With just one day to go until the 2009 NBA draft, it's on.
NBA teams are done with workouts and finally starting to firm up their draft boards.
But with so much uncertainty and so much trade talk, things still are fluid for any number of teams.
The Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and other teams are talking about trades involving draft picks, and Tuesday night, we had the first big trade that will affect the draft, with the Minnesota Timberwolves sending Randy Foye and Mike Miller to the Washington Wizards for the No. 5 pick and change.
So while we have a good feel for how the teams' draft boards are shaping up, whom they eventually will be able to take still is very much up in the air.
Said one prominent NBA general manager: "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:
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 still is a lot of talk about the Grizzlies trading this pick. Minnesota has been the hottest suitor for it, and now that the Wolves have both the fifth and sixth picks, they have the goods to move up to No. 2. But it sounds like the Wolves want to keep both picks, meaning the Grizzlies apparently have lost perhaps their best trade partner.
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, Presti met with James Harden and Hasheem Thabeet in L.A. And just to make things even more confusing, we hear Presti now is 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: The Kings are all over the place. One minute, they are thinking Jonny Flynn. The next, Rubio. Then Tyreke Evans. And the latest hot name in Sacramento is Curry.
So forgive me when I say I have no idea whom the Kings are taking.
Sources say the Kings are pretty split among the four. Flynn brings vocal leadership, athleticism and an NBA-ready body to the table. Rubio is less ready for the NBA physically, but he's a purer point guard who understands the game better than anyone else in the draft. Evans isn't a true point, but the Kings love his strength, toughness and size, especially since his second workout. Curry is the wild card -- he's a great shooter who would fit nicely in the backcourt next to Kevin Martin, but he wouldn't give them a defensive presence.
Analysis: The Timberwolves have reached a deal for this pick, as noted above, and now have the No. 5 and No. 6 picks. They are hoping to grab two of these three players: Rubio, Thabeet and Evans.
But we have all three of those players off the board. In that case, they're willing to settle for Harden and Curry.
Then again, to get what it wants, Minnesota might be ready to make further moves. While the Wolves say they won't trade both 5 and 6 to move up to No. 2, they might be willing to move 5 and 18 to move up to 2 or 3.
• Click here for picks 6-30 of Chad Ford's mock draft.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN.com.