Wednesday June 24th, 2009

This is still a work in progress with more updates to come. As things stand on the eve of the draft, I don't foresee further trades involving the top 10 picks ... unless a deep-pocketed outsider like Portland or Dallas comes in with an offer that can't be refused.

 
1PFBlake GriffinOklahomaSoph.6-10248
Hours after winning the lottery May 19, the Clippers committed to Griffin, the surest thing in a shaky draft. He is raw offensively and needs to develop a low-post game, but Griffin has the size, athleticism and work ethic to become a go-to frontcourt starter on a good team. "I don't know if he'll be an All-Star," an Eastern Conference general manager said, "but I look at all of the things he has going for him, and I don't think he can fail."
2CHasheem ThabeetConnecticutJr.7-2267
Some ambivalence here: The Grizzlies aren't totally sold that Thabeet should be the guy, and he would rather not go there based on their recent payroll-slashing. But he gives them the size and defense they need. The question now is whether anyone trades up for this pick.
3PGStephen CurryDavidsonJr.6-3181
The Thunder could go with shooting guard James Harden, Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans or even Jrue Holiday here. But the latest hunch is that they'll complement Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook with a shooter and playmaker. As Oklahoma City turns into a playoff team, Curry could become his generation's Manu Ginobili off the bench.
4PGRicky RubioDKV Joventut (Spain)--6-4180
Torn between Tyreke Evans and Rubio, they'll go with the Spaniard to provide the franchise with a fast-break identity. A worthy gamble for the Kings.
5PGTyreke EvansMemphisFr.6-5221
It's unlikely the Timberwolves would package Nos. 5 and 6 to move up in a draft that is so evenly talented among picks 2-10. They need to rebuild their backcourt after packaging Mike Miller and Randy Foye to Washington for this pick, and Evans -- long and athletic -- is viewed by some in the league as the best point guard in the draft.
6SGJames HardenArizona StateSoph.6-5222
If Harden is available here, he'll give the Timberwolves a versatile shooting guard who will create for Al Jefferson and take pressure off Evans. Drafting Harden and Evans together would give Minnesota the makings of a tall backcourt for the next decade.
7PFJordan HillArizonaJr.6-10232
The Warriors need scoring up front, and Hill could help at center as well as power forward. He can score in the paint as well as out on the floor, and -- apart from Griffin -- is the only skilled big man in the lottery.
8PGJrue HolidayUCLAFr.6-4199
A combo guard with big upside, he could eventually learn to run the point for New York. One scout refers to Holiday as "a reluctant scorer," but that may change once he embraces Mike D'Antoni's offense.
9PGJonny FlynnSyracuseSoph.6-1196
The Raptors are desperate for help at point guard behind Jose Calderon, and Flynn will relieve them of those worries. In time he could be viewed as a starter in the league -- making him a potentially strong asset for Toronto over the long term.
10SGDeMar DeRozanUSCFr.6-6211
With Milwaukee having traded Richard Jefferson to San Antonio, is DeRozan going to be his long-term replacement on the wing? He's a talented athlete who needs to extend his shooting range, but he has a good overall feel for the game.
 

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