By Ian Thomsen
June 25, 2009
Here's how things were shaping up minutes before the draft ...

1 PF Blake Griffin Oklahoma Soph. 6-10 248
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."
2 C Hasheem Thabeet Connecticut Jr. 7-2 267
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.
3 PG Tyreke Evans Memphis Fr. 6-5 221
Evans as a big athletic combo guard with point-guard potential, and some experts believe he ultimately become the best point guard in the draft. But the Thunder were also in last-hour discussions on a trade for this pick.
4 PG Ricky Rubio DKV Joventut (Spain) -- 6-4 180
After days of hand-wringing over which point guard to take, the Thunder make it easy by swiping Evans. This leaves Rubio to play in one of his desired locations.
5 SG James Harden Arizona State Soph. 6-5 222
If they can't trade up for Rubio, they'll go for this versatile shooting guard to begin rebuilding their backcourt with younger, less expensive talent. As someone who fills up the stat sheet, Harden could be an excellent perimeter complement to Al Jefferson.
6 PG Stephen Curry Davidson Jr. 6-3 181
He would be the other half of the new backcourt equation. Curry isn't a pure point, but he is an excellent passer and shooter, and he and Harden could share playmaking duties in a two-guard front.
7 PF Jordan Hill Arizona Jr. 6-10 232
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.
8 SG Gerald Henderson Duke Jr. 6-5 215
Is he the second coming of Grant Hill? That's asking a lot of Henderson, but he is an athletic and versatile wing who can defend several positions.
9 SG DeMar DeRozan USC Fr. 6-6 211
He provides athleticism on the wing, and despite his young age DeRozan has a good feel for the game. This could turn into a steal if he extends his shooting range to the three-point line.
10 PG Jonny Flynn Syracuse Soph. 6-1 196
They have a need at this position and they hope Flynn will provide the long-term answer. Flynn has the unfinished tools to be a pure point guard for a long time, and he'll be educated by a former point in coach Scott Skiles.

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