With the lottery completed and the order decided, it’s time to try my hand at an early mock for this year’s draft. There have already been some risers and fallers early on and I’m sure there will be more in the coming days. Some teams are looking to shop their picks, mostly in the late first round, but for now, I’ll just assume that there won’t be any trades. Of course, that means the Celtics won’t be drafting in the first round, but my rules are meant to be broken on draft day, so I’m sure Ainge will do just that. Let’s see how the first round of the draft could shake out.
1. Los Angeles Clippers – Blake Griffin, F, Oklahoma
This is a no-brainer pick. He has been the #1 pick in this draft since last November and has won every Player of the Year award you can think of. I’ve already posted my thoughts on this pick for the Clippers, so I won’t go over it again. He’s got the potential to be a top power forward in the league in a few years, but also if he doesn’t develop much of an offensive game, could have already plateud. I don’t expect that to happen, so he will develop into a very good, borderline great, power forward in the league.
2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ricky Rubio, G, Spain
Rubio’s agent has already said they will do what they can to avoid him going to either Memphis or Oklahoma City, but the same agent tried to do this with Yi last year and failed. Ultimately, I think Rubio decides to play for whoever takes him and Memphis, with the #2 pick, should take the 2nd best talent on the board. People widely consider Rubio and Thabeet to round out the top-3 with Griffin, but I could see Memphis consider Jordan Hill at this pick if they do not want to stunt the growth of Mike Conley, Jr. In the end, Rubio is the pick and should embrace the chance to play with OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder – Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut
The Thunder have many holes and are not in a position to draft by, well, position. Other than Westbrook, Durant and Jeff Green have solidified their spots on this team. Nenad Krstic was a nice pickup last year, but he’s not a center you would want to build around. Thabeet would give them an instant upgrade in the defense department and if his offense ever comes around, he could become a really nice player. He must bulk up, but who in the draft doesn’t? Also considered James Harden and DeMar DeRozan at this spot.