This isn't a mock draft. Aside from only covering the first 4 picks, this is a rambling flow of ideas around each team's pick. Mock drafts are guesswork, and fail to allow the necessary wiggle room in draft analysis. This will have more wiggle than J-Lo's rump. Also, 1999 called, apparently it would like me to return my J-Lo reference.
Forecast of Blake Griffin with a chance of did-you-honestly-think-they'd-take-anyone-else? Honestly I think Donald Sterling wants to trade away this pick, I just don't get the impression anyone is willing to sell the farm in order to get Griffin. And honestly, I think the Clips are just too lazy and cheap to do any level of serious player analysis. Side note: Can you imagine if that was your job? How terrible would that be in a bar? Chick: "So what do you do?" Scout: "I'm an NBA Scout" Chick (excited): "For the Lakers?!" Scout: "No, for the, uh, Clippers." Chick: "Well, it was nice meeting you, I'm going to go order a Lemon Drop."
What will be really interested to watch with L.A.'s B-Team is what they do with the logjam down low. It seems that at least one, possibly two bigs out of Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman, and Zach Randolph could be traded. I'd expect one, and I'd expect Camby. I can't imagine who would be willing to take Randolph, and I think the Clips would be reluctant to trade Kaman just yet. Camby's pricey, and a bit of a malcontent when put in a bad situation, but you're telling me he wouldn't thrive on a competitive team like the Heat?
Bleak with a chance of fans hating their lives. Blake Griffin should be off the board. You made all of Spain's players hate you after the experiences of the Gasol brothers and Juan Carlos Navarro, so Ricky Rubio would rather play in Europe. That being said, I still wouldn't be shocked if Memphis drafted Rubio. You're obviously not in a great bargaining position, but someone will probably trade you something of value. Rubio is a commodity, and I honestly still struggle to believe that Memphis will pass. The flipside to that is whether or not Memphis uses the pick if they don't have a deal already worked out. I think not. I suspect a behind-the-scenes deal of "Draft Rubio and trade him to us for Player X". If it's not a deal like that, it's too big a risk. And if it's not Rubio, I could see Thabeet going here. There are rumors abound as to who else Memphis might like, but Thabeet's complete lack of workouts indicate that someone had made a promise. I'd put my money on it being Memphis.
(I get a bit longwinded about the Thunder and the Kings, so they're after the jump. -Ex G)
If Hasheem Thabeet is still on the board, I think the Thunder take him and immediately nickname him "Thunder" Thabeet. Too awesome. Seriously though, despite the bust potential, this could be a really good fit for Thabeet. He wouldn't be considered the guy who is supposed to save the franchise. Durant is in that role, and Russell Westbrook is his sidekick. Thabeet would just need to be another pieceof the puzzle. Despite all my criticisms, I think he could fill that kind of role. If Rubio is on the board, I think they'll take him. I don't like the idea of Rubio on another team, but I slip into a semi-comatose state of basketball joy when I think about what Rubio could do with Kevin Durant.
If it's not Rubio or Thabeet, then I honestly have no idea. But since it is a likely scenario (based on all the recent chatter), I'll go with Harden. I've heard Stephen Curry thrown in the discussion here, and it honestly would be a good pick in my mind. You pair Westbrook and Curry as lethal combo guards who both can handle and shoot, and they spread defenses away from Durant. Harden could do the same thing. Neither Harden nor Curry address OKC's weaknesses down low, but either pick makes their offense absolutely frightening.
A lot of folks have stated that the Kings' pick at 4 will shape the rest of the draft, but I think the Thunder are actually the key player. They can go a variety of directions and improve an already strong, young, up-and-coming team. Their pick shapes a lot of the rest of the draft, but it would be hard for them to screw up this pick. By the way, pookey, can you be on the lookout to be sure that this paragraph doesn't result in an outbreak of SuperSonic fan suicides? Thanks.
Obviously the Kings pick is very dependent on the first three picks. Hence the need for some wiggle in this breakdown. If Rubio is on the board, it would be stunning if he wasn't the pick. If he's off the board, which I actually think will end up being the case, it gets more intriguing. I believe that the Kings would select Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans, or Jrue Holliday. I put those in the order I believe they would draft the players, but it's all pure speculation. I also do not think that they would draft Thabeet, even if he is still on the board. Thabeet has not done any workouts thus far, and I can't imagine Petrie taking a guy who wasn't willing to do a workout. Of course, Rubio has yet to do a workout either.
A little more on why I place these guys in the order that I did. I think Jennings blew away a lot of spectators in the recent workout with Holliday and Jonny Flynn. The Kings gossip mill churned out some info that Flynn was impressive, but I feel like that was a combination of smokescreen and truth. I think Flynn impressed them, but I don't think the Kings are ready to use the number 4 pick on him. If he's there at 23 by some miracle, absolutely. Or if there's an opportunity to trade up. Geoff Petrie doesn't follow consensus on where guys are "supposed" to be drafted, but he also knows the value of a pick.
Evans and Holliday are interesting. I keep flip-flopping on both of them. Evans has a lot of physical skills, but as Chad Ford mentioned recently (insider), I can't imagine the Kings were impressed with his refusal to workout against Terrence Williams. I've stated before that I don't trust Ford as a prognosticator, but as a guy who can get a whisper from the inside he might be on to something here. From everything I've read, it also sounds like Holliday disappeared in the three-man workout, and was really overshadowed by Flynn's leadership. Long story short, I say they would go with Jennings.
To wrap this up, this is not meant as a mock draft. It's more of a conglomeration of my thoughts on each pick. You see, the thing I love most about the draft is the uncertainty. A mock draft assumes a knowledge of what will happen. Clearly, I have no idea what will happen on draft night. But I have a lot of ideas, as do all of you. But the one idea we can all share is the hope that we'll find on draft night. Nothing is more exciting than potential. And we get to see three young players added to the team. In times like this, I'm just glad I'm not Geoff Petrie.