1. Oklahoma City. Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma. If ever a team was desperate to win the lottery, it is the Thunder this year. Griffin is a sure-thing No. 1 pick, and would have been a top 3 pick if he had come out last year. He is exactly the player the Thunder need—a tough, versatile big man. Scouts say picture Karl Malone, only more athletic. A starting five of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Griffin and Nenad Krstic looks promising. The fact that Griffin is an Oklahoma kid only makes him a more perfect fit for the Thunder.
2. Washington. Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain. Rubio may not enter the draft, but if he does, he should go No. 2, even though the Wizards are in the market for big men. Rubio has too much talent to pass up.
3. L.A. Clippers. Jordan Hill, F/C, Arizona. He considered coming out last year, but Hill decided to return to school to refine his post moves, work on his body and improve his rebounding. Good choice. He’s averaging 17.7 points and 11.6 rebounds.
4. Sacramento. James Harden, SG, Arizona State. Harden is built like a tank, so he doesn’t look like a typical high-scoring shooting guard. But he is tough, crafty and a great perimeter shooter. Harden does all the little things scouts love to see from backcourt players—grabs rebounds, forces turnovers and makes clutch shots.
5. Memphis. Greg Monroe, PF/C, Georgetown. Monroe is big and fundamentally strong, but one thing that always comes up with him is his smarts. Monroe still is figuring out how to deal with double-teams. He’s averaged 4.4 assists over his last seven games, but he’s also averaged 3.6 turnovers in that span.
6. Golden State. Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, Wake Forest. Aminu does a little bit of everything—he can handle the ball, score, pass and, best of all, defend. Which would make him an odd fit with the Warriors, wouldn’t it?
7. Minnesota. Chase Budinger, G, Arizona. Budinger has considered entering the draft each of the last two years. He had an off day in a workout with the Clippers last year and decided he wanted to go back to Arizona. Sometimes that hurts a player’s draft stock, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Budinger. Shooting 43.2 percent on 3s will do that.
8. Indiana. Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut. Thabeet is still very raw, and very skinny, but the guy is 7-3. That makes him a sure lottery pick. He will rebound, he will block shots, but he will need a lot of offensive work. He has dished out al lof 30 assists in 82 career games.
9. Toronto. Earl Clark, SF, Louisville. He’s a very big, athletic wing player, and his basic tools are impressive. But there’s some concern about a lack of overall improvement between last year and this year, especially when it comes to perimeter shooting.
10. Charlotte. Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest. Larry Brown would be the ideal coach for Teague, who has tremendous scoring skills and leadership ability, but needs to learn to be more steady and disciplined at the point.
11. New York. Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy. Hey, another Knicks draft pick from Italy. The Knicks can afford to take the best available player at this point, and though Jennings is not flourishing with his Italian team (8.2 points, 1.2 assists, 1.3 turnovers), he is still considered a lottery talent.
12. Chicago. B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State. The way this season has gone, it’s a safe bet that the Bulls will add to their wide collection of lottery picks, and it’s also a safe bet that they’ll look for a big man. Mullens is young and raw, but he is a 7-footer who seems to improve every time out.
13. New Jersey. Stephen Curry, PG, Davidson. Curry has, of course, established his big-game, clutch-shooting credentials. From an NBA standpoint, though, teams wanted to see him vary his game this season. He has been running the point for Davidson while still putting up huge scoring numbers, but questions about whether he’s really a point guard linger.
14. Dallas. Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee. Smith is underrated nationally, but not in the eyes of scouts. He can play three positions and is a lockdown defender. The big weakness: outside shooting.
Who is Jordan hill anyway? Is he any good?