Try ESPN’s 2009 NBA Lottery Mock Draft! I know I’ve done it about 59 times. The last three times I ran it, OKC got the fourth pick and took James Harden. And I cried. Out loud.
It sucks that even though OKC could potentially (and realistically) go 2-79, it would still only have a 25 percent chance of winning. There should be some kind of “total and unbelievable suckage” clause that gives a team at least a 50 percent chance of winning the lottery. And also gives said team 20 or 30 million in “spending money” for the offseason. And lowers the rim to eight feet on the offensive end.
With this draft, whoever gets No. 1 takes Blake Griffin. That hasn’t changed yet. But the top five changes almost every time depending on who picks where. OKC has taken Griffin every single time at one. At two, the Thunder has taken Ricky Rubio every time. When Wizards got Griffin at one and Minnesota picked second, the Wolves almost always took Hasheem Thabeet and left Rubio to OKC at three. The lowest OKC ever fell was fourth to which it took James Harden every time. Basically everyone but Minny wants Rubio at two.
A couple of oddities:
– Once, Rubio fell to OKC at four. Washington took Griffin, Minnesota took Thabeet, Indiana took Harden, and the Thunder took Rubio.
– Once, the Thunder took Thabeet at four. Washington took Griffin, Golden State took Brandon Jennings, the Clippers took Rubio and OKC took Thabeet. Which means Thabeet is in front of Harden on OKC’s board.
I would say the Thunder’s big board (according to Chad Ford) is:
1. Blake Griffin
2. Ricky Rubio
3. Hasheem Thabeet
4. James Harden
OKC never took a player outside of these four. Not once did it take Stephen Curry or Brandon Jennings. According to Ford, one of those four guys will be in a Thunder uniform next year.
One thing to keep in mind is the Thunder’s chances of getting Griffin really don’t get better with every loss. I think it’s pretty clear OKC will finish with the league’s worst record. The Thunder will have a 25 percent chance to get him, which is more than anyone else. So now that you’ve pretty much got the most ping-pong balls wrapped up, how about winning a few boys?